Tons of fun things to do in Austin are at your fingertips when you arrive at this unique and historical Texas city. Austin is where most Texas and southern musicians want to be, and when most Texans think of Austin, they think, “live music” and “6th Street”. However, Austin has just as many attractions and places to see and be seen as it has live music.

14 Fun Things To Do In Austin

1. Get On The Water

Boat Lake Austin and marvel at the multimillion dollar homes, ski on some smooth water, and hit some good restaurants (stop at Ski Shores for burgers and music on the deck or Abels or Hula Hut for appetizers, drinks, or dinner) or enjoy any of the nearby Highland Lakes– watch the sun set at the Oasis which overlooks Lake Travis, rent a boat, waverunner, or party barge on any of the Highland Lakes, join the fun at Devils Cove on Lake Travis, or boat up to a restaruant on Lake Travis. Read Texas Outside’s review of Lake Austin and Lake Travis and check out Boating the Highland Lakes for more information and fun things to do.

2. Hit The Trails

Bike or hike around Zilker Park and Town Lake – take the trail around Town Lake and then over to Barton Springs Pool and continue on into the Barton Creek Trail. Then bike over to watch the bats take flight on the Congress Street Bridge at dusk, and make sure you stop for lunch, dinner, or appetizers and music at Shady Grove or Chuy’s for Mexican food. Take a short hike to the top of Mount Bonnell or the bluff on the east side of the 360 bridge for a fantastic panoramic view of Lake Austin and the Austin hills. The Biking & Hiking Section of Texas Outside has more information, including trail maps, on biking and hiking around Austin.

3. Fly Across Lake Travis

Imagine launching from a 20 story cliff above Lake Travis and taking a two and a half hour zip line tour on 5 zip lines across incredible canyons and inlets on beautiful Lake Travis and then enjoying some fun in the sun and water on a pristine Lake Travis beach. And you’ll zip on the longest zipline in Texas at 2000 feet! A must, so sign up for a tour with Lake Travis Zipline Adventures

4. Take In The Nightlife

Give some of these bar districts a try: West Sixth Street (for posh young professionals), Rainey Street (lots of spacious patios), East Side (lots of myriad dives), or Dirty Sixth (loud music, lots of activity on the street, and plenty of intoxicated tourists and college students)

5. Explore Swimming Holes 

You can’t leave the Austin area in the summer without partaking in the refreshing and clear water at Hamilton PoolKrause SpringsBarton Springs or some of the numerous other swimming holes that are within 30 miles of the city

6. Soar Above the Austin Skyline

The newest and one of the most exciting adventures to hit the Austin area is flying above the Austin skyline, sipping champagne as you watch the sun set over Lake Travis, or trying some aerial acrobatics in a shinny red biplane with a decorated combat pilot – read our article on a flight with Austin Biplane

7. Music, Music, And More Music

Austin is the music capital of Texas (and maybe the world) and you’ll find every type of music in a wide variety of different venues: for Country try the Continental Club, Hills Cafe, The Backyard, Saxen Pub, Broken Spoke, or one of our favorites Gruene Hall; or better yet, get outside and listen to some good sounds at Shady Grove, Johnny Fins, Carlos & Charles, The Oasis, Ski Shores, or Stubbs BBQ. You can’t beat these music festivals and venues: Austin City Limits, Austin City Limits Music FestivalOld Settlers Music Festivals, Texas Music Festival, or South-by-Southwest. Austin has over 250 music venues.

8. Flyboard Over The Water 

You’ve got to try this adventure of Flyboarding where 1000 pounds of water will shoot out the bottom of your Flyboard and lift you up to 17′ in the air where you can navigate forward or backward, do dolphin dives or flips, or most likely on your first experience do a nose dive back into the lake. Call Aquafly and reserve a time slot for this fun adventure.

9. Try Some Unique Attractions 

Enjoy the fastest and longest zipline in Texas with Lake Travis Zipline, spend some time on a water based obstacle course at Quest ATXor Waterloo Adventure Park hit a home run at a baseball park of your choice at Home Run Dugout, or learn how to wakeboard at Quest ATX

10. Take A Tour

Try something a little different and unique – book a beer tour with ATXcursions visit a local Austin Brewery and sample some beer from Austin’s best Micro Breweries or tour Austin in Bi-Plane or on a Segway and lots more.

11. Hit The Links

Golf courses don’t get much better than what you’ll find in the Austin hills (elevation changes, scenic beauty, and challenges) – here is our list of the best golf courses in Austin and our Austin golf course map to help you find a course and read our review. Austin also has TopGolf which is an outstanding indoor golf driving range with computerized targets, restaurant, pool and shuffleboard, live music and more – read about our fun experience with TopGolf. Or try any of the outstanding Austin disc golf courses.

