Austin is the place to visit if you want to pack a lot of events into your itinerary. It’s known for its live music scene, expansive outdoor areas, and world-class museums. It’s ideal for family vacations, romantic getaways, or an overnight road trip with all of your close ones. Everything from America’s best BBQ to breathtakingly beautiful spring pools to Wild West-style saloons can be found on this list. Continue reading to learn about all of the must-see attractions in the joyful and wonderful capital of the great state of Texas!
Are you searching for a place to stay in Austin? Then have a look at our list of places to stay in Austin. From hostels and flats to hotels, there’s something for everyone’s budget.
There’s so much to see, but so little time? There is no need to be concerned. With our thorough weekend in Austin guide, we’ve got you covered with two structured days of all the nicest things to see and do in Austin!
Fun Things to Do in Austin, Texas
Some cities are known for only one or two attractions, but Austin is nearly overwhelming in terms of the variety of sights, sounds, and tastes that distinguish it from the rest of the country. When visiting Austin, these are a few of our favorite activities to see and do. You’re sure to unearth some jewels whether you visited one or all of these!
Franklin Barbecue serves the best brisket in Texas
It has been dubbed the best barbeque in the country by food critics. Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama have both dined here. Early in the morning, queues form and can wrap around the block. Some may question whether Franklin is truly worth the hype, but this restaurant, which began serving barbecue from a trailer a little over a decade ago, has sold out of brisket every day since it opened. Franklin is one of those locations you just have to experience, with hundreds of honors to its name and lots of local love to back it up. Without the ultimate BBQ experience, no trip to Austin would be complete. Their brisket is created with all-natural beef and smoked for 12 to 18 hours. The beef melts in your tongue when topped with Franklin’s unique espresso sauce.
Going to the Barton Springs Pool is a must
One of the coolest things to do in Austin during the summer visit this renowned watering place. Barton Springs, on the other hand, is open to swimmers all year, hosting a Polar Bear Plunge in the winter and, of course, serving as a refreshing dip in the summer. Because the pool is filled with natural springs, it maintains a consistent temperature–a chilly 68-70 degrees F–regardless of the weather outside. It’s also home to the critically endangered Barton Springs Salamander, so tread carefully! This isn’t your average swimming pool; it’s designed to accommodate local wildlife. Officials at the park make sure that the salamanders are safe in their natural habitat. Barton Springs has both modest wading areas and deeper swimming sections, ensuring that everyone in the family has a good time. Stake out a spot in the grassy hills surrounding the pools when you’re ready to warm up again and let the sun dry you off.
At Sixth Street, they offer live music
A live music experience is unmissable among the numerous things to do in Austin. Indeed, this city is known as the Live Music Capital of the World, with open mic jams, local band concerts, and a wide range of acts taking place almost every night. Sixth Street, despite its other reputation as a party hotspot, is in the center of it all. This boulevard, which is lined with pubs and restaurants that light up neon when the sun sets, is only open to pedestrians on weekends. Crowds rush out of the bars and onto the streets, bringing the festivities to the streets. Whether you go to people-watch from afar or dive right into the action, you’re likely to find some great entertainment. Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar delivers catchy performances with music from every decade, while The Parish hosts a variety of big-name musicians and local up-and-comers. At Flamingo Cantina, listen to reggae, or at The Belmont, listen to hip-hop and electronic music. Austin has every type of music you can imagine.
Take a tour of the State Capitol to learn more about local government
Austin is the state capital of Texas, which means there are plenty of historical structures and government buildings worth seeing. The stunning red granite State Capitol, which houses the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature and the Governor of Texas, is the most prominent structure. Tours are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sundays. If you prefer, you can take a self-guided tour. The visitor’s center is always full of interesting displays. It delves deeper into Texas history and culture, including the Texas Revolution and cowboys.
