What to Do in Austin, Tx

What to Do in Austin, Tx

What to do in Austin, Tx Austin Skyline

Austin is the capital of Texas and a really fun city for family vacations. Wondering what to do in Austin, Tx? The city slogan is actually “Keep Austin” weird so you can imagine what a fun place this is!

If you visit Austin, Texas you have a wonderful list of things to see and do! Here are a few of my favorites after living a few years in Texas’ state capital.

What to Do in Austin, Tx – Festivals for Live Music Austin

Austin is proudly the Live Music Capital of the World and it is easy to see why with all the opportunities to listen to live music here.

Austin City Limits Festival

Each October, just as the weather cools a bit, Austin hosts the Austin City Limits Festival. This two weekend festival is a fantastic time to enjoy live music from more than 100 groups from all over the world. There is so much to enjoy with multiple stages and many types of music. Plan ahead to get the tickets you want! It is held in Zilker park so you can easily access from the hotels downtown or in suburbia.

Austin City Limits audience and stage What to do in Austin, Tx


This festival includes all sorts of art – music, film – you never know exactly what you’ll find! One year we found the Bates motel built in a previously empty parking lot. This festival, with artists from all over the world, is held in downtown Austin. Hotels are available downtown, of course, but book early! This is a VERY popular event so plan ahead. You NEVER know what you’ll find at an SXSW event! One year I stumbled onto the Bates motel!

Bates Motel front door What to do in Austin, Tx

Next year’s artists are already booked for the SXSW event.

Austin Reggae Festival

Austin loves ALL music and you can find a little bit of everything. Since 1994, in April, you can get your fill of live reggae music in this three day event! Book early for the 2018 festival being held April 20 – April 22 – live music events are really popular!

What to Do in Austin, Tx – Live Music Austin day to day

You don’t have to wait for a live music festival to enjoy fantastic live music in Austin. You can see every type of music under the sun here in at least 250+ venues. Whatever live music gets your toes tapping, Austin is the right place! Sixth Street has fantastic live music flowing out of bar after bar after bar…just walk down the street and see what catches your fancy.

Some cool venues to check out for live music:

Cactus Cafe & Bar

on Guadalupe Street  across from the UT University Co-op ON the UT campus

Elephant Room 

Live Jazz music since 1991

*Happy Hour every night 4-7 PM

*Free admission on weeknights – cover charge on Friday and Saturday nights

315 Congress Ave.  512 – 472 – 2279

Little Longhorn Saloon “The Best Little Beer Joint in Texas”

Best of Austin Awards:

2007 Best Dive Bar

2002 Best Chicken ‘Product’ – Home to the Chicken ‘poop’ bingo

2002 – Best Friendly Bar

2000 – Best Reason to Miss ER

2000 – Best Bar Crawl with Easy Parking

1999 – Best Pickled Sausage and Eggs

1997 – Best Place to Drink A Cold Beer & Listen to Merle Haggard On the Jukebox

5424 Burnet Road 512 – 524 – 1291

White Horse

This bar is described as a honkey tonk! It will be an experience….the reviews say people have a great time but keep in mind it is also described as a dive.

500 Comal St    512 – 553 – 6756

Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater

In addition to enjoying the music, sign up to take a separate tour to enjoy the fantastic facility used since 2011. Austin City Limits is the longest running music program in television history.  Over the years since 1974 many artists have starred here but it all started with Willie Nelson who was the first artist to play and he gives his name to the street where Austin City Limits at the Moody Theatre is located!Check it out on PBS where it plays weekly to get a flavor of what it is like, but don’t miss the opportunity to see the show in person and become a part of one of the 10 most influential music programs of all time!

Get all the information that you need to attend Austin City Limits here.

310 W. Willie Nelson Blvd. 512 – 457 – 5550

The Broken Spoke

This quote from the owner, James White, really sums up The Broken Spoke,

“Last of the true Texas dance halls and damn sure proud of it!”

The Broken Spoke has been family owned and run since 1964. Put on your boots to do a little authentic boot scooting here to live music!

Tuesday – Saturday visit for dinner and a show 6 – 8pm with no cover charge!

3201 S. Lamar Street 512 – 442 – 6189

Continental Club

The Continental Club is hailed as the ‘granddaddy of live music venues’ and has been around since 1955 here in Austin. The type of club has changed – supper club, burlesque, blue collar bar and now the granddaddy of live music.

