10 Fun and Unusual Things to Do in Austin

Whether you're on a shoestring budget or looking to splurge, here are ten fun and unusual things to do in Austin.


Austin, Texas, often known as the Live Music Capital of the World, is renowned for its vibrant cultural scene, quirky vibes, and Southern charm. While the city is famous for its music festivals and tech conferences, it also offers a range of unique and exciting activities that both residents and tourists can enjoy.

Whether you’re on a shoestring budget or looking to splurge, here are ten fun and unusual things to do in Austin.

1. Barton Springs Pool

Located within Zilker Park, Barton Springs Pool offers a refreshing escape from the Texas heat. This three-acre pool maintains a cool temperature all year round, making it perfect for a swim any time of the year.

For just a small entrance fee, you can enjoy the clear, cool waters and stunning surroundings. The pool’s natural limestone bottom and crystal-clear water attract a mix of locals and tourists. On warmer days, you can often find families, sunbathers, and even local wildlife enjoying this urban oasis.

2. Cathedral of Junk

The Cathedral of Junk is a true testament to Austin’s “Keep Austin Weird” ethos. Created by Vince Hannemann in his backyard, this ever-evolving structure is a labyrinth of recycled materials, including everything imaginable, from old bicycles to kitchen sinks.

Donations are appreciated upon entry. This art sculpture is a must-see for those looking to experience something truly unique.

3. Uncommon Objects

For those who love vintage shopping, Uncommon Objects is a treasure trove of quirky antiques. Located on Fort View Road, this shop is filled with a carefully curated collection of items that range from Victorian-era trinkets to mid-century modern décor. It’s a perfect spot to find a unique souvenir or simply to marvel at the unusual collections.

4. Hamilton Pool Preserve

Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural wonder that looks like something out of a fantasy novel. This natural pool, formed from thousands of years of erosion, features a 50-foot waterfall that cascades into a jade-green pool surrounded by limestone cliffs and lush vegetation.

You need a reservation to visit, and while there is an entrance fee, the experience of seeing this beautiful setting is well worth it. It’s a perfect spot for a day trip to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.

5. LBJ Presidential Library

For history lovers, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum offers a fascinating look into the life and presidency of the 36th President of the United States. Located on the University of Texas campus, the library features a collection of historical documents, photographs, and interactive exhibits.

Highlights include a replica of the Oval Office and a detailed look at the pivotal moments of LBJ’s presidency. Admission is reasonably priced, and the insights into American history make it an amazing experience for both residents and visitors.

6. The Museum of the Weird

In keeping with Austin’s love for the unusual, the Museum of the Weird on Sixth Street is a delightfully odd attraction. This small museum is packed with curiosities, from shrunken heads to monsters. It also features live sideshow performances and events, adding to the quirky charm.

Admission is affordable, making it a fun stop for those exploring Austin’s offbeat side. It’s especially entertaining for fans of the strange and the supernatural.

7. Esther’s Follies

Esther’s Follies, a vaudeville revue show, has been a staple of Austin’s entertainment scene for over 40 years. Located on Sixth Street, this comedy theater offers a mix of magic, political satire, and musical numbers that will have you laughing all night. The performances often include playful jabs at current events, making the show both hilarious and relevant.

Tickets are reasonably priced, and the intimate setting ensures every seat has a great view. It’s a perfect way to experience the local humor and talent.

8. Bat Watching Tour

Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. Each evening from March to November, Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge in a spectacular display. You can watch this natural phenomenon for free from the bridge or opt for a guided boat tour for a closer look. It’s an incredible sight that’s become an unforgettable Austin experience and a must-see for nature enthusiasts and families alike.

9. The HOPE Outdoor Gallery

The HOPE Outdoor Gallery is an ever-changing canvas of street art located on the east side of downtown. Initially a project to beautify the city, it has evolved into a vibrant public art space where both professional and amateur artists can showcase their work.

Spend your time exploring the colorful murals and graffiti, or try your hand at creating your own piece of art. The gallery is free to visit, though donations and purchases of artist materials help support the space.

10. Rainey Street

Rainey Street, a historic district turned hub of entertainment, is lined with charming bungalows that have been transformed into bars and restaurants. Each venue offers its own unique vibe, from craft cocktail lounges to cozy beer gardens. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring the city.

Whether you’re looking to splurge on a handcrafted drink or enjoy a budget-friendly happy hour, Rainey Street has something for everyone.

Living in Austin

If you’ve fallen in love with this city’s charming beauty, we don’t blame you. Luckily, with a range of affordable options to rent in Austin, you can get set up easily.


Austin’s unique blend of natural beauty, artistic expression, and Southern hospitality ensures there’s always something new to discover. From exploring hidden treasures to enjoying world-class entertainment, the city offers activities that cater to all tastes and budgets.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these ten fun and unusual experiences provide a glimpse into what makes Austin such a special place. So grab your cowboy boots, embrace the spirit of adventure, and get ready to experience

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Travel Begins at 40

Travel Begins at 40 Editor

Travel articles, news, special offers, festivals and events from the Travel Begins at 40 Editorial team and our global network of travel industry contributors.

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