- June 11, 2015

11 Indoor Activities Perfect For Rainy Days In Austin

It’s raining, y’all! Sadly, you know what this means: No, you cannot go play outside (unless you like getting soaked and messy). But, because every Austinite knows that the skies might not open back up and dump on us for a while, we’re going to make the best of it.

In cases like these, we use this handy list of 11 perfect indoor activities that will be your boredom umbrella (or your life jacket, in certain cases) until the storms pass… 

Book an Escape Game

This may actually be the best item on our list here, especially if you’ve got a house full of rambunctious people who need to blow off some energy. The Escape Game Austin will engage your body and mind as it immerses you into a real-life mystery adventure, tasking players to collaborate on finding clues that will lead to their eventual escape. With five uniquely themed games to choose from, you’ll have plenty of adventure to choose from and take part in.

We recently played their game “The Heist” that had us trying to recover a stolen art masterpiece and had a total blast! We did everything from scouring fine art with magnifying glasses to using secret maps and a black light to reveal cryptic messages; from uncovering hidden panels behind wall-sized bookshelves to bouncing lasers off mirrors (Indiana Jones-style) to unlock a secret area (shh!). We can’t wait to go back and try the other games and definitely recommend this as the perfect activity for occupying your group’s time on a rainy day.

Let’s nerd our way out of this muddy mess.

OutRun car racing game pinballz arcade old school

OutRun the storms at Pinballz Arcade. Photo: Flickr user Conor Lawless, CC licensed.

When it pours, unashamed nerds everywhere flood into Austin’s best local arcades and comic book stores to escape the rain in the form of geeking out. Wade on into Pinballz Arcade if you’re all about variety, but if you dig old school Japanese arcade games, you should make Arcade UFO your storm shelter of choice. If you like to read comic books on rainy days, grab a new issue at Capstone Comics or Austin Books and Comics. But for the total storm escapism package, slog your way over to Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy or Tribe Comics and Games, which are essentially a slices of heaven for comic, RPG, and board game fanatics.

Pinballz Arcade: 8940 Research Blvd. 512-420-8458. Open Mon – Thurs 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., Fri – Sat 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sun 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Website

Arcade UFO: 3101 Speedway. 512-380-1725. Open Mon – Thurs 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., Fri – Sat 1 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sun 1 p.m. to 12 a.m. Website

Capstone Comics: 1745 W Anderson Ln. 512-339-4251. Open Mon, Thurs – Sat 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tues 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wed 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun 12 to 6 p.m. Website

Austin Books and Comics: 5002 N Lamar Blvd. 512-454-4197. Open Mon – Tues, Thurs – Fri 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wed 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sun 12 to 6 p.m. Website

Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy: 2438 W Anderson Ln B1. 512-454-2399. Open Thurs – Tues 10 a.m. to 12 a.m., Wed. 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. Website

Tribe Comics and Games: 3005 S Lamar Blvd. 512-693-4300. Open Mon – Fri 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Website.Austin

Sweet music can soothe your stormy soul.

album new rainy day waterloo records headphones music curl up

Just relax, friend. Photo: Flickr user Alexandre Normand, CC licensed.

Stressed or annoyed by the rain? Slightly deficient in vitamin D from the cloudiness? In these dark and dreary days, you need to take care of yourself. What’s our prescription? Music, of course. Head into Waterloo Records & Video and treat yourself to a new album. Like only a local company would, Waterloo will happily allow you to listen to entire CDs on-site before you purchase them to ensure that you are totally satisfied with your choices. Waterloo’s “Our Picks” list is a excellent place to start your search.

Maybe you’d rather see a concert? Use this handy list to locate your favorite live music venues and figure out who’s playing when. Another great way to discover new bands and get the show lineup scoop is to check with us each Thursday and read our very own Lauren Gribble’s Aus10 Live and Aus10 Rocks lists, featuring top 10 show recommendations for the upcoming weekend and lovingly cultivated playlists, respectively.

Expert tip: Subscribe to our mailing list from our homepage to get Aus10 Live and Aus10 Rocks and other timely articles delivered directly to your inbox!

