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Austin is known as a place where people go out and have fun. While it may be an extrovert’s paradise, introverts can enjoy Austin just as much. Music festivals, loud nightclubs, and group exercise classes may be an extrovert’s idea for fun, but most introverts would rather stay home than participate in those activities.
Introversion is often misunderstood as shyness; while many introverts are in fact shy, introversion and extroversion are more about whether a person is energized by internal factors or by external ones. Extroverts get energy from being around people, but introverts become exhausted after playing the social butterfly. Most people fall somewhere along the continuum between these two extremes, and everyone identifies with each label at various times.
The City of Austin has temporarily banned public gatherings. Please stay home. The Austin.com calendar is only for live digital events at this time.
Introverts prefer solitary activities or those activities that include a handful of people or fewer. Introverts aren’t antisocial. They just have a finite amount of stamina for displaying extroverted behavior. Austin has plenty for introverts to do. Here are 10 suggestions.
10. Hike a nature trail
Austin has far more beautiful days than dreary ones, and one of the best places to enjoy Austin’s weather is while hiking a local nature trail. Winding creeks and thick greenery await you, and most of the time, so does solitude if you want it. Check out our guide to Austin’s nature trails to see which ones call you to the great outdoors.
9. Watch a movie in style
As more and more people watch movies from home instead of traveling to the multiplex, cinemas realize they have to step up their game. Stale popcorn at astronomical prices just won’t cut it anymore. Customers want comfy seats, clean floors, and restaurant quality food. Austin has been ahead of the curve when it comes to fancy movie theaters. Alamo Drafthouse has developed a model countless other companies are doing their best to imitate. But we have the real McCoy!
Sink back into your seat. Let the movie envelop you. It won’t force you to make awkward small talk.
8. Take in some culture at a museum
While Austin doesn’t have a reputation for being a museum town, residents and visitors wanting to inject a little culture into their lives have ample options. The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum will give you the warm and fuzzies for Texas. The Thinkery (former named Austin Children’s Museum) will have you feeling like a kid again. The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library will show you a world leader with a personality as big as the Lone Star State. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Drop into an Austin museum, and spend as much time as you like experiencing all it has to offer. Unless you’re still piddling around at 10 minutes to closing time, no one is going to rush you through.
7. Drive out for a day trip
With the Texas Hill Country is practically — and in some places literally — in our backyard, it’s no wonder Austinites frequently take day trips westward. The beautiful landscape is irresistible. Put your favorite songs through your car’s sound system, and head west. If you don’t know where to stop, peruse our Hill Country road trip guide for ideas guaranteed to make your trip special.
6. Tour the Central Library
Austin’s shiny Central Library was designed to be a community gathering point. This state-of-the-art facility is built on the fact that modern libraries are about so much more than books. As with any decent library, you’ll find plenty of spots for curling up with a good story. Guided tours are given Wednesdays and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m.
5. Allow your dog to run free
You need to take your dog on regular walks, so why not do it at a place you both can enjoy. Austin has several dog parks where your pooch can be off leash. We can recommend six perfect Austin dog parks sure to help you and Fido enjoy Austin’s natural beauty.
If you happen to meet someone, you have something to talk about — each other’s dogs. The conversation pieces are right there in front of you. No more struggling to find a subject matter that doesn’t die after a couple minutes.
4. Watch an intimate live music show
Gigantic music festivals draw in tourists by the planeload. For introverts, this scene can be overwhelming. What out-of-towners don’t know is that you can find spectacular live music in dive bars and smaller clubs. No, the acts won’t be the ACL headliners, but you’ll be impressed. In fact, some of Austin’s “local famous” musicians play small clubs on a weekly or monthly basis.
3. Visit the Wildflower Center
Nature-loving introverts have the perfect place to relax at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. This 279-acre preserve has grassy lawns, picnic tables, benches, swings, and walking paths for you to be alone with your thoughts and native Texas plants and wildlife.
2. Sip coffee with a friend at an independent coffeehouse
People go to chain restaurants and big box stores for consistency. Customers expect to get the same experience each time. Austinites generally prefer to break out of that mold. Trying new places gives customers new experiences and supports local businesses. If you want to meet a friend at a coffeehouse, try an independent place like Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, Genuine Joe’s Coffeehouse, and Cherrywood Coffeehouse. And if you’re in the search for Austin’s perfect mocha, we’ve got a head start on you.
1. Kayak on Lady Bird Lake
Kayaking is great exercise and a great excuse to be alone. Quiet and rhythmic paddle strokes soothe you as you glide across the water. When the weather is just right, you can find dozens of people rowing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake. Even if the lake is crowded, you have your vessel all to yourself … or with a friend if you use a two-seater. Rent a kayak from Rowing Dock for a quick and easy rental process.
Feature photo: Flickr user Earl McGehee, Creative Commons licensed.