Austin is a hip city with loads of fun things to do in Austin. The arts, music, film, food and outdoor activities are just some of the reasons why this city has become such a popular tourist destination. Whether you’re a new or a seasoned vet, we’ve got suggestions on how to see this diverse city like a local. From small but excellent museums to top-notch festivals and everything in between, there’s something for everyone.
Here are some great things to do in Austin if you’re looking to escape from the city for a few hours or a few days!

The Texas State Capitol

The Texas State Capitol Bulding
The Texas State Capitol in Austin is the seat of government for the U.S. state of Texas, located in Downtown Austin. It was built between 1888 and 1914 in the Second Renaissance style and serves as the home of the Texas Legislature and several other governmental offices. The capitol building is a National Historic Landmark and was named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1971.
It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a contributing property to the Texas State Capitol Historic District, which was listed on the NRHP in 1978.
The state’s current governor, Greg Abbott, has announced plans to move state government offices out of the capitol building into new locations across the city by 2020.
The capitol grounds include several monuments including: a World War I memorial; a statue of former president William Henry Harrison; an equestrian statue of Sam Houston; and a statue of Stephen F. Austin, who fought for independence from Mexico in 1836.
The current building was designed by architects Alfred Giles and Charles A. Rayner (who also designed Boston City Hall). Its design reflects Victorian-era architecture with Beaux-Arts influences imported from France and Italy

📬 Address 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

Mount Bonnell

mount bonnell austin tx
mount bonnell austin tx

The iconic climb of Mount Bonnell is a popular and challenging climb in Austin, Texas. The climb starts at the base of the mountain, and it’s not for those with a fear of heights. The climb itself is about 4 miles and 225 feet of elevation gain. After climbing to the summit, there’s room for some great views of the city.
The best time to visit Mount Bonnell is during drier months. It can get very crowded during warm summer days, so plan accordingly.
One last thing to note: The parking lot may fill up quickly, especially on weekends. If you plan to visit on a weekend, try parking at the Zilker Park lot instead.

💻 Website www.thefreedomtrail.org
📬 Address 3800 Mount Bonnell Rd; Austin, Texas 78731
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

Zilker Metropolitan Park

zilker metropolitan park austin tx
zilker metropolitan park austin tx

Austin has a long history of active transportation and walking. The city was designed to encourage a mix of uses and walkable neighborhoods, so pedestrians have plenty of options. Zilker Park is a beautiful urban oasis, with hiking trails, a lake, and gardens. Pedestrians can also access downtown via the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CMA) Red Line and the Capital MetroRail. Austin’s bike share program has been growing steadily since its launch in 2010, so it’s no surprise that over 15% of residents commute by bike.
The City of Austin is working hard to build out its network of trails, which will make it easier to get around the area on foot or by bike. Meanwhile, some local businesses are joining forces to create more welcoming streetscapes. For example, barbershop owner Landon Crawford started the Barber Shop Bike Club in 2016 to encourage more people to ride bikes in town.

📬 Address 2207 Lou Neff Rd, Austin, TX 78746, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

SoCo District


The SoCo district is located in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas. The district is known for its thriving nightlife and eclectic dining options. The area features an urban vibe with a variety of bars, restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques. With over 1,000 restaurants to choose from, there is something for everyone including ethnic cuisines, burgers and beer. There are also several parks that offer beautiful scenery and are perfect for a date or a family outing. The district is also home to the Texas State Capitol building which offers guided tours, exhibits and art galleries. With so much to explore, it’s no wonder that the SoCo District is one of the most popular destinations in Austin.

Blanton Museum of Art

Blanton Art Museum on the University of Texas campus in Austin
blanton art museum texas campus in austin

The Blanton Museum of Art was founded in 1932 and is located in downtown Austin, Texas. The Blanton’s mission is to promote the visual arts and to provide educational programs that help build a strong and diverse community that values art. The museum houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts, including works by Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer, and Andrew Wyeth. The museum also hosts many special events, such as film screenings, presentations, lectures, and performances. In addition to its permanent collection of artworks and artifacts, the Blanton also regularly acquires new objects for its permanent collection. These include donations from individual donors as well as auction purchases. The Blanton also has a traveling exhibition program that brings in new works from other museums across the country. This allows the Blanton to present a wide variety of works to visitors from all over the world. One of the museum’s most popular exhibits is “The Art of Video Games.” This exhibit features interactive displays that allow visitors to explore video games from a variety of perspectives. This includes playable consoles, arcade machines, and more. Visitors can play these games and experience them in a new way through this exhibit. The Blanton is also home to one of the only free-standing planetariums in Texas. This makes it an excellent place for both casual visitors as well as those with an interest in learning more about astronomy or space travel.

