Austin, TX is known for its nightlife, delicious food scene, and friendly folks. It’s no wonder why 960,000 residents call the “Live Music Capital of the World” home due to its many sites, scenes, and attractions to explore. However, as the seasons change and the weather fluctuates, you may be wondering what activities are still open. Whether you’re renting an apartment in Downtown Austin, just purchased a house in Bouldin Creek, or are just wondering what it’s like living in Austin, we’ve got a list for you. We reached out to locals to share their favorite things to do throughout the seasons so you’ll never get bored. Read on to see what they had to say.
Things to do in Austin during the Winter
Grab a bowl of noodles at Tan My or Kome
When the weather gets cold and chilly, who doesn’t love cozying up to a warm bowl of soup?
Austin Brewery Tours, a local beer bus tour shares, “Judging by the crowds, eating a hot bowl of noodles on a cold winter day, is not only my favorite thing to do but Austin’s favorite as well. My go-to pho place is Tan My because no one does broth better. If it’s a ramen day, you will find me at Kome eating their chicken broth-based ramen.”
Check out Motzart’s on the Lake
Lake Austin is the perfect summer destination, but you may not know about Motzart’s on the Lake. During the holidays they have a light show at their coffee shop which rests on Lake Austin. Grab your hot cocoa and bundle up to watch the light show. During other seasons, Mozarts Coffee Roasters is situated on the Lake Austin waterfront, and features live music, delicious coffee, and homemade bakery goods.
Go ice skating at Ice Rodeo
Going ice skating at Ice Rodeo is the perfect activity for all ages – whether that be with family, friends, or a date.
“This is the first year the Four Seasons Austin launched their ice skating rink, Ice Rodeo,” shares Pearl Events Austin, a local event planning group. “They turned their pool into a rink, and you can skate with Town Lake in the background. They also offer cabins that you can rent and have cocktails and smores.”
Visit Fareground at One Eleven Congress
Fareground is Austin’s first food hall which offers different types of cuisines such as Chinese, French, and Israeli foods.
“One of my favorite things to visit is the Fareground at One Eleven Congress. You can grab a snack, sit on the lawn and listen to music, or have a delicious meal in the food hall from some of Austin’s finest local restaurants,” shares Austin-based wedding planning company Wedding Day Girl.
Check out “Free Week” by the Red River Cultural District
Started in 2003, “Free Week” puts on free live music and comedy events.
Blue Owl Brewing, which brews a local favorite sour beer in Austin, notes, “During the first week of January, the Red River Cultural District puts on an event called ‘Free Week.’ There are hundreds of shows along the whole street at different venues all for free. This has much more of the ‘old Austin’ vibe where it’s more about the music and not about the big sponsors.”
View the Johnson City Lights
A city outside of Austin, Johnson City, TX puts on a spectacular light show with over 2 million lights that shouldn’t be missed.
“The Johnson City Lights are a must-do on my Christmas list every year,” raves Texas Tipsy Tours, a unique holiday city tour experience. You can also take a tour which features a private tour of Johnson City Lights, wine tasting at Fall Creek Vineyards, and a BBQ dinner at Salt Lick BBQ. This is the ultimate date-night experience, girl’s night, or family event.”
Grab a bite at Barley Swine
Barley Swine is an American restaurant that serves small plates and a handful of tasty beers.
“When the winter weather doesn’t allow outdoor activities like biking, we like to check out restaurants and breweries all around Austin. Barley Swine is one of our favorite restaurants in town. If you want a unique and flavorful meal in a swanky, hip spot, this gastropub will not disappoint,” says Bike and Brew Texas, an Austin-based bike and brew tour.
Things to do in Austin during the Spring
Grab biscuits and jam at Confituras
Confituras is a community-driven spot in South Austin where the culinary traditions of preserving locally-grown fruit lives on.
“In the springtime, one of my favorite spots is the charming biscuits & jam shop Confituras,” shares food business consultants Launch Point Culinary. “The artisan-made seasonal jams are just divine, especially when they are served alongside their house-made biscuits consisting of layers of buttery heaven.
There is also always a beautiful cake of the week on the counter and Texas-grown farm-fresh flowers to pick up at the restaurant.
Get a custom cowboy hat at Maufrais
Maufrais is a specialist shop selling homemade goods such as candles, leather jackets, and cowboy hats.
Lifestyle blogger Chloe of Moon River says, “One of my favorite spring things in Austin is shopping for a custom cowboy hat at Maufrais on South Congress. The craftsmanship of each hat is incredible, and the Maufrais team makes the process interactive. I love that these hats are one-of-a-kind keepsake pieces I’ll wear every spring and summer.”
Watch the sunset on Mount Bonnell
Also known as Covert Park, Mount Bonnell provides stunning views of Austin, Lake Austin, and surrounding hills.
“This incredible viewpoint is the highest point in Austin, standing around 775 feet above sea level. It’s a popular tourist destination and provides incredible views of the city below. It overlooks beautiful Lake Austin and the surrounding hills and is a great place to end the day and watch the sun go down,” notes SPC Event Management, a wedding event planner.