12. Get Cultured

I know, some of these are indoors and it’s hard for you outdoor enthusiasts to go indoors, but if it’s raining or cold or if you need a break from the sun, then try exploring the Austin Capital Building, the Bob Bullock Museum for some Texas History, tour the University of Texas, or Esters’ Follies at night for some humorous political satire (does that count as culture?)

13. Find Some Good Eats 

Austin has some of the best and we love the ones with outdoor patios – Shady Grove for good food and music; Iron Works for BBQ or County Line on Lake Austin for BBQ on the deck; Hula Hut on Lake Austin; Iguana Grill for great views of Lake Austin. Other great restaurants include: Trudy’s for the breakfast buffet; Chuy’s for Mexican food; Pappadeaux for seafood;and Hills Cafe for chicken fried steak and great music

14. Go Camping

Try Emma Long Metropolitan Park for camping on Lake Austin, McKinney Falls State Park to enjoy nature, or Austin Lone Star RV Park or La Hacienda RV Resort for the big rigs – all of these parks are within 15 minutes of downtown Austin

Fun Things to Do In Austin for Adults

Austin, Texas is a great city to explore with lots of strange and fantastic sights, sounds and activities for adults. Here are some examples.

Esther’s Follies 525 E Sixth Street, Austin

Esther’s Follies is a comedy troupe loved by Austinites. This troupe is an Austin icon and puts on shows five nights a week to sold-out audiences. It entertains with musical comedy skits, magic, and political satire.  

Hippie Hollow Park 7000 Comanche Trail, Austin

Hippie Hollow is Texas’ only clothing-optional beach, and an Austin/Lake Travis institution. The sunbathing area perches on a limestone cliff above the swimming area. It can be a difficult climb when Lake Travis water levels are low. This is not a place where the most beautiful people go to bare it all. Hippie Hollow is more about the state of mind. 

Things to Do in Austin, Texas, for Couples

Craft breweries and wineries are all the rage in Austin. There are 11 wineries and wine bars within Austin city limits. Hill country wine tours to wineries nearby Austin in the surrounding Hill Country. You can follow a brewery route through Austin on your own or take a craft brew tour, or wine trail. There are even more craft beers and beer joints than wineries in Austin. Germans brought their love of beer to Texas in the 1800s, and grape growers found that grapes grow well in the Texas Hill Country. 

Blue Starlight Mini Urban Drive In Theater (Two Austin Locations)

Check out the Blue Starlight Mini Urban Drive In movies where they advertise “Feel Free to Make Out in Your Car”. Theses drive-ins feature food truck with fare like hot dogs, velvet cake, sodas, and hot apple cider. Bring your own adult beverages, but this establishment does not tolerate inappropriate behavior. Movies at Blue Starlight vary with a mix of recent blockbusters, classic movie theater, art-house pics, and childhood favorites. They also offer walk-in seating. 2015 E M. Franklin Ave, and 300 San Antonio Street, Austin.

The Paramount Theater – 713 Congress Ave., Austin

The Paramount Theater is the oldest historic stage in the city. It is adorned with original features like sparkling chandeliers and beautiful murals on the ceiling above the stage. It is over 100 years old. Its performances feature an assortment of movies, live music, live lectures, comedy sets, magic shows, and musicals. It also hosts the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame, and other music award shows. Equipped with an onsite bar, it serves local brews and classic theater fare. 

Places To Stay

Austin is chock full of B&Bs inside the city limits and outside of them. They range in architecture from modern cottages to romantic Victorian homes of yesteryear. 

Things to Do in Austin with Kids

Besides the wide open spaces to explore, there are lots of kid-friendly activities to do in Austin as well.

Pinballz (Three Locations)

Pinballz offers the largest selection of arcade games in Texas. There are over 150 pinball machines spread over three Austin locations along with new and favorite classic arcade games. 8940 Research Blvd., #100, Austin, 13729 Research Blvd, Austin, and 15201 S I-35 Frontage Road, Buda.

Longhorn Cavern State Park – 6211 Park Road 4 South, Burnet

Longhorn Cavern State Park is a one hour drive northwest of Austin and well worth a day trip. The Longhorn Caverns feature a developed path along an ancient underground riverbed with room after room of geologic wonders. Or, see the cavern before electricity and development with a primitive caving adventure through the undeveloped lower level of the cavern. Then, head to their gemstone mining sluice.