At Veracruz All Natural, Guac Your World
What to do in Austin once you’ve explored all of the city’s top-rated barbecue joints? If there’s one food that this city is familiar with, it’s Tex Mex. Veracruz All Natural is a family-owned, Latina-owned, and women-owned enterprise that has captivated Austinites and visitors alike. Their ultra-trendy taco truck sells out every day, so be sure to arrive early. Breakfast tacos are also available, so you can never start too early. Visit one of their many restaurants throughout the city and order a few items to share because they’re all so delicious. The Migas is a traditional morning option, while La Reyna’s tacos with egg whites, avocado, and pico de gallo are a little healthier option. Don’t miss out on the handcrafted corn tortillas, which can be loaded with beef, pig, chicken, or fish for lunch or dinner. They also provide vegetarian choices, so non-meat eaters can enjoy them as well. If you want to come for all three meals, we don’t blame you.
Austin’s Annual Bat Watching Festivals will make you go batty
This is undoubtedly one of the stranger sights in Austin, but that’s all the more reason to add it to your itinerary! From mid-March to late October, the Congress Avenue Bridge, which is located in the heart of the city, transforms into a full-fledged bat cave. That’s because Austin is home to the United States’ greatest population of urban-dwelling bats. Thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats take to the sky at sunset in a spectacular aerial spectacle. You can see the display from a variety of viewing points, including the city’s hiking trails, a riverboat, and more, but make sure to arrive on time. Bats usually take flight between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., and this is one Mother Nature show you won’t want to miss. You may even join in Bat Fest in August, which includes not only a viewing of the night flight but also concerts, food carts, as well as a bat costume contest.
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is a great place to go for a ride
Spend a relaxing afternoon walking or cycling alongside Lady Bird Lake to get away from the hustle and bustle of Austin’s daily life. Although this 10-mile hiking trail winds through the center of Austin, the city’s bustle is drowned out by the sound of water lapping against the coast. Even your running shoes can be traded in for a kayak or paddleboard. The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, named after a previous Austin mayor and his wife, combines all of life’s best aspects: proximity to nature, fun in the sun, and plenty of opportunity to people-watch. It’s still considered sightseeing! You may get sweeping views of the Austin skyline and stop by several notable statues and other cultural sights along the way.
At the Blanton Museum of Art, look carefully at the great works
Blanton, as one of the country’s largest university art museums, has far too many exhibits to see in a single visit. They have around 20,000 pieces in their permanent collection, and rotating exhibitions offer everything from woven textiles exploring different identities to compilations by famous art historians. They also host several events throughout the year, such as block parties, late-night visits, and other art-related activities. If you’re traveling as a couple, this is one of the most romantic things to do in Austin, and it’s a great date night idea. The only problem you’ll have is selecting whether to look at your beloved one or all of the beautiful artwork!
At The Picnic, dine on food truck cuisine
Exploring Austin’s food truck culture, which has elevated the notion to a whole new level, is one of the must-do activities in the city. The city is so enthusiastic about food trucks that it has created The Picnic, a food trailer park just outside of downtown. The goal of the project is to assist local companies, so you can go all out while knowing you’re helping the community. They serve Thai, Italian, Tex-Mex, and American cuisines. The easiest method to fulfill your hunger is to go about and order from any establishment that appeals to you. You’ll have an entire food truck picnic ready to eat before you know it! For a different dining experience, we advise The Mighty Cone and Cannone’s Italian gelato.
Hillside Theater in Zilker Park offers a free show
From March through October, a spectacular outdoor amphitheater showcases musicals, concerts, and cultural activities. Everything is accessible to the general public and is free of charge. You are welcome to bring your blanket or lawn chair, as well as a snack pack or picnic meal to enjoy while watching the game. Every year, the Zilker Summer Musical is a must-see. The Little Mermaid, The Wizard of Oz, Hairspray, Oklahoma!, and other masterpieces have all been staged in the past. Family movie nights, Shakespeare in the Park, and live music are also available at the site. Before you travel to Austin, make sure to check the schedule to see if there are any shows that you can fit into your schedule.
If you’re visiting Austin, Texas, you’ll probably want to read up on how to navigate around the surrounding areas, right? So, if you want to see more of Texas Hill Country, we’ve put together a list of the top day trips from Austin you won’t want to miss. Fredericksburg and several of its top-notch vineyards are included, as are a few state parks around Austin and beautiful beaches near or in Austin.