Things to do in Austin
When deciding what things to do in Austin, always go the live music route. Mohawk, located in downtown Austin, right on 10th and Red River, is consistently voted one of Austin’s best live music venues. It offers an eclectic variety of bands and artists at any time of year. East Side Showroom has a low-key vibe, perfect for relaxing and sipping on a beer or cocktail in Austin’s East Side neighborhood. It has live music on the weekends and also showcases local visual artists. For some history and sightseeing, the Texas State Capitol is the largest capitol in the US and offers guided tours and the option to stroll the grounds as well.
The Texas Memorial Museum houses one of the biggest dinosaur-finds ever, and many other wild and weird natural history discoveries. If you’re not afraid of creepy-crawlies, the bat colony under Congress Bridge is the largest urban colony in North America. Many people gather during the summer to watch the horde take off at sunset every night to forage for food- an eerie but exciting sight. Zilker Park is 350 acres of greenery, with hiking and biking trails along the Barton Creek Greenbelt. It also provides access to Barton Springs- the famous natural swimming pool.
The Alamo isn’t your average movie theater. Along with blockbuster hits, they play oldies and indies, and serve food and drinks during the show. The age minimum is usually 18, but select locations have Baby Day on Tuesdays before 2 p.m., when parents can bring their infants.
Catching Austin on a rainy weekend? Head to this indoor center filled with trampolines of all shapes and colors. Some rooms are set up as basketball and dodge ball courts. Best of all, even the most energetic little tikes are guaranteed to tucker out early after a day of jumps and tumbles.
This New York transplant is housed in a wood-paneled house and has a sprawling lawn dotted with vintage furnishings. Settle with a potent Revolution, made with rye whiskey, Benedictine, Ramazotti and Angostura bitters, and an order of piping hot duck fat fries with truffle aoli.
The Harry Ransom Center, on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, has an enormous collection of literary manuscripts — more than 36 million pages — spanning the history of Western civilization.
Three-acre watering hole has lifeguards and diving boards just like a swimming pool, but its 68-degree waters are fed by underground springs. Don’t forget your goggles: Kids can spot tangles of plants and the occasional fish under the water. Free swim, from 9 to 10 p.m., is particularly fun.
At the LBJ Ranch, outside of Johnson City in the Hill Country, where Johnson was born and died, everything is being restored to the way it was during his presidency. After his retirement, he liked to show visitors around himself, like a docent of his own life.
The student union building of the University of Texas at Austin serves as a hub of activity for the more than 50,000 students enrolled in the school, with meeting spaces, a food court, an underground bowling alley, and the Cactus Café, the bar and music venue where artists including Lyle Lovett b
Art from South of the Border includes several José Clemente Orozcos and Rufino Tamayos (and a number of other painters of a heroic, postrevolutionary mode), as well as a collection of gorgeous 19th-century earthenware pitchers for serving pulque, a viscous agave beer.
Walking around the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum at the University of Texas is a touching experience. For there, among the Disneyfied kitsch (a life-size, moving doll of LBJ telling corny jokes), is a record of achievements that puts today’s politicians to shame.
Callahan’s General Store is a throwback to a time when shopping options were more limited for Texans.
The calm waters of Lady Bird Lake, the dammed portion of the Colorado River that runs through Austin, provide an excellent vantage point to experience the city. And at 6.5 miles long, Lady Bird Lake offers ample opportunity to get a good workout by paddling.
Club De Ville is one of the oldest music venues in Austin, and is a mainstay of the Texas capital's Red River District.
This cramped honky-tonk isn’t licensed to sell spirits but does provide the setup—the ice and juice—for only a few dollars.
Texans’ love of all things big extends to its capitol building, which dominates the Austin skyline and is visible for miles driving up South Congress Avenue.