So much to see, so much to do. To help you narrow down where to start, we compiled this bucket list full of the essential Austin activities. Bookmark this page and use it as your guide for how to have the best time in Austin!
Catch Some Live Music: When in the Live Music Capital of the World, you absolutely must see live music. You can find jazz, punk, rock, and country acts throughout the week on the East Side, the Red River Cultural District, Rainey Street, South Congress and dozens of venues around town. For a thorough list of concerts happening today, we've got you covered here.
Hit The Best Festivals: Whether it's a big one like ACL Fest or SXSW, or smaller celebrations like the Pecan Street Festival or Eeyore's Birthday, there's a festival for just about everything in Austin. To help keep track of them all, bookmark our Austin Festival Forecast.
Have Some Free Fun: If you want to enjoy Austin on a budget, see our big list of Free Things To Do in Austin. There's no shortage of great stuff to do for free!
Remember The Alamo Drafthouse: Enhance your cinematic experience with food, booze, props, quote-a-longs, sing-a-longs and more. See locations and showtimes.
Austin has an incredible food scene. New restaurants are popping up all over town, and a number of our local chefs are being celebrated as some of the best in the country.
Grab Food on Four Wheels: There’s nothing more fun than doing a tour de food truck in Austin. Find plenty of palate-pleasing options with our list of the Best Food Trucks - or check two boxes in one go at one of the Best Food Trucks at Bars.
Try All of The Tacos: It's a way of life in Austin. Tasty tacos are available at roughly a million establishments around town. Whether you need breakfast, dinner, or a late-night snack, there's a taco for that. To get started, check out these Tex-Mex spots or our series of featured tacos we're totally dating!
Take a Brewery Tour: When it comes to craft beer, we’ve got you covered. Take a tour of local breweries like Hops & Grain, Austin Beerworks, Thirsty Planet or one of the many Austin Brewery Tours and Tastings.
Aspiring sommelier? Want to talk tannins? Maybe just like wine? Perfect. When it comes to vino, we’ve got you covered: Check out our list of the best wine bars in Austin!
Eat a Lot of Barbecue: You can make the pilgrimage to The Salt Lick, stand in a long, brisket-scented line at Franklin BBQ, La Barbecue, or just go for it and try all the barbecue joints in town.
Watching bats fly overhead, cherishing weird activities, and wearing costumes just for fun is part of the daily routine down here in Austin. Take a break from the norm and enjoy the weirdest things you can do in Austin.
412 E 6th St
If you possess any interest in the strange, peculiar, or supernatural, the Museum of the Weird is a spot you need to visit when you're in Austin. For a small fee, they have an impressive array of curiosities, including what may or may not be the body of a Yeti. Austin's own Museum of the Weird is exactly that.
4422 Lareina Dr
The Cathedral of Junk is exactly what it sounds like- a cathedral made of junk. That doesn't make it any less impressive, though. Scraps of all conceivable origin have been painstakingly assembled into what is probably the most astounding collection of bric-a-brac ever. Find out more about the Junk King right here.
525 E 6th St
You know you're a true weirdo when they make a documentary about how weird you are. "Crazy" Carl Hickerson has been a fixture outside of Esther's Follies for a while now. Like our old friend Leslie, Crazy Carl is just one of those figures in Austin who has been doing his unconventional thing for what seems like forever. His eccentricities (chiefly flaunting his man boobs) and friendly demeanor are what make him a city treasure.
1207 Barton Springs Rd
Peter Pan Mini-Golf is the only place in town we're aware of that has a giant T-Rex statue, which is notable in and of itself. Beyond that, the course has a ton of weird, old sculptures with creepy faces to keep you company as you play your round of miniature golf. It's also BYOB, so you can weirdly stumble around the course. Read more here.
1205 Rio Grande St
Let's preface this by stating that Austin Panic Room is way more fun than the name might suggest. Having said that, you've got to be ready for a real challenge. Austin Panic Room puts you and your pals in a room filled with puzzles and a variety of challenging scenarios that you have 60 minutes to figure out and make your escape.
Head to Lady Bird Lake: Conveniently located in the center of the city, Lady Bird Lake is a great place to jog, bike or aggressively power walk on the scenic trail along the water or rent a paddleboard, kayak or canoe.
Take a Dip in Barton Springs: Within Zilker Park's 358 acres lies one of the crown jewels of Austin - Barton Springs Pool. The pool is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 70 degrees, ideal for year-round swimming.
Hit The Greenbelt: With its diverse terrain, the Greenbelt is a popular location for adventure-loving locals. You can do some rock climbing, hiking, biking and more. If you're looking for even more places to go hiking in Austin, click here.
Catch The Best Sunset: The most beautiful sunset in Austin? Try the one you’ll see from the top of Mount Bonnell, or kicked back on the lakeside patio at The Oasis.
Go Swimming: Is the weather in Austin too hot for you? Stop by one of these Local Swimming Holes to splash around and cool down.
See The Bats: While this may not be Gotham City, we come close in one regard. Visit the Congress Avenue bridge around dusk to see the world's largest bat colony take flight. (It's less creepy than it sounds.)
Tour the State Capitol: Learning about your government is great. Your high school teacher would be proud. Take a tour of the Texas Capitol, or at least layout and have a picnic on the beautiful lawn.
Walk Around The Campus: In terms of campuses, The University of Texas is pretty top-notch. Take some time to walk around, hit up one of the museums, play a game of frisbee by the tower, or just reminisce about your own glory days.
Do "Dirty" Sixth Street: Equal parts historic and hangover-inducing, Sixth Street is the essential icing on the cake of any Austin visit. Whether you do some people-watching, bar-dancing, shot-taking or mechanical bull-riding, it’s a must-see.
Shop Vintage: If you want to keep your wardrobe weird, there are plenty of vintage stores that have got you covered...literally. Be sure to check out North Loop.
Enjoy Some Art: From amazing street art and murals to classy museums and galleries, there’s plenty of art to enjoy (and unique souvenirs to buy) around town. Start at these Museums in Austin.
Record Stores: Be sure to visit one of the many record stores in Austin and grab some new or used vinyl. Try Antone’s Record Shop, Trailer Space Records, End of an Ear, Waterloo Records or any of these Record Stores in Austin to find what you’re looking for.
South Congress: There’s no better way to spend a day (or night) than on the bustling street known as SoCo. There are dozens of shops, restaurant options, live music venues, and a great karaoke joint called Ego’s. See our Neighborhood Guide for detailed info.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
Check out our Austin Neighborhood Guides for food, drink, and activities all over our great city.
Got a bucket list must-do we missed? Let us know at [email protected]
- Contributed by Sam Sumpter -