Sleep Under The Stars
Various locationsSince the weather has finally cooled down a touch, theres no better time to revel in Texas natural beauty by camping out in the elements. See for yourself by booking a spot at one of Texas Hill Countrys breathtakingly gorgeous parks. McKinney Falls State Park, Pedernales Falls State Park, Inks Lake State Park, and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area are all a stone’s throw away from Austin proper .
Top Things To Do In Austin Texas Updated 2021
Welcome to Austin, the live music capital of the world! As a fellow Austin resident of 10 years and the resident Austin food blogger of 8 years, I finally got around to writing this highly requested guide to things to do in Austin.
This Austin city guide is sorted by outdoor activities, restaurants, nightlife, and where to shop in Austin Texas. Consider me your personal guide to sightseeing in Austin Texas!
Check out my pocket-sized guidebook to Austin Texas that you can easily reference on your trip!
Follow me on Instagram at and TikTok at to see all the new things going on in Austin from the POV of a Texan and shoot me a DM if you have questions!
Haunted Ghost & Vampire Tours
Austin is home to several haunted spots.
Above all, the city is a preferred destination for those who want their vacation to be focused on the paranormal.
A nighttime walking tour of some of the citys most haunted locations will definitely be something to enjoy for the thrill-seeker in you!
Subsequently, a walking ghost tour of the Congress Avenue Historic District includes tales of Austins haunted past, as told by a charming tour guide.
Walk pass historic buildings, trace the paths taken by serial killers, learn about hauntings in and around the city.
Indeed, a haunted Austin tour will not be complete without a visit to the celebrated Driskill Hotel.
This is where reports state that two different brides committed suicide in the same room, 20 years apart.
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Communicate With The Dead On A Paranormal Investigation
Brought to you by our friends at Haunted ATX, their Paranormal Investigation tour is managed by the team behind the hit YouTube series the Unearthly Paranormal Investigation Experience. They’ll meet you at one of three locations where they’ve communicated with spirits before and show you how to use the Spirit Box , a Paranormal Puck , an EMF reader , and a SLS camera . You might want to shave the hair on the back of your neck before this experience as things can go way off the charts quick.
Biscuits At South Congress Cafe
Cant say much for the front of house service. Im assuming the chick who served us our drinks was hungover.
Positively, the waiting servers were super friendly and the biscuits melt in your mouth. South Congress Cafe made it to our best restaurants post. Find out who else managed to take a spot on our Austin foodie bucket list.
- 1600 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
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Jam Out At Austin City Limits
If you happen to be in Austin during ACL but for ACL, good luck. This is the biggest music festival that brings people from all over the world on two consecutive three-day weekends Oct. 6-8 & Oct. 13-15, 2017. If youre not here for ACL, avoid Zilker Park at all costs. If you want to check out, you can usually buy a wristband from someone at the entrance.
If you want to experience live music, visit Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater.
Taste Texas Wine At Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery
*COVID-19 Update: Infinite Monkey Theorem is temporarily closed. Check out The Austin Winery, another great indoor urban winery in Austin.
Everything about Infinite Monkey Theorem makes me happy. The industrial vibes are balanced by delicate vintage furniture, and all sorts of funky graffiti covers the walls. IMT imports their grapes from all over Texas but makes the wine right there on South Congress.
Sip and savor your way through the wine offerings, or ask to set up a guided tasting. WEBSITE
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Enjoy An Outdoor Performance
Enjoy free shows in beautiful outdoor settings around Austin. The annual Zilker Summer Musical offers live theater from July-August on an outdoor stage at the Hill Country Galleria. ACL Radio and the Long Center have teamed up to present a free, weekly outdoor live music series. The Drop-In will showcase a diverse lineup of Austins favorite and emerging artists from May September in the heart of downtown.
Explore Austin Lakes With Float On Boat Rentals
Often catering to Austin’s elite, the boat scene at Devil’s Cove has earned its nickname with boats tying together creating a dance floor that rival’s Austin’s best night clubs. Party Cove on Lake Austin is a little closer, more intimate, and equally fun. Both lakes have active wakeboard and skier scenes. The guys at Float On Boat Rentals make access easy with an assortment of boat rentals options that cater to any and all boating needs in Austin. They also feature a nightly sunset boat tours for only $69 per person on both Lake Travis and Lake Austin . The sunset tours are BYOB so you can pick up a bottle of wine, meet some new people, and check out some really cool real estate while enjoying a beautiful sunset.
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Cheap & Free Things To Do In Austin
With a world-famous live music scene, beautiful parks and natural areas, and a wealth of bars and restaurants, Austin truly has something for everyone. There are more things to do in Austin than you can imagine, including a plethora of options that wont impact your pocketbook. Jog along an urban riverside trail, swim in a massive spring-fed pool, take in stunning graffiti art, and enjoy the view from the highest elevation in town. These are just a few of the cheap and free things to do in Austin that you can experience while youre in the capital of the Lone Star State. Plan your trip to Austin by checking out these cant-miss Austin activities.