Waterloo Records & Video: 600A N Lamar Blvd. 512-474-2500. Open Mon – Sat 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Website.Austin

Erudite? Find a good book and a comfy nook!

reading good book read nook rain rain go away come again another day

He’s got the right idea. Photo: Flickr user bp6316, CC licensed.

Austin may be known for its numerous live music venues and record stores, but we also have some amazing libraries and local bookstores at our disposal as well. As far as libraries go, Austin Public Library is doing things right; they operate 21 individual branches, a history center, and a recycled book store, on top of maintaining a prolific events schedule with programs for all ages and an extensive virtual catalog for those who would prefer to read from the comfort of home. The LBJ Presidential Library is a great place to brush up on your knowledge of local heroes Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson. If you’re into rare and research-oriented books, spend some time at UT’s Harry Ransom Center for a nice fix.

The go-to feminist bookstore in town is BookWoman, although politically-charged shops like Monkeywrench Books and Brave New Books stock plenty of feminist texts as well, if that’s your thing. Above all, we highly recommend visiting BookPeople, a shop on Lamar that has been providing Austinites with great reads of all genres since 1970 and is easily ATX’s favorite independent bookstore. They’ve even got book clubs, a webstore, a snug on-site cafe, a consignment program, and a massage chair!

Austin Public Library: 21 ATX locations. Hours vary. Website.

LBJ Presidential Library: 2313 Red River St. 512-721-0200. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Website.

Harry Ransom Center: 300 W 21st St. 512-471-8944. Open Mon – Wed, Fri 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thurs 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat – Sun 12 to 5 p.m. Website.

Monkeywrench Books: 110 N Loop Blvd E. 512-407-6925. Open Mon – Fri 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat – Sun 12 to 6 p.m. Website.

BookWoman: 5501 N Lamar Blvd A-105. 512-472-2785. Open Mon – Sat 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun 12 to 6 p.m. Website.

Brave New Books: 1904 Guadalupe St Suite B. 512-480-2503. Open Mon – Sat 12 to 9 p.m., Sun 12 to 6 p.m. Website.

BookPeople: 603 N Lamar Blvd. 512-472-5050. Open daily 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Website.Austin

Don’t let a little rain stop you, Ms. Adventure.

iFly indoor skydiving adventure sky venture austin

Ms. Adventure tries indoor skydiving. Photo: Flickr user Groupon, CC licensed.

We’re willing to bet that you outdoorsy, adventurous types are feeling more than slightly stir-crazy. Don’t let Mother Nature steal your thunder! There are plenty of indoor Austin activities that you can do to expend some of your pent-up energy and experience that adrenaline rush you’re dreaming about.

Want to go skydiving? It’s totally possible inside, thanks to iFly, a company who uses wind tunnels and aerodynamic flight suits to simulate the exhilarating feeling of true skydiving. You’ll experience a similar rush if you spend a day at one of Austin Rock Gym’s two facilities. For $15, you can learn bouldering at the North gym — which regulars affectionately refer to as the NARG — or classic indoor wall climbing at the SARG. Make sure to factor in $12 for gear rental into your adventure budget unless you have your own climbing shoes, harness, and belay device.

Are you competitive? First suggestion: check out The Goodnight. This bar + bowling center hybrid offers bowling, pool, table tennis, board games, shuffleboard, dinner, drinks, karaoke, and more. You might also drag several of your friends along with you to play laser tag and arcade games, gorge yourself on pizza, and navigate your way through an aerial ropes course at Blazer Tag Adventure Center. Finally, consider taking a Israeli Krav Maga course at The Mat Austin. Learning self defense can be a huge confidence booster and provides a killer workout!

iFly: 13265 N Hwy 183. 512-774-4359. Open Mon – Fri 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sat – Sun 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Website.

The Goodnight: 2700 W Anderson Ln #101. 512-459-5000. Open Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Fri – Sat 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Website.

Blazer Tag Adventure Center: 1701 W Ben White Blvd. 512-462-0202. Open Mon 4 to 9 p.m., Thurs 4 to 10 p.m., Fri 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Sun 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Website.

The Mat Austin: 12617 Ridgeline Blvd. 512-520-5997. ScheduleWebsite.

