Below you'll find a list of top Austin attractions, sightseeing destinations, tours, museums, and other things to do in Austin that both locals and visitors love.
1. Check out the World Famous Congress Bridge Bats
Our #1 activity 9 months out the year, viewing the Congress Bridge Bats is Austin's most popular tourist attraction for a reason. It's simply a marvel. Watch as 1.5 million bats pepper the sky in their nightly departure from Congress Bridge in their relentless and appreciated pursuit to rid us of mosquitos. There are a lot of ways to view the bats. Use the button below to learn about 4 fun ways to check them out.
2. Take a Splash with Austin Duck Adventures
One of the first tours to show visitors around town and the only land and water tour available, Austin Duck Adventures is one of the most popular tours in town. The tour starts at the Austin Visitor Center at the corner of 4th and Red River in downtown Austin. It drives along 6th street, up Congress where you get great views of the Texas Capitol and then on to Lake Austin where you drive straight into the water and float around before heading back. Tours run 7 days a week.
3. Get Spooky in Style on a Haunted Hearse Limo Tour
One of the more unique tours in Austin that is seriously keeping Austin weird comes from the Haunted ATX team. They pack up to 7 guests in a hearse that's been converted to a limo and take you around haunted locations and tell the stories about the ghosts that linger in their spots. This tour starts at $49 per person which is priced a little higher than others due to the exclusive nature of the limousine hearse. They also offer private VIP tours. The tour itself is a blend of scary stories, Austin history, and a deep dive into some intriguing stories behind some of Austin's most iconic buildings.
4. Break Out of Prison at the Escape Game
Located in downtown Austin next to the Austin Visitor Center, this is Austin's #1 Escape Game. You and your friends will get locked in a room and given some clues to help you figure out how to ESCAPE! The Austin location has 5 different rooms to choose from including The Heist, Goldrush, Playground, Classified, and our favorite Prison Break.
5. Go Cave Exploring with Inner Space Cavern
Located about 25 north of Austin lies Inner Space Caverns. You and your friends, family, or crew can tour below the ground and explore a natural cavern formed millions of years ago beneath one of Texas' busiest interstate highways. Inner Space Cavern is filled with history, mystery and chemistry! This all season activity caters to large groups and offers one of the most engaging afternoon activities in Texas.
6. Circle the City with Austin Overtures
Austin Overtures is the first tour company to take people around town in a 14 per passenger van. Their tour rolls through several uniquely Austin areas including the Capitol complex, downtown Austin, Barton Springs area, Mt Bonnell, and East Austin. Their tours run 3-4 times a day out of the Austin Visitor Center for around $25 per person.
7. Ride Around Austin with Mikes Bikes and Tours
We love biking in Austin and nobody knows the trails and sites better than Mike. His crew offers a variety of tours to choose from including a couple on Austin's premiere mountain bike trails and a few that explore the city itself. You might think summer is the only time for a bike tour in Austin, but due to our warm weather these tours run all year round.
8. Hold your Paddle High with Live Love Paddle
We absolutely love Live Love Paddle's bat watching tours. They also rent kayaks, paddleboard, and canoes for those looking to get a little exercise in with their sightseeing. The views of downtown from Lady Bird Lake are amazing. Also, check out their full moon music paddle that features kayaking to an island, watching a band play, eatings smores, and kayaking back at night under the stars.
9. Test Your Limits at Hidden Falls Adventure Park
Hidden Falls Adventure Park features a 2800-acre off-road family destination right in the middle of the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Located just 7-miles east of Marble Falls, there are hundreds of miles of trails for ATV’s, UTV’s, Motorcycles, full size 4x4’s, and rock crawlers. We also offer full-hookup RV Sites, Improved Tent Sites, Primitive Tent Sites, and even Bunkhouses. And yea, you can rent vehicles there.
10. Keep Austin Weird and Visit South Congress Avenue
The epicenter of the "Keep Austin Weird" movement, South Congress Avenue remains a top visitor attraction albeit more and more upscale as the years go by. It's a great place to do some unique shopping, catch a great restaurant, even see live music.
11. Pedal to Party Cove with Pedal Barge
Explore Austin's beautiful Lake Austin while pedaling (and drinking) with your friends. Their public cruises are offered daily and can accomodate up to 12 guests on a boat that is powered by pedaling. Don't worry, there's a motor on board to help out on the way back. They provide the party boat, coolers with ice, bluetooth speakers, and an experienced captain. Private cruises are available and ideal for bachelor and bachelorette parties, birthdays, and corporate outings. Get the details about Pedal Barge on Lake Austin here.
