- July 8, 2014

Free Summer Fun for Teens in Austin


Wondering what to do with your teenager over the next two months? Free Fun in Austin teamed up with the new, innovative Incubator school for teens to put together a list of ways to entertain your middle or high schooler for free this summer!

Free concerts

Here in the live music capital of the world, we have no shortage of free concert options for teens! Every other Monday evening, all ages are welcome at The Wine Down at ACL Live (provided minors are accompanied by a parent as alcohol will be present). On select Wednesdays this summer, head to Zilker Park for KGSR’s Blues on the Green or to Guero’s on SoCo for Texas Radio Live. On Thursdays, grab a seat on the lawn at Shady Grove to enjoy Unplugged at the Grove.  For more intimate gatherings of young people, check out some Under 18 bands. 18below sponsors a series of monthly performance showcases at Irie Bean Coffee Bar (second Saturday of the month) and Austin Ale House (last Sunday of the month) where artistically minded teens, their families and friends can enjoy a creative safe haven in which they can express themselves through their art. You can also see Girls Rock Austin showcases following each of their camps (the next one will be on July 26, 2014 at The North Door).

Free movies

Get out under the stars and see a free movie!  Free summer screenings include Sound & Cinema at the Long Center, 101x Summer Cinema at Central Market NorthMovies in Republic Square Park, Movies at El Salido Pool in Anderson Mill, and Summer Movie Mondays at Amy’s Ice Creams on Burnet. For movies on the cheap, check out the Deep Eddy Movie Nights (free with pool admission of $1-$4), Southwest Theaters in North Austin (tickets are only $2 before 6 p.m. or $3 after 6 p.m.), and Cinemark Movies 8 in Round Rock (tickets are $1 – $4).

Free plays

Don’t miss the Zilker Summer Musical, Oklahoma!, July 11 – August 16, 2014, Thursdays through Sundays at 8:30 p.m. The production is free, but note that the City of Austin charges $5 per car for parking in Zilker Park.

You can also see youth productions for free at the Georgetown Palace Theatre. Teenager actors will perform a Broadway Revue on July 24 at 7 p.m. and July 26 at 1:30 p.m. and Godspell on August 23 at 1:30 p.m. and August 24 at 7 p.m.

Free workshops

Austin’s new middle and high school, the Incubator, will host a series of free summer lectures, starting with how teens can ace the SAT. Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 6:30 p.m., join school co-founder Michael Strong for a free talk at Casa de Luz (1701 Toomey Road, Austin) on the topic, “How Socratic Education empowers kids to think for themselves and “ace” the SAT verbal.” No RSVP is necessary; see the Facebook page for details.

Laura’s Library is hosting a series of free workshops for teen entrepreneurs. Teens with big ideas can learn about creating a brand or product and selling it to the world.

Austin Bat Cave provides free writing workshops, year-round. Teens 14-18 can register now for the August workshops “Making Dollars and Sense: Real-World Writing and Financial Literacy” and “Page to Screen: Fiction Adaptation at the Alamo Drafthouse.”

The Theater Place is offering a free public speaking workshop for teens on Monday, July 28, from 7 – 9 p.m. Public speaking expert Tracy Goodwin will teach teens about the importance of connection, listening, speaking with style, and the value of public speaking. Space is very limited at this downtown workshop. Email Tracy at [email protected] for additional details and to RSVP.

Free swimming

Barton Springs Pool does not charge admission from 9 – 10 p.m., when the pool is not guarded and swimming is “at your own risk.”There are also 27 free neighborhood pools in Austin.

Free dance

Learn how a new style of dance at the Long Center and then dance onstage at free, all ages Rhythm On Stage events this summer.

Free bowling

Use this coupon for a free game of bowling at Westgate Lanes on William Cannon. Shoe rental is not included.

Free teen club

The Camacho Teen Club offers high energy mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing, and more. This drop-in program is free for ages 12 – 15.

Free library events

Area libraries have a variety of free events lined up to keep teens busy this summer. Austin Public Library branches will host a battle of the rock bands and a scavenger hunt. Wells Branch Community Library invites tweens and teens to get nerdy with Sci-Fi topics at Teen Nerd Night, Wednesdays at 6 p.m. The Round Rock Public Library Teen Program will host dinner and movie at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 8, in meeting room A, with a free screening of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Pflugerville Public Library is planning an ’80s Dance Party for teens in the Green Red Barn on July 18. Cedar Park Public Library has a teen Gaming Group and Anime Club. Kyle Public Library has organized a photo scavenger hunt.

Free music lessons/ jams

Ukelele players of all skill levels are welcome to join in the free monthly ukelele jams hosted by the Austin Ukelele Society!

Check the Guitar Center calendars for free beginner group music lessons. You can find them here: Guitar Center Austin, Guitar Center South Austin, Guitar Center Round Rock.

Grace Christian Center in Round Rock offers free community guitar lessons that the whole family is invited to attend.

Free skate & BMX parks

If you have a teen who loves to skateboard, skate, or ride a dirt bike, there are free skate parks in Austin and beyond! They may also enjoy the BMX trails at Duncan Park or bike riding or roller skating on the Veloway.

Free stand up paddle (SUP) lessons

SUP ATX offers weekly opportunities to try stand up paddle for free. Sign up to attend free demos. Beginners are given a free lesson to get started.

Free talks for teens and their parents

Interested in learning more about the future of education? Khabele + Strong Incubator will host free lectures in the auditorium at Casa de Luz this summer, from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Topics include: Aligning school to match personal passions so kids strive for excellence without getting stressed (July 22), cultivating confidence in teens so they can find meaning and purpose (July 29), which 21st century skills does your child need? (August 5), creating a teen culture that reflects the wisdom and traditions of indigenous cultures (August 12), does your child need medication or a school that engages their heart and mind? (August 19). Find more information and RSVP here.

Looking ahead to fall

There are plenty of free activities for teens throughout the school year as well. The City of Austin runs a free Totally Cool Totally Art program for teens, as well as free photography classes. The Contemporary Austin also has free art programs for teens. ACC offers free STEM workshops for students age 8 – 14. And the UT Computer Science Department hosts free Breakfast Bytes programs.  Plus, mark your calendar for the Texas Teen Book Festival, coming up in October.Know of more teen activities and events that are easy on the wallet?  Please let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

This post was sponsored by Khabele + Strong Incubator, a new Austin school that is on a mission to help young people change the world through entrepreneurial talent development. Khotso Khabele and Michael Strong are launching a new model school to nurture adolescent culture, learning, and experience. Opening in the fall of 2014, Khabele + Strong will provide a healthy environment for the development of middle and high school aged students. To learn more about the school, read our interview with Michael Strong.  Be sure to follow the Khabele + Strong Incubator Facebook page for updates on more, free talks for Austin area teens and their parents.