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6. Go on a food crawl. My book Austin Food Crawls walks you through a full day of eating in Austins hottest neighborhoods. Are you planning to spend the day with someone from out-of-town? Pick a neighborhood, and explore it from morning-to-night with the best eats and drinks! Order here.
7. Visit a brewery. There are so many great ones in Austin, and theyre doing a fantastic job and social distancing, contactless payment, and keeping everyone safe! Heres a list of the 22 craft breweries in Austin.
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Actually Fun Things To Do In Austin During Quarantine
This list is in full support of social distancing, mask-wearing, and staying in if youre not feeling well. As long as youve checked all three of those things, here are some fun things to do in Austin during quarantine! Please be extra careful to stay in if youre not feeling well, wear a mask when youre around the humans, and keep a 6-foot distance from other people. Just a gentle reminder. If youre like me and eating is one of your favorite activities, Ive found that outdoor patios are a safe way to enjoy Austin restaurants. There are a ton of local craft breweries that are doing social distancing the right way.
Things To Do This Week In Austin Thursday
Get it Gals is hosting a Schitts Creek trivia night at Still Austin Whiskey Co. If your friends think youre the David or the Alexis of the group, get together and put your knowledge to the test.
- When: Thursday, Jan 13 | 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Where: 440 E Saint Elmo Rd Unit F, Austin, TX 78745
- How much: Free
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9. Take a day trip from Austin. Did you know that there are tons of amazing cities to visit that are less than 100 miles away from Downtown Austin? From Fredericksburg wineries to Wimberley swimming holes, Round Top antique stores to epic hikes in Central Texas, youre sure to find a fun way to spend the day. Here are 14 day trips from Austin .
10. Watch the sun set at Mount Bonnell. This is one of the prettiest views in Austin! Its totally kid-friendly and it boasts a gorgeous spot to watch the sunset for a quick photo session. | See the top 10 things to do in Austin here.
11. Go on a double date to Top Golf. The Domain location of Top Golf is being extra careful by practicing safe social distancing, sanitizing everything, and making sure the bays are properly spaced. |Reserve here|
12. Find the best tacos in Austin. Austin is famous for tacos, but which ones are the best? I did my own search and ate tons of tacos . Which ones are the best? Pick 5 tacos in Austin from this list and go on an epic taco crawl with your bff. Tag me on instagram with your findings!
Go For A Hike Along The Barton Creek Greenbelt
Starting at Barton Springs Pool, the Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of Austin’s best treasures with areas known as the Flats, Twin Falls, and Sculpture Falls. The Flats is known to host large gatherings, even the occasional drum circle. Twin Falls offers one of the better waterfalls, and Sculpture Falls is known for a little solitude. There’s also great rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, and other outdoor activities that appeal to a wide array of outdoorsy types. It’s best when the water if flowing, even if it’s low just 15 – 20 cfs.
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Tour Some Of Austin’s Legendary Breweries
With the craft brew trend hitting overdrive in Austin, there are quite a few fantastic breweries to choose from for a private tour. A favorite among the bachelor and bachelorette activities, a guided brewery tours offer a responsible means to hit the top spots. The team at Texas Twisted Tours covers all the details from designated driver to steering you towards the best IPAs and ales from a local’s point of view. The first round is on the house at each location and you’re welcome to seconds just as long as you keep your act together.
Swim In Barton Springs Pool
If youre visiting Austin during the 9 hottest months of the year, youll want to take a dip in Barton Springs Pool its one of the many natural springs in Austin. And even if youre visiting in December/January, theres the polar bear splash to partake in.
For only $8 a day , you can swim in the 68-degree year-round water.
2131 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX
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Get Your Retail Therapy On At Barton Creek Mall
While The Domain in north Austin is definitely theee shopping destination in Austin, its an outdoor mall which means youll have to duck out into the rain between shops. Barton Creek Mall in South Austin, while slightly older, is an indoor mall with an excellent collection of shops for a few hours of rainy day fun in Austin. Bonus: you and your shopping bags wont get soaked. |WEBSITE|
Shop For Treats At Big Top Candy Shop
Aka heaven for me! This circus-themed candy shop also sells ice cream and floats on South Congress .
Not just one of the things to do in Austin with kids, its for big kids too right? Their stock will fill you with nostalgia as well as sugar.
You can even buy seasoned bugs! We took some home for my eleven-year-old cousin to try.
