43 Fun Things to Do in Austin | 2024 (with Photos)

Rosalia Ignatova

Rosalia Ignatova - Travel Writer

Published: June 30, 2023

Hey there! I'm Rose, a passionate traveler and adventure seeker. Through my personal experiences and love for exploring new places, I've curated a list of 43 fun things to do in Austin, supplemented with captivating photos, to ensure you have an unforgettable time in this vibrant city.

Colorado River

Welcome to Austin, the vibrant city where music, culture, and outdoor adventures come together to create a unique and exciting experience.

Whether you're a local or a first-time visitor, this Austin city guide offers a plethora of fun things to do in Austin.

From delicious food and drinks to unique experiences and breathtaking natural landscapes, Austin has it all.

We've compiled a list of 43 activities to help you make the most of your time here, ensuring that you'll never run out of options.

So, get ready to immerse yourself in the spirit of Austin and embark on an unforgettable adventure.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Barton Springs Pool.

Top Choice Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Austin

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Franklin Barbecue

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Rainey Street District

Best Time to Visit

Springtime: Festivals, mild weather, and blooming bluebonnets.

Average Temperature

Moderate. Hot summers, mild winters. Humid climate occasionally.

Transportation Options

Buses, trains, bikes, ride-sharing, taxis, scooters, walking, car-sharing.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Austin, the capital of Texas, is a vibrant city that offers something for everyone. Spend your days exploring the remarkable live music scene that thrives in venues such as the famous 6th Street - a true haven for music enthusiasts. Indulge in the mouthwatering culinary delights at local food trucks scattered across the city, where you can savor the unique blend of Texan and international flavors in every bite.

Immerse yourself in the beautiful outdoors by taking a leisurely stroll or bike ride along Lady Bird Lake, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city skyline and vibrant foliage. Don't miss the opportunity to cool off in the refreshing Barton Springs Pool, a natural spring-fed swimming hole that provides relief from Austin's warm weather. Austin truly embodies a distinct blend of cultural diversity and natural beauty, making it an unforgettable destination for every type of traveler.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Comfortable walking shoes, as Austin is known for its walkability and outdoor activities.
  2. Sunscreen and a hat, as the city experiences hot and sunny weather throughout the year.
  3. A reusable water bottle, as staying hydrated is essential in Austin's warm climate.
  4. Lightweight and breathable clothing, suitable for both day and night activities.
  5. Your favorite camera or smartphone to capture the vibrant street art and picturesque landscapes.
  6. Cash and credit cards for shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
  7. Any necessary travel documents, such as your ID, passport, or visa.
  8. A portable phone charger to keep your devices powered up on the go.
  9. A swimsuit if you plan to take a refreshing dip in the city's natural swimming holes or swimming pools.
  10. An adventurous spirit and an open mind to truly enjoy all that Austin has to offer.

What Not to Miss

  1. Bat watching at Congress Avenue Bridge
  2. Exploring the vibrant street art in East Austin
  3. Visiting the State Capitol building and its beautiful grounds
  4. Taking a dip in the Barton Springs Pool
  5. Enjoying live music on Sixth Street

What to Avoid

  1. High traffic areas during rush hour
  2. Exploring remote or unsafe neighborhoods after dark
  3. Leaving valuable items unattended in public places
  4. Engaging in illegal activities or substance abuse
  5. Ignoring local customs and traditions

1. Explore the Lady Bird Lake Austin

Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake is a picturesque reservoir located in the heart of Austin TX, named after former First Lady of the United States, Lady Bird Johnson.

Visitors can enjoy a range of activities such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, rowing, walking, and biking along the 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail.

With stunning views of downtown Austin and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, Lady Bird Lake is a must-visit destination in Austin.

2. Tour the Texas State Capitol Building

Texas State Capitol Building

The Texas State Capitol Building is a stunning architectural masterpiece located in the heart of downtown Austin.

Visitors can take free guided tours of the building, which showcases the history, culture, and the Texas legislature.

The tours include visits to the Senate and House of Representatives chambers, as well as the Governor's office and the underground Capitol Extension.

With its grand architecture and rich history, the Texas State Capitol is a must-see destination for visitors to Austin.

3. Take a Moonlit Stroll Across the Congress Avenue Bridge

Congress Avenue Bridge

The Congress Avenue Bridge is a famous landmark in Austin TX, and it's known for being home to the largest urban bat colony in the world, which emerges every night from under the bridge.

Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll across the bridge and witness the spectacular sight of thousands of bats flying into the night sky.

