Whether you’re visiting on a business trip, seeing friends and family or exploring just for fun, Austin, Texas, is the new place to be. From classic barbecue joints to trendy oyster bars, you might not find a better city for foodies. Of course, you can’t forget all of the museums, bars, theaters and parks that “keep Austin weird,” either.
If you’re looking for some recommendations for your next trip to the state’s capital, keep reading for our list of the top things to do in Austin, Texas.
Things to Do in Austin
No visit to Austin is complete without checking out a few of the city’s best attractions:
The Continental Club
The Continental Club is a small dive bar that’s been around since 1955, famous for its live music every night of the week. The club helped launch the careers of several notable musicians, and books acts that play a wide variety of musical genres including roots, rockabilly, country, swing, rock and blues.
Barton Springs Municipal Pool
Within Zilker Park is one of the most fun things to do in Austin, Texas. The Barton Springs Municipal Pool is a large natural spring that maintains a comfortable temperature of 68-70 degrees. Austin is notorious for its sweltering heat, so the pool feels amazing during peak summer days.
Allens Boots is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. With over 4,000 cowboy boots in the store, you can smell the leather from the outside. Allens also sells belts, hats, leather jackets and other accessories you can pair together to make an entire outfit. Even if you don’t intend to buy anything, you may want to go just for the experience.
Lady Bird Lake
Kayaking, paddleboarding, walking your dog, fishing and bat-watching are only a few of the fun activities you can do when visiting Lady Bird Lake. This lake sits along the Colorado River, and its stunning view of the city makes it popular year-round. Whether you enjoy relaxing or want to do something active, Lady Bird Lake is a perfect place to visit.
The Moody Theater
The Moody Theater hosts Texas’s most famous concert series, Austin City Limits. Before the show, you can grab a drink or some food at the venue. Once you’re inside, you’ll get to see famous musicians play their music up-close and personal. Check out the performance calendar here.
If you’re more interested in seeing creative and crafty attractions in Austin, Wimberly Glassworks will probably be one of your favorite stops. Wimberly Glassworks is a hand-blown glass lighting and art glass studio. Feel free to enjoy their outdoor patio, tour their art installations or watch a live glass blowing demonstration.
A tourist favorite in any city is sightseeing. These tours come in all shapes and sizes, including double-decker bus tours, boat tours or self-guided walking tours. The Austin and Hill Country Sightseeing Tour covers 30 miles with over 50 attractions in 90 minutes.
Top Sights to See
If you don’t have enough time to participate in Austin’s best activities, you should try to fit a few sights into your schedule while you’re in town:
Congress Avenue Bridge
This bridge sits above Lady Bird Lake and is one of the top things to see in Austin, Texas. It’s a famous scenic spot for viewing Austin’s urban bat colony. Approximately 1.5 million bats fly out from underneath the bridge each night from the months of May through October.
Blanton Museum of Art
The Blanton Museum of Art is located at The University of Texas and has an extensive collection of art. A prominent part of the museum experience is walking through the front doors and seeing Teresita Fernandez’s “Stacked Waters” covering the entire atrium, making it feel like you are submerged in water.
Rainey Street may not seem special from the outside, but you’ll want to head here when looking for a place to party with friends. The homes on Rainey were renovated and turned into bars and restaurants, making it the place to be after dark. There are tons of great nightlife spaces and food trucks to keep you up all night long.
If you love hiking and the outdoors, Mount Bonnell of Covert Park has stunning views. A staircase leads up to the overlook that views Lake Austin. This walk is perfect for all ages and skill levels, making it a wonderful way to spend a nice afternoon.
“I Love You So Much” Mural
One of the top attractions to see in Austin, Texas, is the famed “I Love You So Much” mural. If you love mural art, you may want to consider doing a whole mural tour, stopping here along the way. It’s turned into the most famous street corner in Austin, with people lining up down the street just to get a picture.
Cathedral of Junk
The Cathedral of Junk, completely invisible from the street, is a structure built from used furniture and other miscellaneous items. It’s estimated to contain over 60 tons of junk, making the structure a unique art installment.
Best Places to Eat
What’s a trip to Austin without grabbing a bite to eat? Here are a few of the best places to eat in Austin, Texas:
Franklin Barbecue is arguably Austin’s most famous barbecue joint. The line is typically out the door, so if you want to stop here, you’ll have to come early. Luckily, you can now preorder up to six weeks ahead of time as long as you order at least 3 pounds of food, so you may want to do that if you’re in a rush.
Guero’s Taco Bar
Guero’s Taco Bar is a popular Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin. If you want a table, you’ll have to show up early — a two-hour wait isn’t unusual on the weekends. However, they have a self-serve salsa bar you can enjoy with a margarita while you wait.
Odd Duck is known for serving traditional Texas dishes with a twist. Two of Odd Duck’s most popular dishes include their pork belly sandwich and their goat chili Frito pie.
If you’re looking for a late dinner, Justine’s Brasserie is the place to be. The kitchen doesn’t close until 1:30 a.m, serving classic French dishes. This could be the perfect place to end your night out.
Slab BBQ & Beer
Slab BBQ & Beer is known for its huge barbecue sandwiches. This restaurant is completely casual, so if you’re looking for a nice, chill place to relax during a long day of work or sightseeing, Slab is the place to be. Check out their delicious selection of smoky barbecue sauces that go great with their smoked meat sandwiches.
If you like trying new things, you should add Barley Swine to your list. Barley Swine uses local ingredients to create unique dishes on a constantly rotating menu.
la Barbecue is yet another fantastic Austin barbecue spot. This restaurant specifically specializes in Central Texas-style barbecue, so if you’re doing a barbecue tour of Austin, you’ll definitely want to include it in your experience.
Clark’s Oyster Bar
Clark’s Oyster Bar is a trendy spot that always has people visiting for a meal. It’s perfect for a wide variety of events, whether a business meeting or a late-night date. The oysters are flown in daily, so even though Austin is a few hours inland, you can enjoy a delicious seafood spread.
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