Austin is many things: A music epicenter, a foodie destination, a funky art scene. With everything else the city has going for it, there are plenty of Austin weekend rentals and attractions right in town that offer outdoor fun and relaxation for anyone who wants to cool down, heat up, or chill out.
When you’re looking for what to do in Austin, here are some suggestions to get you started.
Find Your Swim Spot
Zilker Park is right in the heart of Austin. It has 350 acres of parkland and is filled with opportunities for fun on the water. Barton Springs is located here, which is a limestone pool at a consistent water temperature of 65-70℉ to keep you cool.
If you need to take it all off to cool down, head north of the city to Hippie Hollow Park. It’s the only nude bathing spot in all of Texas. You don’t have to be naked to enjoy the water, but, when in Rome. . .
For an idyllic spot, make a reservation for Hamilton Pool. Here, enjoy a natural limestone pool surrounded by rock ledges and a grotto. It’s a short quarter-mile hike from parking (Note: It is not handicap-accessible), but well worth it for the scenery and refreshing water.
Feel the Burn
North of the city, Mount Bonnell is the highest point in Austin with spectacular views of the city, especially at sunset. Hike up the steps for a panoramic view of Austin in its entirety. For something a little more challenging, the River Place Nature Trail winds up and down hills, though has plenty of shade along the way.
Austin is a biking town: There are rental shops near popular trails, and lodgings often have free bikes on hand. You can bike the loop around Zilker Park, but to avoid foot traffic, head over the Veloway. This is a paved three-mile track exclusively for biking and skating. If you like biking in group situations, check out Social Cycling Austin for bike enthusiast events and social gatherings.
Enjoy the Scenery
Explore the wild and wonderful landscape of Texas all around the city. The Lady Bird Wildflower Center has numerous gardens for strolling and education, or get out of the city for a day trip to the Chappell HIll Lavender Farm.
Thousands of lavender plants and the famous Texas bluebonnet offer a fragrant afternoon of picnicking and relaxing. If the farm is too far, you can check out the bluebonnets in season around Zilker Park, near the Park Hills Baptist Church.
No visit to Austin is complete without a visit to the South Congress Bridge to check out the bats. That’s right: Bats. At dawn and dusk, you can watch the largest urban bat colony take to the skies. It’s truly one of the most memorable and best activities in Austin.
Party Night or Day
Austin is a party town, and you should explore the many venues for music, dance, and drinks in the infamous Sixth Street district. In good weather, it’s always fun to hang out on the outdoor patios for drinks at places like the Whislers or Weather Up. If you get your jones for caffeine, though, check out Mozart’s Coffee when you’re out by the golf course.
When you’re trying to brainstorm things to do in Austin, look to this guide for some of the best activities to try first. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to spending a day outdoors in this wonderful city.