It’s no secret that Austin is a lively, exciting town any time of year. The city’s vivacious epicenter and excellent breakfast taco selection is enough to ensure that visitors contemplate turning an extended stay into residency. However, the sizzling summer months offer a special kind of magic that is sure to captivate residents and tourists alike.
Here are 10 things to do in Austin this summer that will give you the best of the city without breaking the bank!
1. Take a dip in a local swimming hole!
What’s a better way to combat the Texas heat than to make a splash at a local swimming hole? Austin has a number of spots to check out, like St. Edward’s park and more than 300 other parks you can learn about through the Austin Parks Foundation. For the free-spirited, Hippie Hollow is an adults-only, clothing optional beach that has been keeping Austin weird for decades. On the tamer side, Deep Eddy Municipal Pool, built during the Depression era, offers a kid-friendly swimming pool just west of Downtown Austin. If you’re up for a little extra travel time, Hamilton Pool Preserve (be sure to make a reservation!) and Jacob’s Well are also local favorites for staying cool during the summer.
2. Soak up the adventures of Zilker Park!
Zilker Park offers an exciting mix of options to combat the summertime monotony. You can enjoy events like Blues on the Green, a free concert series that takes place once a month in May, June, July and August right at Zilker Park. For a special daytime treat, take a dip in Barton Springs Pool, one of Austin’s most iconic and beautiful swimming holes, explore the botanical gardens or play some sand volleyball. Hop on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-And-Bike Trail for a walk or run along the water.
3. Get your culturing on at one of Austin’s many museums!
Need a dash of Texas culture? Escape the heat and visit a museum! Check out an exhibit at the Blanton Museum of Art, Bullock Texas State History Museum or The Contemporary Austin. For a fun twist, check out the Mexic-Arte Museum located right in the heart of downtown Austin, only blocks from the capital. You can enjoy free access to Austin-area museums on Austin Museum Day, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Keep in mind that Texas Memorial Museum and the Harry Ransom Center, located on the University of Texas campus, are always free.
4. Get your camera ready and visit the largest urban bat colony in North America!
Who doesn’t love a little adventure and excitement? Come see the famous bat colony underneath the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge take flight at sundown (March to November). View nature’s show from the southeast side of the bridge from the Austin-American Statesman Lot, from the sidewalk of the bridge or from the water on a boat ride. This free activity is just a stroll from downtown and only blocks away from the restaurants and shops on South Congress Avenue (SoCo)!
5. Tour the iconic University of Texas at Austin campus!
Discover the University of Texas at Austin. What better time to take a stroll through campus or attend a tour? Tickets to tour Darrel K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium must be purchased online. Come see the orange glow of the UT Tower, or explore Guadalupe, also known as The Drag, and shop the UT Co-op. Whether or not you’re considering UT for educational ventures, seeing this beautiful campus is time well-spent.
6. Take a hike at a scenic Austin lookout spot!
Looking for more outdoor adventure in the Texas sunshine? Take a hike and catch the sunset at the Austin 360 Bridge, also known as Pennybacker Bridge, or climb up to the lookout at Mount Bonnell! Each of these scenic spots feature breathtaking views of the Colorado River that are sure not to disappoint.
7. Grab your paddles and get on the Colorado River!
Running through the core of Austin, the Colorado River is one of Austin’s most beautiful attractions. Referred to as Lady Bird Lake, 10 miles of trails surround this area. Get on the water by taking a kayak out or renting a standup paddle board for a gorgeous and relaxing cool down. Some locations offer dog friendly rentals, so your pup can join in on the fun. Few are strangers to the heat of a Texas summer, so there are never too many ways to cool off!
8. Take in the beauty and history of the Austin Capitol Building!
If you want to see where the Texas Legislature gets down to business, come take a free tour of the Austin capitol building! With some of Texas’ most beautiful and unique architecture, a trip here will give both stunning visuals and a taste of Texas culture. Capitol tours are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or Sunday 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
9. Get a taste of Austin’s mural display scene!
A crucial component “keeping Austin weird” is the various murals and graffiti art throughout the city. If you’re drawn to discover the city’s heartbeat and inner funk, take a picture with the “I love you so much” mural on South Congress Ave, or the “Hi, How are you?” frog mural on Guadalupe and 21st. For a variety of constantly changing pieces, check out The Hope Outdoor Gallery, a community paint park located at 11th and Baylor St. You’re guaranteed to capture an Instagram-worthy memory at any of these locations.
10. Grab a seat at an epic show at the Erwin Center!
What summer could be complete without seeing a show at the Frank Erwin Center?! With a variety of family and professional entertainment events, the Erwin Center is a staple location to visit during your summertime adventures in ATX. Check out our list of upcoming events at TexasBoxOffice.com!
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