The Best Things to Do in Austin
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
Spring-fed pools, art museums, trendsetting movie houses, thriving bookshops and record stores: Austin offers diversions, natural and man-made, that go far beyond its reputation for barbecue, craft beer, and country music.
300 W 21st St, Austin, TX 78712, USA
The University of Texas is one of the country’s great institutions of learning. And the education doesn’t stop with the registered students. The Ransom Center is one of several arms of the university that extend to the public. Visiting...
200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78712, USA
Austin is known as a music, outdoors, and food town, so the visual arts can sometimes get short shrift, especially when compared to Texas towns like Fort Worth and Houston. Located on the University of Texas campus, the Blanton makes the case...
1800 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, USA
You’ll find landmarks and historical buildings in states around the country named after presidents, historic figures, and governors, but finding one named after a lieutenant governor is pretty rare. But Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock was a...
2247 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78712, USA
Along with the Texas State Capitol, the University of Texas Tower is probably one of the most distinguishing (and visible) landmarks in the city. The 307-foot tower was erected in 1937. Though unfortunately infamous as the...
404 Krause Spring Rd, Spicewood, TX 78669, USA
Central Texas is revered for natural swimming holes like the one at Krause Springs, about 30 miles west of Austin. The swimming hole and campgrounds have been privately owned by the Krause family since 1955, and the site is listed on the...
3809 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703, USA
The Laguna Gloria campus of the Contemporary art museum, on the shores of Lake Austin, offers a wonderful blend of nature and human achievement (the museum has another location downtown). The Italianate villa was built following the...
1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, USA
Since everything seems bigger in Texas, it's no surprise that the Texas State Capitol holds the title for largest state capitol building in the union (360,000 square feet of floor space in the main building!). The building is also quite...
600 River St, Austin, TX 78701, USA
From music to dance to cuisine, the influence of Mexico is strong in the culture of Texas and Austin. This center—dedicated to the preservation, creation, presentation, and promotion of the cultural arts of Mexican Americans...
2313 Red River St, Austin, TX 78712, USA
This impressive modernist building, designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft, houses the legacy of the 36th president of the United States of America. Central Texas native Lyndon Baines Johnson was one of the most colorful and powerful men in the...
2131 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746, USA
Texas summers are hot! When the heat hits, the people of Austin flock to the Barton Springs Pool to cool off and chill out. The $8 summer entrance fee (for nonresidents) buys you a whole day of fun. Get your hand stamped for reentry if...
201 Lee Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78704, USA
When the only serious requirement for play is that golfers have a putter and at least one other club, you know a course is more about fun than rules. Butler Park Pitch and Putt has been a pleasant destination since it opened in 1949, giving Austin...
24300 Hamilton Pool Rd, Dripping Springs, TX 78620, USA
The Hamilton Pool, this beautiful collapsed grotto, is a perfect place to go when needing to chill in some cold water. Linger in the pool and enjoy the clouds gliding across the sky and the cooling sight of water trickling down from the trees...
16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624, USA
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is truly a mystical place, filled with Native American folklore. The Tonkawa people who inhabited the area in the 16th century thought it was special because they thought they saw ghost fires flickering at the top...
4803 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751, USA
A comedian once said that comedy is when you "put the ha ha where the ouchie is." That line sums up the backstory of this theater. The founders evacuated to Austin from New Orleans in the face of Hurricane Katrina in...
5701 W Slaughter Ln, Austin, TX 78749, USA
When husband-and-wife team Tim and Karrie League opened the Alamo Drafthouse in 1997, the idea of serving beer and food inside a movie theater felt revolutionary. You can now find locations of the Drafthouse from California to New York....
2103 E M. Franklin Ave, Austin, TX 78723, USA
You might associate the old-fashioned drive-in movie theater with warm summer nights, but this is Texas, where the summer heat wilts you even after the sun goes down. The Blue Starlite doesn't even start the season until after Labor Day, and it...
434 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701, USA
In the heart of the Second Street District, Violet Crown Cinema makes dinner and a movie an experience worth checking out, with four screens devoted to independent, documentary, and foreign films, great food and cocktails, and...
3201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704, USA
This Texas Dancehall will have you two stepping the night away, in the the spirit of the musical history that dates back to Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys. There's traditional country music played by true country musicians and autographed photos...
S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, USA
If you haven't before seen 1.5 million bats flying out for their nightly feeding at once, now's your chance. The largest urban bat colony in North America, Austin's Congress Avenue Bridge is the home to hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tail...
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