The incredible city of Austin, Texas leaves visitors with no shortage of things to do. As the state’s capital, Austin has many landmarks, museums, cultural arts, and other attractions. From the great outdoors to indoor fun, Austin has loads of things to do for adults with diverse interests.
Here are 23 of the best things to do in Austin, TX!
Fun and Exciting Things to Do in Austin
Austin is a very lively city where fun and excitement can be found just around the corner. It also has things to do that are unique to Austin. Here are some of the best things to do to get the most out of your time in Austin.
1. Race go-karts on a Formula 1 Track
Only Austin offers you the chance to race go-karts on a Formula One racetrack, the only Formula 1 track in the United States. F1 racing has become more popular than ever due to Netflix’s Drive to Survive series. F1 is the premier auto racing series in the world with drivers reaching speeds of 150 miles per hour or more.
At the Circuit of the Americas, you can race go-karts on the very same track the daredevil F1 drivers race! Experience the thrill of racing around a track with 15 hairpin turns at speeds up to 55 miles per hour. This is surely one of the most fun things to do when you are in Austin!
2. Play detective at The Escape Game Austin
If you are looking for some For adults who dreamed of being Nancy Drew or Hercules Poirout as a child, playing an escape room at The Escape Game Austin is an exciting thing to do! You'll have just one hour to escape a ‘locked’ room by cracking codes and deciphering clues.
Each room has a unique theme of varying difficulty levels. In Classified, you and your group are assigned a covert mission to stop a massive international threat by gathering critical information about an impending attack.
The most difficult game is Prison Break which consists of two rooms upping the ante! Participants have to work together across prison cells to escape a 1950s prison. Because The Escape Game can accommodate multiple players, it’s the place to go In Austin for a group of adults looking for a fun time!
3. Go on a zipline adventure
Adrenaline junkies looking for things to do that will get your heart racing, zipline in Austin is the perfect thing to do! Lake Travis Zipline Adventures has the longest and fastest zipline in Texas and the 9th longest in the world!
Your three-hour adventure starts with a short boat ride followed by a hike to reach this zipline that launches from a 20-story cliff and travels 2,500 feet reaching up to 50 miles per hour! Along the way, there are four shorter but still exciting zip lines. Your ticket also includes access to a private lake to swim, picnic, and swing in hammocks.
4. Watch a bat colony go out to dinner
Every sunset from April through October, the crowds come out to the Congress Avenue Bridge, (the “Bat Bridge'') to see 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats leave their home under the bridge to go hunt for food. This nightly event is not like anything you’ve likely seen before and it is one of the coolest things to do in Austin.
To see the show, stake out a spot at the bat observation area at the southeast corner of Congress Bridge and Lady Bird Lake or stand on the bridge itself. It can get very crowded as it is a top attraction in Austin. You might want to opt for a sunset river cruise or riverboat timed to see the bats fly!
5. Try indoor skydiving
If you've wanted to experience the feeling of jumping out of an airplane but have not mustered up the courage, check out indoor skydiving at iFly Austin. After receiving training from an instructor, you’ll step into a manmade wind tunnel and learn what it feels like to defy gravity inside while only a few feet off the ground. If you are ready to try real skydiving, look into Skydive Spaceland in San Marcos, TX, about an hour’s drive from Austin.
6. Catch some live music
With more live music venues per capita than any other city in the U.S., no wonder Austin is called the “Capital of Live Music"! From rock to country, hip hop to jazz, there’s a love gig somewhere in the city every night of the week.
Austin City Limits is the longest-running televised music series in American history, presenting some of music's most famous performers. Be part of the audience at the Moody Center.
7. Discover the culinary genius of Austin’s food trucks
Grabbing a bite from one of the city’s many food trucks is one of the top things to do in Austin for tourists and locals alike. Head to the food trucks of Rainey Street. With more than a dozen food trucks, the offerings are abundant.