The Congress avenue bridge offers stunning views of downtown Austin and is a popular spot for a romantic moonlit stroll. Don't miss the chance to witness this natural wonder in Austin.

4. Soak Up Some Sun at Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs Pool is a natural spring-fed pool located in the heart of Austin. Visitors can enjoy a refreshing swim in the clear, cool water, surrounded by lush greenery and rocky outcrops.

The pool is open year-round and maintains a comfortable temperature of around 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

With its stunning natural beauty and refreshing waters, Barton Springs Pool is a perfect spot to soak up some sun and cool off from the Texas heat.

5. Take in the Beauty of Zilker Botanical Garden

Zilker Botanical Garden

Zilker Botanical Garden is a lush oasis in the heart of Austin, featuring a diverse collection of plants from around the world. Visitors can stroll through themed gardens, admire the beautiful water features, and learn about the local flora and fauna.

This is a perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. If you are traveling with kids or a romantic partner, you can spend a pleasant afternoon in this botanical garden.

6. Float Down the Colorado River

Colorado River

This 1,450-mile-long river runs through the heart of Austin and provides a perfect opportunity for visitors to take in the city's stunning natural beauty.

Visitors can rent a tube or kayak from one of the many local vendors and take a leisurely float down the river, taking in the gorgeous views along the way.

With its clear blue waters and lush greenery, the river is the perfect spot for a tranquil float trip. Spending a relaxing day on the water is a fun thing to do in the Austin area.

7. Marvel at the Beauty of Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country

The Texas Hill Country is an area of rugged hills and sweeping valleys located just outside of Austin.

Visitors can take a scenic drive along the winding two-lane roads, stopping to explore quaint towns, visit wineries and tasting rooms, or take in the stunning natural beauty.

With its rolling hills and picturesque landscapes, Texas Hill Country is a must-see destination for those looking for relaxing things to do in Texas.

8. Learn About Texas History at the Austin Visitor Center

Austin Visitor Center

The Austin Visitor Center is a great starting point for anyone interested in learning about the city's history and culture. Grab a souvenir at the gift shop and start learning about Austin.

Located in the heart of downtown, the center offers free brochures and maps, as well as knowledgeable staff who can provide insider tips and recommendations. Visitors can also enjoy interactive exhibits that showcase Austin's music, art, and film scenes.

Don't miss the chance to take a guided walking tour of downtown Austin and learn about its fascinating past.

9. Admire the Sculptures at Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum

Located in the heart of Austin Texas, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum features the works of Charles Umlauf, a renowned sculptor who called Austin home.

Visitors can explore the beautifully landscaped gardens and admire the artist's stunning bronze and stone sculptures.

The museum also offers a private tour and educational programs that delve into the life and work of Umlauf, as well as temporary exhibitions featuring contemporary art and sculptures.

Don't miss the chance to relax in the peaceful surroundings of the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and enjoy the beauty of art and nature.

Hope Outdoor Gallery

Hope Outdoor Gallery is a unique open-air art space that showcases the work of local and international street artists.

The colorful graffiti and murals cover the walls of an abandoned building and offer a creative and inspiring space for visitors to explore.

Whether you're an art lover or just looking for a cool backdrop for photos, Hope Outdoor Gallery is a must-see attraction in Austin.

11. Stroll Down South Congress Avenue

South Congress Avenue

South Congress Avenue, or "SoCo" as locals call it, is a trendy neighborhood in Austin, TX that boasts unique boutiques, vintage stores, art galleries, and live music venues.

Visitors can take a leisurely stroll down South Congress and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, street performers, and colorful murals.

With its mix of old and new, South Congress Avenue is a must-visit destination for those looking for a taste of Austin's eclectic and creative spirit.

12. Enjoy the Picturesque Gardens at Mayfield Park

Mayfield Park

Mayfield Park is a serene retreat that showcases the beauty of Austin's natural landscapes. The park is home to a historic cottage, a tranquil lily pond, and colorful gardens filled with native Texas plants.

Visitors can enjoy a peaceful stroll, observe the peacocks that roam the park, or have a picnic surrounded by nature.

13. Discover Artifacts From Texas' Past at the Texas Memorial Museum

Texas Memorial Museum

The Texas Memorial Museum is a fascinating destination for history buffs and nature lovers alike.

The museum features a wide range of exhibits, including fossils, wildlife dioramas, and artifacts from Texas' rich cultural heritage.

Visitors can learn about the state's geology, paleontology, and biology through interactive displays and engaging programs.

14. Explore the University of Texas Campus

University of Texas

The University of Texas (UT) at Austin is a world-renowned public research university. With over 51,000 students and more than 3,000 faculty members, the University of Texas is a diverse and dynamic community, dedicated to advancing knowledge and fostering innovation.

