Austin is the capital city in Texas, but the area is known for so much more than that. From its proud efforts to “Keep Austin Weird” to thrilling college football games to an abundance of live music, the city of Austin has a plethora of amenities to offer its residents. Austin has changed a lot in the last few decades, but one thing will always be the same: there are plenty of things to do for fun here. Those new to the area or are just looking for something new have come to the right place. Keep reading to learn about the most fun things to do in Austin.
Austin Outdoor Adventures
While many think every area of Texas is flat for miles, that is not the case. A drive on Ranch Road 2222 in Austin will reveal a unique topography, including rolling hills, lush landscapes, and peaceful waterfront areas. Thanks to the near-constant sunshine, people can enjoy outdoor adventures in almost every season.
The Best Parks in Austin
Popular Austin Parks
- Zilker Park
- McKinney Falls State Park
- Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park
While Zilker Park is always a great park option, in-the-know locals often opt for two lesser-known parks. McKinney Falls State Park is located just south of Highway 71 and features a gorgeous waterfall. The limestone rock and splashing pools create beautiful pictures from sunrise to sunset. Over nine miles of trails are available for hiking and biking throughout the park. Visitors can even camp, boulder, fish, swim, and picnic throughout the year.
Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park is a 290-acre park that is part of a series of parks and trails designed to preserve the Walnut Creek watershed. Visitors can easily use the trails to navigate from park to park. The hilly park is perfect for mountain bikers of all ages. Better still, this is an off-leash park. So, dog owners and their furry friends can enjoy the outdoors together.
Water Recreation in Austin
Austin Water Recreation Opportunities
- Lake Travis
- Scuba diving
- Jet skiing and paddleboarding
- Typhoon Texas
- Kalahari Resort
Water recreation is a large part of Austin culture. Lake Travis is nearly 60 miles long and covers about 30 square miles. With depths of almost 100 feet, the lake is perfect for scuba diving and other water activities. Boaters can store their boats at a local marina or rent one for the day. Barge parties are the norm in the summer. Additionally, visitors can make use of jet skis and paddleboards. Those with a valid fishing license can cast a line throughout the year.
Typhoon Texas is the largest water park in the area. With free parking and nominal entrance fees, the waterpark is designed to entertain guests of all ages. The most popular rides in the park include The Gully Washer, The Duelin’ Daltons, The Snake Pit, Lone Star Racers, Buckaroo Bayou, Tidal Wave Bay, and Lazy-T River. The zip lines are always a favorite among thrill-seekers.
Hiking & Biking Trails in Austin
Popular Austin Trails
- Panther Hollow Trail
- Little Fern Trail
- Canyon Trail
- Ann anad Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail
While many parks already include trails, some areas in Austin are solely dedicated to hiking and biking. River Place features a lovely six-mile in-and-back trail. The trail is not a loop and is divided into three smaller trails, giving the option for a shorter trek. The trails are called Panther Hollow Trail, Little Fern Trail, and Canyon Trail. There are 2,763 steps during one portion of the trail, so proper footwear is a must.
The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail runs parallel to Southwest Parkway, allowing walkers and cyclists to enjoy the beauty of Hill Country without leaving the city. Over 2.6 million visitors walk or bike the 10-mile trail each year. The urban path leads guests along the water and takes them to the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk. Parts of the path are paved, making it a wonderful option for those with strollers or wheelchairs.
With so many outdoor activities, this section of the guide barely scratches the surface. Austin’s climate provides residents the ability to find activities throughout the year that provide fun and challenges.
The Best Shopping in Austin
Austin Shopping Destinations
- The Domain
- Lakeline Mall
Austin is home to numerous boutiques and large shopping centers. The Domain is one of the most popular because it allows locals to live, work, and play in one area. With over 800 luxury Austin condos, premium office spaces, four luxury hotels, and 100 upscale stores and restaurants, The Domain truly has it all. World-renowned stores at The Domain include David Yurman, Louis Vuitton, AllSaints, Neiman Marcus, and others.
Lakeline Mall is a medium-size mall in the Cedar Park suburb. With popular stores like Brighton Collectibles, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Chico’s, White House Black Market, and others, visitors of all ages are sure to find a store that fits their taste. Entertainment at Lakeline Mall includes Inflatable Wonderland, Just Train Fun, AMC Theatres, and rotating events.
Sporting Events in Austin
Austin is a sports city. With local, college, league, and professional sports teams for nearly every sport imaginable, any resident is sure to find a team that they can stand behind when the competition heats up.
