Whether you’re just passing through or you plan on sticking around for a while, you’ll find tons of exciting things to do in Austin, Texas. This quirky and energetic city sits in the heart of the Texas Hill Country and is known for their fun and unique attractions, tasty eats and welcoming residents. Here are just a few of the things you won’t want to miss when visiting Austin.
Swim in Barton Springs Pool
This spring-fed oasis is a favorite of both Austin residents and visitors alike. You’ll find no better way to cool off from the blazing Texas sun during the summer months than to jump into the crisp 72-degree waters. If you’d rather stay dry, lay back in the shade on the grassy area surrounding the pool and enjoy the blue Texas skies. Even though it tops the list for best summer activities for teens in Austin, everyone is sure to have a blast here.
Kick back and relax at Zilker Park
After your swim at Barton Springs, head across the street to Zilker Park. This sprawling park nestled along the river is a great place to lounge and unwind. Read a book, enjoy a picnic or simply lay out on the green grass to soak up some sun. Throughout the year, this tranquil city park is home to fun family events like kite festivals and free summer concerts. Don’t forget to check out other nearby attractions, like the Zilker Zephyr miniature train or the Zilker Botanical Garden.
Watch the sunset at Mount Bonnell
You’ll see some incredible views in Covert Park at Mount Bonnell, a city park atop the highest point in Austin. On Mount Bonnell, you get the best of both worlds: on one side you’ll see a sweeping vista of the Colorado River and beautiful look at the Austin skyline on the other. Mount Bonnell is the perfect place to perch if you’re looking to sit back and watch a famous Texas sunset.
Witness the world’s largest urban colony of bats
Between the months of March and October, crowds gather around the Congress Avenue Bridge to witness one of the most spectacular natural sights that can be found in a city. Around dusk, 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats make their exodus out into the city in search of food. You can view the phenomenon from the bridge or on a grassy area below. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, rent a canoe or paddle board and watch from the river!
Learn about government at the Texas State Capitol
It’s hard to miss the marvelous pink granite building that sits in the middle of the city. Built in 1885, the Texas State Capitol stands taller than the nation’s capitol building in Washington D.C., because as they say, everything’s bigger in Texas! Take a stroll around the grounds or join a free guided tour inside and learn more about the history of the building and the inner workings of state-level government in Texas.
Take a step back in Texas history at the Bullock Museum
If you don’t get your history fix from the Capitol, head a few blocks north to the Bullock Texas State History Museum. You’ll come away with fun facts and interesting knowledge after browsing the three floors of exhibits. If history isn’t really your thing, watch a movie in the IMAX theater located inside, which boasts the biggest theater screen in Texas.
Get in touch with your creative side at the Blanton Museum
Located on campus at the University of Texas, the Blanton Museum of Art is home to stunning works of art and unique exhibits from notable artists around the world. Throughout the year, catch various exhibitions, as well as permanent pieces like Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, a breathtaking white stone building with colored glass windows. Before you leave, take a quick stroll around the University of Texas, which is consistently ranked among the most beautiful campuses in the state.
Shop ‘til you drop on South Congress Avenue
Food, live music, fun boutiques, and Austin icons – you’ll find it all on South Congress Avenue. This bustling stretch of road is lined with iconic local eateries, eclectic boutiques, and cute stores. Encounter some of Austin’s most iconic murals like the “I Love You So Much” wall that are perfect for pictures. If you’re looking for a night out on the town, South Congress also has a thriving nightlife with opportunities to catch a live show any day of the week.