10 Cool Things To Do In Austin

10 Cool Things To Do In Austin

There are plenty of reasons to visit the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’, and of course, catching a music gig is just one of them. Whether you want to indulge in some true Texan barbecue, cool down with a craft beer or go for a dip in the popular Barton Springs Pool, here’s our pick of the top 10 things to do in the Texan capital.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is the main airport servicing the Texan capital, and is located around 8 kilometres from downtown Austin. Once you land, hop into your pre-booked airport transfer and head straight to your hotel, so you can start exploring the city as soon as possible.

Haven’t booked your airport transfer yet? Browse available airport transfers from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Jayride.com, the airport transfer search and comparison site.

Catch a live music gig

Let’s start with the obvious. Austin is nicknamed the ‘Live Music Capital of World’ for good reason, so don’t miss a chance to see a live band play while you’re there. In fact, you’ll likely be serenaded the moment you arrive; live bands are often playing throughout the terminals of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Live music wafts through the air just about everywhere in the city; supermarkets, on the street, in coffee shops, not to mention the plethora of music festivals that mark the city’s calendar. Then there’s the countless live bands that take to the stage in Austin’s bars, clubs and auditoriums. From intimate venues in dive bars to huge headline acts rocking main stages, music will definitely make up part of your Austin itinerary.

Don’t think it’s just Texan country ballads on offer either; whether you love the soulful blues, hipster indie-rock, gentle folk guitar, rock’n’roll or swaying to some reggae, you’re spoilt for choice with the bands that grace the (many) stages throughout Austin.

See peacocks at Mayfield Park

Mayfield Park is an idyllic 21-acre natural area in the heart of Austin. Originally a private estate, the park was given as a gift to the city of Austin in the 1970s by Mary Mayfield Gutsch, and now visitors can explore the quaint historic cottages and surrounding cottage gardens while meeting Mayfield Park’s most famous residents; brilliantly iridescent peacocks!

Peacock in Mayfield Park. Photo by Brandon Rowe on Unsplash
See Mayfield Park’s most famous residents: beautiful, preening peacocks. Photo by Brandon Rowe on Unsplash

Line up for some barbecue

Texas and barbecue are practically synonymous, so pack your appetite and make a beeline for the most well-known of Austin’s ‘cue offerings; Franklin Barbecue. A word of warning; just about everyone knows about this drool-inducing lunch spot, and as a result, you can expect to wait in line for a meal here – but it’s worth the wait. If you don’t fancy standing in line for ribs and brisket though, there are plenty of other barbecue joints to sate your appetite. Try the pork ribs at Terry Black’s BBQ, or dry-rubbed brisket at la Barbecue.

Watch a cloud of 1.5 million bats take to the sky

If you’re visiting Austin between March and October, make sure you pay a visit to Austin’s ‘Bat Bridge’ (the South Congress Bridge) and watch as Mexican free-tailed bats wake from their daytime slumber inside the nooks and crevices of the bridge and envelope the sky in a shimmering, moving black cloud. For a different perspective, you can also rent out a kayak with a guide to learn interesting facts about these winged mammals. The bats emerge just before sunset, so check when the sun is due to set and make your way to the bridge half an hour beforehand to watch this incredible performance of nature.

People watching bat leaving the Congress Ave bridge at sunset in Austin, Texas.
One of the best performances in Austin isn’t live music; see the spectacle that is 1.5 million resident bats emerge from South Congress Bridge every evening

Catch an outdoor flick

Summer in Austin gets hot, and the idea of outdoor activities may seem a bit much to bear. Luckily Austin’s summer outdoor cinemas happen once the sun goes down and the temperature drops. There are numerous operators around the city offering everything from family-friendly films to horror classics and Hollywood blockbusters. And the best bit? They’re free! Pack a blanket, a picnic and enjoy a film under the stars.

Day trip to Longhorn Cavern State Park

A 90-minute drive from Austin, Longhorn Cavern State Park is home to a geological fascination; an ancient river once winded through the park, and the Longhorn Cavern is the result of millions of years of water erosion, creating more than a mile of limestone passageways that visitors can explore. You can opt to join a guided walking tour and learn about various facets of the cavern complex, including the ‘Hall of Marble’, ‘Crystal City’ and ‘Hall of Diamonds’, or for the more adventurous, you can book a ‘Wild Cave Tour’ and crawl and squeeze through the lower level of the cave.

Dine on some food-truck tacos

It’s not just barbecue that lures foodies to Austin; its ever-evolving food and drink scene has seen a boom in gastronomical delights, and the city has well and truly embraced the food truck revolution. From brisket ravioli and beef burgers, to cupcakes, popsicles, vegan food every which-way, and Indian spiced wraps… basically any food you can think of, it’s probably available at an Austin food truck. Our pick; any of the incredible tacos or quesadillas on offer, served with gooey queso and fresh salsa.

Enjoy a cold craft beer

After you’ve filled your boots with food-truck fare, indulge in another one of Austin’s culinary delights; a cold craft beer. The city is dotted with an ever-growing number of breweries concocting their own unique blend of hoppy brew. Whether you want to relax in a picturesque beer garden or find a place that offers tours and tastings, you’re spoilt for choice in Austin for cold beer.

Cool off at Barton Springs Pool

There’s no better escape from the Texan heat than by jumping into the 3-acre natural springs-fed Barton Springs Pool, and locals are staunchly proud of this sapphire-blue gem in the city. Naturally heated to about 21 degrees Celsius, the pool is ideal for year-round swimming. The surrounding greenery of Zilker Metropolitan Park, where the pool is located, is also worth a look-see once you’ve dried off.

Crowd swimming at Barton Springs Municipal Pool, Austin, United States. Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash
Barton Springs is the perfect place to cool off. Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash

Head along to SXSW

The huge creative conference that is South by SouthWest (SXSW) takes place annually in mid-March in Austin. Part conference, part festival, part exhibition, SXSW is a mecca for creative types looking to learn and network with others working in film, music, and interactive industries. Hear panels discussing everything from future workplaces and blockchain to global impact and entrepreneurship, keynotes on innovation, and new and emerging music artists showcasing their sounds.

For a full festival schedule, be sure to check the SXSW website for more details.

The most convenient way to travel between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and your hotel is with a pre-booked airport transfer. Don’t scroll through dozens of websites trying to find the right transfer; they’re all in one place on Jayride.com. Simply search, compare and book. Too easy!

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It’s not just barbecue that lures foodies to Austin; its ever-evolving food and drink scene has seen a boom in gastronomical delights, and the city has well and truly embraced the food truck revolution.

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