Austin, the capital of Texas, is a melting pot of diverse cultures. There are plenty of things to do in Austin. From hiking to attending jazz festivals to shopping and exploring unique museums — there is something for everyone! So, if you are planning to explore Austin, Texas, look no further. Check out this curated list of things to experience and places to visit in Austin! Pack your bags and jet, set and go!
Lady Bird Lake
This lake connecting the Colorado River and Barton Creek offers one of the most spectacular views of Austin’s skyline. Kayak along the shoreline of this lake and discover the unbridled beauty that nature has to offer.
You can also go for the famous Ann and Roy Butler Bike Hike and Bike Trail to explore the place. This trail will connect you to Congress Avenue Bridge and the Long Center of Performing Arts. Do not miss catching the sunset from the boardwalk vantage point as you marvel at the beauty of Austin, TX.
Address: 200 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704, United States | Timing: Sunday to Saturday 5:00am to 10:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/APLrguukaMXP7iSf6 | Phone: +1 512-974-6700
The State Capitol and Visitors Center (Texas Capitol)
Ranked as the sixth-tallest among all the state capitols in the US, the Texas Capitol is deemed as a National Historic Landmark. The 22-acre ground hosts several historical relics, the most noted ones being the Vietnam War Monument and the Texas African American History Memorial.
Themed tours such as the Women in Texas History are the top attractions of this place. Once you are here, do check out the gift shop within the premises and buy unique gifts celebrating the spirit of Austin, Texas.
Address: 112 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78701, United States | Timing: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/p7xz1aXTUp5SznnK6 | Phone: +1 512-305-8400
Nestled at 775 feet above sea level and within the premises of Covert Park, Mount Bonnell offers one of the most panoramic views of Lake Travis. All your efforts to climb 102 steps to reach the peak will be suitably rewarded with breathtaking sunrise and sunsets.
One of the most popular things to do in Austin, TX is to club the hike to Mount Bonnell with a guided boat tour of Lake Austin, another popular lake in the city.
Address: 3800 Mount Bonnell Rd, Austin, TX 78731, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday 5:00am to 10:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Q1p22GQMBnRtTAxv5 | Phone: +1 512-974-6700
Cathedral of Junk
This is the mecca of recycled junk, constantly evolving since its construction in 1989. It’s a pivotal Austin attraction that you cannot miss. The towering structure built out of 60 tons of scrape is a sight to behold in the quirkiest sense. Initially, Vince Hannemann, the architect, had to scavenge for junk for his project. Gradually, people started donating their junk, thus helping him achieve the world’s weirdest architectural feat.
Address: 4422 Lareina Dr, Austin, TX 78745, United States | Timing: By Appointment only | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/HTXzKKSma33YCRG69 | Phone: +1 512-299-7413
Zilker Metropolitan Park
This is one of the most picturesque places to visit in Austin, named after the noted philanthropist of Texas, Andrew Jackson Zilker. Since its inception in 1917, the 351-acre park underwent significant transformations with the addition of Dance Pavilion, Rock Garden, and Barton Pools.
Here you can kayak on Lady Bird Lake and take your kids for the Zilker Zephyr miniature train ride. The park also hosts the famous Austin City Limits Music Festival and the Zilker Summer Musical.
Address: 2207 Lou Neff Rd, Austin, TX 78746, United States | Timing: Monday to Saturday 5:00am to 10:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/WBJdrkyFqxKY6K4C7 | Phone: +1 512-974-6700
Popularly referred to as the SoCo district, this spot is the heart of Austin, TX. Lined with exciting restaurants that offer a mind-boggling selection of gastronomic delights, you are sure to be spoilt rotten.
Out of all the things to do in Austin, Texas, exploring the colorful in-house boutiques and flagship stores in South Congress Avenue is one of the most exciting ways to soak into the cultural richness of this city. If shopping for apparel excites you, then check out Maya Star boutique that showcases the designs of independent designers from the county.
Address: Austin, TX 78704, United States | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/iTn4TwQ1E7Pq4fLt6
In Austin, Texas, do saddle up for an authentic cowboy experience in one of the ranches and wash down the vibrant Tex-Mex cuisine with craft beer. The craft breweries of the city offer some of the best beers brewed in entire Texas.
