Best Things to Do in Austin

Austin, the eccentric capital of Texas, offers many captivating experiences for visitors. From live music to outdoor adventures and culinary attractions, this dynamic and musical city has something to captivate every traveler. This list of Things to Do in Austin will explore some must-see attractions and activities that make Austin a unique, unforgettable destination. 

Top 10 Things to Do in Austin

  1. See a Live Show
  2. Go For a Swim at Barton Springs or Deep Eddy
  3. Blanton Museum of Art
  4. Rainey Street
  5. Grab some Iconic Barbecue
  6. Explore the City’s Sushi
  7. Allen’s Boots
  8. Go Shop for some Vinyl 
  9. Pease Park
  10. Go Dance at The White Horse

1. See a Live Show

Austin is a haven for live music fans, with a vibrant scene catering to various tastes.

Various music and comedy acts are performed every weekend at some of Austin’s most iconic local music venues and theaters.

Catch a comedy act at Comedy Mothership on East 6th, or discover your new favorite local rock band at the Empire Control Room & Garage.

There are plenty of venues to choose from, allowing for various diverse options across different genres.

In the Live Music Capital of the World, weekends in Austin promise an eclectic mix of entertainment that ensures there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Comedy Mothership:

320 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

Phone:

(512)610-5537

Empire Control Room:

606 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701

comedy mothership

 

2. Go for a Swim at Barton Springs or Deep Eddy Pool

Barton Springs:

2201 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78746

Phone:

(512)974-6300

Deep Eddy Pool:

401 Deep Eddy Ave, Austin, TX 78703

Phone:

(512)472-8546

As temperatures climb in Austin, nothing is better than a refreshing swim at the iconic Barton Springs Pool.

Barton Springs comprises four natural water springs at Barton Creek within Zilker Park in Austin, Texas, formed by water flow through the Edwards Aquifer.

The water stays around 68-70 degrees year-round, making it the perfect way to cool down.

Another great option is the Deep Eddy Pool in the idyllic Eilers Neighborhood Park. It is the largest artificial swimming pool in Texas and is typically the destination for locals when Barton Springs is closed for cleaning on Thursdays.

Adjacent to the turquoise, 33-yard-long pool is a Depression-era bath house built by the historic Works Progress Administration in the 1930s.

barton springs municipal pool

3. Blanton Museum of Art

Blanton Museum:

200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78712

Phone:

(512)471-5482

If you find yourself near the UT campus area, plan a visit to the Blanton Museum of Art.

This idyllic art museum is tucked behind Jester Dormitory, and it hosts a variety of rotating exhibits, a visually exciting atmosphere, and a patio.

Their top exhibition (which runs until June 30th), The Floating World, showcases art from Japan’s Edo period.

The best part is that visitors get free admission on Tuesdays, so keep that in mind! 

A giant lawn and patio join both sides of the museum, allowing visitors to lounge out and enjoy the fine weather while reflecting on the intricate and beautiful architecture surrounding them.

There are abstract, shady canopies designed by the iconic Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta that are aesthetically pleasing as much as practical.

Thus, the Blanton is filled with visually stunning art pieces outdoors and indoors, providing visitors with much to discover. 

Blanton Museum

4. Explore Rainey Street

Geraldine’s:

605 Davis St, Austin, TX 78701

Phone: 

(512)476-4755

Augustine:

86 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701

Phone:

(512)910-2100

Via 313:

96 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701

Phone:

(512)609-9405

Visitors looking for a drink should explore the historic Rainey Street, a renovated block bustling with a unique food and beverage culture and artistic flair.

Many establishments are housed in renovated historic residences, lending to a homey, vintage atmosphere. 

For an elegant, white-tablecloth dining experience with live music and stylish cocktails, go to the fourth floor of the iconic Hotel Van Zandt and try out Geraldine’s.

If you’re looking for an artsy, classy patio to lounge out and sip fruity cocktails, head to Augustine, located in the heart of the district.

When it’s all said and done, grab a slice of pizza from Via 313, a food truck dedicated to bringing Detroit-style pizza to Austin’s barflies.  Rainey Street

5. Try Some Iconic Barbecue 

Franklin’s BBQ:

900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702

Phone:

(512)653-1187

Sam’s BBQ:

2000 E 12th St, Austin, TX 78702

Phone: 

(512)478-0378

Austin is a mecca for those in the mood for saucy, smokey, fall-off-the-bone barbeque. Barbequehe City offers a variety of celebrated barbeque joints considered essential by local Austinites.

Franklin’s Barbeque 11th Street is one of them, attracting hundreds of visitors because of its delectable smoked brisket.

The lines for this spot usually wrap around the building, proving its quality. A street over, you can find the more low-key Sam’s BBQ, a no-frills stop for BBQ plates served with delectable sides.