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Visit A True Texas Honky
Try two-stepping at an iconic Texas dancehall like the Broken Spoke, an old-fashioned honky-tonk known for its chicken-fried steak and free dinner show. Dance along to live bands Tuesday through Saturday from 6-8 p.m. and arrive early for a free dance lesson ! Or, visit the Little Longhorn Saloon, a staple of Austins honky-tonk country music scene. It never charges a cover and is known for its six-days-a-week happy hour, with $1.50 Lone Star beers.
Spot The Bats From The South Congress Avenue Bridge
South Congress Avenue bridgeThe bats! are one of Austins simplest tourist attractions. Head down to the South Congress Avenue bridge in downtown Austin at the end of the day and pick a vantage point, either on top of the bridge or below on the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trailcareful to stand six feet apart from other groupsand wait until dusk for the little creepy critters to emerge. About 1.5 million bats live underneath the bridge in whats widely considered the worlds largest bat colony.
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Austin Karting Experience At Circuit Of The Americas
Theres a new thrill at Circuit of the Americas and this time you wont be watchingyoull be driving! Karting is here and its a blast for the whole family. A great location for private events, birthday parties, corporate outings, and more COTA Karting is here to elevate your Karting Experience.
COTA Karting offers high speed fun at the only Formula 1 track in the U.S. They cater to novice karters, elite karters, and everything in between! In a single race, drivers can expect to get 10 minutes of race time on a technical course . Similar to that of the Formula 1 Circuit, the karting track elements include elevation changes, hairpin turn, stars and stripes, and fuels the need for speed! Learn more Circuit of the Americas Karting Experience here.
Graffiti Tour With Painting Class
Learn more about Austins underground graffiti scene with this graffiti tour with a painting class included.
Comfortable shoes are recommended for this tour, which begins at the social hub of the street art scene SprATX.
Subsequently, you will explore the murals and quirky shops in East Austin, which is the unofficial art district.
At the HOPE Outdoor Gallery, you can try your hand at spray painting.
The place has more than 40 abandoned walls just waiting to be filled with unique artwork.
This tour starts at 5 pm on Fridays & Saturdays and lasts for 2.5 hours.
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Ann And Roy Butler Hike
Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail is a big name for a big place.
Stretching for more than 10 miles in total, it winds around Austins Lady Bird Lake and passes all sorts of stunning sights.
If you enjoy the wild natural beauty of untamed places, youll love hiking through the thick, overgrown fields and fully-shaded tree groves.
If you prefer a smoother path, you can stick to the paved roads and footbridges that are well-traveled by bikers, joggers, dog walkers and stroller pushers.
Since youll be traveling around Lady Bird Lake, you can stop at any time and enjoy its amenities.
Rent a kayak buy some duck feed hop aboard a leisurely water cruise.
The sky is the limit at the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail.
Theres a reason why its considered one of the top things to do in Austin, so dont hesitate to put it on your list.
Address: Lady Bird Lake, First Street Bridge at Lady Bird Lake, Austin, TX 78701, United States
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Alright Austinites: here are 12 things to do in Austin during quarantine, and most of them are free!
1. Walk, run, or bike at Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. If youve been cooped up inside, go get some fresh air! It really does some good for the body. The trail is one-way only right now, clock-wise, so you dont have to worry about oncoming runners breathing into your face. Enjoy the cool summer mornings or gorgeous summer nights in Austin with your pup or a podcast or a loved one. Another idea: make your run a bit more intentional by training for a race! Virtual, of courseHeres a list of all sorts of races you can participate in, from 5ks all the way to marathons.
2. Play a round of Peter Pan Mini Golf. Theyve been open in Austin since 1948iconic! They offer contactless transactions and sanitized golfing equipment so that you can enjoy a safe, socially-distant game. |WEBSITE|
3. Go Paddle Board on Lady Bird Lake. There are tons of rental companies that are open right now and working hard to keep their equipment sanitized and safe for you! Paddle boarding and kayaking are great ways to view the Austin skyline, get some exercise, and enjoy time outdoors all while staying socially distant. Tip: head out in the evening so you can get a view of the famous Austin bats.
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Grab Drinks And A Movie At Alamo Drafthouse
A Ninja Turtles mural on the side of the Slaughter Lane Alamo Drafthouse. Photo: Stephen C. Webster.
When in the mood for a movie, Alamo Drafthouse is a no-brainer for many Austinites. The beers are locally brewed, the feature films range from old classics to present-day blockbusters, and the workers have mad spy skills, no lie. You might be able to get away with texting during a movie in any other theater, but at the Drafthouse, youll be caught and ousted before you can type the K that once seemed so important. Plus, check out the Ninja Turtles mural they put up recently at the Slaughter Lane location . Thats totally radical!
5701 W Slaughter Ln. 512-861-7060. Showtimes vary. General admission after 6 p.m. $10.50 , matinees $7.75 with discounts for children 11 and under, seniors, college students, military personnel, Austin Film Society and Austin Film Festival members. Website.