Despite the plethora of bars and hip restaurants that have taken over the city...
Austin has some great stuff going on that DOESN'T require killing your liver to have a great time. Here are some fun things to do around Austin that don’t involve drinking.
Photo Credit: Laguna/Jones
Ever changing art exhibits featuring local and internationally acclaimed contemporary artists, exclusive collections, and unique commissions means that there is always something new going on at The Contemporary Austin.
2200 South Lamar
The Austin Art Garage is a great place to visit if you want to browse cool art from local artists! Austin is brimming with artistic talent, and the Austin Art Garage puts their talents on display in their online store and in their gallery located on South Lamar.
916 Springdale Rd
One of the best things to happen to the Austin art scene has most certainly been Canopy. The east side warehouse has been transformed into a creative community featuring local artists, designers, creative office spaces, galleries, and a cozy cafe. The warehouse invites art lovers to stroll along the halls peeking into the studios and hearts of hundreds of local artists or stop by for the myriad of weekend events.
2307 Manor Rd
Local indie kid hangout, The Vortex is the experimental theater space coupled with Butterfly Bar. Artist owned and operated The Vortex is home to many diverse productions ranging from award-winning premiers to avant-garde.
* See some of the great graffiti Austin has to offer with this pictorial of our favorite street art.
812 Airport Blvd
Be honest, you've probably never really thought about throwing an axe. Short of ruminating on an inner Viking fantasy in which you conquer an unsuspecting coastal village... why would you? Why would the notion come to mind? 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. Indoor Competitive Axe Throwing, as it is known, has become an increasingly popular (if still niche) sport in recent years. Urban Axes is Austin's newest and thus far only foray into this particular brand of recreation. Read more about it here.
207 Barton Springs Road
Peter Pan Mini-Golf is a great way to get outside and enjoy a simple pleasure of our youth as an adult. The iconic Austin staple has a fresh coat of paint and is still as affordable as ever at $7 for an afternoon of 18 holes. Read more about Peter Pan Mini-Golf here.
4403 Guadalupe St.
Let's preface this by stating that Project Panic is way more fun than the name might suggest. Having said that, you've got to be ready for a real challenge. Project Panic 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.
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.
* See our list of The Weirdest Things You Can Do In Austin.
1100 Congress Ave
Learning about your government is great. Your high school teacher would be proud. Take a tour of the Texas Capitol, or at least lay out and have a picnic on the beautiful lawn.
2400 Trinity St
The Texas Memorial Museum has all manner of interesting exhibits. Dinosaur footprints, geological discoveries, a saber tooth tiger and much more. They also have a complete Mosasaur skeleton, which you may remember as the aquatic dino from Jurassic World.
300 W 21st St
Harry Ransom Center is the University of Texas’- Austin library and museum featuring exclusive curated collections of literary and cultural significance. With a permanent art collection of over 65,000 pieces, an astounding book, manuscripts, and periodical collection, films, photographs and traveling exhibitions you can spend days here and still not touch see a fraction of what they have to offer.
2313 Red River St.
The LBJ Presidential Library has no shortage of fascinating things to see. It was first dedicated to the former president on May 22nd, 1971, and has been home to more exhibits than you can wag a presidential figure at.
1800 Congress Ave
Located just three blocks from the state capital, the Bullock Texas State History Museum is the epicenter of Texas history and legend. Walk through the halls to discover the “Story of Texas” through curated exhibits, statues, and multimedia events.
1 University Station Austin
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 a lot more exploring with our Free Museums in Austin page.
If you want to keep your wardrobe weird, there are plenty of vintage stores that have got you covered...literally. For a list of the best places to scoop a vintage t-shirt in Austin, click here. Be sure to also check out our neighborhood guide for The North Loop.
* For a full listing of vintage clothing stores in Austin, click here.
End of an Ear is the record store for record nerds. In it, you'll find the kind of music-obsessed folks who populated the movie High Fidelity. It's got an impressive array of obscure musical releases, and a back area where you can buy vintage speakers and turntables. Check out their brand new location on Clawson Road.
600A N Lamar Blvd
You can't be a record collector in Austin and not have gone to Waterloo. Over the years, the venue has had venerated bands like Nirvana, Jeff Buckley, The Stooges, and many more perform in its hallowed walls. They also have a killer selection of DVD's, CD's, Cassettes, and vinyl.
* For a full list of record stores in Austin, click here.
710 W. Cesar Chavez St.
After years of planning and development, Austin’s New Central Library is finally open. The New Central Library is 200,000 square feet featuring six floors of bright, inviting space full of natural sunlight. You’ll find plenty of places to read and play with the family, or you can get some work done on laptops while enjoying the fresh air and awesome views from the many reading porches overlooking Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake. Read more here.
603 N Lamar Blvd
BookPeople is more than a bookstore, it is an epicenter for the literary minds of Austin from students to community bookworms to renowned authors from here and afar. Besides being the go to for great books, the store encourages community reading and building through their stellar lineup of story-times, book clubs and author visits.
2929 S Lamar Blvd
If you're feeling a little more thrifty with your literary ventures, we recommend you go check out Half Price Books. There's a couple of them around and they've probably got what you're looking for.
* For a list of bookstores in Austin, click here.
Seeing a movie at Alamo Drafthouse is different than just about anywhere else. They do things their way, which includes kicking out guests who do annoying things like talk or text during the movie. They also show a diverse selection of compelling films, with a food and drink menu that pairs perfectly with them.
2103 E M. Franklin Ave
Retro radios, giant tubs of buttery popcorn, and a program featuring fan favorite indies and classic films including anything Hepburn, Jurassic Park, Alien, and The Sandlot. Blue Starlite Drive In, Austin’s own urban drive-in theater, shows movies the good old fashioned way; from the comfort of your car underneath the starry sky.
719 Congress Ave
In its 90 years of existence, the historic Paramount Theatre has had its fair share of excitement, hosting thousands of live events and movies ranging from vaudeville acts, classic singer-songwriters, comedians, and movie premieres, and it continues that tradition today!
434 W 2nd Street
It's safe to say that Violet Crown Cinema is the nicest place to see a movie in town. It's a little pricier but worth every penny. Located on West 2nd Street, the theater serves up delicious cocktails and food in a cozy atmosphere.
3201 S Lamar Blvd
Did you make it to adulthood in Texas without knowing how to Two-Step? Shame on you. Luckily, you can remedy this embarrassing secret with dance lessons at the Broken Spoke every Wednesday through Saturday from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
501 W 3rd St
One of the largest ballet companies in the USA, Ballet Austin offers professional training as well as dance classes for all levels including hip-hop, ballet, Zumba, pilates and more as well as a rotating program of classic ballets.
Photo Credit: The New Movement
616 Lavaca St
Austin’s favorite comedy conservatory and performance venue Fallout Theater offers free shows embracing the experimental, bizarre, and funny. Improv classes, business workshops, weekend sketch comedy shows, as well as annual comedy. If improv is your game, be sure to check out Coldtowne Theater, as well.
3708 Woodbury Dr
Local performance venue The Institution Theater has been bringing the laughs to Austin for years with their sketch shows, improv classes, and offbeat performances. Local talent fills the roster with weekly shows poking fun at everything from the Austin community, ladies nights, politics, and the 1970’s.
8120 Research Blvd
Cap City is the most reliable place in Austin to catch touring comedians in their natural environment. The north Austin venue consistently books some of the best comedic talent currently out there, so head on over and get to laughing.
Are we missing your favorite thing to do in Austin other than drink? Holler!