It can be hard to keep up with all the things going on around town. There are plenty of sites that aim to help you figure out what is going on in Austin any night of the week (In fact, here is our list of them). But that isn’t what this post is about. These are the classic timeless things that you need to do before you can say you have ‘done Austin’. The things that two people from Austin who meet somewhere else ask each other about and the things you should definitely do if you only have limited time in our fair city.
Consider this a Cliff Note’s version of Austin.
As always, please let me know in the comments if you think I should add anything.
Anytime things (Weather Permitting)
From the super-touristy to more local spots
- Observation Deck of the UT tower
- Bob Bullock Museum of Texas History
- See a movie at Alamo Drafthouse (ideally a Master Pancake show)
- Underground Caverns in Georgetown
- Chicken S**t Bingo every Sunday at Ginny’s Little Longhorn
- Tour the Capitol
- Hike the Greenbelt and the Hike and Bike trail at Town Lake
- Umlauf Sculpture Garden
- Catch a show at Esther’s Follies
- Climb Mt Bonnell – Count the stairs
- Have a Honky Tonk night at the Broken Spoke
- Putt-putt at Peter Pan mini-golf – Cash only, BYOB (no glass)
- Spend some time at Hamilton Pool – Parking is limited so get there early
- Wander around Zilker Park and take a dip in Barton Springs
- Tubing down the Guadalupe (the party river but can get low when it doesn’t rain for a while) or Comal (more cops but can still be float-able in a drought).
Of course, you should spend at least one night going from bar to bar on 6th Street
These may require a bit more planning since they are only available at certain times of year
- South by Southwest – March. This three part festival is almost overwhelming. You’ll have to hang on and see how much free stuff you can get into.
- Celebrate Eeyore’s Birthday Party – April
- Root for the home team at a Round Rock Express minor league baseball game – Spring. I think this is one of the highest ratios of fun/money spent activities in town.
- A concert at Blues on the Green – Summer starting in June
- Avoid the summer heat by renting a boat or waverunners and spending the afternoon on Lake Travis – Summer
- See the Congress St Bridge Bats – Best during late summer/early fall. No bats during the winter. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to wear a hat.
- Austin City Limits music festival – September. Practically an official holiday in Austin.
- See a UT Football Game – Fall. Even if you don’t go to the game, check out the tailgating. Its hard to imagine.
- Christmas Lights on 37 1/2 St – December.
- Christmas Tree at Zilker – December. Get under and go spinning. At least watch other people do it.
What and where to eat before you leave
- Have a Don Juan taco for breakfast at Juan in a Million
- Sunday Brunch at Stubb’s Gospel Sunday Brunch with make your own Bloody Mary bar – you need reservations
- Do the Trudy’s Triathlon ( A Mexican martini at each of their locations) – This is killer. Have a DD. Seriously. I’m not kidding.
- Get Breakfast at Magnolia Cafe or Kerbey Lane Cafe very late at night
- Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood- Cash Only, BYOB. Pretty good chance you will see a wedding reception there.
- Spend a weekend hitting as many of our famous food trailers as you can
- Grab a burger at Hut’s – Their onion rings are unbelievable
- Make a day trip to Lockhart to try all three of their world famous BBQ spots