Spending Memorial Day weekend in Austin? Make the most of your long holiday with plenty of outdoor adventures, live music and delicious eats that will keep you fueled up for three days of fun.
Credit Geoff Duncan.
Start your day with breakfast at Paperboy, a popular food truck with early-morning dishes like sweet potato hash with braised pork belly, garlic-rosemary mayo and a poached egg.
Then head over to Zilker Park, a sprawling 360-acre green space in the heart of downtown that’s home to Zilker Hillside Theater (site of festivals and free music), Zilker Botanical Garden and Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum.
For swimming and people watching, head to Barton Springs Pool, located in the heart of Zilker Park. This swimmer’s paradise features clear spring-fed water that stays a refreshing 68 degrees year ‘round, along with grassy hills for sunbathing.
Hike or bike along the Barton Creek Greenbelt to explore the hidden swimming holes in the Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls areas. Here you’ll discover relaxing shallow stream waters and plenty of rocky areas for adventurous climbing and exploring the falls.
As the sun begins to set, stake out a spot on the Congress Avenue Bridge to witness more than one million Mexican free-tailed bats fly into the night sky from beneath the bridge. Or witness the surreal sight from the water with a boat ride on Lone Star Riverboat or Capital Cruises, which will put you right in the middle of the action on Lady Bird Lake.
Cool off with a frosty margarita at Güero’s Taco Bar, known for its fresh Mexican dishes (including handmade corn tortillas and mole) and live music performed outdoors in its Oak Garden every Wednesday through Sunday.
Perla's. Credit Casey Dunn.
Start your Sunday with the Big Band Brunch at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden, featuring live music from noon-3 p.m. The outdoor tables here are communal, 100+ craft beers are served and the menu consists of sausages (ranging from wild game to veggie) cooked on a sizzling grill.
Then, strap on a helmet and bike along the leafy 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake, which winds along shimmering waters and has picturesque views of Austin’s skyline. Rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard at Congress Avenue Kayaks or Zilker Park Boat Rentals to get out on the lake waters.
Toast your trip on the beachy patio at Perla’s, a beautiful high-end setting for indulging in champagne cocktails and fresh seafood.
After dinner, get a taste of the Live Music Capital of the World® at one of Austin's iconic music venues. Walk down the road to the Continental Club to see live rock, country or blues by local and national acts, or head to the Red River Cultural District where you can find a venue to satisfy every musical preference.
Waterfall at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. Courtesy of Wild Basin Creative Research Center, St. Edward's University.
Fill up on decadent breakfast dishes at the punk rock Holy Roller, including rich cookies-and-cream pancakes, before heading out of the city for a Memorial Day packed with outdoor adventures.
Experience a lush escape within the city limits at the quiet 80-acre St. Edward's Park or the 227-acre Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. Take your pick of adventures, from exploring the waterfalls and swimming spots, to hiking through forested greenbelt trails.
Cool off in the swimming hole and snap some Instagram-worthy waterfalls before tubing down the Pedernales River at Pedernales Falls State Park, located just 30 miles west of Austin.
Or drive one hour south of Austin to the balmy 270-acre rainforest-like setting of Palmetto State Park. Glide down the San Marcos River in a kayak or canoe and keep an eye out for the exotic birds that inhabit the park.
Also an hour from Austin is Pace Bend Park, offering a relaxing backdrop among limestone cliffs and reflective Lake Travis. Spend the day on the water boating or fishing.
Drive back to Austin and head straight to Easy Tiger to lounge in its epic beer garden, a great spot to grab an artisan sandwich (like the corned beef on rye), play ping-pong and swig local craft beers alongside scenic Waller Creek.