Take a look at the Continental Club live music calendar for upcoming events to see who is in town when you visit Austin.

1315 South Congress Ave.  512 – 441 – 2444

Rattle Inn

Rattle Inn is proud of the variety of beer served on tap. Happy Hour is Wednesday – Friday from 4:00 – &:00 pm. Enjoy each of three bar areas: Whiskey Lounge, Ray’s Backstage, and the Rooftop Deck. Parking is available for reservation!

Watch the ball game, listen to live music, or play skeeball to enjoy this famous live music venue in Austin!

610 Nueces Street 512 – 373 – 8306

Hotel Vegas

The Hotel Vegas bar offers live music almost every day of the week! Conveniently located on 6th street downtown in Austin. Look at the live music calendar for Hotel Vegas to see who is entertaining when you visit Austin.

1502 E. 6th Street

What to Do in Austin, Tx – State Capital of Texas

Austin is the state capital of Texas and you can see the beautiful state capital building. There are tours if you like or you can just step in to admire the beautiful art and architecture. Be sure to look for all the Texas stars!

Texas State Capitol Building in Austin,  What to do in Austin, Tx

Read about visiting the State Capital of Texas – the Capitol Building

****FYI – Capital with an A is the government headquarters. Capitol with an O is a building.***

FREE tours daily:

Monday – Friday 8:30 – 4:30

Saturday 9:30 – 3:30

Sunday 12:00 – 3:30

What to Do in Austin, Tx – Zilker Park Austin Tx

The beautiful 350 acre park right off of a downtown is a great place to soak up the warm weather of Texas. Enjoy this large green space, the Zilker Metropolitan park, in so many ways including the miniature train, playground, dog area, live music, free theater, botanical garden and sculpture garden.

*Zilker Park Train – The Zilker Zephyr is the Zilker Park miniature train which runs on the hour from 10:00 – 6:00 each weekday and from 10:00 – 7:00 pm every 30-40 minutes on the weekend. The 25 minute ride goes around Zilker Park, along the Lady Bird Lake and includes a tunnel and play scenes. Tickets: Adults $3 and Kids $2

*Directions to Zilker Park   2100 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, Tx 78746

*Zilker Dog Park  Bring your furry friend to Zilker Dog Park for some leash free fun! The soccer field section of Zilker Park is zoned for dog fun – without leashes!

*Zilker Park Parking Zilker Park has a parking section just east of MoPac and  1/2 mile west of Lamar Blvd, inside the park. Between March and September the fee is $5 per car.

*Zilker Park Playground This is a great spot for the little guys and includes an old fashioned fire truck. Let your littles dig in the sand, make music and friends.

*Zilker Park Pool This isn’t really a pool but a spring fed natural ‘pool’ swimming area. The underground spring keeps the water cool which is fantastic in the middle of a Texas hot summer. The hours depend on the weather sometimes so be sure to call to see if it is open 512 – 867 – 3080. (usually closed on Thursdays)

*Zilker Hillside Theatre –  2206 William Barton Dr  512 – 974 – 4000

This outdoor theatre is a great venue to enjoy Austin’s outdoor entertainment. Handicapped accessible.

What to Know Before You Go to Zilker Hillside Theatre:

*Only service animals allowed

*NO alcohol. Enjoy food and beverages.

*NO chairs with legs taller than 6 – 8 inches high.

*NO smoking.

*Porta Potties are available.

What to Do in Austin, Tx – NEAR Zilker Park Austin Tx

Zilker Bontanical Garden – 2220 Barton Springs, Rd

Just up the road a piece, which is how we say “Just up the road a little bit’ here in Texas, you’ll find the Zilker Botanical Garden. This FREE of charge spot to take a walk in nature amid several garden types like: butterfly garden, flower gardens, Japanese garden and a prehistoric garden.

Austin Nature and Science Center – 301 Nature Center Drive

Just across the green space of Zilker Park is this fun and FREE museum. The kids will especially enjoy digging for dinosaur bones in a large sand pit area.

UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum 605 Robert E. Lee Road

This is a fun outdoor place to visit when the weather is nice. Enjoy this lovely garden with works of art from Charles Umlauf. Kids and families can enjoy the art and outdoor area without worrying about being quiet and not touching anything!

Umlauf Sculpture Garden – Know Before You Go Tips :

*Stop at the Visitor Desk for an “I Spy” activity for the kids.

