Best Cheap Things To Do in Austin
Traveling to Austin doesn’t have to break your budget. There are a bunch of free and cheap things to do in Austin, whether you’re a food lover, art enthusiast, or nature lover. Austin prides itself on being unique from other cities, and each destination provides a distinctive spin on the traditional sightseeing activities. Learn about the free and cheap things to do in Austin right here on this list.
Austin, Texas’s state capital, is an inland metropolis that borders the Hill Country region. Austin is noted for its eclectic live-music culture based on country, blues, and rock, and it is home to the main campus of the University of Texas. Hiking, biking, swimming, and boating are popular activities in its many parks and lakes.
Bats at Congress Avenue Bridge
100 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
The bridge is currently home to the world’s largest urban bat colony. It is a maternity colony, meaning it is a place where pregnant females come to roost in the spring and raise their pups from mid-summer to fall. Until the pups are born, male bats are not under the bridge. While many bat lovers like to observe the emergence from atop the bridge, we recommend venturing below and making yourself at home on the Statesman Bat Viewing Area’s lawn. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and take a seat on the tiny hill to await the appearance of the bats. If the bats emerge shortly before or after nightfall, you may choose to relocate along the trail that runs parallel to the lake. – batcon.org
3201 S. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704
Last of the True Texas Dancehalls! Est. 1964. Great live music, cold beer, and good food! Willie Nelson, Dale Watson, Alvin Crow, Derailers & more play here. As one of the last remaining Texas dancehalls, we here at Broken Spoke take great pride in our heritage. The Whites, James and Annetta, opened it in 1964. More than 500,000 people have visited the bar and dance hall since White and his friends built it with their bare hands more than five decades ago, and it has become a local and international icon – all within the same structure White and his friends built with their hands more than five decades ago. brokenspokeaustintx.net
2100 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78704
In 1917, Andrew Jackson Zilker donated the first portion of land that would become Zilker Park 1934. Today, the beloved 350-acre park is where Austinites go to access the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, compete on the sports fields, feel the holiday spirit during Trail of Lights, see a local production at Zilker Hillside Theatre, and much more. Zilker’s Great Lawn is the home to the infamous Austin City Limits Music Festival. Austinites flock to Barton Springs Pool to cool off on hot summer days. The Austin Nature and Science Center’s dino pits are a big hit with families. – austinparks.org/zilker-metro-park
Deep Eddy Pool
01 Deep Eddy Ave.,
Austin, TX 78703
Barton Springs Pool at Zilker Park is one of Austin’s best-known attractions. Even so, if you’re willing to look for it, there’s another option right around the corner (and maybe you prefer a regular pool environment for swimming rather than the more natural rocks, aquatic plants, and fish in Barton Springs.) The huge Deep Eddy Pool is the state’s oldest pool (advance reservations required). Sunbathe on the grassy hill overlooking Lady Bird Lake in scenic west Austin, then wing by neighboring Pool Burger for burgers and tiki drinks after your swim. – austintexas.org/listings/deep-eddy-pool/4087
LBJ Presidential Library
2313 Red River Street,
Austin, TX 78705
The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, also known as the LBJ Presidential Library, is the presidential library and museum of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States (1963–1969). It is located on the grounds of the University of Texas at Austin and is one of 13 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The LBJ Library houses 45 million pages of historical documents, including the papers of President Johnson and those of his close associates and others. – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyndon_Baines_Johnson_Library_and_Museum
Barton Springs Pool
2131 William Barton Dr.
Austin, TX 78746
Within Zilker Park’s 358 acres lies one of the crown jewels of Austin – Barton Springs Pool. The pool itself measures three acres in size and is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 68-70 degrees, ideal for year-round swimming. Over the years, Barton Springs Pool has drawn people from all walks of life, from legislators who have concocted state laws there to free-spirited, topless sunbathers who turned heads in the 1970s. Robert Redford learned to swim at the pool when he was five years old while visiting family in Austin. Today, Barton Springs still attracts a diverse crowd of people and has seen record-setting numbers of visitors nearing 800,000 in recent years.- austintexas.gov/department/barton-springs-pool
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
4801 La Crosse Ave.
Austin, TX 78739
The University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center uses native plants to restore and create sustainable, beautiful landscapes. We carry out our mission to inspire the conservation of native plants through our gardens, research, education, consulting, and outreach programs. In doing so, we improve water quality, provide habitat for wildlife, and enhance human health and happiness. In 2017, we were officially designated the Botanic Garden and Arboretum of Texas. – wildflower.org
Blanton Museum of Art
The University of Texas at Austin
200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Austin, TX 78712
The Blanton Museum of Art serves as the city of Austin’s primary art collection, making it a vital resource for residents. The Blanton Museum of Art has almost 19,000 pieces in its collection, ranging from ancient Greek pottery through abstract expressionism. You’ll find everything from actual mummies to shrunken skulls and even fijian mermaids in this museum! Definitely don’t miss out on this opportunity to experience something new and different..- blantonmuseum.org
3505 W 35th St.
Austin, TX 78703
A great choice for a photoshoot location. Check stroll this 0.30-mile circular route near Austin, Texas, to get some fresh air. It takes an average of 8 minutes to accomplish this route, which is generally regarded as simple. Even though this is a popular trail for hiking, strolling, and other outdoor activities, you can still find some peace and quiet here if you go at a less busy time of the day or night. The trail is accessible all year round, but the months of March through October are the finest for hiking. mayfieldpark.org
Texas State Capitol
1100 Congress Ave.
Austin, Texas 78701
In Texas, like in the rest of the country, the history of the state’s legislature is as tumultuous and dramatic. As a replacement for the previous limestone statehouse, which burned down in 1881, the new capitol was built in 1888. 3 million acres of public land were traded by a land-rich but cash-strapped Texas government to pay for construction.
Alternatively, you can explore the buildings on your own or join one of the many free 30-minute guided tours that leave from the South Foyer every 30 or 45 minutes throughout the day. The Capitol Complex Visitors Center is a great place to get some background for your visit before you get there. – tspb.texas.gov/plan/tours/tours.html