Austin Rock Gym: 4401 Freidrich Ln #300. 512-416-9299. Open Mon – Wed, Fri 3 to 10 p.m., Thurs 3 p.m. – 12 a.m., Sat 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sun 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Website.

Do not panic, as there are plenty of ways to entertain bored little goblins.

thinkery kids children fun indoor games play science museum

Crisis averted! Photo: Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones, CC licensed.

Face it — your kids are cute, but they’re dangerous when they’re bored. Before they transform into gremlins and tear your house apart, get out. Dress ’em up in rain jackets, load ’em into the van, and cart ’em somewhere they’ll learn, laugh, run themselves into the ground (in the best of ways), and fall fast asleep on the car ride home.

Formerly known as the Austin Children’s Museum, The Thinkery is guaranteed to delight your kids’ minds and invigorate their imaginations. In fact, this museum’s elaborate and interactive science, art, technology, and math exhibits not only entertains kids, but it also teaches them that learning and problem solving can be really fun! For help navigating The Thinkery, check out the Statesman’s amazing guide.

When it’s raining, you can’t really take your kid to a classic outdoor playground — so why not take them to an indoor playground like Mount Playmore or Jumpstreet instead? Mount Playmore is a locally owned and operated facility that features a gigantic playscape, an arcade, a kid-friendly restaurant, and 1400 square feet of sequestered toddler play area. Jumpstreet specializes in all things bouncy and provides the young at heart with opportunities to do traditional trampoline jumping, play dodgeball, practice safe stunt jumps, a ride mechanical bull, and play in the arcade.

The Thinkery: 1830 Simond Ave. 512-469-6200. Open Tues – Fri 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat – Sun 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Website.

Mount Playmore: 13609 N IH35. Phone. Open Sun – Mon, Wed – Thurs 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fri – Sat 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Website.

Jumpstreet: 12617 Ridgeline Blvd, Suite B. 512-506-8583. Open Sun – Thurs 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri – Sat 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Website.Austin

Call them gloomy, but cloudy days do have a way of encouraging reflection.

Blanton Art Museum history center lbj texas military forces mexic arte

A boy dreams up future masterpieces at the Blanton. Photo: Flickr user amy gizienski, CC licensed.

You might not particularly enjoy drizzly days like Portland natives, but you have to admit: it’s easy to be pensive when it’s cloudy outside. As the rain comes down, you may prefer to curl up in a chair by the window, ponder life’s mysteries, and all that, but if you want to be out and about, visiting a history or art museum would be a great way to spend your day.

As the Capital of Texas, Austin’s got more than enough history to go around. Together, The Bullock Texas State History Museum, The Texas Military Forces Museum, UT’s Texas Memorial Museum, and The Republic of Texas Museum, will give you a holistic run-down of Texas’ colorful roots, while the Austin History Center provides the opportunity to learn about Austin’s past, specifically. Two awesome museums that every self-respecting Austinite must visit at some point are the South Austin Popular Culture Center and the Texas Music Museum, since both are focused around Austin’s rich musical heritage.

With regards to art, gallery-hopping between venues like Yard DoggrayDUCK, and The Contemporary Austin is the best method for admiring locally-flavored modern art, but if your tastes run more toward the classics, the Blanton Museum of Art is where you’ll feel most at home. Now, if you’re the type who likes to explore off the beaten path, or the type who likes to mix your art with your history, visit the O. Henry Museum, where you’ll learn about the life and times of Austin’s own famous writer, or the Elisabet Ney Museum, the former studio and residence of an independent lady who worked as a sculptress long before women were widely accepted as artists.

Bullock Texas State History Museum: 1800 Congress Ave. 512-936-8746. Open Mon – Sat 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun 12 to 5 p.m. Website.

Texas Military Forces Museum: 2200 W 35th St. 512-782-5659. Open Tues – Sun 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Website.

Texas Memorial Museum: 2400 Trinity St. 512-471-1604. Open Tues – Sat 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Website.

The Republic of Texas Museum: 510 E Anderson Ln. 512-339-1997. Open Mon – Fri 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Website.

Austin History Center: 810 Guadalupe St. 512-974-7480. Open Tues – Sat 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun 12 to 6 p.m. Website.

South Austin Popular Culture Center: 1516-B S Lamar Blvd. 512-440-8318. Open Thurs – Sun 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Website.

