Austin, Texas, is bursting with vibrant energy. Its eclectic range of sites and activities makes this Texas city a must-see for any art lover, music junkie, or outdoor adventurer. Austin is a funky city full of flair, so it can be hard to narrow down the best things to do in Austin – the Live Music Capital of the World! Luckily, Direct Auto checked out some of Austin’s most iconic experiences for locals and tourists, and we’ve got you covered.
Click on the videos below to see how we kept Austin weird and keep reading to learn about the spots we visited – and why Austin is a city we love.
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Things To Do in Austin, Texas
What’s at the top of your Austin to-do list? Learn about the different locations we visited below!
1. Zilker Botanical Garden
In a city with 300 days of sunshine a year, the Zilker Botanical Garden is always a good idea. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life as you relax under the shade of a gorgeous heritage live oak or find your zen in one of the many themed gardens. It’ll be hard to believe you’re still in the middle of Texas’s capital city. The gardens are the centerpiece of Zilker Park, which is also home to the next spot on our list of things to do in Austin!
2. Barton Springs
Barton Springs Pool is a beloved local gem among Austinites and visitors alike. The pristine spring-fed pool has an average temperature of 68-70 degrees, making it an ideal setting for a day spent under the warm Texas sun any time of year!
3. Sixth Street
Austin’s iconic Sixth Street is full of fun no matter what kind of nightlife scene you enjoy. Known as “Dirty Sixth Street” by the locals, this vibrant entertainment district is lined with high-end cocktail bars, cheap dive bars, karaoke bars, piano bars, and tasty food trucks. Sixth Street is booming with excitement, fun times, and in true Austin fashion, live music.
4. SoCo District
To get an authentic taste of Austin’s quirkiness, you’ll want to check out SoCo (short for “South Congress” Avenue), a lively neighborhood with a stretch of historic buildings occupied by unique boutiques, eateries, and storefronts. You’ll find many of Austin’s music venues here, making the district a must-see for any music fanatic. This fun, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood is another excellent spot to experience why Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World.
5. Allens Boots
Don’t think about going to Austin without picking up a pair of cowboy boots! Austin is well-known for its cowboy boot makers who hand-stitch quality leather into the style of your choice. Allens Boots in SoCo is an Austin landmark, with more than 4,000 boots on display! Whether you’re looking for a pair of casual everyday boots or want a fancier, bespoke design, you can find a cowboy boot maker who will make you a wearable Austin souvenir. Handmade cowboy boots from Austin also make for a terrific gift.
6. Pinballz Arcade
The Pinballz Arcade came to fruition after the owners’ personal game collection got out of hand. With an enormous selection of classic and modern games, Pinballz has something for everyone, whether you’re a vintage game connoisseur or a modern gamer. It’s equally fun for kids and adults alike and a great way to escape the Texas heat as you eat, drink, and play.
7. Rainey Street Historic District & Food Truck Lot
Austin loves an entertainment district, and Rainey Street is one you have to check out. This tucked-away street is known for its fun bungalow bars and restaurants, which used to be real homes! There’s so much to do, see, and eat on Rainey Street – don’t forget to grab a bite in the food truck lot in between bar hopping.
8. El Chilito
Austin is home to some of the tastiest Tex-Mex you can find! Check out El Chilito, which has locations on both sides of the Colorado River. The fast-casual restaurant has a laid-back atmosphere full of local charm and a menu with delicious dishes made only from fresh ingredients. Yum!
9. Lady Bird Lake
With hiking and biking trails, fishing, paddleboards, and kayaks, Lady Bird Lake has something for everyone! This recreation destination isn’t actually a lake – it’s a river-like reservoir on the Colorado River created in 1960. It’s named in honor of former First Lady of the United States and native Texan Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Lady Bird Lake has it all!
10. Museum of the Weird
Did you really think a city with the unofficial slogan “Keep Austin Weird” wouldn’t have a museum dedicated to all things bizarre? The Museum of the Weird on Sixth Street features peculiar curiosities of the old and the odd. This mysterious museum started when two gift shop owners began selling their bizarre items out of an unused space in their shop. When they realized they were letting go of so many one-of-a-kind rarities, the owners stopped selling them and began one of the last authentic dime museums in the United States.
11. Cathedral of Junk
The Cathedral of Junk is located in the backyard of an unassuming house in Austin’s south side. Owner and “yardist” Vince Hannemann started building the Cathedral in 1988, and it’s evolved into a framework of hallways, multiple rooms, and vaulted ceilings made entirely of junk! Who would have guessed a backyard would become one of the most well-known, weirdest attractions in Texas?