Fall is coming and it’s a great time to head out and check out what other cities have to offer your family. Austin is a live and vibrant city that lies in the heart of the hill country in Texas. It boasts many attractions to keep you busy and having fun.
1. Visit The Texas State Capitol
The Texas State Capitol is the oldest surviving state office structure and a great place to learn about Texas history and the Texas Legislature. You can also picnic on the lawn and feed the friendly Texas squirrels.
2. Congress Avenue Bats
The Congress Bridge plays home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. About 1.5 million Mexican free tail bats call the Congress Bridge home from Spring to early Fall when they migrate north. Each night around dusk the bats start their evening flight. It normally starts with a single bat leaving the bridge and quickly turns into a steady flow of countless bats in search of food. It’s one of those things that is truly unexplainable until you see it first hand.
Many people choose to watch from the Congress Bridge but the there are services that allow you to see it from a whole different angle on the waters of Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake). Capital Cruises offers great bat watching tours & If you don’t have a large group look into Duffy Boat rentals.
3. Zilker Park
Zilker Park is a 351 acre, dog-friendly park situated in the heart of south Austin. The park offers many different types of fun outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking, jogging, and many more. It’s also home to the Zilker Playground, Zilker Botanical Gardens and Barton Springs Pool. The park serves as a hub for many special events such as ACL, SXSW, Reggae fest, Zilker Kite Festival and much more.
4. 6th street
The most famous, well know street in Austin. 6th street (formerly known as Pecan Street) serves as Austin’s heart of entertainment and nightlife scene. The old historical buildings are now used as bars, music venues, cafes, art galleries, and more. If you’re looking for something to do and want to experience Austin’s crazy nightlife & bar scene, 6th street is the place to go.
5. Lake Austin
You can’t come to Austin and not spend some time on the lake, especially during the hot summer days. There are many restaurants surrounding the lake including the always fun hot spot Valente Beach. Shred Stixx offers the ultimate wake surfing and boarding lessons, taught by some of the most experienced and friendly experts on the lake.
6. Swimming Holes
Barton Springs Pool: Barton Springs Pool is situated on the grounds at Zilker Park. It is a must-go-to place in the summer to cool off, with a 68 degree temperature all year round. It’s fun for the whole family.
Hamilton Pool Preserve: The closest thing to an oasis you’ll likely ever see. This swimming hole sits in a natural grotto carved out of limestone, and is complete with a small beach area and a 50-foot waterfall! Admittance is around $15 per vehicle, and the park usually reaches occupancy by 10am on hot summer days, so arrive early. It’s also a good idea to call before you head out as the preserve is often closed for swimming due to high bacteria levels (most commonly in the days following a rainstorm).
Krause Springs: is a well-known camping & swimming site located in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas. It is located in Spicewood, Texas approximately 30 miles west of Austin. Krause Springs has many natural sites to explore. There are 32 springs on the property, and several feed the manmade pool and the natural pool which flows into Lake Travis. It’s a refreshing treat to swim in the Springs during the hot summers of Texas! If camping is in your plans, there is primitive tent camping as well as 24 RV sites with water and electricity available. Guests are also welcome to relax and to stroll through the Butterfly Gardens; take time to listen to the music of the wind chimes and the fountains during your visit!
The Greenbelt: This is easily one of the most popular hiking trails in the city. Unfortunately, it has been been a while since water was at bottom of the greenbelt, but it still makes for a great hike. There are over seven miles of trails that you can hike, run, or bike.
7. Lake Travis Zipline Adventures
This thrilling adventure over Lake Travis will get your blood pressure pumping. Even with the lake levels low, the views while ziplining are absolutely incredible and it’s a one-of-a-kind experience. But be prepared to reach speeds of 60 mph.
8. Try Food Truck Food
There is no escaping the food truck craze in Austin. You can find anything from sushi to cupcakes served fresh out of a trailer. You can plan out your day and try to eat each meal from a different trailer eatery.
9. Kayaking/Canoeing/Rowing at Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake)
Hanging out on Lady Bird Lake is one of the most relaxing things you can do. You can go out during the day or go for an evening cruise. Many take their kayaks and paddleboards to watch the bats fly. You can bring your own or if you are looking to rent there are a few places down there to do that.
