100+ FREE Things to do in Austin Checklist

Looking for a new adventure? Here are 100+ free things to do in Austin, Texas!  Read through the list below, then print your own copy of the checklist (scroll down for the printable)!

110 Free Things to do in Austin:

    1. Stay up late to watch—and splash in—the colorful light show at Liz Carpenter Fountain in Butler Park. (Note: The fountain sometimes closes for maintenance. You can call Austin 3-1-1 before heading out to make sure the fountain is operational.)
    2. Capture beautiful shots of the city skyline from the Boardwalk Trail on Lady Bird Lake.
    3. Visit the peacocks—and peahens—that call Mayfield Park home.
    4. Escape into nature with an easy hike along the Barton Creek Greenbelt to Twin Falls.
    5. Play Giant Chess in Wooldridge Square Park. (Check the Facebook page for weather updates).
    6. Pose in front of the “Greetings from Austin” postcard mural (S. 1st & Annie).
    7. Explore Austin’s past with a free docent-led Historic Walking Tour.
    8. Watch an estimated 1,500,000 Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge.
    9. Tour the Governor’s Mansion.
    10. Take a hike along Bull Creek.
    11. Attend storytime at BookPeople, and let littles crawl through the tunnel that runs under the “What happens in storytime stays in storytime” arena.
    12. Photograph the ever-changing graffiti art at HOPE Outdoor Gallery.
    13. Feed the ducks at Lou Neff Point.
    14. Tour the current exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center on the UT campus; be sure to see the Center’s copy of The Gutenberg Bible while there.
    15. Enjoy free live music on the patio of Central Market North, while kids tear through the nearby playground.
    16. Let your four-legged friend explore Red Bud Isle.
    17. Check out a local farmer’s market.
    18. Share your hopes and dreams on the Before I Die wall (206 E. Elizabeth St at Brackenridge.)
    19. Swim in one of Austin’s 27 free pools.
    20. Enjoy lunch on Whole Foods‘ downtown rooftop plaza while kids burn off steam on the playground.
    21. Dig for dino bones at the Austin Nature & Science Center.
    22. Tour the Capitol and be sure stop by the fun Capitol Visitors Center too.
    23. Explore Austin’s Art in Public Places.
    24. Bike the picturesque Veloway in South Austin, or try one of these scenic bike trails.
    25. Visit the Blanton Museum of Art for free every Thursday.
    26. Splash in the Barton Springs Spillway (or swim in Barton Springs Pool, which is free at certain times.)
    27. Visit the Austin Fire Museum.
    28. Take a tour of Amy’s Ice Creams‘ production facility.
    29. Try your hand at Disc Golf.
    30. Go to a Star Party on the UT campus.
    31. Enjoy a free show under the stars at Zilker Hillside Theater.
    32. Hit the dirt BMX trails at Duncan Park.
    33. Let kids play on the playground while you shop for packaging-free groceries at in.gredients.
    34. Explore works of art in the Mexican American Cultural Center‘s Community Gallery.
    35. Attend storytime at the French Legation Museum, the oldest house in Austin.
    36. Get soaked in one of the City’s 12 free splash pads.
    37. Visit the chickens at Boggy Creek Farm.
    38. Stroll through Austin’s oldest cemetery, Oakwood Cemetery.
    39. Hike St. Edward’s Trail and reward yourself with some creek play.
    40. Enter a man-made cave to learn about aquatic life in the Splash! Exhibit in Zilker Park.
    41. Embark on an impromptu mural scavenger hunt.
    42. Enjoy free youth programs at Austin Public Library branches all over the city.
    43. Wander through three levels of exhibits telling The Story of Texas at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, which is free the first Sunday of every month.
    44. Descend the stairs into a kid paradise at Toy Joy.
    45. Visit the Arboretum Cows (and get a treat from Amy’s Ice Creams, since you’re there).
    46. Dig your toes into a sandy Secret Beach and enjoy the nearby enclosed playground in Roy G. Guerrero Park.
    47. Take a free student-led tour of Landmarks, public art on the UT campus.
    48. Dance Saturday morning away at Strange Brew, Lounge Side.
    49. See the annual art exhibit in The People’s Gallery at City Hall.
    50. Stop by the new Austin Visitors Center and pick up brochures for self-guided walking tours around Austin.
    51. Hunt for tadpoles in Walnut Creek.
    52. Walk among the sculptures at UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum, which is free on Family Days, the first Sunday of each month.
    53. Take the love of your life to the “You’re My Better Half” mural (MLK & Alamo).
    54. Enjoy a free in-store show at Waterloo Records.
    55. Visit the studio of 19th century sculptor Elisabet Ney.
    56. Head to Guero’s Live Oak Garden for a free Texas Radio Live broadcast.
    57. Have a picnic with sweeping views, atop Mount Bonnell.
    58. Climb aboard an old fire truck in the Zilker Park playground.
    59. Visit the turtles on the UT campus.
    60. Learn about African American history and culture at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.
    61. Browse sweet treats at Big Top Candy Shop on South Congress.
    62. See tanks, planes, and a piece of the Berlin Wall at the Texas Military Forces Museum in Camp Mabry.
    63. Make a reservation to visit James Turrell’s Skyspace on the UT Student Activity Center Rooftop.
    64. Take the family to the Mexic-Arte Museum, which is free every Sunday.
    65. Feel a touch of nostalgia at the soda fountain in Nau’s Enfield Drug.
    66. See tropical fish galore at the Austin Aqua-Dome.
    67. Get a taste of a Texas rancher’s life at Callahan’s General Store.
    68. Step back in time at the Brush Square Museums.
    69. Sign up to let your kids skate for free at certain times at Playland. Skate rental is $3 extra if you don’t have your own. Passes are not valid during Spring Break and the Kids Skate Free hours change during summer vacation.
    70. Visit Austin’s 9/11 memorial at Texas State Cemetery.
    71. Climb Doug Sahm Hill in Butler Park, for a picture perfect view of the Austin skyline.
    72. Sample “the best Honky Tonk music in Texas” at The Broken Spoke.
    73. Pretend to picnic in Italy at Laguna Gloria, which is free on Tuesdays.
    74. See Mr. Will perform his weekly show at Brilliant Sky Toys and Books.
    75. Navigate the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail.
    76. Have a cup of joe while the kids jam to music performed just for them, every Sunday morning at Cherrywood Coffeehouse.
    77. Pick pecans or hike to a waterfall at Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park.
    78. Get lost in an incredible maze of costumes at Lucy in Disguise.
    79. Play at Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park in South Austin.
    80. Take a family field trip to Nature’s Treasures, a unique rock and fossil store.
    81. Seek out shade in Springwoods Park in North Austin.
    82. Visit the Neill-Cochran House during the free Sunday Fundays and take a walk-through tour of this home built in 1855.
    83. Escape for a bit of fun at the Mueller Lake Park playground.
    84. Applaud as the sun sets over The Oasis on Lake Travis.
    85. Try to defy gravity at Austin’s BMX Skate Park.
    86. Join your fellow Austinites on the Butler Trail around Lady Bird Lake.
    87. Spend a morning in The Domain II plaza, stopping by All Things Kids for storytime and playtime in the Play Zone.  Then, be sure to indulge your sweet tooth at the nearby Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop and slide down a longhorn cow.
    88. Escape from city life with a tranquil hike along River Place Nature Trail.
    89. Borrow Bocce balls from Mandola’s and play on the court by the playground in The Triangle.
    90. Pay homage to Stevie Ray Vaughn, whose statue keeps watch over Auditorium Shores.
    91. Attend a summer Purple Martin Party near Highland Mall.
    92. Enjoy coffee and community in the cozy TOMS Roasting Co. on South Congress.
    93. Pull a red wagon around The Natural Gardener.
    94. Play peek-a-boo with fish by popping up inside a unique aquarium at The Fish Gallery.
    95. Pose with “Jeremiah the Innocent,” otherwise known as the “Hi, How are you” mural (21st & Guadalupe).
    96. Have a free Teddy Bear Picnic at Toybrary Austin, on the third Friday of every month.
    97. Go fishing in Mills Pond.
    98. Peruse modern art exhibits at The Contemporary Austin’s Jones Center, which is free on Tuesdays.
    99. See the city from the water, by canoe or kayak (which is free if you own a boat, but still budget-friendly if you need to rent one).
    100. Test out the gizmos at Terra Toys, where the motto is “If you can’t play with it, why bother?”
    101. Browse an amazing array of unique antiquities at Uncommon Objects.
    102. Let your dog loose in one of Austin’s many off-leash parks.
    103. Watch for radio controlled planes at Mary Moore Searight Park.
    104. Explore the city while getting a free workout.
    105. Be adventurous on the new climbing structure in Ramsey Park.
    106. Take a photo of the Pennybacker Bridge.
    107. See a movie in the park.
    108. Visit a life-size version of The Hulk at Austin Books & Comics.
    109. Let the kids loose on the spacious playground in Dick Nichols Park.
    110. Smooch someone special in front of the “I Love You So Much” mural (1300 S. Congress).

