Free Things to Do in Austin

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have fun and enjoy Austin. You can enjoy Austin for free or with a small amount of cash.

Explore Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake, created by the construction of a dam on the Colorado River, is one of the city’s most popular recreational places. It has been a tradition since the 1960s. You may ride your bike, play sports, take a walk, or even jog around the whole lake’s perimeter while being surrounded by a multitude of trees and plants. Throughout the year, Lady Bird Lake draws both residents and tourists for a variety of water sports such as fishing, canoeing, water skiing, and cycling. The lake, which is surrounded by high-end housing choices, restaurants, and drinking holes, surely contributes to the city’s dynamic nightlife. Exploring the environs around Lady Bird Lake as part of a city tour is one of the most intriguing things to do in Austin.

Tour the Capitol Building

It is strongly advised that travelers visit the Capitol Building while in Austin since it serves as a symbol of the city and is an outstanding example of Austin’s own architectural style. You should not contemplate leaving town until you have seen this well-known building. This structure, which originally opened its doors in 1888 and is now designated as a “National Historic Site,” is available to the public free of charge. Even now, the bulk of district council meetings are still conducted in the Capitol Building. The tower also contains a museum. People may learn about the building’s significance in the early history of the United States of America by visiting the Senate Hall Museum, which is now housed inside the edifice.

Explore South Congress Avenue and South Lamar Boulevard (SoCo)

In recent years, SoCo, located at the intersection of South Congress Avenue and South Lamar Boulevard, has been one of the locations that best embodies the brightness and vivacity that distinguishes this whole city. SoCo is recognized for its young people and prominent pubs and clubs such as the Broken Spoke, Continental Club, and Saxon Pub. In addition, new cafés, bars, and restaurants have opened in the region, as have shopping malls, vintage shops, antique shops, furniture stores, clothing stores, and jewelry stores. South Congress (SoCo) usually has something going on, and it would be a shame to leave Austin without experiencing it.

Take a Museum Tour

Another excellent pastime is to visit one of Austin’s many interesting museums. Spending at least a day visiting the city’s numerous museums and galleries is the best way to gain a sense of Austin’s rich cultural legacy. Visit the Texas State History Museum and the Blanton Art Museum while you’re in town. Both museums are located in the downtown area. Among the other museums in town are the Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum, the Elisabet Ney Museum, the Austin Children’s Museum, and the Texas Memorial Museum. If you have the opportunity and time, you should consider visiting these institutions.

Spend time on 6th Street

If you like going to venues where people perform live music, you may find yourself in one of the best spots in the world to visit. There’s a reason why 6th Street is renowned as the “live music capital of the world”: it’s home to many of the establishments that have made Austin famous. Almost every establishment on both sides of the street has a live band or DJ spinning music for customers. Take a stroll along Sixth Street, which is the busiest and most lively on weekends and during festival seasons, and get a drink while people-watching and listening to live music.

Mayfield Park

As soon as you approach Mayfield Park, which is noted for its historical importance, you receive the sensation that you have entered a peaceful sanctuary. Peacocks, lilies, and koi fish swim about in peace in the ponds and gardens, which are surrounded on all sides by towering palm trees. The picture-perfect and historically important home may be located inside the park’s limits. It is suitable for weddings and other forms of occasions. The beautiful villa and surrounding gardens are only the beginning of the amenities on the property. There are also 21 acres of great hiking trails abounding with wildlife. The property’s surroundings have many trailheads and access points to a network of hiking trails.

Mount Bonnell

Mount Bonnell is an excellent starting point for exploring the city’s beautiful surroundings. Keep reading for some last-minute travel advice. Don’t think for a second that we’re peering down from a great height at you! This perspective is more of a tourist attraction than a good place to get some exercise because of the limited access to downtown and the 360 Bridge. It’s excellent for romantic photos before or after a good day together.

Take 35th Street west from downtown Austin, cross MoPac, and then travel through Camp Mabry to get to Mount Bonnell. Turn left into Old Bull Creek Road, then right onto Mount Bonnell Road, which leads to a parking area on the left after a hard slope. Parking is provided at the bottom of the slope. The stroll is brief (just a few minutes), free, and open to people of all ages.

Austin Nature and Science Center

The Austin Nature & Science Center has been a resource for visitors, educators, and students of all ages since it originally opened its doors in 1960. This has been done via the center’s varied nature-related activities, recreational opportunities, and interactive displays. The Austin Natural Science Center, located on the western edge of Zilker Park, is a museum devoted to the study of the natural world. Families love their visits to the Austin Nature and Science Center. Among the various activities available at these gatherings are cave spelunking and butterfly viewing.

Congress Bridge

The Austin Bats are the city’s biggest draw. Austin’s “Congress Bridge Bats” live beneath Congress Avenue. It’s North America’s largest urban bat colony. Lady Bird Lake has many bats. 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats live here. Austin bats forage from March through November. They rule the night as they can’t fly. This weekly show is considered Austin, Texas’s most unique tourist attraction. Here are Austin’s top five bat-watching activities.

Austin bats leave at night depending on the season. They travel with southern hemisphere birds in winter. They arrive in early March and leave in late October, well after the first frost. If global warming continues, average temperatures may climb as early as late February. Checking the list is the quickest and easiest way to determine whether any flights are running. Bats start the peak tourist season. The bats leave the season. Congress Bridge bats start their nighttime journey 30–60 minutes before sunset. Bat season’s sunset times vary from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. If you want to see the sunset in Austin, check this webpage to come at least an hour and a half early and get a good spot.

Bats are commonly seen southeast of Congress Bridge and Lady Bird Lake. The bridge and southeast observation platform provide free bat watching. Bat-watching in nature is fun and cheap. The bridge may be too crowded for shorter persons to view. You may need greater bridge space due to coronavirus concerns. You may also dodge the bridge throng by watching bats. Take a bat tour to see the sunset. Flying animals are best seen this way. Austin has great bat-watching spots. Capital Cruises offers the nation’s prettiest electric paddle wheel boat. “Sunset Bat Watching” lets you see Congress Bridge Bats emerge at night when they stand out against the metropolis. You may need to schedule this excursion several days in advance during bat season when practically every night is full. Children 3–12 pay $8, while those above 12 pay $13. Prices might vary. Summer evenings, including weeknights, sell out. Pre-purchasing tickets guarantees a boat seat.