*No food allowed

*FYI – Nudity in the sculptures

*Closed Monday and Tuesday

*Touching is OK at the outdoor museum but NOT for the indoor

*Goats ‘clean’ the garden of poison ivy twice a week during ‘high poison ivy’ season which ends in July.

*Park in the museum parking lot or across the street at the baseball fields

Umlauf Sculpture Garden Hours:

Wednesday – Friday 10:00 – 4:00

Saturday – Sunday 12:00 – 4:00

Monday – Tuesday CLOSED

FREE in the very hot month of August. Otherwise Adults $5, Seniors 60+ $3, Children FREE, military and family FREE

What to Do in Austin, Tx – Cathedral of Junk

True to Austin’s slogan ‘Keep Austin Weird’ the Cathedral of Junk is a fun and weird attraction and truly unique. Visiting the Cathedral of Junk is something you need to plan ahead for as it is in a residential neighborhood in the backyard of the artist. You can’t just pop in. Instead, give the artist a call to schedule a visit. The Cathedral of Junk is 60 – 100 TONS of ‘stuff’ put together in an art sculpture christened the ‘cathedral of junk’ by the artist’s own mom. Who can argue with mom? It is a MUST see for any Austin visit. Too cool for words!

What to do in Austin, Tx Cathedral of Junk

Read about visiting the Cathedral of Junk.

Taking the kids to the Cathedral of Junk? Check out this FREE scavenger hunt.

4422 – 4424 Lareina Drive, Austin, Tx 78745    512 – 299 – 7413

What to Do in Austin, Tx – Austin Bats

Austin, Tx is home to the largest urban bat colony in the world. These mommy Mexican Free-Tailed bats come here each year to give birth. They fly out each evening in search of food – all 1.5 MILLION of them. The site is nothing short of incredible. You can see the sight FREE from the Congress Street bridge, but the best way to view them is from a boat on the water. From the water you can see the bats with the perfect sunset behind them in the distance. It is an mazing experience for the whole family.

bats flying in the air - What to do in Austin, Tx

Related post on Seeing the Austin Bats from a river cruise!

What to Do in Austin, Tx – Hope Outdoor Gallery

Only in Austin, could you find something this weird! This outdoor art gallery is unlike anything you have ever seen! If it looks like graffiti that is because….it sort of is. Constantly evolving and changing the outdoor hope gallery is open to anyone who would like to add their artistic touch WITH PERMISSION. Carefully climb to the top and admire the color and the view of the city. At the moment, located at 11th and Baylor Street but rumor has it they are moving to a larger locale. That would be great because parking is a real issue on this tiny street.

The educational Tourist Hope Outdoor Gallery , What to do in Austin, Tx

Before you paint, you need PERMISSION! Get all the information you need on exploring or painting in this related post:
All you need to know about the Hope Outdoor Gallery and the Baylor Street Art Wall

What to Do in Austin, Tx – Austin Murals

Austin has some really fun street art and I love going around to ‘collect’ them! Seeing them in person is nothing at all like it is seeing it here online. The sheer size and the vibrancy of colors are something best experienced in person!

Here are a few of my favorite Austin Murals:

I Love You So Much – Super easy to find on South Congress!

Austin mural, I love you so much What to do in Austin, Tx

The Austin Postcard

The Austin Postcard mural with family, What to do in Austin, Tx

Bread & Butter

Bread & Butter mural in Austin Texas, What to do in Austin, Tx

What about the kids? Things to Do in Austin with KIDS!

The Educational Tourist in Austin riding a segway with children, Travel outside your comfort zone, www.theeducationaltourist.com

Austin is kid friendly!  So many fun things to do outside and enjoy the weather:

Zip lining

Segway tours

Children’s Museum

Food Trucks





Read all about Things to Do in Austin with KIDS!

Texas is a great family travel destination. Visit Texas – proud to be the state where everything is


There is a LOT to see in Texas – here are 40 places in Texas you need to see!

Remember to get your Kids’ Travel Book for Austin before you go!

Adventures in Austin travel guide book, What to do in Austin, Tx

Happy Travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

The Educational Tourist logo,

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1 Response

  1. November 14, 2017

    […] (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsToday Austin is known as the “Live Music Capitol of the World”, but when the Driskoll opened it was little more than a cow town. The Driskill was the vision of […]

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