Texas Music Museum: 1009 E 11th St. 512-472-8891. Open Mon – Fri 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Website.

Blanton Museum of Art: 200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. 512-471-7324. Open Tues – Fri 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun 1 to 5 p.m. Website.

Yard Dog: 1510 S Congress Ave. 512-912-1613. Open Mon – Fri 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun 12 to 5 p.m. Website.

grayDUCK: 2213 E Cesar Chavez St. 512-826-5334. Open Thurs – Sat 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun 12 to 5 p.m. Website.

The Contemporary Austin: Jones Center — 700 Congress Ave. 512-453-5312. Open Tues – Sat 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sun 12 to 5 p.m.; Laguna Gloria — 3809 W 35th St. 512-458-8191. Villa open Tues – Sun 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Grounds open Tues-Sat 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Website.  

O. Henry Museum: 409 E 5th St. 512-472-1903. Open Wed – Sun 12 to 5 p.m. Website.

Elisabet Ney Museum: 304 E 44th St. 512-458-2255. Open Wed – Sun 12 to 5 p.m. Website.Austin

Maybe if we laugh at the storms, they’ll leave us alone…?

esther's follies comedy house show theatre theater production play funny laugh

Austin Comedy Fest attracts tons of funny folks to ATX each spring. Photo: Flickr user Miss Wright, CC licensed.

With severe thunderstorm after severe thunderstorm slamming into Austin throughout May, we’ve all been a little on edge, expecting flood waters, golf ball-sized hailstones, and tornadoes to wreak havoc in our own neighborhoods at any minute. Comedy clubs like Esther’s Follies and The Velveeta Room will have the stress rolling off in waves, and they’ll stuff you full of awesome eats and drinks while they’re at it. We’ve got a number of awesome classic theatres and production venues around town as well. ZACH Theatre, Paramount & Stateside Theatres, the Long Center for the Performing Arts, and the Texas Performing Arts Center all maintain year-round program schedules for folks looking to learn, listen, and laugh.

But hey, maybe you’re not in the mood for comedy. If that’s the case, why not buy tickets to see something epic, like a film at the Bob Bullock IMAX Theatre? And if you’d like to dine and drink while you watch, there’s no better place to kick back than the infamous Alamo Drafthouse.

Esther’s Follies: 525 E 6th St. 512-320-0553. Schedule. Website.

The Velveeta Room: 521 E 6th St. 512-469-9116. Schedule. Website.

ZACH Theatre: 1510 Toomey Rd. 512-476-0541. Schedule. Website.

Paramount & Stateside Theatres: 713 Congress Ave. 512-472-5470. Schedule. Website.

The Long Center for the Performing Arts: 701 W Riverside Dr. 512-474-5664. Schedule. Website.

Texas Performing Arts Center: 2350 Robert Dedman Dr. 512-471-2787. Schedule. Website.

Bob Bullock IMAX Theatre: 1800 Congress Ave. 512-936-4629. Schedule. Website.

Alamo Drafthouse: 6 ATX locations. Showings vary by venue. Website.Austin

Looks like you’ve worked up quite an appetite.

salt lick bar-b-que bbq barbecue county line brisket cole slaw beans sausage sauce potato salad

The Salt Lick never disappoints. Photo: Flickr user Carlos Pacheco, CC licensed.

Stuffing your face with amazing Austin eats is never a bad idea. If rain puts you in the mood for breakfast food, you know exactly where to go: Kerbey Lane Cafe, where queso + pancakes = pure and utter bliss. Skip Franklin and Stubb’s this time, since eating at either generally involves waiting for hours outside to get in; instead, for good old fashioned Texas barbecue, get to The County Line or The Salt Lick by any means necessary. If you have a hankering for burgers and ice cream, make your way over to Sandy’s Hamburgers near Auditorium Shores or the Phil’s Icehouse and Amy’s Ice Creams conglomerate on Burnet Rd. Pizza, you say? Try a Nature’s Choice or Lonestar pie from Promise Pizza — you won’t regret it!