12. Disappear at Magic's Theatre
Located in Southwest Austin, Magic's Theater offers a full auditorium sized Magic show on Saturday nights and a close up magic show on Friday nights. It also doubles as a magic musuem with pieces from Harry Houdini's collection, and offers a snack bar. One worthwhile feature is that you can bring your own wine with a small corkage fee.
13. Get Lost in the Bob Bullock Museum
The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum offers 3 full floors of exhibits featuring everything about Texas. This is also home to the first and best Austin Imax Experience that routinely shows current hit movies alongside some 3D staples.
14. Get the Party Started at Rainey Street District
Rainey Street District is probably the most unusual nightlife scene in Austin. The first bar to open in Rainey was Lustre Pearl located in an old home. Not too long after other homes converted into bars and now the area is covered with bars, hotels, restaurants, and food trucks, offering one of Austin's most unique nightlife districts.
15. Laugh til you Cry at Esther's Follies
The only evolving shows to grace the city of Austin's streets and a good reason to visit Austin's famous 6th street, Esther's Follies offers an amazing Broadway like show that features current political skits, impersonations, magic and more. They tease both sides of the political wheel, but if you're really rigid about your politics, this may be more than you can handle. We consider it an annual must see show worthy of every guest that comes to town.
16. Practice for the F1 Track at Central Texas Speedway
It's hard to make the F1 circuit, but you'll never know if you've got what it takes until you get behind the wheel. Why not start at Central Texas Speedway? This is a real 3/8 mile track and the cars get up to 65 miles per hour. They also host some some solid parties there with live music at the Car Bar.
17. Whack Some Balls at Top Golf in the Domain
One of the hipper activites to hit Austin in the last few years, Top Golf offers a whacky way to spend an afternoon or evening. Featuring a three story driving range with state of the art ball tracking equipment, a respectable menu, and your own server bringing drinks, we didn't realize swinging clubs could be this fun.
18. Walk, Jog, or Ride the Boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake
It wasn't until they finished the boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake that you could circle the entire trail without a few treks on the road. Now there's a full 10.2 mile loop along the water in downtown Austin. We love getting our bikes out there when the weather is right.
19. Go for Hike Along the Barton Creek Greenbelt
Starting at Barton Springs Pool, the Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of Austin's best treasures with areas known as the Flats, Twin Falls, and Sculpture Falls. The Flats is known to host large gathers complete with drum circles. Twin Falls offers one of the better water falls, and Sculpture Falls is known for a little solitude. There's also great rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, and other outdoor activities that appeal to a wide array of outdoorsy types. It's best when the water if flowing, even if it's low just 15 - 20 cfs. You can check out a flow guage at Loop 360 bridge here.
20. Enjoy a Lunch or Dinner Cruise on Lady Bird Lake
There are two major boat operations on Lady Bird Lake. Both Capital Cruises and Lonestar Riverboats have optional menus for private cruises that cater to parties ranging in size. Capital Cruises has a smaller boat that goes out with 2-8 people. Both companies can handle large parties ranging from 30 - 140. Use these links to learn more about Capital Cruises and Lone Star Riverboats.
21. Go Full Yuppie at the Domain in North Austin
Quite the opposite of South Congress, but very impressive with total shopping emersion, the Domain in North Austin features the most exclusive brands in the city. It also features a strong resume of restaurants, nightlife, and boutiques.
22. Get Crafty with an Austin Brewery Tour
Austin is quickly becoming a fine destination for micro breweries. With several distilleries in the outskirts of West Austin and new breweries on the east side, a tour from Austin Brewery Tours offer a nice combination of seeing Austin and learning about the beer brewing process.
23. Dive Into an Aquifer Fed Pool at Barton Springs Pool
Definitely one of the more popular tourist activities in Austin, Barton Springs Pool offers a natural water hole that stays a chilly 68 degrees all year round. See some killer 360 photos and learn more using the button below.
24. Soak in the Sun at McKinney Falls State Park
Probably the least known outdoorsy area in the Austin city limits, McKinney Falls is hidden between IH35 and the Austin Airport on the Southeast side of town. We like to go here because it's less crowded than the Barton Creek and offers some great views, moderate hiking, and a nice swimming hole. It's a state park so expect to pay $5 to enter.
25. Enjoy a Sunset on Top of Mount Bonnell
One of the best free activities in austin, Mount Bonnell features the highest peak in the city limits. There's a higher peak across the water in the city of West Lake Hills, but it doesn't come with Mount Bonnell's giant staircase or a pic nic area.