Top 10 Things to Do in Austin

Want to be greeted with “Howdy ma’am?” Well, head out straight to Texas honey, ‘cause there isn’t any better place for that in the world.

In this post, I’m taking you to the capital of Texas – Austin. Austin is situated in central Texas and has a population of around 790,400. It is the fourth largest city in the state of Texas and 14th most populated city in the USA.

The residents of Austin are known as Austinities. You may have heard of Austin as the “Weird City,” the name it has acquired a couple of years ago, through the campaign “Keep Austin Weird.” This has become the city’s motto, promoting its diversity and eccentricity.  Austin is also known as the “Clean Air City,” because smokers are banished from all public places, and restaurants.

So, how would you like to visit the “Weird City?” I’d say that the name sounds promising. Here are the top 10 things to do, if you ever find yourself there. Don’t worry, not all of them are weird.

1. Zilker Botanical Gardens


Often called “the jewel in the heart of Austin,” Zilker Botanical Gardens spread across 30 acres of sheer beauty. Dive into the amazing world of flowers and plants. And don’t forget your antihistamine if you’re allergic, for this place is blooming.

Go see the Rose Garden – it doesn’t matter if you really like roses or not, this place is amazing anyway. For a spiky adventure visit the Cactus and Succulent Garden and if you’re travelling with your kids – Children’s Garden is the place you must not miss.

Finish your tour in the relaxing Japanese Garden. Besides the plants, this garden is also a home to some beautiful koi fish, which complete the Japanese impression of the place. For more information visit Zilker Botanical Garden.

2. Barton Springs Pool

hamilton pool state park

While you’re in the neighborhood, would you care for a swim? Barton Springs Pool is located in the Zilker Park, close to the Zilker Botanical Garden. It is the most popular place in Austin during the warm months.

Barton Springs Pool is a place for couples who are looking for some fun, as well as for families looking for a family friendly holiday with their kids. The Pool itself is three acres of water, fed from underground springs, that stays cool throughout the year. No matter how hot it is outside – this place will cool you down.

3. Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

This is the place for all those who love nature. It was originally designed as an outside laboratory of the St. Edwards University, but to a common man it is a wonderful public park with miles of beautiful trails.

The trails are open daily and the maps could be found in the Environmental Educational Center. Picnics, bicycles or pets are not allowed and the entrance is paid in donations – suggested donations are 3$ for adults and 2$ for children and seniors. You will be advised to leave the plants and animals in peace and to simply enjoy the beauties of the Preserve. For more information visit Wild Basin.

4. Blanton Museum of Art


Are you looking for some art and history? Visit the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. Working hours are 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Friday, 11am – 5pm on Saturdays and 1pm – 5pm on Sundays. The entrance fee is 9$ for adults, 7$ for seniors and 5$ for college students and young people aged 13-21. Children can enter for free, and Thursday is the free entrance day for all visitors.

The museum is the home of a massive art collection that spans through several centuries, and three continents. After the visit you could rest, and recharge in the museum café or visit the museum shop at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and Congress Avenue in the museum’s Edgar A. Smith Building.

5. Texas Memorial Museum

Want to learn something about the dinosaurs that once inhabited Texas? The Texas Memorial Museum offers you this, and a lot more things to see.

Visit the Hall of Geology and Paleontology where you will see the dinosaurs, and even talk directly to the scientists, while they are working with specimens in the Paleo lab. The Great Hall holds the highlights of the museum, and The Hall of Texas Wildlife will give you an insight into animals that live in Texas.

The Hall of Biodiversity is an interactive learning center where you can learn about the latest science discoveries in biological evolution. Don’t miss the outdoor exhibitions – they are way too cool. Find out more about Texas Memorial Museum on this link.

6. Austin Carriage

For all those who are travelling in couples, and looking for some romance in Austin – the thing to do is rent a carriage to ride you through Austin downtown. The rides are also suitable for non-couples and larger groups, but it is your own fault if you end up looking silly.

The prices range from 50$ for a 30 minute ride to 125$ to a complete 75 minute downtown Austin ride. However, these prices are for paying in cash and there is an additional cost of 10$ if you’re paying with check or a credit card. Check out the rides and offers on the official website of Austin Carriage.

7. The Nightmare Factory

If you’re planning your trip to Austin by the end of September, you do not want to miss the Nightmare Factory. They are only open from the end of September, to Halloween, but this is the right place to be during that time.

It’s best to go on Sundays because you can get two tickets for the price of one (it’s generally a bit expensive). DO NOT bring your kids with you, because this is not your backyard cheesy haunted house and you WILL be scared. A plus side – you can get your Halloween costume right there in the shop.

8. Hippie Hollow Park


Doubted the whole “Weird City” thing? Well, doubt no more, because we are heading straight to one very weird place in Austin, Texas. It’s called the Hippie Hollow Park and it has a certain dress code – it is “clothing is optional.”

Yup, you’ve read it right. This park in northwest Austin is the only legally recognized clothing-optional public park in the State of Texas. The park became very popular in the 1960s and it still has that popularity today.

The first Sundays in May and September each year are known as Splash Days, sponsored by Austin’s gay and lesbian community. These two days are very popular among the gay and lesbian communities, while during the rest of the year you can see both clothed and unclothed people of both sexes here. How would you like to be one of them?

9. Rock – About Climbing

For all those who are feeling a bit adventurous while in Austin – do not miss Rock – About Climbing Course and Adventures. The classes are suitable for beginners as well as for professionals, so you’ll certainly fit in.

Choose between individual or group classes and between several places where you could begin your climbing adventure. Rock – About Climbing will fulfill all of your vertical dreams. For more information about the courses, visit Rock – About Climbing official website.

10. Food and Drinks

You haven’t really been to a place unless you get to try the local food and drinks. And here is where Austin really has a lot to offer. The city is popular for great barbeque, and you should try it.

Franklin Barbeque in 900 E 11th St., Austin, TX 78702 is one of the most popular places. The lines here are huge, and people wait for hours to be able to try their famous brisket. They all agree that it is worth waiting.

Austin is also famous for great Mexican cuisine and you’ll find some of its best in La Condesa restaurant in 400 W 2nd St. Austin, TX 78701. Don’t forget to try the margaritas here, they are absolutely delicious.

When it comes to drinks – tequilas and beer are definitely a thing you must try in Austin. But I’m warning you – you’re the only one responsible for how much you’ll drink, I’m only giving the suggestions.

These are my top 10 things to do in Austin. Add them to the list of things you plan to do on your trip, and have a wonderful time.

If you have a different favorite that’s not on this list, please let me know – I’d like to try it next time I’m in Austin.

About the author


I’m a free spirit who likes to travel, cook and fly. Licensed paraglider pilot, I spend all my spare time flying. In the meantime, I like to share my recipes and travel experiences.

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  • This is a really cool list! my only problem is the picture of Barton Springs. While the picture is beautiful, it’s actually Hamilton pool. Which is a good 30 min away from Barton Springs. That’s another really nice attration though!