Bonus 20 That are Worth the Drive:

  1. Take a bike, trike, or scooter to navigate the play village streets in Round Rock’s Play for All Abilities Park.
  2. Hunt for bluebonnets in the Indian Grass Prairie Preserve.
  3. Cool off in the huge splash pad at Brushy Creek Lake Park.
  4. Swim and play at the Lake Pflugerville beach.
  5. Visit the donkeys in Georgetown’s Berry Springs Park.
  6. Run through the interactive fountain at Hill Country Galleria.
  7. Pick peaches in Fredericksburg.
  8. Splash and play in Fisherman’s Park in Bastrop.
  9. Cool off in Georgetown’s Blue Hole.
  10. Run free in Round Rock’s expansive Old Settlers Park.
  11. Pick strawberries at Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls.
  12. Brave the wooden maze in Manor’s free Ghost Town.
  13. Celebrate outdoor art at the Bee Cave Sculpture Park.
  14. Play paleontologist at Champion Park in Cedar Park.
  15. Head to Buda to visit the aquarium and taxidermy wonderland that is Cabela’s.
  16. Let kids delight in the wooden fort playscape in San Marcos’ Children’s Park.
  17. Test your skills at the largest skate park in Texas, found in Northeast Metropolitan Park.
  18. Take your junior engineer to Kids Fun Day at the New Braunfels Railroad Museum.
  19. Let kids climb on the fun playscape at Veterans Memorial Park in Cedar Park.
  20. Shop Wimberley Lions Market Days on the first Saturday of the month, March through December.

Click on the image below (or here) to download and print your own copy of the 100+ Free Things to do in Austin checklist! 

*One quick, but important, note: Several of the museums included on the checklist are only free at certain times, as detailed above.

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About the Author

Heidi Gollub
Heidi Gollub is the founder and editor-in-chief of the award-winning website Free Fun in Austin.com. When not running around on adventures with her five children–ages three to 15–she volunteers for the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau and shares content with the local news.  Recently, Heidi was a speaker at Mom 2.0 and the Texas Conference for Women.
  • http://www.culturalxplorer.com/ Chanel | Cultural Xplorer

    Great list! I have added some of these to my personal list for my upcoming trip 😀

    • http://www.freefuninaustin.com Heidi

      Thanks! Have a wonderful visit!