Austin is not only the capital of Texas, but also the live music hub of the world. There is so much more than just music here though! In Austin, visitors can find great adventure and outdoors sports, awesome restaurants, unique bars, and historic sites. It is truly a city you need can spend so much time in, however, if you only have a few days that’s okay!
On a recent three day trip to Austin, I explored the city to discover what it is all about. Check out my video here, and remember to subscribe! Below are my top picks on things to do in this fabulous Texan city.
1. Check out the live music scene
As the live music capital of the world, of course the first thing on my list of suggestions will be to check out the live music scene. I recommend visiting Stubbs. They have great live music every night, plus they serve tasty BBQ. Other great places are C-Boy's Heart & Soul, Broken Spoke, and The Continental Club.
2. Feast on BBQ
It’s a rare find to have a 4.7 out of 5 star rating with 1,700 reviews, and that is why Franklin’s BBQ is a place that you should not miss when you’re in Austin. Chef Aaron Franklin has created such a stir with this BBQ spot that it is the norm to have three to five hour waits here. But trust me, it is worth it. I recommend arriving at least an hour before they open at 11am to get in line and come prepared with a place to sit if you need it. You won’t be disappointed. Plus, Aaron received the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2015 to prove it. franklinbbq.com
3. Spend the night in a treehouse
At Cypress Valley Canopy Tours visitors can have the unique experience of spending the night in a sky yurt. This eco-friendly treehouse was built 50 feet off the ground in a tree growing in the middle of a ravine. Another awesome feature is the bridge that connects it to a house with a hot tub that is built out of the natural cliff rock, creating a beautiful waterfall effect. When you visit, I recommend booking one of their ziplining tours through the canopy. It is a beautiful way to see the Texas landscape. cypressvalleycanopytours.com
4. Enjoy the nightlife scene
Austin has a raging nightlife scene thanks to the University of Texas. For those that want to party the night away I suggest taking a trip to Rainey Street. On this road, old fashion houses have been transformed into restaurants and bars creating a lively evening environment. A few epic bars to check out are Craft Pride, Half Step, and The Bar at Hotel Van Zandt.
Another fun place to check out is Easy Tiger Bakeshop & Brewery. I love this place because they have more than your standard beer garden offers. At Easy Tiger, there is a massive section of craft beer, wines, and spirits; along with a nice variety of cheeses, sausages, pretzels, and breads. Plus their outdoor area is gorgeous. It overlooks a river and is nestled among ivy covered stone walls. My favorite thing to do here is grab a drink and play ping pong by the water. It’s the perfect way to wind down from a long day. easytigeraustin.com
5. Get active at the “Greenbelt”
In my opinion the best part about Austin is the wide variety of active outdoor experiences there are. Many of these can be found at what locals call “the Greenbelt”. This area contains 12.68 miles of gorgeous trails, with the main trail spanning about 7 miles. This particular area is considered one of the top hiking trails in Texas. Other things to do here includes kayaking, rock climbing, canoeing, biking, and swimming in Barton Springs Pool (which I mention in #7). Click here to check out specific locations you can visit there.
6. Bike around the city
On the topic of Austin being an active city, it’s also important to mention that it has a great program that makes it easy to bike throughout it for only $12 a day. Bike stations are set up around the city, which makes it convenient to get anywhere in the city in a healthy and active way. austinbcycle.com
7. Swim at Barton Springs Pool
The Barton Springs Pool is so unique that it deserves its own section from number five. This amazing natural pool, that is located in the Greenbelt, is fed from a natural spring. The water is breathtakingly blue because of the clean water and slate rock bottom. This pool is massive at three acres long, and is the perfect way to cool down during those hot Texas summers. The cost for entry is $3 for residents and $8 for non-residents. Get more information about visiting here.
8. Learn to dance the Texas Two Step
If you’re in Texas you might as well learn to dance the Texas Two Step! At The White Horse they offer free dance lessons throughout the week. In the past they have taught Texas Two Step, Cajun Dance, and Swing. Other parts I love about The White Horse is that they have fun games to play (like pool), an outdoor area with a food truck, and free popcorn all night long. Check their website for more information about which lessons they are offering. thewhitehorseaustin.com
9. Visit the local breweries
It seems that craft brewing is becoming all the rage lately, and Austin knows how to do it well. If you’re into craft beer then I recommend checking out St. Elmo Brewing Co, Independence Brewing Co, and 512 Brewing Company. I particularly loved St. Elmo Brewing Co. when I visited. They have a tasty Thai food truck in their outdoor area, a nice variety of beers available, and tons of fun games to play. stelmobrewing.com
If this list was helpful for you, consider sharing it with a friend that will be visiting Texas! Or if you have any other suggestions, comment below your favorite places and let the world know.