And don’t you think for one minute that you have to forsake food trailers on rainy days. You just need to find trucks with covered outdoor seating, such as the ones parked at South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery. There, you’ll find Torchy’s Tacos, Conscious Cravings, and Holy Cacao, as well as a magnificent covered pavilion complete with picnic tables, couches, ceiling fans and heaters, foosball, ping pong, a flat screen TV, and more.

Kerbey Lane Cafe: 7 ATX locations. Hours vary by location, but generally open 24/7. Website.

The County Line: On the Hill — 6500 Bee Cave Rd. 512-327-1742. Open Mon – Thurs, Sun 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri – Sat 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; On the Lake — 5204 FM 2222. 512-346-3664. Open Sun 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mon 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tues – Thurs 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sat 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Website.

The Salt Lick: 3350 E Palm Valley Blvd (Round Rock). 512-386-1044. Open Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri – Sat 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Website.

Sandy’s Hamburgers: 603 Barton Springs Rd. 512-478-6322. Open daily 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Website.

Phil’s Icehouse: 5620 Burnet Rd (2 other ATX locations). 512-524-1212. Open Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri – Sat 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Website.

Amy’s Ice Creams: 5624 Burnet Rd (12 other ATX locations). 512-538-2679. Open Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fri – Sat 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Website.

South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery: 1311 S 1st St. Open daily, hours vary by trailer. Website.

You’re looking a bit parched, too.

draughthouse austin beerworks brewery brewpub craft beer black star co-op

Draughthouse does it right. Photo: Flickr user nateClicks, CC licensed.

Want drinks? Rather than cavort down waterlogged 6th or Rainey, take a sit and savor craft beers at one of Austin’s favorite brewpubs. Take it from us — you really can’t go wrong with anything from Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery, Draughthouse Pub & Brewery, and Austin Beerworks’ Taproom. Along with its drinks, Black Star serves its patrons standard Texas pub fare made with fresh, sustainable ingredients sourced from local farmers and ranchers, and is known for its pet-friendly patio and Geeks Who Drink trivia quiz nights. Draughthouse and Austin Beerworks both host a rotating assortment of local food trucks out in their parking lots, so check the schedules on the breweries’ websites to see which trailers will be there before you go.

Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery: 7020 Easy Wind Dr. 512-452-2337. Open Mon 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Tues – Thurs, Sun 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Fri – Sat 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Website.

Draughthouse Pub & Brewery: 4112 Medical Pkwy. 512-452-6258. Open Mon – Thurs 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Fri – Sun 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Website.

Austin Beerworks – Taproom: 3009 Industrial Terrace. 512-821-2494. Open Thurs 5 to 9 p.m., Fri 5 to 11 p.m., Sat – Sun 1 to 7 p.m. Website.Austin

Now get out there and keep it weird, kids!

keep austin weird drunk wasted hippie hat beard rain poncho

Maybe you don’t mind the rain, like this dude. Photo: Flickr user Incase, CC licensed.

Assuming you don’t want to buy a hippie hat, craft a nifty trash bag rain poncho, and do some “for the love of Texas, rain, stop!” dancing and drinking like this guy, there are a number of indoor activities available throughout the city that will allow you to let loose your inner weirdo.

Your first stop should definitely be one of Austin’s two most beloved, quirkiest toy stores: Monkey See Monkey Do! and Toy Joy. No matter your age or sensibilities, you’re guaranteed to find something that tickles your fancy on their shelves. Next, slosh on over to Museum of the Weird, whose collection of exhibits and oddities will make you face the facts: you’re probably not very weird. Not really. Not like this. Finally, take this time to buy some crazy trinkets at Uncommon Objects or Lucky Lizard Curios & Gifts to spruce up your own home or to gift to your buddy, who just moved into a new 10′ x 10′ micro-home in Hyde Park, as his first taste of authentic Austin culture.

Now, if you do decide to play in puddles or go for a run in the rain, just make sure there’s no flash flooding or lightning when you venture out there, folks. If you plan to drive, check weather predictions and road closings before you leave. Be weird, not dumb!

And hey, as you plan your next great indoor adventure, consider saving a little cash to help out central Texas flood victims via the Austin Disaster Relief Network. These guys have a good thing going!


Featured photo: Flickr user Sanjoy Ghosh, CC licensed.