Disclaimer: We don't actually think any of this stuff is all that weird...
But then, we live here. So we're accustomed to watching shrieking bats fly overhead, sipping avocado margaritas, and attending secret underground wrestling leagues in breweries. It's all part of the cultural fabric that makes Austin, Austin. They say "From the outside looking in you can never understand it, and from the inside looking out you can never explain it," but we'll give it a try anyway. Here are some of the Weirdest Things You Can Do in Austin.
By Rory Jones
Photo Credit: Courtney Goforth
5434 Burnet Rd
2008 S Congress Ave
Yes, Chicken Shit Bingo is a real thing, and we love it. There's just something downright beautiful about a bird's completely random pooping pattern defining the outcome of a high stakes parlor game. As an added bonus, it confirms the rest of the country's strangest suspicions about what we get up to for fun.
Photo Credit: Courtney Goforth
412 E 6th St
If you possess any interest in the strange, peculiar, or supernatural, the Museum of the Weird needs to be on your radar. For the $12 price of admission, guests have the opportunity to feast their eyes with enough weirdness to last a lifetime. A walk through the museum features terrifying props from mostly forgotten B-Horror movies, pirate skeletons, Fiji mermaids, medical oddities of varying sizes encased in glass boxes or entombed in formaldehyde, shrunken heads, an assortment of wax figures, a photo-ready King Kong replica and the exclusive privilege of getting to view what is perhaps the holy grail of cryptozoological artifacts, The Minnesota Iceman. Resist the urge to Google that one, it's more fun to go in blind. Suffice it to say, guests are strictly forbidden from taking photos of whatever lies in that final back room.
4422 Lareina Dr.
This one's an Austin original. 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.
Photo Credit: Roger Ho
Living in a bubble typically gets a bad rap. But how about playing soccer in one? Austin Bubble Soccer has turned that notion into a full-blown mission, and we can happily report that the activity is safe, silly, and super fun - probably all in equal measure. The game basically mirrors the mechanics of actual soccer, except you're in, you guessed it, a giant bubble. This allows for fun things like front and back flips, as well as high speed, bouncy-but-painless collisions with other players.
812 Airport Blvd
Be honest, you've probably never really thought about throwing an ax. Short of ruminating on an inner Viking fantasy in which you conquer an unsuspecting coastal village... why would you? Having now chucked a handful of hatchets through the air ourselves, we can field that question with a simple answer: because it's really, really fun. How does competitive ax throwing work, exactly? You throw a 1.5 lb hatchet at a large wooden bullseye while drinking beer. For the record, the beer part isn't a necessary part of the process, but Urban Axes is BYOB and boy does it make for some nice company. Essentially, the game closely mirrors the rules of darts, but with well, axes. Read more about it here.
320 E 6th St
Weird Wednesdays at the Alamo Drafthouse is kinda like the equivalent of that weird friend you had in college who played Magic: The Gathering and was a little too into Captain Beefheart. Okay, maybe you didn't have that specific friend in college, but the point we're making here is that Weird Wednesdays showcase the kind of fringe elements of cinema that would otherwise never find a wider audience. Find out more.
Photo Credit: Instagram / Mgederian
313 E 6th St
You may have heard of Midnight Cowboy… then again, perhaps not. Nestled in a small space on 6th Street and with no discerning physical qualities to attract passersby, it's easy to miss--unless you already know what you're looking for. The space itself is infamous, existing in its prior incarnation as a "massage parlor." Okay, that means a brothel. With 6th Street's well-deserved reputation for rambunctiousness, the weirdest thing about Midnight Cowboy is how downright dignified it feels. This old-school style speakeasy requires you to ring a buzzer to enter and have your cell phone kept firmly in your pocket for the duration of your stay. Not being allowed to check your phone every five seconds? Now that's weird.
1100 Kingsbury St
Eeyore's Birthday Party certainly attracts a varied crowd. You've got hippies, weirdos, furries, responsible parents, dogs, and all other manner of folk attending this adored annual tradition. It's a perfect harmony of the people who make up Austin, Texas. It's held annually on the last Saturday of April at Austin's Pease Park.
615 Red River St
TuezGayz at Barbarella is a weekly queer-friendly dance party, but everyone is welcome to pack this smoke-machine dance floor and shake that booty into a frenzy. If you see a friend on a Wednesday and they look a little (read: a lot) more haggard than usual, Tuesgayz is likely the culprit.
Photo Credit: esther's follies
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. Step inside Esther's, and you'll find nightly shows that run the gamut from sketch comedy to modern-day vaudeville and everything in between.
Photo Credit: @taylorjw_85
7000 Comanche Trail
It doesn't get much weirder than Hippie Hollow. The fact that it's the only clothing-optional public park in the entire state of Texas actually makes it legally weird. So yes, if you come to Hippie Hollow, you're going to see people in their birthday suits. Don't be shy. A landmark Austin hangout since the 1960s, Hippie Hollow has weathered the storms of change and remained an idyllic microcosm of the Free Love Generation.
Photo Credit: Instagram / Toddwhite
1808 Singleton Ave
The first weird thing about the Museum of Natural & Artificial Emphemerata is that it's located in a house in East Austin. The makeshift museum hosts weird bits of esoterica like jackalopes, pickled critters, and a wide array of artifacts that fall squarely into the "Huh?" category. Be sure to check out their four-legged duck while you're there.
