They say that all things are bigger in Texas but what they don’t tell you is that all things are better in Texas too–especially in Austin, Texas. Austin is a bustling and vibrant city filled with fun things to do for people of all ages. Whether you are spending a week visiting on vacation or brand new to the city and looking for something to do, this is the definitive listing for you.
1.) The Texas Memorial Museum
The Texas Memorial Museum highlights the nature and history of the Lone Star state. It has a focus on natural history, paleontology, biology, and geology. Kids will love the pterodactyl flying overhead as they enter the museum. This is a lesser-known part of Austin, and is a great place to visit with family and children. The Texas Memorial Museum has a truly relaxed and calm environment for those looking to learn something new or to ditch the heat on those hot Austin afternoons.
2.) The Barton Springs Municipal Pool
The Barton Springs Municipal Pool is not your typical public pool. All of the water in this massive three acre swimming pool is from the nearby natural spring. Because it is filled with spring water it stays cool all year long no matter the heat outside. The pools themselves feel almost as if they were cut completely from the local rocks. It is a fun way to get out into nature while staying cool. There are lifeguards on duty at all times to watch out for little ones. Adult pricing is nine dollars and children’s pricing is five dollars.
3.) The Austin Zoo
The Austin Zoo is located just outside of the city and is home to many rescued animals in need of rehabilitation. There are a wide variety of animals at the zoo and the staff are trained to help kids and adults alike learn more about the animals around us. The Austin Zoo has offerings throughout the year such as summer camps for children, events during holidays such as Easter and Christmas, and events where children can feed barnyard animals. This zoo is an intimate place to spend an afternoon with the family. There are also food and drink options available as well.
4.) The Zilker Botanical Garden
The Zilker Botanical Garden is an expansive garden right in the middle of Austin near the Colorado river. It shows off many plants both native ad foreign to Texas. The Zilker Botanical Garden is beautifully manicured and curated for guests to get the best visit possible. There are many gardens including but not limited to an herb garden, an Asian garden, a pioneer garden, and a cactus and succulent garden. The Zilker Botanical Garden is a great place for kids as well as pets to take a nice walk, come in contact with nature, and leave the screens behind.
5.) Austin BBQ
Austin is home to some of the best BBQ places in the world. That is why no trip to the city is complete with sampling a few different spots. Some of the more famous places include Terry Black’s Barbecue, Iron Works Barbecue, Stiles Switch Barbecue, and Franklin Barbecue. Many travel companies around the city offer flat rate BBQ tours that allow participants to eat the best of the best from different restaurants while also gaining some new BBQ knowledge. The best tips for eating in Austin are come hungry and get messy.
6.) The Blanton Museum of Art
For those who are looking to add a little culture to their visit, The Blanton Museum of Art is worth a visit. This is one of the largest art museums in America and is a great place to check out everything from traditional Texas art, to modern installments, to Greek sculpture. Even the building itself is built to demonstrate the history of art and to highlight different styles. Unlike some museums that feel like getting lost in a labyrinth, The Blanton Museum of Art is set up in such a way that it feels natural and normal to go from one area to the next. It is a great place to wander around, get some creative inspiration, and maybe learn a thing or two along the way.
7.) The Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms
Austin has a long stream of history behind it and a great place to start understand that is the Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms. This living history museum is recreation of early Texas life for the pioneers. There are various different stages of Texas history shown off here, all organized clearly with plenty of explanation and context. The farms are set up on sprawling landscape and are a great place to hike and pass the afternoon. There are many exhibits that invite young children to get in on the action and do different activities from the past. There are also food and drink options available.
8.) The Austin Aquarium
The Austin Aquarium is a family-friendly aquarium located a short drive away from the center of the city. It showcases different kinds of fish and marine life that perhaps visitors wouldn’t get to see otherwise. Many of their exhibits are interactive and geared towards educating children, although visitors of all ages can enjoy the space.
9.) McKinney Falls State Park
For those who are looking for a laid back Austin experience, consider heading to the Mckinney Falls State Park. Natural waterfalls, river access, and woodland area make this a great place to take a hike or go biking. Large rock formations tower over the river reminding us of how small we actually are. Swimming, kayaking, and canoeing are allowed in the water area. It is a beautiful national park and worth a visit.
10.) ZACH Theatre
What would Autin be without music? One of the great places in the city to watch a show is the ZACH Theatre located right in the heart of the city. Music and theater shows alike are performed on their various stages. ZACH theatre is a modern building that still retains the traditional Texas charm. The seats are set up in a such a way that they are all equally good. It is a perfect place to kick back and enjoy what makes Austin great.
Whether soaking up high culture or digging in to some brisket, there is something in Austin for everyone. The unique offerings with distinctive Texas spins truly help continue the legacy of keeping Austin weird.