Where do you start planning when there are so many things to do, eat and see in Austin? Whether you're looking for weekend trip inspiration, or enough activities to fill a whole week, we've narrowed down the list so you can save hours of planning. Check out these top five things to do in Austin during your trip to get the full experience.
Micklethwait Barbecue. Credit Nicolai McCrary.
1. Grab a Bite From a Food Truck
Austin's food scene is unmatched, and an easy way to get a taste of our culinary offerings is by visiting some of the food trucks and food truck parks around the city. Where else can you order award winning barbecue, decadent desserts and world cuisines all in one spot? We promise the food trucks are tossing up grub just as delicious as the brick and mortar restaurants. Here are some great options to try:
Arlo's: Carnivores may not even realize that Arlo's comfort food is plant-based. The vegan frito pie burger is indulgent and over the top!
Little Lucy's: This late-night food truck serves up the cutest and yummiest mini donuts in bright pink bags. Service starts at 5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and
10 a.m. Thursday-Sunday.
Micklethwait Craft Meats: Authentic, slow-cooked Austin barbecue served on the go? Yes, please!
Spicy Boys Fried Chicken: Visit one of the four Spicy Boys locations for crispy, juicy chicken fused with Malaysian flavors. Their O.G. sandwich comes on a soft bun with sweet chili honey, papaya relish and thai basil ranch.
T-Loc's Sonora: Have you ever heard of a Sonoran hot dog? Think all-beef frank, wrapped in bacon, topped with beans, onions, mayo, mustard and jalapeño sauce. If you want to sound like you know what you're doing, order yours "con todo" (with everything).
Veracruz All Natural: The bright blue truck plates up all natural and authentic Mexican food. Their fresh tacos and salsas are an Austin staple and local favorite.
Looking for more recommendations? Check out our guide to Austin's food trucks and trailers.
Whiskey Garden at Still Austin. Courtesy of Still Austin Whiskey Co.
2. Visit a Craft Brewery, Distillery or Urban Winery
Austin's food scene extends to the beverage selection as well. Plan to visit at least one of Austin's many distilleries, breweries and wineries. Some of our favorites include:
Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. (ABGB): Stop by ABGB for a little live music, along with crave-worthy pizza and craft beers. From dunkels to double IPAs, it’s hard to go wrong at this local hang.
Austin Beer Works: Austin Beerworks is a true staple of the Austin brewing scene, where you can sample suds right in the middle of the working brewery. Sip one of the canned core four beers (like the Peacemaker ale) or a seasonal brew. Stick around for live music and eats from an on-site food truck.
The Austin Winery: Urban winery handcrafting wines at their wineries in Texas, California and Washington.
Fierce Whiskers: Fierce Whiskers Distillery produces rye and bourbon whiskeys in sustainable barrels. Visit the modern, solar-paneled tasting room, which features an airy courtyard.
Holdout Brewing: you don’t need to leave city limits for tasty craft beer and a killer burger. Hold Out Brewing is the brewery from the folks behind Austin favorites, Better Half (located next door), Wright Brother’s Brew & Brew and Little Brother Bar. Try a crisp pale ale or fall-friendly dry-hopped porter.
Pinthouse Brewing: Sip on award winning beer and munch on killer pizza in a warm setting at Pinthouse. If you like IPAs you have to try the Electric Jellyfish—this beer has a serious following with a bright, tropical citrus flavor and juicy aroma.
Still Austin: This grain to glass distillery makes craft whiskey and gin that celebrates flavors of Texas by sourcing grains from local farmers.
Texas Sake Company: This niche distillery uses centuries-old techniques to brew small batch saké with bold and crisp flavors. In the taproom, open Thursday through Sunday, try saké by the glass, as a flight or mixed in a cocktail at the Japanese-style bar, and chat with the resident Toji (master brewer).
You already know there are too many options to list them all in this post. Visit the Eat & Drink section of our site to learn more about Austin's craft-beverage scene, from brewpubs and coffee shops to wineries and specialty distilleries.
A Giant Dog at Hotel Vegas. Credit David Brendan Hall.
3. Listen to Live Music
As the Live Music Capital of the World®, catching a live show is a must when visiting. With hundreds of music venues around town, you're guaranteed to have a memorable night out while you're in Austin. Some great spots include:
Antone's: Considered the home of the blues in Austin, legends like B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan have played here.
Cheer Up Charlies: This vegan and gay bar has kombucha on tap alongside a mix of local brews. Dance the night away under their pink canopy to the DJs dance beats.
The Continental Club: This venue is known as the granddaddy of music venues. It has been featuring Austin's best talent since 1957.
Hotel Vegas: Pegged as the best live music venue in East Austin, Hotel Vegas has a show every night.
The White Horse: Boot scoot your heart out at this honky tonk. Learn how to Texas two-step every Thursday-Saturday starting at 7 p.m.
Check out our events calendar to see where you can find live music any night of the week.
Barton Springs Pool. Credit Cindy Bolanos.
4. Adventure in an Urban Oasis
In Austin, lush nature scenery and towering cityscapes are just steps apart. Here are some of our favorite places to enjoy the outdoors, right in the middle of the city.
Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail: While “hike” may be in the name of this occasionally packed dirt, occasionally paved trail, it’s more suited for a leisurely saunter or easy urban trail run than a heart-pumping hike. Even so, the 10.5-mile loop is a must-do as it offers access to some of the city’s most popular spots (like the Congress Street bat bridge, Zilker Park, and the Long Center), plus excellent photo opps of downtown. Plus, it’s extremely accessible for all ages and abilities and you can hop on from numerous points on either side of Lady Bird Lake.
Barton Creek Greenbelt: Easily accessible from numerous trailheads over the 12-plus total miles of trail, Barton Creek Greenbelt offers footpaths and mountain bike trails that meander alongside Barton Creek itself. If you’re lucky and it’s rained recently, you may even get the chance to take a break from hiking and enjoy a refreshing dip in the creek.
Barton Springs Pool: This 1,000-foot long natural limestone pool is one of the most popular day destinations when the weather starts hitting triple digits. Make a splash in the pool's clear waters that temp around 68° year round or sun bathe on the grassy, tree shaded hills along the shore.
Lady Bird Lake: Paddle and row around Lady Bird Lake for a stunning view of Austin's rolling hills and impressive downtown skyline.
For more ideas on where to swim, hike, bike and paddle, check out our Outdoors page.
Greetings from Austin Mural. Credit Nathan Fluellen.
5. Scout Out the City's Many Art Murals
Austin is well known for its murals all around the city. The murals pop up where you least expect them, like back alleys and gas stations, so keep your eyes peeled. You'll find a good variety in and around Downtown and South Congress. Here are a few popular sites you won't want to miss:
Greetings From Austin - 1720 S. First St.
You're My Butter Half - 2000 E. MLK Jr. Blvd.
I Love You So Much - 1300 S. Congress Ave.
Jeremiah the Innocent Frog - West 21st Street and Guadalupe Street
Find a more complete list of Austin's spectacular murals in our Best Murals in Austin blog post.
Ready to book? Start planning your trip now and find a place to stay in Austin.