Did you know approximately 27.4 million domestic travelers visit Austin, TX each year? With the city’s booming popularity, this number will only continue to grow. As a result, it leaves people wondering what the best things to do in Austin are.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of exciting activities, destinations, and attractions in Austin! Check out these 20 things to do in Austin for your upcoming trip.
20 Things to Do in Austin You Can’t Miss
1. Visit the Austin Aquarium
Since 2014, the Austin Aquarium has been a city staple, introducing visitors to thousands of animal species ranging from sharks to lemurs. Visitors can sign up for an animal encounter, browse the mesmerizing exhibits, and learn more about underwater ecosystems and animals from the knowledgeable aquarists on staff.
To make the most of your visit, buy your tickets ahead of time, skip the line, and save!
2. Take a Twisted Texas Tour
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Keep Austin Weird,” right? This is the tour company that keeps that promise! Twisted Texas tours are packed with local sights, incredible photo opportunities, and unbeatable fun. You can choose from brewery tours, live music tours, brunch tours, and more! It’s the perfect option for bachelor/bachelorette parties or a night out on the town.
3. See the Congress Bridge Bats
One of the most enchanting things to do in Austin is to see the Congress Bridge Bats. From about March to October each year, around one million bats congregate at the bridge around sunset. This incredible natural sight is not to be missed if you’re visiting Austin. Try to find a spot around the east side of the bridge for the best views!
4. Stroll the Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake
If you’re searching for excellent views of the Austin skyline or want a great way to be active while exploring the city, take a stroll along the Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake. Along the way, keep your eyes open for turtles and other wildlife, as well as public art displays! A trip along the Boardwalk is the perfect way to break up a day full of sightseeing and tourist activities.
5. Sip and Sample at Austin’s Wineries
While Napa and Sonoma Valley may get all the press, Austin, Texas is home to a bunch of award-winning wineries and vineyards. Sign up for a wine tour or embark on your own adventure to top wineries such as:
- The Austin Winery
- Bent Oak Winery
- Hawk’s Shadow Winery
- El Gaucho Winery
- Thirsty Mule Winery
Many of these wineries also offer free tours and sampling opportunities!
6. Catch a Show at Esther’s Follies
With 40+ years as an Austin, TX staple, you can’t pass up a chance to see a show at Esther’s Follies! This hilarious revue-style show features comedy, magic, satire, live music, and more. You’ll laugh so hard you’ll cry as the cast cracks joke after joke, all night long.
7. Explore Inner Space Cavern
Inner Space Cavern, located in Georgetown, TX, was hidden for more than 10,000 years before being discovered in 1963. Today, the cavern is open for tours and exploration, featuring lit passageways through the natural underground formations.
Guests can choose from a multitude of tours ranging in difficulty and adventure level. If you’re super daring (and not afraid of small spaces), check out the Wild Cave Tour!
8. Find All of Austin’s Murals
Austin, TX is a colorful city thanks to the numerous murals painted by local, regional, and nationally-renowned artists. Embark on a self-guided mural tour to find all of Austin’s vibrant walls and snap that Instagram-worthy selfie!
9. Stuff Your Face with BBQ
If there’s one thing the city is known for its BBQ. It should then come as no surprise that one of the best things to do in Austin, TX is to eat BBQ until you’re stuffed! A few of the top barbecue restaurants include:
It goes without saying but you better come to Austin hungry!
10. See a Concert
Nashville may be Music City, but Austin is a close second. Home to renowned festivals like SXSW and the Austin City Limits Music Festival along with historic music venues, there’s always the chance to catch a concert in Austin.
Check the concert lineup at these top venues during your Texas vacation:
If traveling to Austin with kids, be sure to check venue rules about age restrictions before purchasing tickets to a concert.
11. Visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum
Interested in learning all about Texas’ history? If so, a trip to the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin is right up your alley. From IMAX-3D movies to interactive exhibits, the museum is home to a wealth of educational activities for all ages. You’ll learn all about Texas’ notable events, figures, and landmarks at this one-of-a-kind state museum.
12. Chow Down at Food Truck Parks
Did you know Austin is ranked second in the US for the number of food trucks per capita? That means you have a LOT of options for food. The best place to catch a bite to eat at Austin’s top food trucks is at a food truck park.
13. Check Out the Iconic Desert Door Distillery
Desert Door is the first and only distillery in the country to produce sotol. Sotol is made from the desert spoon plant found and grown in West Texas. At their distillery, you can partake in expert-led tasting sessions complete with samples, a thorough education, and more. Or, opt for a tour of the facility! Either way, you’re in for a good time.
14. Grab a Brew at the Jester King Brewery
If beer is more your thing, one of the best things to do in Austin is sample the selection of craft beer at Jester King Brewery. On top of brewery tours and a tasting room, the facility hosts a multitude of public events including goat yoga, movie nights, and live music festivals. Check out their Events Calendar to see what fun events are happening during your Austin trip!
15. Tour the State Capitol Building
Austin is the state capital of Texas and its historic Capitol Building is stunning! Visitors can sign up for a free 30-45 minute tour of the building and learn more about Austin’s history, notable people, and architecture. Guests can also take self-guided tours if they so choose. The building also offers seasonal tours with varying topics including Halloween tours, Heroes of the Texas Revolution, and Texas Veterans.
16. Explore Zilker Park
Zilker Park is home to 350 acres of outdoor fun for Austin visitors and locals alike. This destination is the perfect place for those who love spending time outside! Visitors can swim in Barton Springs Pool, play sand volleyball, go kayaking, check out the botanical gardens, go hiking, ride the Zilker Zephyr Train, and so much more. Your entire group will find something to love at this iconic Austin park.
17. Climb to the Highest Point in Austin
With a 775-foot peak, Mount Bonnell is among the highest points in all of Austin. If you’re ready for an adventure, take all 102 steps up the side of the mountain. Don’t worry, the views at the top are worth the effort!
18. Visit the Museums at the University of Texas at Austin
On top of offering a world-class education, the University of Texas at Austin is home to a myriad of intriguing museums including the Harry Ransom Center, Blanton Museum of Art, Stark Center, Texas Memorial Museum, and more.
If you visit the campus for a game or event, take the time to check out a museum or two while you’re there!
19. Tour the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum
Among the many museums at the University of Texas at Austin is the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum. Once you step inside it’s not hard to see why many consider it among the best things to do in Austin! Tour the interactive and in-depth exhibits detailing everything from Motown’s history to the Vietnam Conflict.
20. Visit the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum
Exhibiting the work of Charles Umlauf and other notable sculptors, this outdoor garden and museum features numerous works of art. The perfectly landscaped gardens are a fantastic escape from the city life and ideal for those searching for a few quiet moments on their trip.
Best of all, the museum offers a variety of public events and classes including yoga, festivals, Family Days, and more!
Plan Your Trip to Austin, Texas
Ready to hop on a plane and take advantage of all the great things to do in Austin, TX? Book your activities and hotel with Tripster!