There’s truly something for everyone in Austin. Whether you’re looking for live music, must-see museums, authentic Texas cuisine, scenic outdoor adventures or family-friendly fun, our city offers it all.

Here are 50 of the best things to do in Austin to kick-start your trip.

Patrons dancing at the White Horse bar and venue in Austin Texas
The White Horse. Courtesy of Contiki.

  1. Make your first stop the Austin Visitor Center and get insider tips on the best Austin has to offer, hop on a tour and shop locally made items.

  2. Try Austin’s favorite food: tacos! Some of the best are served up by Veracruz All Natural, Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon and Torchy’s Tacos.

  3. Bike or hike along the 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake, which winds along the shoreline and boasts panoramic views of Austin’s skyline.

  4. November brings exciting events to Austin. Tap along to live Irish music during the Austin Celtic Festival, November 2-3; explore local artists’ studios during the East Austin Studio Tour, held the weekends of November 16-17 and 23-24; and get a jump on your holiday shopping at the Blue Genie Art Bazaar, running from November 22 through Christmas Eve.

  5. View a stunning collection of modern art at The Contemporary Austin at the Jones Center and get free same-day entry to The Contemporary Austin–Laguna Gloria, a Mediterranean-style villa with an outdoor sculpture park on Lake Austin. 

  6. Slip into a real honky-tonk and go two-stepping at Broken Spoke, known for its chicken-fried steak and free dinner show; do some boot-scootin' at The White Horse, with live country jams; or drop in at Little Longhorn Saloon during its six-days-a-week happy hour, with $1.50 Lone Star beers.

  7. Shop South Congress Avenue, known for its funky stores and chic boutiques. Check out the kicks at Allens Boots, one-of-a-kind jewelry and clothing by local artisans at Parts & Labour and wild costumes at Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds.

  8. Stop in at the historic Texas Capitol Visitors Center and get a Lone Star State history lesson during a free guided tour of the handsome pink granite Texas State Capitol.

  9. Sample a variety of food trucks in one location at The Picnic, where you’ll find crunchy chicken tenders at The Mighty Cone, sweet treats like the red velvet confection from Hey Cupcake! and authentic Thai cuisine at Coat & Thai.

    Line in front of Franklin Barbecue in austin texas
    Franklin Barbecue.

  10. Play it smart at the Thinkery, Austin’s hands-on children’s museum that incorporates science and technology into the fun with interactive exhibits and engaging activities.

  11. Flip through the extensive selection of vinyl at Waterloo Records and catch a free in-store performance by an emerging local musician.

  12. Hike up the stone steps of Mount Bonnell and get a sweeping view of the city from atop this Lake Austin landmark that has been a popular attraction since the 1850s.

  13. Visit the free Brush Square Museums that include the Susanna Dickinson Museum (the only Anglo adult survivor of the Battle of the Alamo) and the O. Henry Museum, former residence of the famed short story writer.

  14. You’re not doing Austin right if you don’t try some of our world-famous barbecue. Get in line for the ultra-tender brisket crafted by James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Aaron Franklin at Franklin Barbecue. Try the Brisket Frito Pie topped with chili and cheddar cheese at Micklethwait Craft Meats. Or sample house-made chipotle sausage and juicy ribs at la Barbecue.

  15. Listen to Texas singers, songwriters and musicians perform in the Oak Garden at Güero’s Taco Bar on Wednesdays as part of the Texas Radio Live series presented by Sun Radio.

  16. Explore Mayfield Park, home to incredible gardens and colorful preening peacocks that make the perfect backdrop for your photos.

  17. Putt your way through the kitschy Peter Pan Mini Golf, featuring two 18-hole mini golf courses filled with fun obstacles and colorful characters that include a towering T. rex.

  18. Spend some time at the original flagship Whole Foods Market, where you’ll find restaurants, a beer and wine bar, a food truck, and free rooftop live music and events.

  19. Visit an impressive collection of museums at the University of Texas at Austin, including the Blanton Museum of Art, featuring Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, a stone building with brilliantly colored glass windows; the Harry Ransom Center, housing cultural archives that include the first photo; and the LBJ Presidential Library, with inspiring exhibits on President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

    Girls posing at I Love You So Much Mural while friend takes photo
    Courtesy Contiki.

  20. Dine alfresco (even in winter!) on the heated patios at Grizzelda’s (Tex-Mex cuisine) and Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill (American fare), or nosh on ranch-style bar food around the cozy fire pit at Contigo

  21. Hike or bike along the Barton Creek Greenbelt to find Gus Fruh, a swimming hole known for its famed Urban Assault limestone rock wall that’s a favorite of climbers. Explore further to discover the hidden Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls areas.

  22. Snap a selfie in front of one of Austin’s iconic murals. The popular I love you so much mural is painted on the wall of Jo's Coffee on South Congress Avenue. Hi, How Are You features a bug-eyed bullfrog named Jeremiah, originally drawn by outsider folk artist Daniel Johnston, near the University of Texas at Austin campus. And the colorful Greetings from Austin postcard is a must-shoot in South Austin.

  23. Shop ‘til you drop in the 2ND Street District, teeming with Austin-owned boutiques that offer everything from music-inspired apparel at Austin Rocks to gorgeous jewelry from Eliza Page and tailored menswear from League of Rebels.

