When you Google top things to do in Austin, you’ll get 100 different results of the fun things to do and the exciting places to see. If you’re relocating to Austin and you’ll want to visit the city before you make your decision. If you want to know what it’s like to be a real Austinite, here is our list of top 10 things to do on your first visit to Austin.
1. Zilker Park, Barton Springs Pool and Town Lake
Zilker Park is to Austinties as Central Park is to New Yorkers. It’s the crown jewel of the city and a favorite destination for hikers, bikers, joggers, swimmers, families and a just about anyone that calls themselves a true Austinite.
This 351 acre park plays host to such annual events as Austin City Limits, Zilker Park Kite Festival and the Zilker Holiday Tree. The Park is connected to the jogging and bike trails of Town Lake, the hiking trails of the Barton Creek Greenbelt and home to the highly popular spring fed Barton Springs Pool. The park also boasts kayaking and canoeing, volleyball courts, playgrounds, 2 multi-use fields, a nine hole golf course and the Zilker Hillside Theatre which hosts concerts and plays throughout the year.
2. Find a Swimming Hole
A common thread that you will see with our list, is that a lot of our suggestions are centered around water. Austinites are drawn to the water especially during the hot summer days. What’s unique about Central Texas are all of the natural spring pools that are in the area. Why swim in a run-of-the-mill pool when you can swim in a natural crystal clear swimming hole in a scenic settings. Even if you visit during the winter, the picturesque setting of the swimming holes are worth checking out.
Central Texas Swimming Holes
- Barton Springs Pool – 2201 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78746
- Hamilton Pool- 24300 Hamilton Pool Rd, Dripping Springs, TX
- McKinney Falls State Park- 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744
- Blue Hole Regional Park- 100 Blue Hole Rd, Wimberley, TX 78676
- Jacob’s Well Natural Area- 1699 Mt Sharp Rd, Wimberley, TX 78676
3. Experience the Night Life of Downtown Austin’s Entertainment Districts
A showcase of everything Austin can be found in the the entertainment districts of 4th, 5th and 6th streets. There are upscale restaurants, live music, dance clubs, honky tonks, food trailers, drink specials, sports bars and happy hours. If you’re up for historic hotels, the elegance of the Driskell Hotel a great place in Austin to people watch.
4. Take an Organized City Tour
The best way to see the city and hear a little history in a short period of time, is to take one of the Austin City Tours. There are several different tours of Austin that you can take by shuttle, by water, by bike, by segway and even by ghost.
|Austin Capital Cruises
208 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78704
|Austin Segway Tours
20 N. Interstate 35
Austin, TX 78701
|Barton Springs Bike Tours
1529 Barton Springs
Austin, TX 78704
|Austin Ghost Tours
|Double Decker Bus
5. Experience South Congress
South Congress Avenue used to be considered the seedy side of town. Today South Congress is an area full of eclectic energy, popular bars, curio shops, historic night clubs and top-notch restaurants. The best time to explore South Congress is on the First Thursday of the month where locals sell arts and crafts, shops stay open late, live music on every corner and restaurants have samples and specials.
6. Attend a University of Texas Football Game
In Texas, football is King. And in Austin, it’s all about the Texas Longhorns. Fall Saturdays start early with all day tailgates leading up to game time. The pageantry of Texas Longhorn Football cannot be matched anywhere else and is a true spectacle. If you happen to visit Austin during an away game, make sure to stop by one of the hundreds of game watching parties at a local bar. If you visit during the off season, take the campus tour and visit the Darrell K. Royal- Texas Memorial Stadium.
7. Rent a Boat or Jet Ski and Live the Lake Austin or Lake Travis Lifestyle
Austinites are drawn to the water and the lake lifestyle doesn’t get any better than on Lake Austin or Lake Travis. There are several places to rent a boat or jet ski for the day. There is nothing better than exploring the lake, checking out the incredible water front homes and docking up at one of the fantastic water front restaurants.
Boat Rentals on Lake Austin
Boat Rentals on Lake Travis
8. Take a Driving Tour of Austin’s Most Popular Neighborhoods
One of the best ways to see Austin is taking your own driving tour and exploring some of Austin’s unique neighborhoods. Sometimes its best to get out there, get a little lost and discover some things on your own. However, we can provide you with a map and a little info on each neighborhood to make your tour a little more efficient.
9. Experience Real Barbecue
Texas is known for the Best Barbecue in the World and Austin has it’s fair share of great barbecue areas. Austin is also less than 30 miles from the Barbecue Capitol of Texas, Lockhart. If you’re looking for some great barbecue, check out these places:
Best Barbecue in Austin
- Salt Lick Bar-B-Que
- The County Line BBQ
- Stubb’s BBQ
- Lambert’s Downtown Barbecue
- Iron Works BBQ
- Franklin Barbecue
- Rudy’s Country Store
Best Barbecue in Lockhart
- Blacks Barbeque
- Chisholm Trail Barbecue
- Kreuz Barbeque
- Smittys Market
10. Get a Taste of Texas History
Texas has a rich history and one that is worth knowing if you want to be a true Texan. If you want to discover the real story of Texas and how Austin become the Capitol of the Republic of Texas, here a few places to check out:
- Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
- Tour of the Governor’s Mansion
- Lyndon B. Johnson Museum
- Daughter’s of the Republic of Texas Museum
- Tour of the Texas State Cemetery
- Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farm
Considering Relocating to Austin?
You might want to add some Austin Neighborhood Tours to your schedule. Even if you aren’t ready to look at houses, we’d be happy to send you driving tours with neighborhoods that are the closest fit to what you’re looking for. Most find neighborhood tours give them a good sense of whether or not they could live in Austin or not. With some basic info about what you’re looking for, we can put together a list for you. Simply call us at (512) 827-8323, email us at info@11OaksRealty.com or fill out our Austin Neighborhood Finder and we’ll send you a list and some maps. If you’re ready to look at houses, email or call us and we can schedule a tour.
Deb Dahlberg Rowland says
This is a great list of things to do in the Austin area! My husband and I drive in to town from Bastrop all the time and we have checked off a lot of these on our own but you have listed quite a few we still have yet to do. I can’t wait until the Governor’s Mansion is open again after the extensive repairs as it is on the top of our list along with another Capitol tour!
Rebecca Williamson says
I’d love to hear the fun things you and your husband have tried! With all the things to do in Austin, I’m sure this list only scratches the surface. Thanks for the comment!