This cavern was home to numerous soldiers serving the many wars in Texas. It was also a refuge for deserters and outlaws who took refuge in this massive cave over the years, and a speakeasy during Prohibition. Cavern tours include lively stories on the cavern’s history with these figures. You can buy a package to experience a tour and a sluicing adventure. 

Zilker Park – 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin

Zilker Park is another Austin icon. Kids can explore nature at its Zilker Botanical Garden, science at Austin Nature & Science Center, and art at UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum. This park comprises 351 acres and hosts many of the yearly Austin festivals. Besides all of this, it also offers recreational and special event facilities.  

The Thinkery – 1830 Simond Avenue, Austin

The Thinkery is an interactive children’s museum with a mix of science/technology and children’s exhibitions with a playground and ducks across the street at Mueller Lake Park. The facility is designed as a hands-on experience with a water activity station, a farmer’s market, a light lab, and more. Plus there are regular weekly events and special activities for learning-disabled children.  

Big Top Candy Shop – 1706 South Congress Avenue, Austin

The Big Top Candy Shop floats in every child’s fantasy daydreams. Antique circus memorabilia adorns the store, and it is known as “The Most Amazing Candy Store the World has Ever Known”. This store features an old-fashioned soda fountain and ice cream case. There are also specialty chocolates and fudge, over 400 bulk candies, and over 3,000 wrapped candies ranging from nostalgic favorites to new creations from across the globe. 

Austin Zoo – 10808 Rawhide Trail, Austin

See over 300 animals, including big cats, monkeys, foxes, and native Texas wildlife at the Austin Zoo. The zoo’s mission is to assist animals in need through rescue, and almost all of its animals are rescues. 

Güero’s Taco Bar – 1412 S. Congress Avenue, Austin

Guero’s is family friendly, so you are welcome to stop by the Oak Garden at Güero’s Taco Bar on Wednesdays for the Texas Radio Live series presented by Sun Radio with the kids. 

Texas Trail Rides – 8601 Bluff Springs Road, Austin

Go for a family horseback ride in South Austin on the Lone Star Ranch. Take Texas Trail Rides through wooded trails. 

Cherrywood Coffeehouse – 1400 E 38th 1/2 St., Austin

The Cherrywood Coffeehouse serves up family friendly brunches. Parents can sip mimosas while children dance and play to live music performed by beloved local children’s entertainers.

ZACH Theatre – 202 S Lamar Blvd., Austin

The ZACH Theatre is the longest-running theatre company in the Texas and produces live, family-friendly shows that ignite the imagination, inspire the spirit, and engage the community. This theatre produces children’s programs, and also others oriented for adults. 

Things to Do in Austin at Night

Austin, Texas has a wildly thriving nightlife any day of the week, with a few epicenters of music culture.

Sixth Street

Sixth Street is a thriving district filled with bars, live music, comedy clubs, and locals. Seven days a week, Sixth Street offers live action. From dive bars, rooftop bars, dance clubs, and comedy spots, like the Velveeta Room or Esther’s Follies for stand-up acts and open mic nights. 

South Congress

SOCO, or the South Congress Street nightlife, happens on weekends. This street presents a boisterous bar scene with craft beers, authentic Tex-Mex or BBQ, lots of quirky shops, and food trucks. During the day, SOCO is more family friendly.  

Austin Ghost Tours

Austin Ghost Tours offers an all-ages tour, an adults-only tour, and the Austin Haunted pub crawl, where you can sample craft beers in the haunted clubs of Austin. 

Craft Beer Crawl/Brew Tours

Start your night with the cluster of great breweries on Ben White Boulevard or East 7th Street. Take an organized walking or bus shuttle from your hotel tour for a behind-the-scenes look at brewing and learn from experienced brewers. Several companies offer beer tasting tours in Austin. 

Night Kayaking

A few kayak touring companies operate on the Colorado River that runs through the middle of Austin. They can take you on a guided night tour of the river with a view of skyscrapers or under Congress Bridge to see the bat colony. You can also take a tranquil trip around the tree-lined waters of Lady Bird Lake at sunset.

Broken Spoke

If you’ve never been to Texas, and you want to check out cowboy culture, check out this classic Texan country dance hall. Get a glimpse of what country Texans still do in barns and a taste of the American West.

The Continental Club

The Continental Club is a legendary live music venue. It hosted the greats of the 20th century, and continues to showcase the best of the 21st century. Experience phenomenal performances of jazz, soul, and country and western genres each week. 

Unique Things to Do in Austin

There is no shortage of “unique” in Austin. The city has marched to a different beat for generations. Because of this, there are very unique and artsy things to explore in this great city.