Photo Credit: Roger Ho
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 creepy old sculptures with painted faces to keep you company as you play your round of miniature. It's also BYOB, so you can uh, weirdly stumble around the course.
Party World Rasslin' brings body slams, laughs, and beer to 4th Tap Brewing in North Austin. "Wrestling is ballet with violence," former professional wrestler and muckraking god Jesse Ventura once remarked. While Ventura's aphorism may seem like nothing more than a pithy joke, an implication lies underneath his irony that begs further exploration: Wrestling—in all its forms—requires focus, meditation, and planning. Like ballet, wrestling is not a sport, but an art; a craft to be studied and perfected. But if ballet dazzles audiences with grace and beauty, then wrestling, or at least professional wrestling, dumbfounds spectators with action and excess. Find out when PWR's next event is here.
Photo Credit: Instagram / fwootbat
1110 E 52nd St
Carousel Lounge is the definitive answer to a question nobody asked: Where would Hunter S. Thompson wet his whistle in Austin? With its disorienting cascade of brightly colored lights and baffling commitment to a distinctly tacky, circus-like aesthetic, Carousel Lounge feels exactly like the kind of Vegas bar Thompson would stumble into in a debauched fury and then write about later.
Photo Credit: Alamo Drafthouse
1120 S Lamar Blvd
The Highball might just have the strangest karaoke rooms in the United States. In fact, Spin Magazine enjoyed the weirdness enough to do a whole story about them. One room looks satanic, another is themed after David Lynch's cult phenomenon Twin Peaks, and yet another is modeled after Super Mario Bros. It's an amazingly strange place to belt out your favorite tune.
3027 N. Lamar Blvd Ste 202
From personal experience, we can assure you that the arctic-like conditions of the walk-in room at US Cryotherapy are definitely out of the ordinary. This electrically-powered, multiple person capacity cold therapy facility (the only one of its kind in Texas!) is not for the faint of heart. Forgive us for stating the obvious, but it is seriously cold in there, y'all. In fact, it's so frigid that visitors are only allowed to be in the walk-in room for up to three minutes at a time.
Photo Credit: Lala's
2207 Justin Ln
Lala's is a perennially Christmas-themed bar, complete with plastic elves, twinkling lights, and a slew of other holiday decorations. It’s a beautifully odd mainstay in North Austin; a cash-only bar with a legendary jukebox and one of the best Bloody Marys in town.
Photo Credit: @Bdibaggio
Lady Bird Lake
The Mexican free-tailed bats are so ingrained into the Austin psyche that it's easy to forget that they're a strange attraction in the first place. But for the vast majority of people that visit Austin, they're one of the most easily accessible phenomena available. If you've lived here for a while, you may have even forgotten how disorientingly awesome it is to observe them flying out in great droves from under the Congress Avenue Bridge and through the crimson sky.
Photo Credit: The Fresh Find
Gospel Brunch at Stubb's
801 Red River St
We know what you're all thinking: Brunch is great and all, but wouldn't it be better with Gospel music as the soundtrack? The answer is yes. It doesn't hurt that Gospel Brunch at Stubb's features southern-style grits, migas, fried catfish, and their famous BBQ brisket. Perhaps most importantly, they have a killer Bloody Mary bar. There's nothing ordinary about that.
Photo Credit: Instagram / manuelherrera33
2100 Barton Springs Rd
We're certainly not going to make the argument that flying a kite is weird in and of itself, but when you see hundreds of them flying in the same place at once it just feels extraordinary. What's doubly strange is just how elaborate some of these things get at the ABC Kite Festival. We can still remember fondly the giant kite that looked like Mothra from Godzilla from a few years back.
Photo Via Serious Eats | Avocado Margarita
614 E Oltorf St
When it comes to flavors, the Margarita is a pretty versatile drink. Strawberry, coconut, apple, pineapple, cantaloupe... the list goes on. What you might not have known is the list goes on so far that it eventually reaches the Avocado Margarita at Curra's Grill. We've always felt that the avocado is the Cadillac of fruits. Now drive that Cadillac straight to your mouth in drink form. You won't regret it, but you may find yourself craving it constantly.
604 Brazos St
Originally built in 1886, The Driskill is one of the oldest buildings in Austin. When a building has been around for some 130+ years, you can safely bet that some interesting things have gone down in there. The original owner, Jesse Driskill, lost ownership of the hotel in a whiskey-fueled card game, and the place is widely reported to be haunted.
Photo Credit: Gourdough's / Facebook
2700 S Lamar Blvd
If extraterrestrial beings landed in Austin and Gourdough's was the first restaurant they visited, they'd have a pretty flawed view of what human diets consist of. Gourdough's is like some bizarre culinary dimension in which donuts are not just a treat, but the building block of cuisine. That's pretty weird if you think about it, and now we're getting hungry.
photo via instagram @switthoft
2300-2328 University Ave.
Located at UT campus is the beloved Turtle Pond, which is free to visit for the public. So, you’re totally free to watch these guys roam around and do things that turtles usually do: swim, stack on top of each other, and gaze into the distance with that look of indifference that turtles seem to perpetually have. There’s just something oddly serene about sitting pondside and watching turtles.
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