This Austin campus is a bustling center of higher education, located in the heart of the city. The sprawling campus features impressive architecture, lush green spaces, and museums that highlight the university's contributions to science, art, and literature.

One of the highlights of the campus is its proximity to the iconic Texas Capitol building, just a short walk away. The Capitol serves as the center of government for Texas and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history and politics.

Visitors can take a tour of the University of Texas Austin campus, or simply wander the campus on their own.

15. Have a Picnic at Mckinney Falls State Park

Mckinney Falls State Park

Located just 13 miles from downtown Austin, McKinney Falls State Park is the perfect place to spend a day immersed in nature.

Visitors can take a dip in Onion Creek, hike through the beautiful trails, or have a relaxing picnic in one of the park's many picnic areas.

With plenty of shaded spots, barbecue pits, and tables, this park offers a serene setting to enjoy a meal and some quality time with friends and family.

16. Discover the Military History of Texas at the Texas Military Forces Museum

Texas Military Forces Museum

Located on the grounds of Camp Mabry, the Texas Military Forces Museum showcases the military history of Texas from the 1820s to the present day.

The museum features a wide range of exhibits, including historic weapons, vehicles, uniforms, and photographs.

Visitors can also explore the outdoor area, which includes tanks, artillery pieces, and helicopters.

With knowledgeable docents and a wealth of historical artifacts, this museum provides an engaging and informative experience for visitors of all ages.

17. Explore the Natural Beauty of Barton Creek Greenbelt

Barton Creek Greenbelt

The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts in Austin.

With over 12 miles of hiking and biking trails, visitors can explore the area's natural beauty and take in stunning views of the city.

The Greenbelt also features several swimming holes and waterfalls, making it a perfect place to cool off on a hot day.

Whether you're looking for a challenging hike or a relaxing picnic with friends, the Barton Creek Greenbelt has something for everyone.

18. Take a Refreshing Swim at Deep Eddy Pool, the Oldest Swimming Pool in Texas

Deep Eddy Pool

Escape the heat and take a refreshing swim at Deep Eddy Pool, the oldest swimming pool in Austin, TX.

This historic pool, which opened in 1915, features a large swimming area, a diving board, and a shallow wading pool. Visitors can also relax on the pool deck or picnic on the grassy lawn.

19. Bike or Hike Along the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail

The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail is a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts in Austin.

The 10-mile trail winds along the banks of Lady Bird Lake, offering scenic views of the water and the city skyline.

Visitors can take a bike tour, walk, or run the trail, and there are plenty of spots to rest and enjoy the scenery along the way.

Whether you're a seasoned athlete or a casual walker, the Hike-and-Bike Trail is a must-visit destination in Austin.

20. Explore the Natural Beauty of Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve.

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in nature at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve.

This 227-acre preserve features a variety of trails that wind through canyons and waterfalls, and offer stunning views of the Hill Country.

Visitors can also take part in guided hikes and educational programs to learn more about the flora and fauna of the area.

21. Tour the Grounds of the Texas Governor's Mansion

Texas Governor's Mansion

Step back in time and visit the Texas Governor's Mansion, the historic home of Texas governors since 1856.

Guided tours of the mansion and its grounds provide visitors with a glimpse into Texas history and the life of the governor.

Highlights of the tour include the stunning architectural details of the mansion, the elegant furnishings, and the beautiful gardens.

22. Stroll Through Laguna Gloria

Laguna Gloria

Laguna Gloria, located on the shores of Lake Austin, is a beautiful 14-acre sculpture park and museum.

Visitors can stroll through the gardens, admire the sculptures, and explore the historic Driscoll Villa, which houses a variety of art exhibits.

The Laguna Gloria Park also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including outdoor concerts and art festivals.

23. Visit the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum

LBJ Presidential Library and Museum

Learn about the life and legacy of President Lyndon B. Johnson at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum.

The museum features exhibits and artifacts that explore the President's accomplishments and challenges during his time in office.

Visitors can also explore the beautiful grounds and view the replica of the Oval Office.

24. Visit the Diverse Array of Animals at Austin Zoo

White Tiger at Austin Zoo

Located in southwest Austin TX, the Austin Zoo is home to over 300 animals from over 100 different species.

At Austin Zoo, visitors can see everything from lions and tigers to monkeys and reptiles. The zoo also offers educational programs, such as zoo camps and animal encounters.

With its focus on animal welfare and conservation, the zoo is a must-visit destination for animal lovers of all ages.