💻 Website https://blantonmuseum.org/
📬 Address 200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78712, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake

lady bird lake austin tx
lady bird lake austin tx

The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail (ABHB or “The Butler”) is a paved, multi-use trail that runs from U.S. Highway 290 to MoPac Expressway in south Austin, Texas. It was named after prominent Austinite Ann Butler who fought tirelessly for the creation of the trail. The trail spans roughly 10 miles and runs through the heart of Austin’s urban core. It passes numerous parks, including Barton Springs and Zilker Park, as well as many major commercial and residential areas.
The ABHB is well-suited for hikers, bicyclists, runners, and dog walkers. There are several access points along its length, including at MoPac and Riverside Drive. The trail also connects with other popular Austin trails such as Lady Bird Lake Trail and Lavaca River Greenbelt Trail.

📍 Map Open in Google Maps

Sixth Street

sixth street austin texas
sixth street austin texas

Sixth Street in Austin, Texas is the hub of nightlife. Sixth Street is home to more bars, microbreweries and dance clubs than any other street in the nation. The hip Sixth Street district runs east to west along Congress Avenue between 6th Street and 7th Street. It also includes lesser-known side streets such as Chicon Street, Chicon Walk and Chicon Terrace. Sixth Street is one of the oldest and most diverse areas of Austin. Mixing residential, retail and office space with several historic districts, it’s a place where everyone can feel at home. For visitors looking for something different, Sixth Street could be just the place for you.

📬 Address Roughly bounded by 5th, 7th, Lavaca Streets and I-35, Austin, Texas
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

Barton Springs Pool

barton springs austin tx
barton springs austin tx

Barton Springs Pool is a pool located in Austin, Texas. It’s where you can take a dip and enjoy a fun day out with friends and family. When you arrive at the pool, you’ll be greeted by a fountain that calls to mind the springs in the area. The water pool is beautifully landscaped, and the surrounding area is very picturesque. This makes for an idyllic setting for a family day out. When you’re done swimming, there are plenty of places to relax and enjoy the scenery. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches to choose from, as well as plenty of places to visit. You can have lunch at one of the many cafés or grab a drink at one of the bars that surround the pool.
There is also an amphitheater where you can listen to live music or watch performers perform their acts.
If you love nature, Barton Springs Pool is definitely a must-visit place!

📬 Address 2201 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater


The legendary music festival that is held every year on the famous lakeside amphitheater, City Limits, has been a staple of Austin and the American music scene for decades. The festival has celebrated all genres of music, and has featured many famous musicians over the years including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and many more. In addition to music, City Limits also offers food and drink vendors, activities for kids and offers VIP experiences.
In 2017 they will be bringing back their Live at the Moody Theater event Wednesday night to Friday night. This show will be taking place in their smaller venue which seats 300 people. This is one of the best ways to see City Limits in person without having to pay the high prices you would get in a regular ticketed show!

💻 Website https://acl-live.com/
📬 Address 310 W Willie Nelson Blvd, Austin, TX 78701, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

LBJ Presidential Library


The LBJ Presidential Library is an institution dedicated to preserving the legacy of Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President of the United States. It is located in the LBJ Park at The University of Texas at Austin. The main building houses Johnson’s presidential archives and exhibits, which chronicle his life and career in a number of different ways. The library also includes a museum that tells the story of his time in office, as well as a visitor center that includes interactive exhibits about Texas history. Visitors can also tour the LBJ Ranch on-site or take part in educational programs.
In addition to its collections, the LBJ Presidential Library is also notable for its architecture. Designed by architect John Dinkelman, it features a distinctive octagonal tower that serves as a beacon for both students and travelers passing by on nearby Interstate 35. It is one of the few presidential libraries in the country to be designed by an architect rather than a historic preservation expert. The library was dedicated on December 2, 1972 and opened to the public on April 1, 1973.

💻 Website https://acl-live.com/
📬 Address 310 W Willie Nelson Blvd, Austin, TX 78701, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

Bullock Texas State History Museum


The Bullock Texas State History Museum is named after William B. Bullock, a prominent Dallas businessman and philanthropist who bequeathed his substantial fortune to the creation of several museums in the state of Texas. The Bullock Texas State History Museum is located in Downtown Fort Worth, near the intersection of Interstate 30 and North Main Street. The museum is housed in a historic building that was constructed in the early 1900s for the purpose of displaying items related to Texas history. In addition to exploring the history of Texas through interactive exhibits, visitors can also purchase unique souvenirs at the gift shop.

💻 Website www.thestoryoftexas.com
📬 Address 1800 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

See Austin Bats

austin bats in the sky
austin bats in the sky

One unusual Austin attraction is gazing at the 1.5 million bats of the Congress Avenue Bridge. They inhabited the spot in 1980, viz., when the bridge’s restoration led to the occurrence of numerous cracks. In other words, the rebuilding formed ideal accommodations for bats. Specialists claim that Austin hosts the biggest non-rural bat community in North America. 