Keep Austin Weird

Austin’s most famous slogan is “Keep Austin Weird”, which dates back to the 1980s. You still see this slogan everywhere today in Austin. 

Cathedral of Junk

Vince Hannemann, architect of the Cathedral of Junk, created one of Austin’s most eccentric and famous attractions in his backyard. The local artists call Vince a “yardist”. Vince was in his mid-twenties in 1988 when he started building it. He added to it steadily, and now he thinks it comprises over 60 tons of junk. You have to call Vince at 512-299-7413 and make an appointment in advance to see this wonderful funhouse. 

Shop at Uncommon Objects – 1602 Fortview Road, Austin

Uncommon Objects is a store with a maze where you wander through old toys, impressive jewelry, bric-à-brac, busts, globes, folk art, knick-knacks, skulls, sports memorabilia, and so much more that we can never list them all. But be sure to shop around, because SOCO has quite a few off-the-wall shops.

The Museum of the Weird – 412 East 6th Street, Austin

The Museum of the Weird opened up as a gift shop that included a section for weird things. Some examples are shrunken heads, suits of armors, and Fiji mermaids until its owners realized they were curating museum-worth exhibits. The museum bills itself as “America’s Strangest Attraction” and is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. 

Chicken Bingo at the Little Longhorn Saloon – 5434 Burnet Road, Austin

Chicken Bingo at the Little Longhorn Saloon happens on Sundays between 4 to 8 p.m. You put down a $2 bet and receive a number. The numbers are on the floor of the chicken ring. If a chicken relieves itself on your number, you win a prize. This is an extremely popular weekly event, so arrive early to place your bets or for a good view. 

Austin Q&A

What Is Austin Famous For?

Austin is famous first and foremost for music. Known as the “Music Capitol of Texas”, you can find live music of pretty much any flavor, any day of the week.
Austin is also famous for its quirky urban Texas lifestyle, a-bit-conservative but not-too-conservative hippie residents with its artistic community of actors, authors, dancers, musicians, painters, sculptors, and even more artsy genres that cannot be defined. The University of Texas, one of the wealthiest universities in the U.S., calls Austin home.  
Finally, Austin is famous for being the Capitol city of Texas. The Texas State Capitol is restored from the former General Land Office Building erected in 1856-1857. The capitol sees over two million visitors a year and has 1,100 rooms. It is where those infamous Texas laws are fought over and decided upon by a diverse group of elected Texas officials or put on a voting ballot. The Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin holds Texas historical data dating back to 16,000 years ago. Austin is now popularly referred to as “Silicon Hills” or SOCO, because of its thriving and growing tech industry. Austin lies in the middle of the Texas Hill Country, which is one of the most favorite regions in Texas of Texans and loaded with lakes, floating rivers, streams and creeks, and waterfalls. 

What Should I Not Miss in Austin?

Do not miss breakfast tacos or the taco trucks in Austin; they are everywhere. So, start your day off right with them, and then check out the Barton Springs Municipal Pool on a tributary flowing out of the Colorado River that winds through the city. Barton Springs is a man-made but natural 1,000-square-foot pool for swimming, fishing, and picnicking. It is highly worthwhile to arrange a tour at the Texas State Capitol. 

How Can I Spend 3 Days in Austin?

You will not have to look hard to find a different cuisine for every meal sometimes with entertainment for a three-day getaway. You will have time to visit Lake Travis for a day with hiking, riding, themed water parks, horseback boating, and swimming. Austin lies in the heart of German settlements from the 1820s, so you can tour the German breweries, delis, and restaurants and you will hear people speaking German.
You can spend a day on a 19-point walking tour that tells the German-Texan story in Austin: Bertram’s Store on Guadalupe, the old German Free School, and the beautiful mansions of various businessmen and politicians, along with several German restaurants. German-Texans played key roles in Texas’ politics and industrial growth by the 1880s. 


If you want to experience what “is” Texas, both its city and country lifestyles, Austin, Texas, makes this statement loud and clear. Austin is the epitome of Texas, where every Texan culture, born and bred out of thrilling Texas historical events, converge together to be one of the most unique and exciting cities in the U.S. But most importantly, Austin is ultimately and ubiquitously Texas”. There is something for everyone in Austin, Texas. 

Kendall Davis
Author: Kendall Davis

Author: Kendall Davis Company: Lumini Services Kendall currently lives on the shores of Lake Texoma in Texas. She traveled across two-thirds of the U.S. for many years camping at lakes, rivers, and three oceans before motels and hotels if at all possible, and she continuously saw God's presence in nature. Writing for Lakehub allows Kendall to share her experience with God's creations.

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