If you are looking for the ultimate bucket list of the best things to do in Austin, you have come to the right place! Austin is a spectacular city with activities and attractions everyone is sure to enjoy.
From spooky ghost tours to world-class art museums to gorgeous natural beauty, this list is filled with stops that will make your visit to Austin an amazing experience! Visitors will want to take in the great outdoors at Austin attractions like Barton Springs and Mckinney Falls State Park. You’ll also want to absorb the variety of arts and culture with artwork from around the world!
Austin is home to truly Texan activities as well. You won’t want to miss an evening of country dancing at Broken Spoke, a Texas dancehall, or see the stories of everyday Texans at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. There are plenty of great places to visit in Austin!
Whether you have a day or a whole week to enjoy the Austin cityscape, you will want to include these best things to do in Austin!
If you are planning on visiting, discover some of the Best Places To Stay In Austin for your trip!
20 Best Things To Do In Austin: The Ultimate Bucket List
Barton Springs is one of the essential Austin attractions! Located in Zilker Park, it is a beautiful natural spring with a swimming area open to the public. And with 70-degree water year-round, it is the perfect place to take a dip.
Not only can you wade in the magnificent spring water, but Barton Springs also features grassy areas around the spring to relax and enjoy the view. It is also the perfect spot for a picnic lunch or afternoon snack! If you have kids accompanying you they will enjoy Splash!, an educational exhibit that teaches the biology and history of Barton Springs and the aquifer that feeds it.
Barton Springs is also home to the Barton Springs Salamander! What’s not to love about Barton Springs, with its relaxing waters and natural beauty. So make sure to stop at Barton Springs as it is one of the best things to do in Austin! And if you are looking for more natural Texas beauty check out these great springs in Texas!
The Austin Bats are one of the most popular Austin tourist attractions! A colony of about 1.5 million Mexican Free-tail Bats live under Congress Avenue Bridge.
From around March to November, this impressive bat colony emerges nightly from under the Congress Avenue Bridge in their search for food. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Taking a tour to experience this unique bat colony is sure to be one of the best things to do in Austin.
Click here: Ausin Bat Tours
You will want to make sure to check out the haunted side of Austin. Take a ghost tour to visit haunted hotels, shops and restaurants. With tours available for all ages, the family is sure to enjoy this edge-of-your-seat activity.
Walk the streets of Austin at night and perhaps you will cross paths with a spirit of Austin’s past. Searching for ghosts and the paranormal is definitely one of the spookiest things to do in Austin!
Click here: Austin Ghost Tour
Texas Capital Building
What would a trip to Texas’s state capitol be without a visit to the capitol building? The Texas Capitol Building is full of history and exploration, making it one of the best things to do in Austin!
You will definitely want to check out the Capitol Tours to make sure you don’t miss out on the hidden treasures of the state capitol building! With important history and beautiful architecture, the state capital building is an essential stop when visiting Austin.
Visiting the capital building along with the tours is free making it one of the best free things to do in Austin!
McKinney Falls State Park
If you are looking for the perfect outdoor experience in Austin, look no further than McKinney Falls State Park! There is something for everyone at McKinney Falls, one of the neatest Austin attractions.
Mckinney Falls has camping, biking, hiking, fishing, and more! Whether you want a restorative day hike, a traditional camping experience or you want to go geocaching, McKinney Falls is one of the best places to visit in Austin!
Bullock Texas State History Museum
The Bullock Texas State History Museum is full of Texas history and one of the best museums in Texas! With its focus on both big parts of Texas history such as Texas gaining statehood and a special exhibit on stories from everyday Texans, the Bullock Texas State History Museum is a truly unique experience.
This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Austin! And if you are looking for more culture to experience, check out our list of other great museums in Texas!
Zilker Botanical Gardens
One of the best things to do in downtown Austin is the Zilker Botanical Gardens! With several themed gardens such as the Taniguchi Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden, it is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. There are even special events at times, like yoga in the garden!
Zilker Botanical Gardens also features a Children’s Garden, koi ponds, and a butterfly gate making it one of the best things to do in Austin with kids. So make sure to take a stroll through Zilker Botanical Gardens while visiting Austin!
Cathedral of Junk
This one-of-a-kind backyard artwork/clubhouse is one of the cool things to do in Austin! Started in 1988, the Cathedral of Junk was built by Vince Hannemann in his backyard in the Austin suburbs. Vince is always happy to show visitors around when he is at home.
From a zen garden of TVs to a throne room, the Cathedral of Junk is a truly unique structure. Built from car bumpers, bicycle wheels, cables, and other random items brought to the creator over the past few decades, the wonders never cease at one of the best things to do in Austin!
Wonderspaces is an immersive and interactive art museum featuring unique and modern art installations making it one of the best Austin activities!
To experience the whole Wonderpsaces show takes about 75 minutes making it the perfect stop for an afternoon or morning to fill out your day. With installations featuring light, sound, and interaction from visitors, you won’t want to miss out on one of the best things to do in Austin!
If you are looking for a fun night out, look no further than Magic’s Theater! Offering an exciting magic stage show along with close-up magic shows, Magic’s Theater is one of the most fun things to do in Austin!