This unsuspecting joint has earned its spot as an East Austin landmark, serving delicious meals to locals since the 1940s.

Historically, this Black-owned eestablishment’slocation is a byproduct of Austin’s1928 Master Plan, a racial segregation strategy that relegated Black and Brown Austinites to the Eastside of the city.

As developers sweep in and rob East Austin of its culture, Sam’s BBQ remains the same, refusing to sell out, even after receiving a $5 million offer for the 12th Street property.

Thus, Sam’sis is a must-have for those wishing to taste old Austin.  Sam's BBQ

6. Try out the City’sSushi Scene

Lucky Robot:

1303 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Phone:

(512)444-8081

Uchi:

801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

Phone:

(512)916-4808

Sushi Junai:

1612 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701

Phone:

(512)322-2428

Austin has a creative, eccentric sushi scene, offering various dining options for even the most seasoned sushi and omakase connoisseurs.

For an idyllic date night, head to Lucky Robot, a romantic, cozy restaurant featuring a daily sashimi menu, craft cocktails, and robot-inspired rolls. 

For something more lowkey and affordable, try Sushi Junai off Lavaca and grab the All-You-Can-Eat special. Oh, and of course, the iconic Uchi, a brainchild of chef Tyson Cole.

Each restaurant has its unique culinary vision that implores you to explore them all. Sushi Junai

7. Shop at Allen’sBoots

AAllen’sBoots

1522 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Phone:

(512)447-1413

Western wear is necessary if you’re trying to channel the Austin spirit.

Visitors searching for bespoke leather cowboy boots or belts and other kinds of apparel should head to Allen’ sBoots, a western wear store located on South Congress, marked by an unmissable red cowboy boot sign. 

Since the 1970s, Allen’s has been dedicated to supplying Austin with quality cowboy boots, thus becoming an integral part of the city’s fashion culture.

Thousands of boots line the establishment’s walls, the air thick with the smell of genuine leather.

The store also houses a Wall of Fame showcasing the celebrities and public figures who purchased a pair of iconic boots for themselves.

Thus, this makes for a great souvenir spot for visitors to immerse themselves in Austin’s fashion customs.

Allen's Boots

8. Flip Through Some Vinyl

AAntone’sRecords:

2928 Guadalupe St #101, Austin, TX 78705

Phone:

(512)322-0660

Waterloo Records:

600 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

Phone:

(512)474-2500

Unsurprisingly, the Live Music Capital of the World is also home to record stores and music shops.

These shops are all extremely curated and vast, with various items in stock ranging from underground, independent acts to classic hit albums. 

Antone’s Records off of Guadalupe is a great place to start your crate-digging if you’re into local artists.

Check out Waterloo Records on North Lamar if you want a more extensive selection. Those searching for an independent storefront with a curated collection of modern and vintage albums should check out Exploded Records above the Juiceland on Guadalupe and 28th.

Thus, Austin is a dream destination for those who love analog music and nostalgic media.

Antone's Records

9. Pease Park

1100 Kingsbury St, Austin, TX 78703

Phone:

(512)842-9018

Austin locals like to lounge in style at Pease Park in central Austin.

The park celebrates Austin’s unique ecology. It is a luxurious, green oasis that provides sanctity and fresh air to local urban dwellers.

Across the 84 acres, there is green space filled with winding trails, playgrounds, fountains, and a giant rope hammock. 

A beloved community gathering space, Pease Park hosts various events, concerts, and classes. It is also an excellent place for children, hosting events like kid’s yoga and other enriching activities.

Food trucks and concessions surround the park if you’re in the mood for a snowcone.  Pease Park

10. Go Dancing at the White Horse

500 Comal St, Austin, TX 78702

Phone:

(512)553-6756

Austin loves country music, meaning dance floors are abundant in the city. Visitors should dust off their dancing shoes and head over to the White Horse, a honky tonk and bar on the city’s Eastside.

This spot is known for its spunky, upbeat atmosphere, cheap covers, and live country music. 

Get ready to line dance, or at least attempt to. After you’ve danced to your heart’s content and worked up a sufficient appetite, try Bomb Tacos, the late-night food truck located outside the dance hall, for a proper nightcap.

Go Dancing at the White Horse

Conclusion:

Things to Do in Austin has it all, whether you’re seeking a lively music scene, a refreshing dip in a natural pool, or a deep dive into the city’s art and culture.

This diverse and eclectic city is a gem, offering many experiences catering to every interest and taste.

By immersing yourself in the local culture, indulging in the delectable cuisine, and exploring the city’s many hidden gems, you can create lasting memories and discover why Austin is a beloved destination for travelers worldwide.

Explore the heart of Texas like a true local with this guide.