Hello, and welcome to Austin! Here in the Live Music Capital of the World, you can experience live music playing somewhere every day of the week. There’s also a festival for every occasion (Eeyore’s Birthday, anyone?), and more free things to do than anyplace you’ve ever lived before! We want to make sure you don’t miss a minute of the fun, so this Newcomer’s Guide to Austin shares all you need to jump right in and start enjoying life as a local.
A special thanks to Susan deGraffenried for partnering with us on the Newcomer’s Guide to Austin! Susan is a real estate professional in Austin, Texas with Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty. Call Susan with all your real estate needs at (512) 699-7577 or [email protected].
So, you’re new to Austin. Excited? Overwhelmed? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. That was me, too, not so long ago. I was so happy to have moved to such an amazing city, but unsure of where to go and what to do first. Luckily, some friends pointed me to Free Fun In Austin, and I was able to start figuring things out. I made my own bucket list and set out on a new adventure each day, with my kids in tow. We have explored so much of what this city has to offer, while still barely scratching the surface of all the fun opportunities in Austin. I believe you could live here your whole life and never run out of fun things to do!
The following guide is an outline of some of our favorite Austin outings, to help those who have just moved to our great city and aren’t sure where to begin. So, welcome and enjoy! We hope you love it here as much as we do!
Family Fun in Austin
- Ready to explore? Start with our Top 10 Things To Do In Austin With Kids.
- Get to know Austin by heading out on a local hike. Our family’s favorites are the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Walnut Creek, and Bull Creek.
- When you get hungry, find a restaurant with a playground, so you can relax while the kids play.
- Stop by one of the Top 10 Playgrounds in Austin or our readers’ favorite parks.
- If you have older kids, check out this Teen Itinerary for a Day of Fun in Austin.
- For more extensive itineraries in various Austin neighborhoods, read our free ebook, Family Fun in Austin.
- Have a birthday coming up, but not sure where to have a party? Here’s a list of the 14 Best Parks for Birthday Parties and our Birthday Party Guide.
- Plan ahead for fall with our Preschool Guide.
Museums in Austin
- Austin has educational outings galore. To get you started, check out our free museums in Austin post. Then, use the printable checklist of free museums to track your progress!
- Texas State Capitol offers free tours, and has a great Visitor’s Center too.
- Bullock History Museum is free the first Sunday of every month, from 12-5 p.m.
- LBJ Library offers several free admission days every year.
- Laguna Gloria is a fun place to picnic.
- Texas State Cemetery is the final resting place of many notable Texans.
- Umlauf Sculpture Garden offers free admisison all summer.
Unique Austin Fun
- It’s no secret that Austin gets H-O-T in the summer months. Cool down by checking out some Central Texas Swimming Holes, Austin Area Splash Pads, and free swimming pools.
- Deep Eddy is the oldest swimming pool in Texas, and you can swim in it!
- Barton Springs is Austin’s most famous swimming hole. It stays a cool 68 degrees year round and is on every “Must-do in Austin” list out there.
- Hikes are abundant and impressive here in Austin. You don’t have to drive very far, and yet you’re somehow magically whisked away to magical locations tucked underneath freeways!
- The Cathedral of Junk is unique to Austin and is a work of local art that should be seen at least once!
- There’s no shortage of street art and wall murals, and the HOPE Outdoor Gallery is perhaps the ultimate urban art installation.
- Visit with peacocks, check out an outdoor sculpture garden, and hike up to see some of the best views of Austin, all in one day! Mayfield Park + Mt. Bonnell + Laguna Gloria = the ultimate outdoor fun trifecta.
- How to do Lady Bird Lake: Kayak/Canoe and Boardwalk information.
- Zilker Park is the crown jewel of Austin, and should be among the first places you check out! There’s so much to do, including the Zilker Botanical Gardens, the Zilker Zephyr train, Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Splash Exhibit, and more.
- While Austin may not have a professional baseball team, you can still get your peanuts and Cracker Jacks at Round Rock Express Baseball Games!
- Peter Pan Mini-Golf is a one-of-a-kind place for locals and tourists alike!
- Beaches in Austin? You bet! Check out of favorite places to experience some sandy and sunny fun.
- Farms in and Around Austin hold hours of outdoor fun and adventure.
- Tap into your inner hipster and check out What to See and Do on South Congress Avenue.
- Don’t miss seeing the Bats In Austin. You have to do it at least once!
Eating Out in Austin
- Austin is known for two things: the best tacos and the best barbecue. Take your pick, you can’t go wrong.
- For local and fresh fruits and veggies, check out our Austin Area Farmer’s Market Roundup.
- And, here are our Favorite Restaurants With Playgrounds and Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free.
Seasonal Austin Fun
- SUMMER– Looking for some summertime adventures? We have a Summer Fun Guide for that! You might also enjoy 75+ Free Things to do This Summer and our 100+ Austin Summer Adventures Checklist! Have a baby, toddler, or preschooler at home? Check out this list for ways to fill those hot summer days.
- FALL– The season of fall is lovely in town, but if you’re looking for something new to try, check out our list of Unforgettable Fall Getaways from Austin.
- WINTER– The Zilker Trail of Lights is just about the most Austin thing you can do for the holidays!
- SPRING– Pick Your Own Strawberries at Sweet Berry Farm and take a family photo in the bluebonnets. (Did you know this was a thing? I didn’t when I first moved here!)
Daytrips from Austin
- You’re probably not looking to get out of town just yet, but the day will come when you’ll want to spread your wings and check out more of what Central Texas has to offer. Here are lists of Fun Daytrips from Austin, Educational Daytrips from Austin, and Unforgettable Fall Getaways from Austin.
If you want even more ideas, print off a free printable checklist of 100+ Free Things to do in Austin! And, be sure to check our Free Fun Calendar for new adventures every week. Welcome to Austin! We’re glad you’re here.
About our Presenting Sponsor: Susan deGraffenried
Susan deGraffenried is a real estate professional in Austin, Texas with Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty. Susan’s clients value her knowledge, resourcefulness, enthusiasm and easygoing manner. Raised in Austin, she fully appreciates the history, style and laid-back reputation that has made Austin such a special place. After attending Baylor University and graduating from The University of North Texas in 1977, Susan enjoyed a 15 year career in the banking industry.
Drawn by her hobby of buying, remodeling and selling older homes (28 to date), Susan earned her Real Estate License in 1993. She enjoys the experience of meeting people from all walks of life as she serves them in achieving their real estate goals. Whether you are a first time buyer, empty nester, investor or remodeler, Susan will go the extra mile to help you understand the Austin market and how it relates to your personal buying or selling decision.