Just imagine seeing this many bats flying together. Probably, there is not a guest of the place who was not mesmerized by the view. Agencies, which offer cruises that you may take, supposing you long to see this spot full of bats, are Capital Cruises and the Lone Star Riverboat. Nocturnal kayak journeys are also available.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

flower picture in lady bird johnson wildflower center austin tx
flower picture in lady bird johnson wildflower center austin tx

The Wildflower Center, located in Austin, TX, is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the beauty of wildflowers through education and conservation programs. The center is home to a diverse collection of native plants including over 300 species of wildflowers found in Texas and beyond.
The Wildflower Center also works with partners all over the world to protect endangered species and their habitats. The center hosts educational events about wildflowers for everyone from kids to adults, and does outreach work to help educate people about the benefits of this amazing plant community. There are many ways you can support the Wildflower Center: purchasing a membership, donating money through an online donation form, or volunteering your time. As more people understand the importance of protecting our native plant communities, we will have a better chance at maintaining balance and sustainability in our ecosystem.

💻 Website www.wildflower.org
📬 Address 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin, TX 78739, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

Mexic-Arte Museum


Located close to The Driskill, the Mexic-Arte Museum displays Mexican and Latin American works of art. Its permanent assemblage consists of pictures from the Mexican Revolution as well as ceremonial masks. Other seductions include contemporary artistic productions from native craftsmen.

In addition, the gallery hosts several types of shows all year long. Although the museum is considered small, it is not by any means a waste of time. The adjoining shop offers different pieces of art created by native artists.

💻 Website mexic-artemuseum.org
📬 Address 419 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

Austin Nature & Science Center


Undeniably, one of the top things to do in Austin is explore its science museums. Found in 1960, the Austin Nature & Science Center attracts dozens of curious children, adults, and schoolies. The museum located within Zilker Park educates and entertains its guests. The organization’s programs include lectures on butterflies, caving, and other deeply fascinating themes.

Do not hesitate to bring your child with you since the site is kid-friendly and offers numerous activities that prevent children from getting bored. For instance, walking along the Forest Trail that gives information about the trees standing on both sides of the route is a marvelous way of spending time with your younger version. Moreover, access to the center costs absolutely nothing.

📬 Address 2389 Stratford Dr, Austin, TX 78746, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

Mayfield Park and Preserve

peacock mayfield park austin tx
peacock mayfield park austin tx

Mayfield Park and Preserve is part of the National Registry of Historic Places. The main enticement of the spot is its charming peacocks. In 1971 Mary Mayfield Gutsch gifted the cottage and gardens situated in the park to the town. Today, one is able to use them for special celebrations.

Nestled approximately 5 miles away from downtown Austin, the park is accessible via no. 335 bus. However, visitors have to walk a mile after getting off the bus to arrive at the destination. You can pay a visit to the spot from 5 a.m. to 10 .m. for free. Take into account that pets are not allowed here.

📬 Address 3505 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

McKinney Falls State Park

upper mckinney falls austin tx
upper mckinney falls austin tx

McKinney Falls State Park is one of the largest urban parks in Texas and a true gem for the city of Austin. The park was created in 1899 and is centered around five waterfalls that cascade down the mountain side. There are hiking trails, picnic areas, fishing spots and playgrounds. The park also has a very active community, with activities such as 4th of July fireworks displays, farmer’s markets and bike-to-work days.
There’s so much to do at McKinney Falls State Park that it’s hard to know where to start. There are hiking trails, fishing spots, picnic areas and playgrounds. There are also active community events that take place throughout the year, such as 4th of July fireworks displays, farmer’s markets and bike-to-work days.

💻 Website tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/mckinney-falls
📬 Address 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

Esther’s Follies


Esther’s Follies lies on the prominent Sixth Street in Austin. The theatre that carries the name of the famous actress Esther Williams holds countless performances developing comedic themes – juggling, magic, singing, et cetera. Generally, the acts are of one and a half hours’ duration.

Unfortunately, initially-built Esther’s Follies construction went in flames in 1982. To the delight of admires of the group, this building became Esther’s Follies’ place. Today, it keeps both locals and tourists entertained for hours. 

💻 Website www.esthersfollies.com
📬 Address 525 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

Thinkery


Thinkery’s attractions that mix science, arts, math, and technology are perfect for 11-year old children. Kiddos always have a whale of a time in the Kitchen Lab and Light Lab. The playground outside of the museum is exactly what a child needs to be on cloud nine. Keep in mind that a bunch of programs are in existence to keep children entertained while you are winding down.

💻 Website thinkeryaustin.org
📬 Address 1830 Simond Ave, Austin, TX 78723, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps

The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria


The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria once displayed all collections of the Austin Museum of Art. Today, it is an eminent art school but still possesses several pieces of art. Driscoll Villa, the Betty, and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, and the Gatehouse Gallery stand within the boundaries of the museum.

💻 Website thecontemporaryaustin.org
📬 Address 3809 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703, United States
📍 Map Open in Google Maps
Previous articleThings to do in Anchorage
Next article14 Things to do in Jacksonville Florida
Travel maven. Writer. Reader. Organizer. Beer advocate. Creator. Evil explorer.