Magic’s Theater also hosts Live Jazz nights and is home to a museum filled with magic history, including Harry Houdini’s Chinese Water Torture Cell. Any lover of magic should include a visit to Magic’s Theater, one of the best things to do in Austin!
Keep Austin Weird/South Congress Avenue
Keep Austin Weird is a movement that promotes small, independent businesses in Austin. South Congress Avenue is filled with one-of-a-kind shops, bars, and restaurants making the most fun things to do in Austin!
South Congress Avenue is home to vintage shops, boutiques, gift shops, and more. Not only are there a variety of shops, but there are also street vendors offering different goods as well. South Congress Avenue is an eccentric part of what keeps Austin weird, making it one of the best places to go in Austin.
Blanton Museum of Art
Located at The University of Texas at Austin, the Blanton Museum of Art is one of the best things to do in Austin! It is home to over 19,000 artworks in its permanent collection.
Blanton Museum of Art is home to a variety of art, from European paintings to Modern art to a beautiful building by artist Ellsworth Kelly. The museum also hosts different exhibitions throughout the year as well, making it one of the best places to go in Austin!
Mount Bonnell is one of the best things to do in Austin for couples. Mount Bonnell is one of the highest points in Austin featuring a beautiful view of the city. With a pavilion at the top of Mount Bonnell, it makes the perfect spot for a romantic picnic!
The hike to the top is more of a leisurely hike rather than a strenuous one making it a relaxing outdoor activity. Mount Bonnell trail is also family-friendly and dog friendly too! Make sure to make an excursion to Mount Bonnell, one of the best things to do in Austin!
Mexic-Arte Museum is a special museum that focuses on Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art and culture. Located in the heart of Austin’s vibrant downtown, Mexic-Arte Museum is one of the best places to visit in Austin!
So grab a friend and experience this enriching art experience! Mexic-Arte Museum also offers free admission and free tours every Sunday. With its unique art collection that showcases paintings, decorative arts, sculpture, performance art, and photography, Mexic-Arte Museum is one of the best things to do in Austin!
Laughter is an important part of any good time and Esther’s Follies will definitely bring the laughter to your time in Austin. Known as a modern-day vaudeville theater, Ester’s Follies is one of the most fun things to do in Austin!
Located on 6th street in downtown Austin, Ester’s Follies is surrounded by wonderful restaurants and other nightlife, making a show the perfect thing to add to an evening on the town. You will definitely want to grab a seat and get ready to laugh at Ester’s Follies, one of the best things to do in Austin.
Broken Spoke (Two-step dancing)
What would a trip to Texas be without some Two-step? Whether you are a pro or a complete novice, Broken Spoke is sure to provide a great time. With dance lessons every Thursday through Saturday night, an evening at Broken Spoke is one of the best things to do in Austin for couples!
Broken Spoke also features live music and a menu featuring Tex-Mex, steaks, and BBQ! You will definitely want to complete a visit to Austin with a night out at Broken Spoke, one of the most authentic things to do in Austin!
Bar Hopping on Sixth Street
Sixth Street is a hot spot for Austin’s nightlife and culture. Sixth Street has a growing reputation as the Bourbon Street of Austin. With plenty of bars to enjoy, you won’t want to miss out on one of the best things to do in Austin!
You can enjoy a fancy cocktail at Midnight Cowboy or a beer at Shakespeare’s Pub. And if that doesn’t suit your taste you can always stop by Casino el Camino for its dive bar vibe or have an elegant evening at The Driskill. No matter where you end up, bar-hopping on Sixth Street is definitely one of the cool things to do in Austin!
If you are looking for some old-school fun then look no further than Pinballz. The Original Pinballz Arcade in Austin features a variety of pinballs, modern-day video games, and classic arcade games making it one of the neatest Austin attractions.
Pinballz also offers a menu of food and drinks to add to your day of fun. Visitors can also find their way through the Zombie Crisis Escape Room Challenge. With plenty of games and activities, Pinballz is definitely one of the best things to do in Austin with kids!
Museum of Ice Cream
Experience the Sprinkle Pool or take a journey through the Banana Forest at the Museum of Ice Cream! The Museum of Ice Cream is a one-of-a-kind, interactive experience making it one of the best Austin tourist attractions!
A day at the Museum of Ice Cream is sure to be fun for your imagination and your taste buds! Not only will you get to travel through the Rainbow Tunnel, but you’ll also get to enjoy sweet treats along the way. The Museum of Ice Cream has vegan treats as well for those who prefer a non-dairy treat!
Museum of Ice Cream also has a cafe and bar with unique treats and drinks. You will definitely want to visit the Museum of Ice Cream, one of the best things to do in Austin!
UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum
UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum is the perfect blend of outdoor beauty and culture. While the permanent collection is mainly comprised of over 100 sculptures by Charles Umlauf, the museum also has new exhibits throughout the year as well.
UMLAUF also hosts family days with kid-friendly activities and has a garden storytime occasionally. Admission is always free for those 12 and under, making UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum one of the best things to do in Austin with kids!