  24. Taste your way along the scenic Texas Hill Country wine trail, home to more than 50 wineries. Or sample the brews from local microbreweries on the Austin Craft Beer Trail.

  25. Celebrate African-American heritage at the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center through exhibits, programs and theatrical productions.

  26. Join fellow Texas Longhorn fans in tailgating at one of the parking lots outside Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium before cheering on the beloved University of Texas at Austin football team.

  27. See a concert or classic film at the Paramount Theatre, a century-old performance venue and movie theater located in the heart of downtown Austin.

  28. Dine at Fareground, Austin’s very first food hall, featuring outposts of some of the city’s favorite eateries, including Dai Due Taqueria (tacos and tortas) and Ni-Kome (sushi and ramen).

  29. Get an insider’s look at the history and culture of Texas at the Bullock Museum, containing three floors of interactive exhibits, the Texas Spirit Theater, an IMAX Theatre and the Story of Texas Cafe.

    ACL Live
    Courtesy of ACL Live at the Moody Theater.

  30. Harness the cowboy spirit in the Texas Hill Country during a guided horseback trail ride with Maverick Horseback Riding in Lockhart or Texas Trail Rides, just outside downtown Austin.

  31. Start your day with farm-fresh produce, artisan goods, colorful flowers and live music at the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown, held Saturdays in Republic Square.

  32. Take a free guided tour (with advance reservations) of the elegant Texas Governor’s Mansion, built in 1854 as the official residence of Texas governors and their families.

  33. See a comedy show at Esther's Follies, specializing in political satire and hilarious musical numbers, or Fallout Theater, presenting sketch, stand-up and improv comedy shows by new and seasoned comedians.

  34. Get a taste of Austin’s cocktail culture at Whisler's, known for creative concoctions with unique ingredients; The Townsend, where music is paired with specialty drinks; and the reservations-only Midnight Cowboy, serving classic libations in a sultry speakeasy.

  35. View Mexican and Latin American artworks at the Mexic-Arte Museum, and snap a photo with one of the revolving murals painted on the side of the museum.

  36. Search for retro treasures in the North Loop neighborhood, where Room Service Vintage and Blue Velvet are good bets for affordable clothing and home decor finds.

  37. Catch a concert at ACL Live at The Moody Theater, named for the long-running Austin City Limits television music series filmed here, which hosts artists of every genre and offers behind-the-scenes tours.

  38. Wander around Zilker Park, a 360-acre oasis in the heart of the city that’s home to the Zilker Botanical Garden and leafy trails that lead to outdoor artworks at the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum.

  39. Enjoy brunch with a side of music at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, serving up lip-smacking barbecue during its rousing Sunday Gospel Brunch. Or meet the locals at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden, where the tables are communal, 200+ craft beers are served, and 30 varieties of sausage are grilled during the Sunday Big Band Brunch.

    Chips and Queso at Matts El Rancho in Austin Texas
    Matt's El Rancho. Credit Jody Horton Photography.

  40. Browse the vibrant galleries that showcase local emerging artists, including Austin Art GarageWomen & Their Work and the Old Bakery & Emporium (located in an 1870s national landmark on Congress Avenue), which presents juried art shows.

  41. Take a swing at the Harvey Penick Golf Campus, featuring a PGA Tour-designed nine-hole golf course and Austin’s first-ever, 18-hole Footgolf course, which combines the best elements of soccer and golf for a high-energy game.

  42. Watch a band at the legendary Continental Club on South Congress Avenue, which has been hosting live music ranging from rock to country for 60 years, and is often the site of surprise celebrity performances.

  43. Make tracks to the free Austin Nature & Science Center to explore nature trails, see small wildlife creatures and dig for “dinosaur fossils” in the Dino Pit.

  44. See everything from opera to dance and family musicals at the Long Center, one of Austin’s leading performance venues. Free tours are offered every Wednesday at noon.

  45. Hike through a Texas Hill Country landscape of limestone cliffs and stone river beds along the Pedernales River at Pedernales Falls State Park. Follow Juniper Ridge Trail, which leads to the park’s rushing Pedernales Falls.

  46. Hit of some of Austin’s best LGBTQ bars on Fourth Street in the Downtown Warehouse District, with dancing and drag queens at hot spots that include Sellers Underground, Rain on 4th, Highland Lounge and Oilcan Harry’s.

  47. Don’t leave Austin without sampling some of our town’s best Tex-Mex cuisine, including barbecue breakfast tacos from Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ, Bob Armstrong queso at Matt’s El Rancho and sizzling fajitas from Maudie’s.

  48. Toast the latest Texas Longhorn victory at Scholz Garten, Austin’s oldest drinking establishment and the place to celebrate University of Texas football wins since 1893.

  49. Tour the free Elisabet Ney Museum, housed in what was once the German-born sculptress’ studio, and see portrait sculptures of notable 19th century Texans.

  50. For an adrenaline rush coupled with an awesome view, Lake Travis Zipline Adventures offers five pulse-pounding ziplines (one being the longest in Texas) to whisk you away on an exciting outdoor adventure.

Discover more things to do in Austin this today, this week and this weekend with our online event calendar here