Austin, Texas, is the home of the University of Texas Longhorns, the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and the Formula One World Championship. But what do you do when there isn’t a big event in town?
Austin is a great place to visit every day of the year. If you’re planning a trip to the Texan capital and you need some inspiration, check out these five amazing things to do in Austin.
Cool Off in Nature’s Swimming Pool
Everyone knows that Texas gets downright hot for eight months of the year. Whether you’re looking to crawl out of your cocoon and enjoy spring’s first rays of sunshine, cool off during the high heat of a Southern summer, or catch those last few days of warmth before heading into a chilly winter, Hamilton Pool is a unique natural wonder.
When the dome of an underground river collapsed, it left a ring of waterfalls and a pool of jade-green water. Now protected as part of the Balcones Canyonland Preserve, the pool and its 50-foot waterfall is open from May 15 to September 30 with a reservation.
Find Texas’s Naturally Insect-Free Zone on the Congress Bridge
Every night between March and mid-November, come hell or high water, a population of some 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerges from its home underneath the Congress Bridge to consume between 10,000 and 20,000 pounds of insects. The view from the bridge is spectacular, and it’s free, too. You can also book a dinner cruise for a phenomenal view from the water, or you can rent your own boat.
See and Learn All You Want to Know About Texan History
Head to the Texas State Capitol Building and take a free guided tour of the building and grounds while your guide educates you on Texan history and legislature. Also, don’t miss the Trail of Trees, a self-guided tour of the historic and significant trees on the grounds of the capitol. Learn all about the 25 tree species that represent each of the six forest regions of Texas. Learn interesting facts such as which trees are ideal for furniture and which trees’ bark is used for tanning leather.
When you’re done, continue your education with a guided historic walking tour that begins at the capitol building. Learn more about the deeds of local heroes as you stroll down Congress Avenue, gape at turn-of-the-century Victorian homes, and witness the passage of time through architecture.
Visit One of the Largest Outdoor Art Galleries in Texas
The HOPE Outdoor Gallery was developed to provide a canvas for large-scale inspirational and educational art pieces. This gallery, once an abandoned condo project, is a three-story living art exhibit where muralists, graffiti artists, and community groups can express themselves and the public can watch new pieces take shape. Because this is an old construction site, mind your step, and be sure to visit during daylight hours.
Enjoy Local Farm-Fresh Foods, Baked Goods, and Artisanal Wares at Republic Square Park
Stroll down to the Sustainable Food Center’s farmers market any Saturday of the year, rain or shine. You’ll find local producer-only merchandise that will tickle your taste buds or add Southern flair to your living room: Every item sold is grown, made, or manufactured by the seller.
Find wonderful locally grown produce, fresh meat, cheese, eggs, flowers, soaps, jams, jellies, salsas, baked goods, and countless crafts that will satisfy your every desire. There are interactive events and children’s activities as well as live music every week. Support local small business and treat yourself!
Even when there isn’t a UT football game, a music festival, or a science convention, Austin is still the place to visit for tons of fun, educational opportunities, and unique experiences that guarantee a repeat visit.