Try authentic Mexican tacos, Venezuelan empanadas, grilled artisan cheese sandwiches, barbecue pulled pork, Greek food, Indian food, you name it, they've got it! Top it off with mini-donuts from Little Lucy’s. You can also find more food trucks at The Picnic Food Truck Park. Snack on Thai food, tacos, Mediterranean dishes, Tex-Mex food, gelato, and more.
8. Spend a night out on Sixth Street
Austin’s Sixth Street is one of those “love it or hate it” places. It depends on what kind of atmosphere you like. Referred to as the Dirty 6th by the locals, Sixth Street has been compared to New Orleans’ Bourbon Street.
With numerous dance bars, live music venues, microbreweries, and tattoo parlors, Sixth Street is very much an adult place to go in Austin. It’s noisy, rowdy, and a whole lot of fun.
9. Explore Austin’s street art
There’s no need to go inside a museum when you can find masterpieces on the streets of Austin! One of the things that locals appreciate about Austin is the free access to art, in the form of murals. It’s not just locals who appreciate it, as now Austin’s street art has become somewhat of a tourist attraction. There’s no denying that Austin’s large, colorful murals are highly Instagrammable. If you are in town with teens, they will love discovering the unconventional art form!
Pose in front of the iconic Greetings from Austin mural that resembles a vintage tourist postcard at 1720 S. 1st Street. Dig Aretha Franklin at the You Got To Have Soul mural at 1315 South Congress Avenue. Say hi to Mister Rogers at the Won’t You Be My Neighbor? mural at 1415 South Congress Avenue. You can use this guide to locate the top murals in Austin.
10. Get a panoramic view of Austin from Mount Bonnell
Mount Bonnell, a 784-foot-high promontory along Lake Austin, has been a popular attraction since the mid-1800s. Every year, thousands of visitors climb 106 stone stairs from the parking lot to the summit of Mount Bonnell to take in the breathtaking panoramic views of the lake, downtown, and the western hills of Austin. Be warned, the stairs are a bit steep, so bring some energy for this mini-hike!
11. See more of Austin in less time on a bus tour
Seeing Austin by bus is a fantastic thing to do on hot days, rainy days, or days when you want to sit back and relax. If you are looking for an overview of Austin, then taking a sightseeing bus tour is the right thing to do. AO Tours offers bus tours on custom-outfitted, glass-top, convertible, Mercedes tour buses! Talk about a smooth ride!
Their 2.5-hour Austin + Hill Country Panoramic Tour takes you to see both hip and historic neighborhoods as well as the surrounding Texas Hill Country. The Best of ATX Panoramic City Center Tour is 90 minutes and focuses on Downtown Austin and nearby areas. Both tours are led by entertaining guides.
Outdoor Things To Do in Austin for Active Adults
What makes Austin so special is the opportunity it offers locals and out-of-towners to enjoy both the nature and urban world side by side. If you are an active adult looking for outdoor fun, these are the best places to go to enjoy Austin’s fresh air and green spaces.
12. Kayak at Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake isn't a lake, it's actually a river-like reservoir on the Colorado River that is located in the heart of downtown Austin. No swimming is allowed here, but non-motorized boating is, making it a perfect place to kayak, canoe, or paddleboard.
On the north shore of the lake, kayaks and canoes can be rented from the Texas Rowing Center, which also offers lessons. On the south shore, the Rowing Dock offers rentals and instruction for paddle boards, kayaks, and paddle boats. For guided kayak tours, look into Austin Kayak Tours.
13. Bike along the Ann and Roy Butler Bike and Hike Trail
This path is over 10 miles long and makes a full circuit around Lady Bird Lake. Because the trail is mostly flat and made of crushed granite, it’s an excellent choice for an easy bike ride in beautiful environs.
Look into renting bikes at Barton Springs Bike Rentals. The trail is open to pedestrians as well, so adults who aren't up for a bike ride will find taking a walk on the trail a pleasant thing to do in Austin. For more bike trails, look here.
14. Hike in the Barton Creek Greenbelt
The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a popular place to go for many things to do: hike, bike, walk, swim, and simply enjoy the wonders of nature. The Greenbelt travels through South Austin and has 12 miles of trails that are accessible from several access points.