Austin Sports Teams
Austin Sports Teams
- Austin Bold FC
- FC Austin Elite
- Austin FC
- Texas Roller Girls
Austin has several sports teams at all levels for residents to support. Two of the city’s soccer teams, Austin Bold FC and FC Austin Elite, create massive roars from the stadium every game. The newest soccer team, Austin FC, has ignited even more fandom. With the numerous rugby teams that play in Austin, it’s impossible to name them all here. The Texas Roller Girls create exciting roller derby matches that everyone can get excited to watch. Residents can even enjoy regional ultimate disc, regional hockey, and college football games without leaving the city.
Stadiums in Austin
Austin Sports Stadiums
- Bold Stadium
- Q2 Stadium
- H-E-B Center
Austin is home to several sports stadiums that are designed to entertain fans from beginning to end. The Bold Stadium is a 5,036-seat stadium that is specifically designed to host soccer games. It is the first soccer stadium in central Texas. The all-new Q2 Stadium can seat up to 20,738 people to Austin FC games. It’s located just north of the intersection of N Mopac and U.S. Route 183.
The H-E-B Center is a multi-purpose venue that holds several types of events. For sports games, the capacity is 6,800 people, while concerts can accommodate up to 8,700 guests. The variety of seating configurations allow the stadium to provide visitors a memorable experience. Several concession stands are available that rotate based on the event being held.
Delicious Restaurants in Austin
Popular Austin Restaurants
- Franklin Barbecue
Those new to the city will quickly learn that dining in Austin involves more than Texas BBQ. For example, Launderette is a polished neighborhood cafe that preserves a small piece of local Austin history. The cafe was originally a gas station and laundromat. The gourmet new American cafe provides a rotating local menu that features the freshest ingredients.
Suerte is the local destination for traditional Mexican cooking. The restaurant works closely with local farmers to ensure guests can enjoy farm-to-table Mexican meals. The Masa is house-made daily to ensure the freshest taste in every dish. Dishes are seasonal, so residents should visit often to see the latest offering at Suerte.
Arts & Culture in Austin
While the official slogan of Austin is “The Live Music Capital of the World,” many know the unofficial slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.” Both slogans perfectly capture the arts and culture scene throughout the city.
Museums in Austin
- Museum of the Weird
While several museums are available to visit, the following are two must-see options. Museum of the Weird is a dime museum and one of the last ones in the United States. Dime museums feature odds and ends that are not typically featured in traditional museums. Visitors can expect to see freak animals, mummies (they’re real!), mermaids, small heads, sideshow celebrities, and wax figures. Visitors can also explore local paranormal mysteries and stories.
Thinkery is a children’s museum that is focused on STEAM exhibits and hands-on learning. The education provided by the museum is play-based and appropriate for children up to 11 years old. However, Thinkery holds a few special events that appeal to older kids and even adults. Over 40,000 square feet of interactive experiences await to entertain and teach anyone curious to learn more about the world around them.
Performing Arts in Austin
Austin Performing Arts Opportunities
- The Long Center
- Texas Performing Arts
Several performing arts centers are right in the heart of the city. The Long Center is known as Austin’s Front Row. Taking in the inspiration of the local culture in the downtown area, The Long Center incorporates what it sees into its performances. The center prides itself on putting Austin culture on display for all to watch and appreciate. Comedy, musical performances, speakers, and more can be found on The Long Center’s schedule of events.
Texas Performing Arts has provided a range of theatre, dance, and music for over three decades. Local performances and internationally renowned shows have graced the stage over the years. Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Phantom of the Opera, and Hamilton are just some of the exceptional ticketed events locals have had the opportunity to see at Texas Performing Arts.
Austin truly has it all when it comes to arts and culture. The city is vibrant and embraces its local culture, perfectly reflected in all of the museums and performing arts centers.
Nightlife in Austin
Austin Nightlife Destinations
- The Skylark Lounge
- Elysium Nightclub
Since Austin is both a sports city and a college town, the nightlife is a large part of the local culture. Every type of nightlife entertainment is available for residents to partake in throughout the year. The Skylark Lounge offers visitors a laid-back and relaxed music venue with a full bar. Local and touring musical acts take the stage throughout the week to provide the best entertainment on a night out.
Elysium Nightclub is the area’s longest-running alternative nightlife scene. It opened its doors in 2001 and has provided the best alternative music every Friday and Saturday night since. The club is inside of a warehouse, which is perfect for the vibe the club cultivates. The dress code encourages fabulousness, which can range from simple jeans to chains.
Endless Fun Awaits in Austin
When it comes to things to do in Austin, there are more than enough activities to entertain residents every weekend. The city is continuing to grow and deepen its roots in its unique culture. New residents and long-time locals will continue to fall in love with this city over and over again. Combined with the climate and the robust economy, what’s not to love about Austin?