Are you looking for things to do in Austin? There is no shortage of activities and attractions in the city. From world-class museums to outdoor adventure, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of our favorite points of interest around Austin.
Austin’s attractions are suitable for people of all ages. Active travelers can bike through Zilker Metropolitan Park and swim in Barton Springs Pool before spending the evening bat-watching at the Congress Avenue Bridge, which is located near the city’s abundance of green space. Even if you wake up to a rainy day in Austin, you can stay dry by visiting one of its top-notch museums, such as the Bullock Texas State History Museum or the Blanton Museum of Art, which are both located in the city. Just make sure to save some energy for an evening of live music at one of the many bars and clubs on Sixth Avenue.
Top 10 points of interest around Austin, Texas
Austin Nature & Science Center
Parents who want to instill a love of science in their children will find the Austin Nature & Science Center’s offerings to be particularly useful. Interactive exhibits designed to encourage connections with the natural environment are available at the center. The Forest Trail, for example, provides information about the 45 different types of native trees that have been planted along the path. Dino Pit is a must-see for families with children, as it allows them to dig up a variety of fossil casts while learning about the field of paleontology in the process. Animal exhibits at the Austin Nature and Science Center include small fish and reptiles, as well as a variety of birds and small mammals such as bobcats.
Esther’s Follies, located on Austin’s iconic Sixth Street, offers comedic twists on traditional musical performances such as singing, dancing, juggling, magic shows, and sketches. Since its inception in 1977, the show’s absurd brand of politics and pop culture parody has endeared itself to the diverse crowds of Sixth Street. Tourists and locals alike now agree that Esther’s Follies possesses all of the hallmarks of a long-standing Austin tradition. Always remember that there is a taqueria attached to the courtyard at Esther’s Follies, in addition to the bar on the premises.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Named after its co-founder, Claudia Alta Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson (wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson), this center is a great place for nature lovers looking for a relaxing place to spend their spare time in. Educating fellow botanists about the benefits of planting and nurturing specific types of plants was a major goal of the former first lady’s involvement in the center, which has had a significant impact on gardening practices in central Texas.
Today, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the largest research library for native plant studies in the United States, with more than a million books and journals. Many visitors come from all over the country to see and enjoy the more than 970 species of native Texas flora – including bluebonnets and evening primrose – that thrive on more than 284 acres of gardens and more than 2 miles of hiking paths. In addition, there is an observation tower, a cafe, and a gift shop at the center. Visitors have commented that it is beautiful throughout the year, but that the spring and summer months offer the best opportunity to see the most flowers in bloom (and to avoid disappointment if you only want to see flowers).
Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater
Your favorite band is almost certainly one of those who have performed at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater (also known as ACL Live). The venue serves as the location for the taping of the Austin City Limits television series, which has the distinction of being the longest-running music series in the history of American television. More than 2,700 people can be accommodated on the three levels that make up the small theater’s layout. The Jack & Jim Gallery, located on the balcony level, displays the work of Jim Marshall, a well-known photographer who also has a passion for music and photography in general.
Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake
The 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, which encompasses the entire lake and is a beloved outdoor space in the city, is a popular destination for runners, walkers, and cyclists, both locals and visitors. Outdoor enthusiasts adore the trail’s peace and quiet, as well as the natural beauty it provides.
A stroll along the urban path will take visitors along the water’s edge and pass numerous opportunities to relax, eat, and even picnic. The trail includes a 1.1-mile boardwalk that provides spectacular views of the downtown area. There are a number of restrooms along the path, as well as a dog park and scenic viewpoints.
Barton Springs Pool
The Barton Springs Pool, which is located in Zilker Park, is a popular destination for both visitors and locals alike. Professional travel writers still refer to Barton Springs as the “soul of Austin,” and many visitors say it’s an excellent place to cool off during the hot summer months. Native American settlers once believed the springs had spiritual healing powers, and professional travel writers still refer to Barton Springs as the “soul of Austin.”
While the SoCo District sits about 5 miles south of downtown Austin, the area plays a vital role in the city’s weird culture. A portmanteau neighborhood nickname, SoCo stands for South Congress and is most known for its namesake South Congress Avenue. The shops lining the avenue mostly specialize in boutique or retro clothing, attracting both tourists and locals who are in search of conversation-starting outfits.
SoCo also offers an assortment of excellent eateries. Past travelers recommended Amy’s Ice Creams, Jo’s Coffee, and Torchy’s Tacos. Many of the area’s restaurants also offer outdoor patios, which recent visitors said provide excellent vantage points for people-watching in the trendy neighborhood. When you’re not shopping, eating, or staring, swing by The Continental Club to grab a drink and enjoy some live country music in an iconic venue.
Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake, which was named after President Lyndon Johnson’s wife, is actually a section of the Colorado River that flows through the area. This flowing reservoir, which spans 416 acres, has emerged as one of the city’s most popular recreational destinations.
Despite the fact that it is lined with hotels and residential complexes, the majority of its shoreline is open to the public, and there are miles of excellent trails for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy.
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail and Pedestrian Bridge, which spans the river and connects downtown Austin with the southern shore, is the most popular pedestrian path along the shores of the Texas capital city. The paths connect many of the city’s parks, including Zilker Metropolitan Park, the Town Lake Metropolitan Park’s Vic Mathias Shores, Lamar Beach, Butler Shores, Waller Beach, and Eilers Neighborhood Park.
The Mexic-Arte Museum, which represents one of the city’s most significant cultural influences and populations, exhibits traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art and culture from around the world.
The museum, which opened its doors in 1983, features a changing collection of exhibits, many of which are thought-provoking statements about current issues such as immigration, border control, and acceptance of Mexican culture in the state of Texas.
Many installations and topic-focused galleries feature the artwork or sculptures of one or more artists, and several are collections of photography, painting, and multimedia work that depict populations from across the cultural spectrum.
McKinney Falls State Park
In addition to McKinney Falls State Park, which is home to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Texas, there are numerous other outdoor attractions in Austin worth visiting. It’s located in the southeastern corner of Austin, and it’s the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city while exploring some of the most beautiful scenery Texas has to offer.
There are over 80 campsites available at the state park, all of which have water and electric hookups. Six cabins on the property also offer a more rustic way to spend the night. The Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail, which is 2.8 miles long, serves as the primary corridor for exploration, with numerous side trails branching off from the gravel path.