25. Experience the Vibrant Nightlife on Sixth Street

Sixth Street

Get ready for a night out on the town and experience the vibrant nightlife on Sixth Street. This historic district is home to a variety of bars, live music venues, and restaurants.

Whether you're in the mood for a casual drink with friends or a night of dancing, this street has something for everyone.

26. Indulge in a Variety of Delicious Food From Austin's Many Food Trucks at the Picnic

Barton Springs Picnic

Satisfy your hunger cravings and indulge in a variety of delicious food from Austin's many food trucks at the Picnic.

This outdoor food park features a rotating selection of food trucks serving up everything from tacos and barbecues to vegan and vegetarian options.

Visitors can also relax at the picnic tables and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

27. Attend a live music concert

3D-printed performance pavilion

Whether you're a fan of rock, country, hip hop, or indie music, there's a concert waiting for you in the Live Music Capital of the World.

Austin is a mecca for live music, and concert ticket sales are a big part of the city's cultural scene. With so many popular venues and acts, it's important to purchase tickets in advance to avoid missing out.

To enhance your experience, check out the vibrant food truck scene and indulge in the delicious cuisines of Live Music Capital. Enjoy a craft cocktail or two at one of Austin's many trendy bars before or after the show.

28. Visit Austin City Limits (ACL) Live at the Moody Theater

ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Located in the heart of downtown Austin, ACL Live at the Moody Theater is an iconic music venue that hosts world-renowned musicians and performers.

With a capacity of 2,750, the state-of-the-art theater offers an intimate and unforgettable concert experience.

The venue is also home to the famous PBS music series, Austin City Limits, which has been showcasing music legends and up-and-coming artists for over 40 years.

29. Visit Zilker Metropolitan Park

Zilker Metropolitan Park

Zilker Metropolitan Park is a beloved outdoor oasis in the heart of Austin, Texas. The park boasts over 350 acres of lush green space, including botanical gardens, hiking trails, and picnic areas.

One of the most popular attractions in the park is the nightly emergence of the Mexican free-tailed bats. From hiking and picnicking to bat watching and more, this park is a must-visit destination in Austin, Texas.

30. Wander Around Zilker Park

Barton Springs Pool

Zilker Park is one of Austin's most beloved public spaces, spanning 350 acres and offering a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy.

Wander around the trails, gardens, and open spaces of Zilker Park, or take a dip in the refreshing Barton Springs Pool.

In addition, Zilker Park hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Austin City Limits Music Festival and the Zilker Park Kite Festival.

Whether you're looking to relax in nature, enjoy some outdoor activities, or attend a fun event, Zilker Park is a must-visit destination in Austin.

31. Visit the Austin Nature & Science Center

Austin Nature & Science Center

The Austin Nature & Science Center is a great place to visit for those interested in learning about the natural world.

Located in Zilker Park, the center features a variety of exhibits and interactive displays on topics such as geology, paleontology, and wildlife.

Visitors can also take part in guided hikes and other outdoor activities, such as bird watching and star gazing.

32. Visit the White Horse in East Austin

The White Horse

The White Horse is a honky-tonk bar located in the heart of East Austin, TX, known for its live music and lively atmosphere.

It's a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, offering a taste of Austin's famous music scene. The venue features both indoor and outdoor stages and hosts a variety of performances, including country, rock, and blues.

Visitors can also enjoy classic Texas drinks like Lone Star beer and margaritas and even take dance lessons on certain nights.

33. Visit the Iconic Greetings From Austin Mural

The "Greetings From Austin" mural

The "Greetings From Austin" mural is an iconic landmark located on South 1st Street in Austin, Texas.

The mural is a colorful postcard-style mural that was painted in 1998 and features the words "Greetings From Austin" in bold letters, surrounded by images of Texas wildflowers, a guitar, and the Texas State Capitol building.

Visitors can take photos in front of the mural and it has become a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.

34. Rent a Boat and Cruise Around Lake Travis

Lake Travis

One of the most popular activities in Austin TX is to rent a boat and cruise around Lake Travis. With its clear blue waters and stunning scenery, Lake Travis is the perfect spot to relax and unwind.

After your boat ride, head to one of Austin's many taco spots to refuel. Then, you can help to "Keep Austin Weird" and visit some of the quirky local shops.

35. Stay Up Past Dark to Dance in South Austin's Liz Carpenter Fountain

The Liz Carpenter Fountain

The Liz Carpenter Fountain in South Austin offers a unique experience of dancing in the water while colorful lights illuminate the fountain after dark.