The Twin Falls access point is a good place to start a relatively short hike to reach one of the Greenbelt’s two swimming holes (provided water levels are high enough). It’s a half a mile hike to Twin Falls and another mile more to Sculpture Falls. For some heavy-duty hiking, climb the infamous Hill of Life from the Trail’s End access point. It’s a 300-foot ascent in a half mile to the top!
15. Swim Year Round at Barton Springs Pool
One of Austin’s gems, the Barton Springs Pool, should be on your list of attractions to visit. This natural spring-fed pool has an average temperature of 68 to 70 degrees all year long! No matter when you plan to visit Austin, bring a bathing suit!
The pool is inside the 350-acre large Zilker Park, one of Austin’s most popular outdoor green spaces where one can enjoy an array of things to do like art events, sporting activities, and just enjoying the great outdoors.
Barton Springs Pool is an ideal place to go if you are on a family vacation in Austin!
Austin Museums and Attractions
Below is just a small sampling of the best museums in Austin. Some others to consider are the Mexic-Arte Museum, the Texas Memorial Museum, The Contemporary Austin, the Elisabet Ney Museum, and the Austin Museum of Popular Culture.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum does an amazing job covering the Lone Star State's history from when it was still part of Mexico until today. The museum’s exhibits educate in an interactive and entertaining way.
Topics covered include the Battle of the Alamo, the discovery of oil, the lives of Texas Comanches, and Austin’s famous local music scene. A highlight is the hull of a French ship, La Belle, that sank off the Gulf Coast in 1686 and changed the course of the state’s history.
Less of a museum and more of a charming garden in which to stroll, the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum features more than 50 of American sculptor Charles Umlauf’s works.
The museum exhibitions change during the year displaying work by contemporary sculptors and Umlauf’s peers. The garden is lush, with mature live oak trees providing shade as visitors walk along the garden paths admiring the sculptures.
This excellent, compact museum houses the University of Texas’s art collection of 21,000 works. One won't be overwhelmed on a visit here, and can instead dive deep into the art on display.
The work covers many genres: early Renaissance paintings, Roman-era pottery, Native American, Latin American, and African American art. The museum's superb modern art is housed in the contemporary gallery.
The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum is one of the most visited attractions in Austin. Its permanent exhibition tells the story of former president Lyndon Johnson’s life including his time in political office.
The Library has more than 45 million pages of historical documents from Johnson’s 35-year career in politics. Temporary exhibits touch upon issues of today, such as civil rights in America, a cause Johnson championed.
Austin Performing Arts For Adults
As the Capital of Live Music, there are countless opportunities to see concerts of all sizes and genres. Many live music venues are suited to young adults, but there are some fantastic venues with musical performances for adult audiences.
20. The Moody Center
The Moody Center is the arena for big concerts with top bands from around the world. In addition to contemporary bands like Arctic Monkeys, blink-182, and Beck, lots of bands from the 1980s and 90s play here like Duran Duran, Madonna, Foreigner, and more.
Not to be confused with the Moody Center, the Moody Theater is home to the TV series Austin City Limits, the longest-running televised music series in U.S. history. This 2,750-person capacity venue hosts around 100 concerts a year.
Yet another Moody venue, this outdoor amphitheater in Downtown Austin has year-round concerts, dance performances, and community programming like the Movies in the Park series.
23. Blues Venues
Austin’s music scene is steeped with the Blues. seeing live music here is one of the best things to do at night here. Some blues greats got their start in Austin, like legendary blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, ZZ Top, and others. First and foremost the legendary Antone's Nightclub. Opened in 1975, this world-famous venue is considered “Austin’s home of the blues”.
Next up is the Continental Club, the oldest continuously operating venue in Austin. The Elephant Room features blues and jazz performances in a speakeasy-type atmosphere that makes for a special experience.
Find out more things to do in Austin here.
For suggestions on how to spend your time in Austin, see our Austin 2-day itinerary!
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