50 Things to do in Austin

Austin has to be one of the most fun places to live!   And yes, the summers are hot, but there are lots of great ways to beat the heat!   Below is a list of of some of our favorite places to go - both in and out of doors :o)

Looking for events in March?  Check out the Upcoming Events page for an updated list!  Enjoy!

Visiting Austin and looking for fun stuff to see and do downtown?  Check out the Visit Austin page with the top things to do - all within five miles of downtown!

Austin Top 50 - Page 1 of 5

1 ●● Discover Dinosaur Tracks in Leander
There isn't much cooler than seeing actual dinosaur tracks along a riverbed. And a short hike off the road in Leander can bring you to some pretty clear tracks - not roped off or anything - just lying there smack in the middle of a creek bed! 

There is one set of fossilized dinosaur footprints on the downstream side of the bridge, and another on the opposite side of the creek. The one set of tracks are from a sauropod, and the other is speculated to have been from a very rare carnivorous dinosaur called an Acrocanthosaurus. Only four sets of this dinosaur’s skeletal remains have ever been found and they were in Texas and Oklahoma. 

2 ●● Enjoy Town Lake (aka Lady Bird Lake)

Okay, I know, it's official name is Lady Bird Lake. What can I say, I've lived here a long time, and it will always be Town Lake to me!

Whatever name you want to call it by, it is a great place to spend an afternoon!

Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail
An exiting new addition to Austin!  Last year, Austin completed this $28 million project, begun in October 2012.  It is a 1.1 mile boardwalk that completes the 10 mile loop around Town Lake.  No more scurrying across I-35 and no more sidelining it along Riverside Drive.

Whether you bike or walk it, you are sure to get some amazing views of the city!

Photo courtesy of Austin Sailboat Rentals
Austin Sailboat Rentals
The only location on Town Lake that rents sailboats!  Austin Sailboats brings the joy of sailing to downtown Austin on easy to operate dinghy sailboats, day sailor sailboats, and Hobie Mirage Adventure Islands.

Or check out their new Surrey bicycles and explore the newly extended Hike and Bike Trail!

I went paddleboarding a few years ago, and thought it was a lot of fun, and a great way to get some exercise.  I think the boys would really enjoy it, and I hope to take them this summer!

SUP ATX is credited with introducing and popularizing the sport of Stand Up Paddle Surfing (SUP) in lakes, rivers and surfing areas throughout the United States and around the world beginning in 2008.

3 ●● Swim in Austin's natural springs and pools

Austin has a number of natural pools that are just perfect for cooling off during the hot Texas summers.  Since these pools are spring-fed, they often are wet when all other pools are dry!  Below are four of our favorites.

Hamilton Pool
Hamilton Pool Preserve is a historic swimming hole where Hamilton Creek spills out over limestone outcroppings to create a 50 foot waterfall. 

The pool's water level stays pretty constant, even during periods of drought. 

After cooling off in the pool, take a nice short (.6 mile) hike out to the Pedernales river for a change in scene.

Krause Springs is a well-known camping and swimming site located in Spicewood, Texas approximately 30 miles west of Austin. 

There are 32 springs on the property, and several feed the man-made pool and the natural pool which flows into Lake Travis.

Go and enjoy for the day or bring camping gear and spend the night!

Three acres in size, the pool is fed from underground springs and is an average 68 degrees year round. With all the beautiful trees, clear water, and diving board, this is certainly a favorite! 

Be sure to bring a mask and snorkel to check out all the fish life. 

Moss makes the bottom a bit slippery for young children and non-swimmers.

More Details!

Blue Hole in Wimberley
The Blue Hole, spring-fed by Cypress Creek, has long been known as a beautiful and refreshing swimming hole in Wimberley.  

In 2005, the town of Wimberley purchased the land and has converted this spot into an incredible regional park.  The Wildflower Center worked with the city to landscape the park, and it shows, because it is just beautiful!

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Swing into Camp Ben McCulloch

Located near Driftwood in Hays County, this privately owned campground hosts a prime swimming hole with a rope swing.  

After a rainy season, the river flows pretty quickly, so bring a raft and play by the river.  

The camp also has a nice playscape and tables for a picnic lunch

Entrance is free

More Details!

4 ●   Visit the amazing Body Worlds exhibit at the new Texas Museum of Science & Technology 

Now through Sept 20 in Cedar Park

This may just be one of the most amazing exhibits you will ever see!
© Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS, 
Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany,
All rights reserved.

Body Worlds is an stunning display that preserves real bodies through a process called Plastination, a scientific process invented by pioneering anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens.  