If you are game for some serious beer tasting, you must hop into Austin Beerworks for the Sputnik beer and Jester King Brewery for Atrial Ribicite beer. Apart from these two very famous craft beers, you must try the Pecan Porter, Rocket 100, and Little Boss. Remember, the rule is ‘one beer per brewery’!
Address: Austin, TX 78736, United States | Timing: Wednesday to Friday 3:00pm to 9:00pm, Saturday & Sunday 12:00pm to 9:00pm, Monday & Tuesday Closed | Phone: +1 512-661-8736
Circuit of the Americas
If you are game for some adrenalin rush, then this is where you should be heading to. Also known as COTA F1, this 5.49 km (3.41 miles) racetrack is a premier destination for livewire music concerts and Formula One United States Grand Prix, and various other racing championships in the United States. You can sign up for a guided tour on weekends and ride up to the 25-story Observation Tower to catch a glimpse of the picturesque skyline.
Address: 9201 Circuit of the Americas Boulevard, Austin, TX 78617, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/BTcrbew5H9q2THEY6 | Phone: +1 512-301-6600
McKinney Falls State Park
Just 13 miles (1.6 km) away from the state capitol lies this pristine waterfall trailing into lush green woods. Having a quiet picnic with family amid such a scenic landscape would be the best thing to do to take a break from all other touristy ambitions. You can camp overnight in anyone of the campsites.
There is so much to indulge in here, pure and unbridled, amid nature. If you plan to hike, take the Rock Shelter trail for some amazing views of the whole place. Fishing in Williamson creek will be a quiet and relaxing affair if you don’t want to indulge in any high-voltage activity.
Address: 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744, United States | Timing: Thursday to Wednesday 8:00am to 10:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/pxnn9e45DuFsoEC99 | Phone: +1 512-243-1643
This is one of the top museums in the country dedicated to preserving, enriching, and improving the interpretation of Latin American and Mexican art and culture. This museum endeavors to enhance the culture of the state capitol through exhibitions and educational programs. The Mexic-Arte Museum features the best Latin American and Mexican artists from the nooks and corners of the US.
Address: 419 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, United States | Timing: Monday to Thursday 10:00am to 6:00pm, Friday & Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm to 5:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/TWuC7hFt2wB67Mpk8 | Phone: +1 512-480-9373
Harry Ransom Center
This is one of the top archive centers where you can see the first edition of the Gutenberg Bible. If history beckons you, then this is one of the best places to visit in Austin. Very interestingly, this archive is a part of the humanities wing of the University of Texas.
This center houses nearly 42 million extant manuscripts, one million books, and some 100,000 works of art. The most notable of these collections feature Frida Kahlo’s iconic Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, Albert Einstein’s unpublished work, and manuscripts of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Address: The University of Texas at Austin, 300 W 21st St, Austin, TX 78712, United States | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/bcqsrEmdG1k6bP6m6 | Phone: +1 512-471-8944
University of Texas
This university has a global reputation in terms of higher education and also serves as a great cultural beacon of Texas as a state. For a tourist, this place has so much to offer in terms of a beautiful landscape. Do visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and explore the native flora and fauna of the cowboy county.
If you are traveling with kids, then definitely check out Sprouts, the preschool program to enable children to find joy in observing nature. This is one of the best destinations to spend time learning about history, culture, art, and nature.
Address: Austin, TX 78712, United States | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/qrKnWjjVGVobqXNn6 | Phone: +1 512-471-3434
Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum
Showcasing the works of the top-notch American visual and performing artist Charles Umlauf, this is a unique museum in a garden setting. The museum is a tribute to the Umlauf family’s contribution in offering a place to visit in Austin and the best space in the heart of the city for reconnecting with art, nature, and one’s inner self.
Address: 605 Azie Morton Rd, Austin, TX 78704, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Friday 10:00am to 4:00pm, Saturday & Sunday 11:00am to 4:00pm, Monday Closed | Google Map Location: https://g.page/UmlaufSculpture?share | Phone: + 1 512 445-5582
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
This presidential library and museum is dedicated to Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States of America. Nestled in the university campus, this library boasts 45 million historical documents under a single roof. If you love history, then this is one of the top spots to visit in the state capitol. You can check their events calendar and also partake in their exhibits held throughout the year.