Hang out on a patio at Cosmic Coffee
Cosmic Coffee offers patrons local beers, cocktails, live music, and delicious coffee in an indoor-outdoor setting.
“One of our favorite things to do in the Spring when the weather starts to warm up is hang out on one of the many outdoor patios around Austin,” remarks South-Austin-based Vacancy Brewing. “Cosmic Coffee is one of the best in town. With seasonal cocktails, coffee drinks, a great local beer selection, and some of the best food trucks in Austin, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.”
Check out Blue Genie Art Bazaar
Blue Genie is a popular local event that usually happens during the Holiday season.
“Having so many artists in one location is great when shopping for unique gifts. It’s not just a craft fair. These are artists’ work across several mediums, from painting to modern 3-d printed artwork, and every year is as different as each artist,” shares local photographer EP Photography.
Things to do In Austin during the Summer
Go bat watching at South Congress Bridge
“Watching the bats fly out from under the South Congress Bridge at dusk is a quintessential Austin activity during the summer months,” raves Kevin Le, owner of 1618 Asian Fusion. “The bridge is home to millions of Mexican free-tailed bats that leave the bridge by the hundreds of thousands shortly after sunset in order to feed on insects, putting on a great show for the hundreds of spectators who come to watch each night.”
You can even kayak under the bridge to watch the spectacle. Austin Kayak Tours, a local kayak tour and rental company, adds, “During the summer there is no better thing to do than see the South Congress Bats take off. Whether it’s from the water or the bridge, you’re always in for a great show with the lovely bats of Austin.”
Go kayaking or paddleboarding at Lady Bird Lake
During the summer months Austin gets pretty hot, so it’s best to be out on the water or sipping a nice cold drink.
“A great way to soak up the sun is to go kayaking or paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake, which is the river that runs along downtown. You’ll find locals and tourists congregated in the middle of the lake having drinks and listening to music—it’s basically a spring break party all summer long,” remarks Jessica Ann, a freelance marketing service.
Go on a hike at Barton Creek
“My favorite thing to do in Austin by day is hiking the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail,” shares Chris Castellano, Founder + Editor-in-Chief of Fittest Travel.
Barton Creek is a 13.8-mile trail popular for mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing. If you’d like you can even bring your dog.
Play games at Pinballz Arcade
“During the summer one of my favorite places in Austin to go to is Pinballz Arcade, a local business that has locations all over town,” shares local photographer Amanda Klaus. “My husband and I like the Original location because they’re ‘BYOB.’ We’ve been going there since 2013 when we started dating. Now we take our daughter to the very kid-friendly Kingdom location, and it’s turned into a really fun family tradition.”
Go on the Redline Brewery Tour
The Redline Brewery Tour is a train-to-brewery tour that stops at four different stations which just so happens to be four different breweries.
“We absolutely love doing the Redline Brewery tour every year. With stops at 4 incredible local breweries, the annual Redline tour is an easy, safe, and fun way to experience a piece of what the Austin brewery scene has to offer,” says Black Star Co-op Patio and Brewery.
Things to do in Austin during the Fall
Rent a retro boat
Retro boats rent out fiberglass runabout boats that you can take out on Lady Bird Lake.
“One of our favorite activities in Austin during fall is renting a retro boat, which is a company that rents private 4-seater classic boats that look like you’re stepping back in time,” remarks bachelorette planning service Bach Babes. “During sunset, take the boat to the Congress Ave. bridge, passing by the beautifully lit skyline as the sun sets behind it while enjoying a bottle of wine (it’s BYOB).”
Check out Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail
The Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail offers views of everything from ball fields to waterfront views to looming skyscrapers.
“The trail around Lady Bird Lake offers a variety of lengths and connects with the Barton Creek Trail at Zilker Park. Adventurers like to hike the trails and enjoy a picnic along the way or at Zilker Park. The view of the river makes the Pfluger Bridge a favorite stop,” shares Austin Adventurers, which helps adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities in Austin connect with the community.
Check out new American food at Odd Duck
Odd Duck serves locally-sourced new American food in a contemporary setting.
Dandelion Gatherings, a local photographer notes, “I love eating at Odd Duck. It is my go-to restaurant as I always know I will have an amazing meal. If I want a night to myself, I sit at the bar and read while I eat, or if I have friends in town, we’ll sit at a table and share dishes. You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, and the drinks are by far consistently the best in town. The vibe is great, the servers are kind and knowledgeable, and the food is local.”
Grab a slice of pizza at Home Slice
With locations in Austin and Houston, Home Slice pizza serves up authentic New York-style pizza that locals love.
Take a day trip to a local pumpkin patch
Who doesn’t like taking a day trip to a local farm to pick fresh produce and bring home some pumpkins?
“Austin has plenty of pumpkin patches and farms in the surrounding area. Many of them allow you to pick your own veggies and fruits or offer a variety of activities,” shares Eat Well. Adventure Often, a food blog. “My favorites include Sweet Eats Fruit Farms in Georgetown and Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls.”