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Ultimate Austin Bucket List – 101 Things to Do in Austin TX

Visiting Austin? Here is a bucket list to help you plan your trip.

I floated on my surfboard under the beating sun as Joel, my instructor, told me a few adjustments to make on the next wave. I glanced over at Jacob on the shore, as he waved and shot a few more photos. As I readied my board, I looked back to watch the coming wave, and for a moment I thought to myself “I never thought I’d be surfing in Austin!”

After living in Portland for a year, we were excited to spend a few days exploring Austin. The two cities are often compared and like to compete on which city is weirder. We found ourselves cliff jumping at a swimming hole, eating BBQ, watching hundreds of thousands of bats flying around, and even taking a surf lesson.

Your Ultimate Austin Bucket List + Click through to see 101 Things to Do in Austin Texas // Local Adventurer #atx #austin #texasPin

Thank you Visit Austin for hosting our trip and sponsoring this post. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: November 22, 2023

101 Things to Do in Austin TX – Your Ultimate Austin Bucket List

We’ve organized our bucket list by categories. Use the the menu above to skip to each section.

Tourist Attractions + Local Attractions

  1. 1.
    Austin Helicopter Tour

Spectacular aerial views of the city and two-way communication with your pilot so you can learn more about Austin from the skies.

  1. 2.
    ATX Sculpture at Whole Foods

Take a selfie with the beloved sign at Fifth Street and North Lamar Boulevard.

  1. 3.
    Austin Aquarium

See thousands of marine animals, reptiles, and exotic birds.

  1. 4.
    Austin Brewery Tour

All-inclusive tours including a tour guide, tastings at each stop, and one behind the scenes facility tour.

  1. 5.
    Austin Zoo

Bring a reusable water bottle, especially for hot, summer days, and cash for snacks.

  1. 6.
    Cathedral of Junk

Unique and eclectic art structure.

  1. 7.
    Circuit of the Americas

Auto Race Track.

  1. 8.
    Driveway Austin Motorsports

Drive experience.

  1. 9.
    Hope Outdoor Gallery

The grounds are open to the general public but you need a permit to paint.

  1. 10.
    Horseback Riding

Lots of local ranches and riding trails that are perfect for all ages.

  1. 11.
    Lake Travis Zip-Lining

Longest zip-lines in Texas.

  1. 12.
    Lone Star Riverboat Cruises

Take a sunset tour on the Colorado River. If you come in the summer, you can do a bat watching tour.

  1. 13.

I love you so much, You’re my Butter Half, Love from Austin, Greetings from Austin, SprATX Art, and more (full post coming soon!)

  1. 14.
    George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural & Genealogy Center

Learn about George Washington Carver and African American history.

  1. 15.
    The Oasis

Dining over Lake Travis. A beautiful restaurant that’s all over Pinterest.

  1. 16.
    Pennybacker Bridge

Local Tip: best photos are from the NE cliff or NW cliff.

  1. 17.
    Pinballz Arcade

Personal pinball collection turned into an arcade.

  1. 18.
    Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue, Auditorium Shores

Auditorium Shores is a nice place to shoot the skyline too.

  1. 19.
    Texas State Capitol Building + Visitor Center

Really beautiful architecture.

  1. 20.
    University of Texas

Littlefield Fountain + UT Tower in the backdrop is picturesque. You can also see a UT home football game in the fall.

See More: Best Free Things to Do in Austin Texas

Museums + Memorials

  1. 21.
    Austin Nature and Science Center

Free to visit, lots of activities for kids.

  1. 22.
    Blanton Museum of Art

Small collection of art and sculptures. Live music and events throughout the month. Free admission every Thursday.

  1. 23.
    Bullock Texas State History Museum

Great place to learn about the history of Texas.

  1. 24.
    Harry Ransom Center at UT

Archive, art, library, and museum.

  1. 25.
    LBJ Presidential Library

It is one of fourteen presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

  1. 26.
    Mexic-arte Museum

See a collection of art and free standing sculptures by Mexican and Mexican-American artists.

  1. 27.
    Museum of the Weird

Shrunken heads, weird animals, unique bugs, and more.

  1. 28.
    Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata

See some unexpected sights, oddities, and other strange curiosities.

  1. 29.
    O. Henry Museum

Artifacts and reading room that exhibits the life of O. Henry and his various written works.

  1. 30.
    Radha Madhav Dham Temple

The largest Hindu temple in North America.

  1. 31.
    Sitagu Buddha Vihara Temple

Come and medidate, see statues of Buddha from around the world.

  1. 32.
    Sparky Park

Electrical sub station turned into eccentric art.

  1. 33.
    Texas State Cemetery

A beautiful cemetery for notable Texas icons.

  1. 34.
    The Contemporary Austin at Laguna Gloria / The Jones Center / THe Contemporary Austin Jones Center

Your $5.00 admission also gets you into the Laguna Gloria.

  1. 35.
    Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum

At Zilker Metropolitan Park – look for the bamboo forest.

  1. 36.
    Xiang Yun Temple

Also called the International Buddhist Progress Society / IBPS.

  1. 37.
    Zilker Botanical Garden

At Zilker Metropolitan Park.