Address: 2313 Red River St, Austin, TX 78705, United States | Timing: Friday to Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday to Thursday Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/cNgJL2mPa5BUNpKM9| Phone: +1 512-721-0200
Mayfield Park and Preserve
Leisurely strolling through Mayfield Park and soaking into nature’s glory is the best thing to do with kids while in the city. This 23-acre hill estate overlooking the Colorado River got registered as a place of historical importance in 1994, making it one of the premier Austin attractions.
With its beautiful, manicured garden featuring lily pools, rose beds, Mexican plum trees, and a classically built cottage, this green patch is a treat to the eyes. One can even plan to host events such as weddings or private parties with a limited number of people at this venue.
Address: 3505 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703, United States | Timing: Thursday to Wednesday 5:00am to 10: 00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/c95AzpTtrXvdaFnZ6 | Phone: +1 512-974-6700
Congress Avenue Bridge
Popularly known by this name, the bridge was rechristened in November 2006 as Ann W Richards Congress Avenue Bridge to honor the 45th Governor of Texas. The Congress Avenue Bridge seems to be straight out of a Justice League superhero flick. It is nothing short of Batman’s cove with more than a million Mexican free-tailed bats, offering a spectacle as they take flight every night.
Taking a boat cruise would be a good idea to experience this extraordinary event. This is one of the unique tourist attractions and you can’t afford to miss it if you are traveling with children. Apart from this, you should also visit the iconic Pennybacker Bridge on Loop 360.
Address: Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, United States | Timing: 24/7 | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/AdXb6J4zZZ8VSZea9 | Phone: +1 512-364-0759
What’s a holiday with a heavy dose of laughter! This is the city’s most loved comedy troupe, with their comedy shows happening five times a week. For over three decades, Esther’s Follies have been dishing out political satires, comic musical numbers, and magic shows.
The comic productions of Esther’s Follies are typically Austin’s answer to otherwise weekend pub-hopping. Enjoying one such production with your loved one would be one of the most amazing things to do in Austin to destress. Do check the event calendar and book the tickets online.
Address: 525 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701, United States | Timing: Thursday to Saturday 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday Closed | Google Map Location: https://g.page/EsthersFollies?share | Phone: +1 512-320-0553
The White Horse
Traveling with friends to Austin? Then an evening at the White Horse tavern is all that you need to re-live the jolly good times of childhood. It is also the best spot to sway in the spirit of some of the finest foot-tapping rock and soothing country music.
A pool table with loads of tacos and an amazing selection of handcrafted beer makes it a fantastic tourist attraction. Well, if you love to dance, then this can be your opportunity to sign-up for Two-Step dance lessons offered on weekends.
Address: 500 Comal St, Austin, TX 78702, United States | Timing: Wednesday to Tuesday 3:00pm to 2:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/bxDfGxvh7aUcug168 | Phone: +1 512-553-6756
It is a street lined with impressive bars, clubs, and restaurants on both sides. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the state capitol. Whether it’s dining and entertainment, you would be amazed to find such interesting choices on the 6th Street.
When it comes to satiating your taste buds, barge into Iron Cactus to experience an outdoor facing patio, tequila bar offering more than 100 varieties of Tequila, and some lip-smacking curated Mexican food. As far as entertainment is concerned, plenty of world music and comedy shows are your go-to options.
Address: Bordering 5th & 7th, Lavaca Streets and I-35, Austin, TX 78784, United States | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/jPhCnkR5s6viEavT9
Art installations on the patio, twinkle lights, and quirky décor are what make this café stand out on the university campus. This is just not a café; it is a village carnival showcasing local art and food.
There are dine-in options as well as food trailers with a top Mexican menu. Christened as “one of the 10 best destinations in America” by USA Today, this place is the iconic landmark of Austin that brings the entire community together.
Address: 2906 Fruth St, Austin, TX 78705, United States | Timing: Wednesday to Tuesday 10:00am to 2:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9kkTHT2LAqp71Y828 | Phone: +1 737-990-9562
Austin has so much to offer you as a tourist destination. Rich in culture and history, traveling and exploring this city can prove to be a great eye-opening experience for you as you get to know the quintessential cowboy culture!