From the city scene to the stunning hikes, the city of Austin has much to offer. However, with the recent mass migration of 20-somethings moving into the area, some of the city’s most precious gems have fallen under the shadow of the more popular attractions. Although visiting Mount Bonnell and the Texas State Capitol are very much worth the trip, there are so many other places in the city with just as much (if not more) charm. So from the perspective of a local – here are the most fun things to do in Austin Texas.
Unique things to do in Austin
BYOB and swim at the Greenbelt
The Greenbelt is arguably one of Austin’s most prized possessions. The beautiful clear water coupled with happy doggos running around, makes it a scene you cannot miss. Better yet, it’s completely free. You can find the entrance directly across from the Taco Deli located on Spyglass road.
Rock climb at Austin Bouldering Project (ABP) then have beers at Friends and Allies brewery next door
Park a paddle board on Lady Bird
Hangout at Zilker park (free)
Zilker is somewhat of an oasis for tourists and locals alike because of the wide open spaces perfect for throwing frisbees around, playing sand volleyball, or laying down a blanket and cracking a cold one with a group of friends. Expect to find plenty of joyous offleash doggies and good vibes.
10. Sunday Brunch on Rainey ST
Rainey is an entire road in downtown Austin of old houses-turned-trendy-restaurants-and-bars & Bangers is surely the city’s favorite in the realm of the brunch. You can get bomb sausage dishes, their infamous pitcher mimosas per person, and almost always live music during Sunday brunch hours. Be sure to get there early as it gets packed fairly quick.
Shop at the Domain NorthSIDE
Visit the Austin Public Library
Have a coffee or a beer at Cosmic Cafe
Visit the food trucks
BYOB to Peter Pan MiniGolf course
Rock climb outside at Gus Fruh
Go to the Farmer´s market in Mueller
The Mueller Farmer’s market happens most Sunday mornings, but check out their website to make sure beforehand. You can find all kinds of great home made food, locally grown produce, and other neat knick knacks. Pets are welcome as well.
Chill out in the Observation Pod at Pease Park
Pease park is a beautiful off-leash dog park located behind west campus. It has a nice trail that runs through it as well as a creek. It’s great for going jogging or just hanging out and enjoying the weather.
Take a bike ride down the most scenic route through downtown Austin
The austin nightlife scene is vibrant and poppin most weekends. The city has several subsections, some are notoriously college party scenes and others are more accustomed to older crowds. Therefore, there are tonsss of options when it comes to going out for a night on the town, but depending on the age of your group and the level of energy you’re searching for you’ll want to know what you’re getting into, click here for my full guide specifically over the bar scene in Austin Texas.
Have wine at the world’s largest self pour on tap winery bar
Wanderlust Wine Co. is located downtown on 4th st. They have tons of self-serve on tap wines to choose from and sometimes they have comedy shows and other entertainment. Make sure to visit on Wednesdays when all their wine is 50% off.
Bar hop at the hip east 6th scene
East Austin is mostly the spot where locals love to hang. Expect to find a slightly older age range there, typically mid 20’s to 30 somethings.
Have A cocktail in a lightbulb at The Tipsy Alchemist on Rainey
Tipsy Alchemist is located on the end of Rainey St and is a second story cocktail bar. They have a crazy selection of cocktails, one of them being “The Edison” cocktail which they serve to you in a lightbulb. Dont forget to also order the manhattan, then watch as they send your mixed drink up into a tube system that flies across the roof of the bar and comes out on the other side.
See a Jazz Show in the underground Elephant´s Room
Find Elephant’s room on Congress Ave, the most famous street in Austin. It’s a jazz club with very lowkey, speakeasy vibes, great for a date night or a chill night out for cocktails.
See an art show & have drinks at Native Hostel
Native Hostel is located in Austin’s hip East area, they are both a hostel, coffee shop by day, and cocktail bar by night. Sometimes they host art shows featuring local vendors and live DJs, other nights they host comedy shows. It’s an eclectic spot with great energy and is very representative of the austin vibe.
Have a cold beer at SpiderHouse- an austin original
If there is any restaurant that encapsulates Austin’s ¨weird¨ energy, it’s Spiderhouse. It has a unique and striking restaurant environment, decorated very eclectically, you really wont find anything else like it. They have coffee, a bar, and brief food menu. It’s a great spot for laptop work during the day and at night sometimes they host comedy shows and other entertainment.