Urban Parks + Outdoors

  1. 38.
    Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail

Trails run along the lake and take you through Zilker Park, Butler Park, Auditorium Shores, and Long Center for the Performing Arts.

  1. 39.
    Austin Bouldering Project

Great climbing routes for climbers of all ages.

  1. 40.
    Barton Creek Greenbelt

Great for hiking, bouldering, and climbing. You can also swim at Twin Falls, Campbell’s Hole and swimming holes along the Gus Fruh Trail. Sculpture Falls is a one-mile hike and used to be more hidden but is now packed. Check out Seismic Wall aka Maggie’s Wall and see other popular climbs here.

  1. 41.
    Commons Ford Ranch

Lakefront park on Lake Austin.

  1. 42.
    Deep Eddy Pool

It’s the oldest swimming pool in Texas. It’s a spring-fed pool, not as crowded as Barton Springs Pool.

  1. 43.
    Barton Creek Spillway

Free alternative to the popular Barton Springs. Local Tip – water is rushing sometimes, which means you want to be a strong swimmer. Bring river shoes and goggles.

  1. 44.
    Barton Springs Pool

Natural spring fed swimming pool. Local Tip: Upper Barton Springs is free and way less crowded. It’s 1200 ft upstream from Barton Springs Pool.

  1. 45.
    Bob Wentz Park

A popular spot for scuba diving, windsurfing, sailing, and swimming in the summer. See park fees here.

  1. 46.
    Bull Creek Greenbelt

There are lots of great secluded swimming holes, hiking trails, and a short, wide waterfall.

  1. 47.
    Emma Long Metropolitan Park

Swimming hole with a true beach off Lake Austin. See entrance fees here.

  1. 48.
    Hippie Hollow Park

Great swimming and the only legally recognized clothing optional public park in Texas. Must be 18+. See park fees here.

  1. 49.
    Mount Bonnell, Covert Park

Great photo spot and a view of the city. It’s 102 steps from the parking lot but overlooks Downtown, Lake Austin, and hill country. Best enjoyed at sunrise or sunset.

  1. 50.
    Lasy Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Pretty blooms amongst walking rails.

  1. 51.
    Lady Bird Lake

Aka Town Lake by locals, also the former name. Go on a cruise, kayak, or SUP. It’s illegal to swim, and there is a $150 fine. If you want to photograph Lady Bird Lake and the skyline, popular spots are at the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge, the Hike-and Bike trail boardwalk near Joe’s Crabshack entrance, and the Lamar Street Bridge.

  1. 52.
    Longhorn Cavern State Park

(Limestone Cave) Enjoy a cavern tour and learn about the geology.

  1. 53.
    Mansfield Dam Park on Lake Travis

Popular boating and swimming spot. See park fees here.

  1. 54.
    Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve

Look for the peacocks!

  1. 55.
    McKinney Falls State Park

(Swimming Hole) Has a waterfall, 700 acres of hiking trails, and camping. Travel channel it one of the top 10 swimming holes in the US.

  1. 56.
    Red Bud Isle Park

Let your dog off-leash here! It’s a great place for dogs to swim in Lake Austin but not dog owners.

  1. 57.
    St. Edwards Park

For more swimming hole fun, hiking, biking, and running.

  1. 58.
    West Lake Beach

Great for families. It has a roped off swimming area of Lake Austin. Local Tip: Call ahead. It’s often rented out for private events.

  1. 59.
    Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center

Check out the very popular natural grotto and the stunning 40 ft. waterfall.

Lady Bird Lake + 101 Things to Do in Austin TX //


  1. 60.
    Allens Boots

Has more than 4000 boots on display plus cowboy hats and clothing.

  1. 61.
    Antonelli’s Cheese Shop

They carry over 100 different types of cheese.

  1. 62.
    Big Top Candy Shop

Circus style sweets, old-school confections, and a classic soda fountain.

  1. 63.

Huge selection of books of every genre and a cozy cafe.

  1. 64.
    City Wide Garage Sale

Austin’s famous vintage market.

  1. 65.

Popular open-air cacti and succulent nursery.

  1. 66.

Women’s vintage items, from various clothing to jewelry and shoes.

  1. 67.

Women’s boutique in a non-assuming little house.

  1. 68.
    Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds

Costume shop.

  1. 69.

Classic and modern clothing for men, numerous accessory options, and books.

  1. 70.
    Tesoros Trading Company

Folk arts and crafts.

  1. 71.
    Texas Custom Boots

Design your very own custom-made cowboy boots here.

  1. 72.
    Toms Austin + Cafe Serving Toms Roasting Co

Large shoe collection as well as a small cafe with coffee and pastry offerings.

  1. 73.
    Uncommon Objects

Eclectic items curated by over 20 antique sellers.

  1. 74.
    Waterloo Records & Video

Catch an in-store performance here, too.

See More: 49 Best Places to Eat in Austin Texas

Shows + Events + Venues

  1. 75.

A must stop for blues enthusiasts!

  1. 76.

Great acoustics in a small, intimate venue.

  1. 77.

Old-time drive-in that offers classic and art-house movies.

