Austin Travel Guide

USA  #1 in Best Places to Visit in Texas
Credit

Courtesy of RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/Getty Images

Free Things To Do in Austin

If you have extra time, Zilker Metropolitan Park is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Things to do in Austin
    View all Photos
    #1 in Austin
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Standing stoically in the heart of central Austin is Texas's legislative center, the State Capitol. Opened in 1888, this pink-granite landmark stands 14 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Much of the capitol, including the 218-foot rotunda, the chamber of the Hall of Representatives and the governor's receiving room, still look

    ...Read More »
  • #2
    Mount Bonnell
    View all Photos
    #2 in Austin
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    For great views, head to Mount Bonnell at Covert Park, which provides sweeping views of the city, Lake Austin and the surrounding hills. The 5.1-acre historic linear park is home to a 775-foot-high outcrop, considered the highest spot in the area. Mount Bonnell is designated a Texas Historic Landmark and

    ...Read More »
  • #3
    Zilker Metropolitan Park
    View all Photos
    #3 in Austin
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Sitting across the river from downtown Austin, this beloved 351-acre park buoys Austin's reputation as one of the Best Places to Live. Zilker Metropolitan Park shelters some of the city's most popular attractions – from art museums toswimming holes– as well as several athletic fields and plenty of open space for

    ...Read More »
  • #5
    SoCo District
    View all Photos
    #5 in Austin
    Cafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Festivals, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Cafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Festivals, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    While the SoCo District sits about 5 miles south of downtown Austin, the area plays a vital role in the city’s weird culture. A portmanteau neighborhood nickname, SoCo stands for South Congress and is most known for its namesake South Congress Avenue. The shops lining the avenue mostly specialize in

    ...Read More »
  • #6
    Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake
    View all Photos
    #6 in Austin
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    A cherished outdoor space in the city, the 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail which encompasses the entire lake, serves as a popular place for runners, walkers and cyclists, for both locals and visitors. Outdoor enthusiasts rave about the peace and quiet beauty the trail affords.

    ...Read More »
  • #7
    Sixth Street
    View all Photos
    #7 in Austin
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    A trip to the "Live Music Capital of the World" wouldn't be complete without discovering some of Austin's up-and-coming talent along Sixth Street. After drastic restoration took place in an effort by the National Register of Historic Places to save the area from its grungy reputation, this area became the

    ...Read More »
  • #12
    Austin Bats
    View all Photos
    #12 in Austin
    Natural Wonders, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    According to experts, Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. Approximately 1.5 million bats have made the Congress Avenue Bridge their home. The bats settled here after a renovation of the bridge in 1980 created crevices that were perfect for bats to take refuge in

    ...Read More »
  • #15
    Austin Nature & Science Center
    View all Photos
    #15 in Austin
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Parents aiming to cultivate a passion for science will appreciate the offerings at the Austin Nature & Science Center. The center provides hands-on exhibits designed to foster connections with the natural environment. One outdoor option is the Forest Trail, which includes information about the 45 types of native trees planted

    ...Read More »
  • #16
    Mayfield Park and Preserve
    View all Photos
    #16 in Austin
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Despite being listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, Mayfield Park and Preserve attracts travelers primarily because of its exorbitant population of peacocks. One historical cottage and gardens sit in the estate, which Mary Mayfield Gutsch donated to the city of Austin in 1971. The manicured portion takes up

    ...Read More »
  • University of Texas at Austin
    View all Photos
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

Explore More of Austin

Recommended

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Make sure your next getaway is both enjoyable and informative.

Holly JohnsonMarch 14, 2019