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Austin perfectly combines big city feel, tasty eats, live music, and the great outdoors (with a couple dozen breweries and stunning museums) into one amazing city. To make the most of your time in ATX, check out our list of the very best things to do in town.
Here Are The 10 Best Things To Do In Austin
Take a Dip in Barton Springs
Barton Springs takes the top spot on our list because it embodies all the things we love about Austin, while giving you a reprieve from the Texas heat. The three-acre municipal pool sits on Zilker Park’s property, right in the middle of the city. The pool is filled entirely with water from the nearby natural springs, giving it a cool and refreshing feel when you jump in. The beloved pool sits at a chill 68 degrees all year long, making it a great destination for families, groups of friends, or by yourself to lay in the sun.
For more information on Barton Springs, visit our post Absolutely Everything You Need To Know About Barton Springs Pool.
Walk Along South Congress Avenue
The vibrant, lively neighborhood of South Congress is tucked into central Austin, in the 78704 zip code. On a weekend afternoon, this strip of shops, bars, restaurants, chic lodging, and more draws tons of foot traffic. At night, you can find plenty of iconic live music venues to get your music fix.
For all things South Congress, check out our post These Are the Top 5 Reasons To Love The South Congress Neighborhood of Austin, Texas.
Tour the State Capitol
For all you history buffs out there, the Texas state capitol is located in the heart of downtown Austin. One of the most distinguished capitols in the United States, Austin’s capitol features 22 stunning acres of grounds and incredibly ornate architecture. There are rotating exhibits as well so even if you’re an Austin resident, you can find a new and exciting exhibit every few months.
Looking for other museums and attractions in town? See our Visit Austin Museums and Galleries for Free post!
Take a Trip Down Dirty 6th Street
If you’re looking for a night of old school partying, make your way to Dirty 6th Street. The Bourbon Street of Austin, this iconic street features bars with its doors and windows open wide to invite in the crowd. There are countless bars with dollar shots, sticky floors, food trucks, and live music. And if you’re not looking for a rowdy night, Dirty 6th is home to a few upscale bars and restaurants, as well as Austin’s famous, possibly haunted, Driskill Hotel.
Watch the Bats
From March to early fall, the Austin Congress Avenue bridge is home to North America’s largest urban bat population, 1.5 million-ish to be exact. Every evening before sundown during those months, the bats take flight from their spot under the Congress Avenue bridge. It’s truly a site to see for yourself!
For the best spots to watch the bats to bat boat tours, our post Everything You Need To Know To See Bats in Austin and Surrounding Areas has it all.
Catch Some Live Music
Austin is considered the live music capital of the world, and rightfully so. As soon as you step off the plane, Austin-Bergstrom Airport has live music in the terminals. There’s live music in Austin that’s big scale – like Austin City Limits, or larger concert venues like COTA, Frank Erwin Center, and Stubb’s. Or small scale – like Scoot Inn, Guero’s, and Parish. There’s also iconic – like The Continental Club, ACL Live, and Antone’s. Or funky and weird – like Cheer Up Charlie’s, Empire Control Room & Garage, and The White Horse. No matter what part of Austin you’re in, you can always find live music.
Looking for live music venues and your kids are in tow? Check out our Family-Friendly Live Music Venues in Austin post.
The barbecue scene in Austin is unlike that of any other city. Texas barbecue is also unlike that of any other barbecue. The meat is dry-rubbed, smoked for hours, and sauce is only there if you want it. Navigating the best barbecue in Austin can be tough as there are so many amazing spots. We’ve done the hard part for you with our Best Austin Restaurants To Grab BBQ so you can get a jumpstart on that food coma.
Check out Rainey Street
The historic district of Rainey Street is street of bungalow homes that have been converted into bars, restaurants, food trucks, and music venues. The nightlife on Rainey is very unique and there is a bar for everyone. You’ll often find bar goers with their dogs in tow on a Sunday afternoon or Saturday night.
Find the Coolest Graffiti and Street Art
Throughout the entire city, you can find graffiti, street art, and more that are popular spots for photographers, Instagram-worthy pics, and artwork to admire. There are the well-known murals, like the “Greetings from Austin” and “I Love You So Much” signs, but there a ton of lesser known spots that are just as beautiful.
Check out our Massive Guide to the Best Austin Street Art: Graffiti, Murals, and More all things street art, structures, and anything in between.
Kayak on Lady Bird Lake
During a nice summer day, you can look out on Lady Bird Lake as you drive across the Congress Avenue bridge and see the lake scattered with tons of kayakers, paddle boaders, and rowers. Lady Bird Lake is the perfect spot to kayak in Austin. You get a wonderful mix of serene foliage with the cityscape and skyscrapers of downtown Austin.
To learn more about the best spots to take off at in the lake or where to rent from, check out our Kayak or Canoe Lady Bird Lake post!