The exhibit celebrates the wonders of the body in childhood, adulthood and across the arc of aging. Visitors see real bodies that develop from a small fetus through old age.  Signs along the way explain this amazing process of aging, as well as external effects such as exercise, disease and more.

The exhibit is housed in the new Texas Museum of Science & Technology, previously name the Austin Planetarium.  The goal of this museum is to fill the 30,000 square foot building with science displays.  The museum has plans to build an interim planetarium in the space by the end of this year!  

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5 ●● Ride your bike at the Veloway

The Veloway in southwest Austin's first trail exclusively for bicycles and rollerblading, making it the perfect place for young bikers.  

No worries about cars pulling out, and if you have two children who ride at different speeds, it is pretty easy to coordinate a hook-up (there are multiple length routes, the longest is 3.1 miles) 

More details!


Annemarie said...

Thank you for visiting this page. If you have a favorite place that isn't listed here, please let me know by leaving a comment below!!

Kelly said...

I just came across this list, wow! I'm pinning it now. :)

Blissfulfour said...

I used to live in Austin in college and love going back with my kids to visit friends. This is such a great list and I am going to use it on our upcoming visit! We love riding the Zilker Zepher and playing at Zilker park when the kids need to get some energy out!

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Thomas Hardy said...

What a great list! I'd have to add some of the great coffee shops and breakfast taco places, like Houndstooth Coffee or Juan in a million.

Great list of things to do in Austin!

Anne S said...

Just moved to town and am so happy to find this! We have two weeks of summer vacation left and we are going to take advantage of this list! Thank you!

Joan Marie MacCoy said...

You guys have no horseback riding on here! I think the quintessential Texan experience is riding a horse. MaverickHorsebackRiding.com accommodates children of all ages as well as special needs riders.

Austin Sailboat Rentals said...

can you add Austin Sailboat Rentals right in downtown Austin on Ladybird lake? Great for kids and families! Visit website at www.austinsailboatrentals.com and their Facebook page with tons of pictures and videos. 5 star customer ratings on both Trip Advisor and Yelp.

Anonymous said...

Add top golf!

kate Mcclellan said...

Great list. I would add three things: Tour of KUT Studios (1st Thursday of each month, at 11 A.M. Signups are limited to 25 per tour), Elisabet Ney Museum and The Umlauf Sculpture Garden.

Skyline Houston said...

You have a really great list here. There is always a lot to do here in Texas.

Sree said...

Thankyou for the list and detailed description of each. Very helpful :)!

trey meeks said...

A hop on hop off guided sightseeing and historical tour started in Austin on April 3rd 2014. The tour is done from a double decker bus, which is a lot of fun and provides excellent views of the downtown sights. It stops near most of the items in this list. The stops are near the downtown entertainment district (6th Street), the LBJ Library, the Texas Longhorns Stadium, the Bullock Museum, the State Capitol, the Blanton Museum, South Congress SOCO, the restaurants on Barton Springs, Zilker Park, the Zilker Botanical Garden, and the Barton Springs pool. You can get off and self explore the different areas and hop back on when the bus comes back around.

The website is DoubleDeckerAustin.com

Anonymous said...

Two things missing:

1) Go sky diving (indoor) at iFly on Research Blvd.

2) Hike the Brushy Creek Regional Trail. It goes past the splash pad in Ceder Park.

Anonymous said...

My son loves the bouncy house places. His favorite is kids n play by highland mall.

Anonymous said...

I tried a visit of the Circuit of the Americas, it was great!

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it was mentioned already but how about Graffiti park. It's pretty cool

Anonymous said...

How about during winter? What is there to do there?

Austin Top Fifty said...

Check out the Winter Things to Do page http://www.austintop50.com/p/winter-things-to-do.html

if you are interested in Winter events:

Allie Casazza said...

Thank you so much for this blog, and this post especially! We are moving from California to Texas next year and I have been so nervous and clueless about what it's like over there. Thank you thank you thank you!

RonaldP said...

Just got back from this new craft distillery called, Crystal Creek Moonshine. Didn't expect much going in... but my oh my was I surprised!
It immediately made my top 10 list of things to do in Austin. They are really small and just launched. Really fun time! 100% add Crystal Creek Moonshine to that list!

Lee Ackerley said...

Take a running tour that samples beer!


Ricardo McVane said...

Hello.I love austin.bee there several times.I love to cook Caribbean food indoor outdoor.trying to make connections.let me know.I will cook samples first for people to try.wanna get out of arlington.thanks

Segway1 said...

Austin Segway Tours by Gliding Revolution. http://www.glidingrevolution.com

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