The Attendee's Ultimate Austin Checklist

25 Things To Do Before or After Your Meeting

In Austin for a meeting or corporate event? We’ve got 25 great ideas for things to do during your downtime. From where to catch live music to the best spots for breakfast tacos and boutique shopping, we’ll help you experience the real Austin.

Restaurants & Bars

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1. There’s no question that Austin serves up tasty barbecue. Order ribs, brisket, pulled pork, turkey and other smoked meats throughout the city. Legendary hot spots include Franklin Barbecue, the original Black’s BBQ and two locations of The County Line.

People putting fajita meat on tortillas surrounded by bowls and plates of Tex-Mex.Tex-Mex. Courtesy of Chuy's.

2. Indulge in Austin's favorite Tex-Mex foods from morning to late night and enjoy both rooftop and patio margaritas, whether you like them frozen or on the rocks. Start your day with breakfast tacos. Wherever you go, sample as much queso – a bowl of spicy, melted, cheesy goodness – as possible. Lots of restaurants serve queso, but one version you won’t want to miss is the legendary Bob Armstrong Dip at Matt’s El Rancho.

3. When hunger strikes in Austin, it’s easy to get a bite to eat by visiting one of Austin’s celebrated food trucks. Go to a food truck park for variety, or visit trucks parked outside bars. Freshly made fare ranges from Tex-Mex to burgers, vegan options, barbecue, breakfast, sweets and more.

4. Hit up happy hour with friends and colleagues. You’ll find plenty of restaurants and bars offering discounted appetizers and cocktails. Check out our guide to the top downtown happy hours to get the party started.

Outdoor Activities

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5. Spend an afternoon on the links playing a round of golf at one of Austin’s many area championship courses. Close to downtown is Butler Park Pitch & Putt, a nine-hole, par 3 course featuring shady pecan trees, challenging holes, and players ranging from families to pros.

6. Watch the sun set over Lake Austin after taking a quick hike up Mount Bonnell. Nearby, explore Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve, a lovely 23-acre estate that’s home to colorful strutting peacocks and beautiful gardens with koi ponds.

Girl in swimsuit and hat, sitting on paddle board on Lady Bird Lake looking towards the downtown skyline.Lady Bird Lake SUP. Credit Rachel Phillips.

7. Get on the water at picturesque Lady Bird Lake, where you can paddleboard, kayak, canoe or take a boat cruise to soak up the downtown sights. Check out Austin’s many water rentals and cruises to get you on your way.

8. Take a walk on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail that skirts the sparkling waters of Lady Bird Lake. Insider tip: Snap a selfie with the statue of Austin music legend Stevie Ray Vaughan stationed along the route.

9. Take a dip in Barton Springs Pool, located within the heart of scenic 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 and great people watching.

10.  Don’t miss the sunset show from spring through fall at the bat bridge, when more than a million Mexican free-tailed bats fly into the evening sky from beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge. Watch from the bridge or stake out a spot at the observation deck on the northeast side of the river.

Two Austin FC players running the same direction while the sun shines bright on a cheering crowd in verde shirts.Courtesy of Austin FC.

11. Sports fans have plenty to cheer for in Austin. University of Texas basketball games always draw a crowd to the Moody Center. See the Austin FC professional soccer matches in Q2 Stadium, or watch fast-paced COTA Karting, NASCAR and Formula 1 races at Circuit of The Americas.

Nightlife & Live Music

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12. Catch live music any night of the week at iconic Austin venues, including Antone’s NightclubThe Continental ClubMohawkElephant Room and Stubb’s Bar-B-Q. Check out our guide to concerts and live music in Austin to see who’s playing while you’re in town.

13. Stroll around Sixth Street after dark and let the music spilling out into the street pull you inside. Be sure to check out other notable areas around town for drinks and live music, including charming Rainey Street and the Red River Cultural District.

exterior corner view of ACL Live at the Moody Theater in Austin TexasACL Live at the Moody Theater. Credit Jonathan Jackson.

14. See a show at ACL Live at The Moody Theater, one of the premier concert venues in the city and home to live tapings of the beloved Austin City Limits, America’s longest-running music television series.

15. Austin wants you to help keep it weird, so do your part by visiting some of the city’s offbeat places. At the Museum of the Weird view strange exhibits that harken to old-time carnival sideshows. Go to the Eureka Room to experience a 100-square-foot room with lights and sounds enveloping you.

16. Boutique hop along the 2nd Street District with an iced coffee from Jo's in hand. This walkable downtown district just blocks from Lady Bird Lake features locally owned shops, award-winning restaurants and exciting entertainment options.

Two women walking downtown South Congress Avenue with coffees in hand.South Congress Avenue. Credit Arts + Labor.

17. Save plenty of time to explore South Congress Avenue. This trendy area is home to quirky shops (some featuring pieces made by Austin artisans), restaurants offering a variety of cuisines and loads of live music.

18. Head north of downtown to The Domain and Domain NORTHSIDE to shop in top-flight stores such as Free People, Gucci and Rolex. Linger at either destination to enjoy dining and entertainment options.

19. Enjoy the array of boutiques, big-box stores and thrift shops in Mueller. In this newer neighborhood, you’ll find places to eat and drink from morning until late.

Arts & Heritage

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20. Take a self-guided tour of Austin’s iconic murals and public art. Be sure to see the towering, 10-story Tau Ceti mural (an Instagram favorite!) and East Austin’s Rhapsody mosaic, a tribute to the blues and jazz musicians who once called the neighborhood home.

Looking up at the giant iron star in front of the Bullock Museum, with a purple hued sky in the background.Courtesy of the Bullock Museum.

21. Join a free tour of the landmark Texas State Capitol and learn about the history of this massive building, which is the largest state capitol in the United States. Afterward, view the fascinating exhibits at the Texas Capitol Visitors Center. The four-block Texas Capitol Mall turned a former street leading from the University of Texas campus – including its Blanton Museum of Art and Bullock Texas State History Museum – into a walkable park with great views of the Capitol.

22.  Austin has been the star setting of many hit films and smash television shows. Check out the locations of some of your favorites, including Dazed and Confused and Fear the Walking Dead, with our fun Austin Film Tourism Guide.

23. One of the best ways to learn about and experience Austin’s many cultures is by visiting the city’s diverse businesses and attractions. Our Cultural Heritage page will link you to sights and events you won’t want to miss. Check out our guide to LGBTQ+-owned businesses Austin, which includes a number of LGBTQ+-owned businesses, shops, restaurants and gay-friendly places.

Interior of Austin Visitor Center with gift shopAustin Visitor Center. Courtesy Visit Austin.

Tours & Events

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24. Attend a fun local event. Think brewery tastings, a sing-a-long or quote-a-long of your favorite cult classic film at Alamo Drafthouse, or ice skating during winter on the rooftop at the Whole Foods Market flagship store.

25. Stop by the Austin Visitor Center and join one of Austin's many tours. Whether you’re interested in historic sites, live music venues, local eateries or downtown guided walking tours, you’ll find a tour that covers them all.