See a show at the Venue Downtown
The Venue is a music venue located on Austin’s “dirty 6th” street. If you like electronic or dance music, this is the place for you. They usually host DJs most weeks and it’s a great option if you’re looking for a high energy dance scene.
Where to Eat in Austin
Comfort Asian food at Bar peached
Bar Peached is a laid-back bar with a bangin’ Asian food menu. Their cocktails are to die for and the restaurant environment is lively and fun. Very “instagrammable” spot one might say.
Cocktails and finger food at Ah Sing Den
Ah Sing Den is located in Austin’s East side. It’s more of a bar scene rather than a restaurant but they have a great selection of finger foods. One of their cocktails is served in a teacup like a cup of Early Grey and it’s deliciouss.
the best mexican food and cocktails at Gabriela’s Downtown
Everyone in Austin knows Gabriela’s. They not only have a great tex-mex style menu but they have great drinks as well and on nice summer days they have a DJ play as well. It’s a lively environment and great for a group of friends going out for dinner and drinks.
Culinary dropout is located in the middle of the domain northSIDE. It’s a great spot for day drinking or going out for a social night with friends. They have tons of outdoor seating for when the weather is right and lots of games to play like cornhole and jenga. Not to mention, their amazing food. Fun fact: the chef who owns culinary dropout actually dropped out of culinary school to open his own restaurant.
If you’re looking for a nice rooftop view in the middle of the city, Caroline’s upstairs is where you want to be. It’s a laid back restaurant by day and social bar scene by night. Be sure to make reservations, this place is almost always packed and poppin.
Gorddough´s is an Austin original. Created in Austin, this one of a kind restaurant offers the best gourmet donuts your tastebuds will ever meet. Their unique menu conjoins donuts with other unassuming dishes such as sandwiches and hamburgers made with donut buns and salads with donut croutons.
Most people come to Austin looking for tex mex and torchy’s can meet those needs. Every taco on their menu will have you wanting more and more they are so good. Austin has several locations throughout the city
Juiceland is yet another Austin legacy. You can find the BEST smoothies and juices here, all made in house directly from whole plant foods. Their smoothies are so delicious and so healthy, it’ll have you wondering why you didn’t try them sooner.
Kerbey Lane Cafe
Kerbey Lane, also founded and created in Austin, has been austin’s favorite breakfast spot for decades now. If you go, make sure to try the Kerbey queso.
Vegetarian food & bomb cocktails at Irene’s Downtown
Irene’s downtown is a great spot for vegetarian and vegan food and their cocktail menu is sure to not disappoint. The aesthetics of the restaurant are very pleasing and they have a large pink neon sign, notorious for instagram picture taking.
Tourist-y Must-Do things in Austin
Here are the tourist icons of austin texas.
Catch a view from Mount Bonnell
Every Austin resident has heard of Mount Bonnell, it’s a short hike up to a beautiful view of the river and scenic landscape. It’s truly probably one of the best views that the state of Texas has to offer.
Watch the bats fly out from under Congress Bridge
Some 1.5 milllion bats fly out from Austin’s congress bridge every night from around mid February to November. You can find heaps of people on the bridge around sunset waiting to see the spectacular sight. It’s completely free to go and watch.
Swim at the infamous Barton Springs
Barton springs is a large natural swimming area in Austin, you can pay something around $10 or so to enter. They don’t allow you to bring in your own alcohol or food so I always suggest going to the free areas of the greenbelt where you can bring a cooler with you (it’s also typically much more lively and fun than the paid areas).
Go to Dirty 6th
6th street, also known as “dirty 6th” earned it’s name for the unruly behavior and debauchery that occurs here. If you’re looking for a wild night out, this is the place for you. The crowd here ranges from bachelorette parties to 21 year olds to older tourists which adds to the novelty of this specific area.
Visit the Blanton Museum of Modern Art
For a small fee, you can go to the Blanton Museum of art located on the campus of the University of Texas. It has great modern and interactive art which is sure to keep you entertained, highly recommend visiting this neat exhibit.
Beer Bike through Downtown Austin
Beer bikes are a fun and cool way to see the city. For about $40-$50 per person, you can BYOB and hop on a multi person bike with a bar in the middle and bike your way through the city while sipping on a cold one (don’t worry, it’s not that hard with several people on pedaling!) . There are several companies that you can go through such as Pubcrawler and Bike and Brew. These are also great for birthdays and bachelorette parties.