It's a fun and refreshing way to beat the heat while enjoying music and a lively atmosphere. Don't forget to bring your dancing shoes and a towel.

36. Bar Hop on Rainey Street

Rainey Street

Rainey Street is a unique area in downtown Austin, TX known for its historic bungalow-style bars and restaurants. It's a popular spot for bar hopping and trying out different types of cocktails and craft beers.

Some popular spots include the Container Bar, Half Step, Banger's Sausage House, and Beer Garden.

37. Exploring Cesar Chavez St in Austin, Texas

Cesar Chavez Street

Cesar Chavez Street is a vibrant and diverse area of Austin, TX, lined with an array of restaurants, bars, and shops.

From authentic Mexican cuisine to trendy cocktail bars, this bustling street has something for everyone.

Visitors can explore the many art galleries and boutiques, catch a live music performance, or simply enjoy the colorful and eclectic atmosphere.

38. Go on a Taco Crawl

Revelry Blvd. Birra Tacos

Austin is known for its delicious taco scene, from breakfast tacos to evening meals, Austin has it all. There's no better way to experience Austin's famous tacos than by going on a taco crawl.

Start your day at a local café or food truck for some breakfast tacos, and sample a variety of mouth-watering tacos filled with eggs, bacon, chorizo, and other tasty ingredients. Wash it all down with craft cocktails or a cup of locally-roasted coffee.

Between bites of breakfast tacos, take in the city's vibrant street art scene, with colorful murals and graffiti covering so much of the city's walls.

39. Explore The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center Art

The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center Art

The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center Art is a contemporary art museum located in downtown Austin, Texas. The museum hosts a variety of exhibitions featuring both local and international artists.

The building itself is a work of art, with a unique design that includes a rooftop deck with stunning views of the city.

40. Visit Blanton Museum of Art

The Blanton Museum of Art

The Blanton Museum of Art in Austin is a premier destination for art enthusiasts, showcasing an extensive collection of works by local artists alongside established names.

Visitors can learn about the vibrant arts scene in Austin and discover new local artists, all while enjoying the stunning architecture of the museum itself.

After exploring the exhibits, visitors can grab a bite to eat at the museum café, which offers a variety of delicious options.

For those looking for more art, Austin is known for its vibrant street art scene, with so much wall space covered in colorful murals and graffiti.

41. Bat-Watching Tours


Check out a bat-watching tour on the San Antonio River, where visitors can witness the largest urban bat colony in the world.

The tours take place at sunset and provide a breathtaking experience as thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from under the bridge and take flight for their nightly hunt.

After the tour, take a short drive to Lake Austin, located just outside of Austin, Texas. The lake offers stunning views and plenty of outdoor activities, including boating, fishing, and hiking.

42. Visit the Mexic-Arte Museum

Mexic-Arte Museum

The Mexic-Arte Museum is a cultural institution in Austin, Texas, dedicated to showcasing the art and culture of Mexico and Latin America.

The museum features a variety of exhibitions throughout the year, including contemporary and traditional art forms, with a focus on Latin American art.

Circuit of the Americas

If you're planning to visit Austin, Texas, be sure to add a visit to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) to your itinerary. Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is a world-renowned racetrack located in Austin, Texas.

The track hosts a variety of motorsports events throughout the year, including the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.

Visitors can witness some of the fastest cars in the world in action and experience the adrenaline rush of high-speed racing. A visit to COTA is a must for any motorsports fan visiting Austin.

FAQs About Fun Things to Do in Austin

Let's look at some frequently asked questions about fun things to do in Austin, Texas.

What should I not miss in downtown Austin?

Don't miss the Texas State Capitol, Lady Bird Lake, and the live music scene in downtown Austin, TX.

What can you do in Austin if you're sober?

There are plenty of options for sober activities in Austin, such as hiking, visiting museums, or taking a bike tour along Lady Bird Lake. Moreover, tacos and other Tex-Mex cuisine are to die for and do not require an alcoholic drink to enjoy.

Where do the locals hang out in Austin?

Austin locals often hang out in areas like South Congress Ave, Rainey Street, and East Austin. They also enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking in the city's parks and green spaces.

Summing Up: 43 Fun Things to Do in Austin

Whether you're looking for outdoor activities, musical entertainment, or a unique cultural experience, Austin has something to offer everyone.

With its lively music scene, vibrant food trucks, iconic venues and parks, and world-class museums and science centers, Austin is a top destination for those looking to explore all that Texas has to offer.

From lively festivals to outdoor fun, there's no shortage of ways to enjoy this vibrant city. So get out and explore all that Austin has to offer.