50 Things to do in Austin

Now Updated for Summer 2015!!

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 this month?  Check out the Upcoming Events page for an updated list. 

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.

Looking to create your own personal Summer Bucket List?  Check out my post that tells you how to do this, using Pinterest.

Enjoy!


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. 

Free.

More Details and an update on creek levels!

2 ●● 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.
Fees are $15 per carload

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!

Entrance is $7 for adults and $5 per child.  Camping is $14 per adult and $6 per child.


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.

Entrance is $3 for adults, $2 for juniors and $1 for children


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.  

Lush green lawns, a fun rope swing and cool clear water make visiting this swimming hole a must!

Entrance is $9 for adults and $5 for youth 4 - 12

More Details!

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



3 ●● Detour: The Year that Broke Austin
This year for SXSW, Radiolabs Austin designed an audio story: The Year that Broke Austin (available via an app) that takes you around downtown Austin to investigate a 130-year-old serial murder case. I have not taken this tour, but it is high on my list of things to do this summer.  What could be more fun then walking around downtown, listening to a murder mystery??

You’ll get the smell of 1885 in your nostrils, the sound of murder ballads in your ears, and – if you’re in the mood – the taste of tequila on your tongue. You’ll go in and out of stores, down into a creek bed and through a hidden maze and discover a side of Austin most people never see.

More details 



4 ●● Spend a day on the UT Campus
Looking for a fun, inexpensive way to pass the day? Why not plan to spend the day on the campus of the University of Texas.

Foucault's Pendulum
You've probably passed the building a hundred times on the elevated portion of I-35.  On the east side, a brown building with a red cylinder in the middle. 

The red tower contains a Foucault's pendulum - and has since 1985. Who knew??

This is an amazing example of physics and well worth a stop.

Note: this building is on the east side of I-35 across from the main part of the UT Campus.

Play around at the UT Underground 
There are lots of places to go bowling in Austin but one of our favorite locations is at the Texas Union.  The kids love the black lights and disco ball. Plus the lanes seem reasonably priced, as does the air hockey table.  And it is frequently not very crowded.

Tour the University of Texas Tower
The University of Texas has opened up their tower for tours.  The view is wonderful and you will learn some of the history of this great campus.  Reserve ahead, as the tours sometimes fill up!

 More details!

Texas Memorial Museum
The Memorial Museum on the UT Campus is almost a museum piece itself: dim, cool, hushed, with four floors from basement dinosaurs to the glowing gem room and the top level dioramas.  Check out the dinosaurs, rocks, and digging area.  

Best of all, this museum is free!

More details!!


The Color Inside Art Exhibit
"The Color Inside" by renowned "sculptor of light" James Turrell propels the viewer's gaze upward to the heavens, challenging typical perceptions of light, sky and space.

Monochrome of Austin
Who can resist a 50 foot art exhibit on Speedway and 24th street made up of 75 different boats.  Take a moment while on campus just to check this out!

5 ●● Ride your bike at the Veloway
The Veloway is 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) 

Free

More details!



6 ● Visit the Body Worlds exhibit at the new Texas Museum of Science & Technology 
© Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS, 
Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany,
www.bodyworlds.com.
All rights reserved.
Now through Sept 20 in Cedar Park

This may just be one of the most amazing exhibits you will ever see!
Body Worlds is an stunning display that preserves real bodies through a process called Plastination. 

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.

Adults are $21 and children are 418. Children under the age of 6 are free.

More details


7 ●  Cheer on the Round Rock Express

Photo courtesy of Steven Snow/Round Rock Express
Grab a cheap seat on the berm or a reserved seat in the infield, there isn't a bad seat in the house!  Let the kids play at the playground when the need to burn off some steam. 

Schedule your trip on a night when they have fire works.  

Throw in some cheese fries, and it sounds like the perfect evening!

Tickets range from $7 for berm seating to $16 for infield reserved


Next Page

Things to do - Summer 2015
 Enjoy Hairspray at the Zilker Hillside Theater


Zilker Hillside Theater 
Hairspray July 10 August 15
Thur - Sun evenings.  Start: approx 8:30


Go once, and I bet you quickly find it becomes an annual tradition!

There is no better way to enjoy a musical than to sit outside on a beautiful summer evening. Head early to the Hilltop theater, save your spot with a blanket, and then head to Barton Springs to cool off before the show!

Located just across from Barton Springs Pool in beautiful Zilker Park, the natural amphitheater is nestled among a grove of giant 100 year old Pecan trees and is home to numerous locally produced musical and dance oriented events.    

This year's musical is Hairspray. I've never seen this one before; it should be fun!

More Details!


● Enjoy Nature Nights at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The Wildflower Center features amazing wildflowers, incredible native plant gardens, award-winning architecture and beautiful Hill Country trails.  Run up the observation tower, for a great view of Southwest Austin, stroll through the butterfly garden, or explore a forest trail. 

On Thursday evenings beginning June 11th, the Wildflower Center teams up with HEB for Nature Nights.   Each evening features interactive presentations, hikes with experts in their fields, and nature crafting for kids of all ages.  Subjects include Butterflies, Humming Birds, Birds of Prey and more!  

Admission is free! 

More information including dates and details!




Please note:  All prices are estimates and are placed here for planning purposes only.  To verify exact admission, please visit the web page of the attraction.

24 comments:

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!

lipsa herry said...

I am very happy to visting this blog, I really liked it, Thanks for share..Pool Builders Birmingham AL

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!

http://www.cityrunningtours.com/austingroupruns#texasbeer

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

Blogging tips