10. Wonder Through The Many Museums
Austin offers many free & paid museums. Learn about History, Culture, Music, and Art! This is a fun activity for families to experience, explore and learn.
11. Catch A Movie
Alamo Drafthouse: The Alamo Drafthouse is a well-known movie theater which offers food and drink service inside, while enjoying a movie. This theater also host different types of events and showings of all-time favorite classics.
Paramount Theater: The Paramount Theatre is a historic live theatre venue/movie theatre located in downtown Austin, Texas, United States. The classical revival style structure was built in 1915. You’ll love their summer classic film series.
12. Catch Some Live Music
You can’t come to the “Live Music Capital of The World” and not catch some live music. The Austin music scene is unlike any other, whatever genre of music you are feeling you will surely find it here in Austin any day of the week. Just ask around and people would be happy to share their favorite live music venue…or you can check out these popular venues: Emo’s, Stubb’s, ACL Live, Cactus Cafe and Mohawk.
13. Hike up to Mount Bonnell
Mount Bonnell is a prominent point alongside Lake Austin portion of the Colorado River in Austin, Texas. It has been a popular tourist destination since the 1850s. The mount provides a vista for viewing the city of Austin, Lake Austin, and the surrounding hills.
14. Play Some Mini-Golf at Peter Pan Mini-Golf
The giant Peter Pan and T-Rex have been a fixture near the intersection of Barton Springs and South Lamar for as long as most anyone can remember. Over the years, the park has gained a reputation as a place for families and people of all ages to spend a great day or evening, Austin style. We have always been family-owned and operated with the same laid back attitude that has made Austin what it is today.
15. Visit Hippie Hollow, Austin’s clothing-optional swimming spot
Situated on 109 peaceful acres, Hippie Hollow is a clothing optional park securely nestled in the natural beauty of the Hill County of Lake Travis, only 20 minutes off Interstate 35, but a world away from the bustle of nearby Austin, a haven for those who wish to escape the rigors of modern life in a safe and comfortable nudist atmosphere. If you have never tried nude recreation, you are in for the most enjoyable experience of your life. If you are already a nudist, Hippie Hollow will be one of your favorite spots in Texas, after one visit here.
16. Admire The Beauty At The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Named after the former 1st Lady, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center boasts gardens that display the native plants of the Central Texas Hill Country, South and West Texas, while the Plant Conservation Program protects the ecological heritage of Texas by conserving its rare and endangered flora. The Native Plant Information Network is a database of more than 7,200 native species available online.
17. Catch A Sunset At The Oasis
The OASIS sits along the shoreline of Lake Travis. It’s a beautiful & unique restaurant perched on top of one of the bluffs on a large 500 acre property. Most of the seating is outdoors on a 4 story deck with an outdoor entertainment venue. Each room has a different ambiance and theme to satisfy the tastes of every desire. The OASIS seats close to 2500, has a indoor entertainment facility with retractable roof panels on the third floor, and has several different banquet rooms to select from for your private event.
18. BBQ at the Salt Lick
The Salt Lick is the one place you need to go when you’re craving Texas barbecue. You’ll sit at long tables with your family, friends and eat the best brisket, chicken, and sausage to be had in Texas. BBQ doesn’t get any more authentic than The Salt Lick…great service and great food.
19. Marvel At The Natural Wonders Of Inner Space Caverns
Hidden for over 10,000 years, Inner Space Cavern is one of the best preserved caves in Texas. Inner Space can entertain people of all ages! If the tour doesn’t interest you, there is also a playground, a mining area, a gift shop, and several displays of fossils that were found right here in the cave. Wear comfortable shoes & don’t forget your camera!
20. Keep Austin Weird & Eat At Chuy’s
Chuy’s is a fun and funky Tex-Mex restaurant that serves authentic and fresh Tex-Mex food in an atmosphere that appeals to everyone. While Chuy’s has expanded past the Austin area you can find the first one still hopping on Barton Springs Road, just down the road from Bartons Springs & Zilker Park…so stop on by for a bite!
Gosh I love Chuy’s so much and am thankful we have them even in Nashville! Where would you go when you visit Austin?