  1. 78.
    Broken Spoke

Last of the true Texas Dance-halls.

  1. 79.
    Carousel Lounge

Circus-themed lounge.

  1. 80.

Legendary South Congress club with local rock, country, jazz, and blues acts.

  1. 81.
    Donn’s Depot

Piano Bar with Live Music

  1. 82.


  1. 83.
    The Elephant Room

Underground Jazz bar.

  1. 84.
    Esther’s Follies


  1. 85.

Live Music – usually eclectic indie bands.

  1. 86.
    Little Longhorn Saloon

Play Chicken Shit Bingo

  1. 87.

Home to the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Austin Lyric Opera, Ballet Austin, and more. It frames downtown nicely for photos.

  1. 88.

Multilevel bar with rooftop area and indoor/outdoor stages for live performances.

  1. 89.
    One World Theater

Music + Theater

  1. 90.
    Paramount Theater

Very underrated. They play a classic movie series in the summer.

  1. 91.
    White Horse

Live Country Music

Day Trips

  1. 92.
    Reimers Ranch park

(Dripping Springs, 29.6 mi NW / 38 mins away) Has a nice beach area to swim and sunbathe plus good limestone sport-climbing. See popular climbs here and park fees here.

  1. 93.
    Hamilton Pool Reserve

(Dripping Springs, 30.7 mi NW / 43 mins away) A natural grotto and swimming hole with a waterfall. Reserve ahead of time ($16 fee) and bring hiking shoes.

  1. 94.
    Krause Springs

(Spicewood, 36.4 mi NW / 46 mins away) There are 32 springs on their private property. See fees here. Since it’s private, 21+ can drink here.

  1. 95.
    Pace Bend Park

(Spicewood, 35 mi NW / 54 mins away) Pale Face is a popular cliff jumping spot. You can also find great camping, lake recreation, mountain biking, deep water soloing or water bouldering. See popular climbs here.

  1. 96.
    Jacob’s Well Natural Area

(Wimberley, 36.4 mi SW / 48 mins away) It’s a popular swimming hole with the biggest underwater cave system. Recreational diving is no longer allowed. Local Tip: Make reservations ahead of time. If they’re already booked, keeping checking back since there are cancellations.

  1. 97.
    Blue Hole Park

(Georgetown, 28.5 mi N / 33 mins away) Another popular swimming hole.

  1. 98.
    Blue Hole Regional Park

(Wimberley, 37.7 mi SW / 46 mins away) Scenic swimming hole with green foliage, clear water, and grassy areas for picnics. open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. See admission fees and hours here.

  1. 99.
    Pedernales Falls State Park

(Johnson City, 41.9 mi E / 1 h away) Great photography spot. See fees here.

  1. 100.
    Devil’s Watering Hole at Inks Lake State park

(Burnet, 68.7 mi NW/ 1 h 22 min away) Known for its cliff jumping and swimming. See entrance fees here. Local Tip: water is deep, so bring floaties.

  1. 101.
    Guadalupe River State Park

(Spring Branch, 78.3 mi SW / 1 h 30 min away) Great tubing, swimming, canoeing. See entrance fees here. Local Tip: The Guadalupe River can feel like a giant frat party, whereas San Marcos River and Comal River are less crazy.

See More: 15 Best Day Trips from Austin TX

Seasonal + Special Events

  1. Congress Avenue Bridge Bat Flight

(Summer around Sunset) There are 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats living under the Congress Ave Bridge. Local Tip: It’s easiest to see the bats if you’re looking up at them from the river level versus on the bridge. You can rent a kayak or go on a sunset Bat Cruise with Lone Star Riverboat (what we did), Capital Cruises, or sunset kayaking. If it rains, they will come out before or after to avoid the rain. Watch out for guano! Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.

  1. SXSW

(Mid-March) Annual film, media, and music fesitval.

  1. Bluebonnets in Austin

(Spring) Peak of bloom season is usually around the first weekend of April but can vary year to year. These are the best places to see them.

Congress Bridge Bats + 101 Things to Do in Austin Texas - The Ultimate Austin Bucket List //

Essential Tips for First Time Visitors to AUstin

  • Peak season is spring and fall because you get the best weather and there are plenty of festivals. If you’re visiting in peak season, plan ahead and book your hotels early. If you want to avoid the crowds, December to February is a great time to visit with mild temperatures.
  • The Capital Metro is easy to use and has routes all over the city.
  • Parking options are limited to metered parking or parking garages. Meters are generally $1 per hour with a 3-hour limit but read signs carefully. Parking garages average at around $3 per half hour or $18 a day.
  • Topo Chico Mineral Water is popular in Austin! You see them everywhere, and we tried our first one at the Visit Austin offices.
  • On Fridays, you can find free art hidden throughout to the city and it truly is a finders keepers.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle (these are our current favorites for travel)
  • If you’re looking for a Rental Car, check here for prices!
  • Looking for the best food spots? Check out our Austin Food Bucket List here.

Best Places to Stay

Planning Checklist

Did we miss anything? What would your ideal trip to Austin include?

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Esther and JacobPin

Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

Follow on Instagram (E + J), YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest.