Top 25 FREE Things You Must Do in Austin, Texas

Live Music Capital of the World®, incredible art, gorgeous scenery, and awesome people everywhere you look. Austin, Texas is an amazing place. Here are the top X things you can do in this incredible city for absolutely FREE.

Baylor Street Art Wall

This wall and its art is one of the most unique things about our city. The pictures don’t do it justice, you should really see it in person to appreciate the wide variety of art present on its surfaces.

Location: 11th & Baylor Street.

The “Before I Die” Wall

As part of a larger movement, the “Before I Die” wall is something that started back in 2013 during the SXSW festival.

Location: 206 E. Elizabeth St.

People come from all around to write their personal and profound life goals on the chalkboard surface anywhere they can fit them.

Sometimes they are desires, other times they are dreams, and sometimes they are sobering reminders of how harsh life can be, like “Before I die, I want to be cancer-free.”

Mueller Lake Park

This one’s a favorite among East Austinites, but anyone can enjoy the aeration fountains, geese, and sidewalks that meander around the lake.

Location: 4550 Mueller Blvd
Picnic benches, a playground, and plenty of large shade trees are spread throughout the park.

Zilker Metropolitan Park

Known by many as “Austin’s most-loved park”, this massive place spans across 351 acres and offers tons of great sites, recreational activities, and special events throughout the year.

Location: 2100 Barton Springs Rd.

Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metropolitan Park

This is a large section of land that has been relatively untouched since it was purchased as a parkland 10 years ago. That being said, it’s being developed pretty heavily into a nice park for individuals and families these days

You’ll find baseball fields, picnic areas, playgrounds, a few trails, and even volleyball courts here.

Location: 400 Grove Blvd

Lady Bird Lake (a.k.a Town Lake)

Anyone who lives in Austin knows that downtown is best viewed from the water. The perfect place to get this perspective is on Lady Bird Lake, or Town Lake as it’s better known among locals. You can take a boat out on the lake or head out in a canoe/kayak.

The lake spans from the west side of the city, all the way past Highway 35 and into East Austin.

Rentals are offered if you’re feeling like spending a couple bucks, but you can always bring your own. One thing is certain: you’ll want to take pictures.

The Wooldridge Square Park Chess Board

Located at 900 Guadalupe St, is the Wooldridge Square Park and it’s famous chess set that is quite literally larger than life. Players of all kinds gather here to battle it out on this giant chessboard.

Location: 900 Guadalupe St

This park also happens to be one of Austin’s four original downtown parks. The year 2009 marked the 100th anniversary of the location.

The Bats of Congress Bridge

Congress Bridge was never meant to be a home for bats, but that didn’t stop 1.5 million bats from living there anyway. From March to October, you can see the bats come out each night, around 20 minutes before sundown.

If you don’t mind a walk, you can find free parking next to the South 1st Street Bridge. The best place to watch them is on the east side walkway of the bridge.

Austin Science & Nature Center

This awesome hub of knowledge and information has been around since 1960 and sports free admission for visitors.

Location: 2389 Stratford Dr.

Hours of Operation:

Monday-Saturday: 9am – 5pm

Sunday: Noon – 5pm

Blanton Museum of Art

This free art museum is located on the University of Texas campus, north of the State Capitol complex.

Location: 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

Hours of Operation:

Closed Mondays and Major Holidays

Tuesday-Friday: 10am – 5pm

Sundays: 1pm – 5pm

Elisabet Ney Museum

This museum is the former studio of 19th century sculptor Elisabet Ney. The free attraction also houses her portrait collection and several events/exhibits throughout the year.

Location: 304 E 44th St.

Hours of Operation:

Closed Monday and Tuesday

Wednesday-Sunday: 12pm – 5pm

Texas State Capitol

This awesome building is a perfect example of how everything’s bigger and better in Texas. Daily tours, or just marvel as how the building has a slight pink hue to it from the granite that was used to build it.

The tours are offered every fifteen minutes and last for a half-hour. You’ll walk through the building and historical areas while the guide explains the history behind everything. It’s a very informative and interesting experience for visitors and locals alike.

Location: 1100 Congress Ave

Hours Operation:

Monday-Friday: 7am – 10pm

Saturday-Sunday: 9:00am – 8:00pm

Visit Red Bud Isle

This is a great leash-free park for dogs and, of course, their owners as well. It’s located on Town Lake, beneath the Austin dam and even offers great sights for canoers and kayakers.

Location: 3401 Redbud Trail

Hope Farmer’s Market

Hope Farmer’s Market has been an Austin tradition for three years and counting now. Even if you’re not interested in buying anything, browsing the unique offerings is a great way to spend a Sunday morning.

Location: 412 Comal St

Hours of Operation:

Sunday: 11am – 3pm

SFC Farmer’s Market

This market is hosted by the Sustainable Food Center which is based out of our fair city. Visiting and purchasing here supports local growers and a great cause. There are actually several different locations where they hold weekly farmer’s markets. You can find them on the official website.

Barton Creek Farmer’s Market

This farmer’s market is located at the Barton Creek Square Mall every Saturday from 9am-1pm. Beyond the local growers and excellent food selection, they also have original music each week!

Location: Barton Creek Square Mall

Hours of Operation:

Saturday: 9am – 1pm

River Place Nature Trail

This park is not only dog-friendly, but it also sports one of the best hiking trails in all of Austin. It’s got a lot of steps, so you’ll need to watch your footing, but it makes for a great family outing.

Location: 8820 Big View Dr.

Walnut Creek Trail

If you’re looking for a great park, Walnut Creek has you covered with a playground and pool. More importantly, it’s known for its hiking trails, which earns it a place on this hallowed list.

Location: 12138 N Lamar Blvd.

Turkey Creek Trail

This trail is 2.9 miles in length and has a river flowing parallel to it for a consistently pleasing view. Dogs are welcome, but they need to stay on a leash. It’s important to remember that parking on the street could result in being towed. Thankfully, there’s a gravel parking lot nearby when you arrive.

Location: 1401 City Park Rd.

St. Edwards Park

This park has a number of labeled hiking trails and a stream that provides the soothing sound of running water while you journey through the wilderness. The trails are also great for the little ones since they’re not too difficult or rough.

Location: 7301 Spicewood Springs Rd.

Blue Hole

This scenic lagoon is technically just outside Austin, but it’s grandfathered into the list because of its incredible scenery and the excellent swimming pool area.

Location: W. Second Street and Rock Street in Georgetown.

Weekly Trivia at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub

Every week on Wednesdays, you can join in the fun with the Weekly Pub Trivia Quiz. Drinks are optional, but if you arrive around 7pm, you should be able to grab a table. There’s $170 in prizes to be had and free live music after.

Location: 204 E 6th St.

Hours of Operation:

Monday-Thursday: 11am – 12am

Friday-Saturday: 11am – 2am

Sunday: 11am – 12am

The Buzz Mill

This excellent bar/restaurant offers free comedy if you’re not feeling hungry. Every Wednesday they have “Buzzkill Comedy” that makes for a great night out.

If you’re on the fence, here’s a review from a fellow Austinite who loves this place as much as I do. Mitch H., I couldn’t have said it better.

Location: 194 S Guadalupe St.

Hours of Operation:

Monday-Sunday: open 24 hours

The Brass Tap-Domain

This bar also offers free video game tournaments. Expect classics like Halo to be on the list each week.

Location: 10910 Domain Dr Ste 120

Hours of Operation:

Monday-Sunday: 11am – 2am

Free Beer Tastings (Whichcraft)

Beyond the excellent wordplay in the name, Whichcraft offers beer tastings consistently throughout the year. Their selection of beverages is also top-notch for beer lovers.

Location:  2110 S Lamar Blvd F

Hours of Operation:

Monday-Thursday: 11am – 9pm

Friday-Saturday: 11am – 10pm

Sunday: Noon – 6pm

Which of these places do you frequent as a local? Are you planning on visiting our city? Let me know in the comments!


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