summer in austin

Whether you’ve lived in the Austin area for months, or years, it is a pretty impossible task to know EVERYTHING that’s going on in this lively city of ours.

Sometimes we look for activities only in our area of the city, or we search for specific places and that leaves us missing out on the potential adventures we could be having. I know it’s hard to venture out of our comfort zone, for a while I noticed I only went to parks or splash pads in my area, and when I explored a little, I found a great splash called The Quarry at Southwest Regional Park and WOW! me and the little one were missing out.

So from then on, I have made a point to try any event that looks interesting, no matter what the location. I realize parents don’t always have the time to research places to visit, or find activities that are taking place (I know, it took me a LONG time to create this blog), so we provided a ‘cheat sheet’ of things to do this summer. Some points of interest are touristy, some are off the beaten path, and others happen only once a year…Enjoy the summer!

Here are 101 ways to enjoy summer in Austin: 

  1. Home Depot has a free kids workshop on the 1st Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. AND throughout the month, they hold workshops for adults too.
  2. Keep Austin Weird 5K – Held in Downtown Austin June 24th, from 4pm to 9pm. Family-friendly AND $1 of every ticket sold goes to the Central Texas Food Bank. There is even a costume contest.
  3. Splash Pads – There are SO many to choose from, and are great with kids of all ages.
  4. Public Libraries – During the summer this awesome place gets even better! From family yoga, lego building, robotics, story time, puppets, dog therapy, reading contests, free lunch, teen game nights, kite building, STEM….the list really goes on and on.
  5. Summer camps for every interest 
  6. Bass Pro Shop – They offer free summer camps/activities on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and they change week to week. 
  7. Try out a trampoline park – A warehouse of wall to wall trampolines, foam pits and dodge ball courts.
  8. Fishing – Check out tpwd.texas.gov for local places to fish, state parks and the areas that will provide fishing equipment for you and your family.
  9. Hiking – Discover where the trails are and if its level appropriate for your group.
  10. Visit a State Park – In the Austin area we are surrounded by 19 state Parks.
  11. Geocaching – It’s like treasure hunting with technology, there are some caches specified for kids around Austin or others in a bigger areas like state parks.
  12. Ice Skating – Chaparral Ice has a free ‘try me’ class on Saturday and public skate times happen every day.
  13. Bowling – Westgate Lanes has 1 free game of bowling when you print out the coupon
  14. Austin’s Park and Pizza and High 5 both have the ‘Kids bowl free’ program, when you signup at kidsbowlfree.com
  15. Roller Skating/Roller Blading – Go to a rink where there is music and a level floor or in the park to make it exciting, use protective gear and have fun.
  16. Community Recreation Centers – There are 20 community centers in the Austin area that offer different activities that range from aquatics to yoga. 
  17. Indoor Rock Climbing – If your kids like to climb and you’re trying to find an activity to keep them out of the rain or high temperatures, there are a few spots in Austin to do this. Gus Garcia Recreation Center has FREE family rock climbing on Wednesdays from 4-6 pm. 
  18. Mueller Lake Park – Big covered playscape, duck feeding and numerous restaurants and food trucks nearby; there is a farmers market there every Sunday.
  19. 10th Annual Austin Bug Eating Festival – Join Little Herds and In.gredients where you can learn about the world of Entomology and try some bugs. For tickets and more information got to littleherds.org
  20. Movies in the Park – This year Austin Parks is screening films from 1992, enjoy 90’s throwbacks in parks all over Austin. For more information and a full schedule go to austinparks.org
  21. Fitness in the Park – There are FREE fitness classes, held in parks all around Austin. Zumba, Mixxfit, Yoga, Kids Yoga are just some of the classes. For more information and a schedule of classes go to austinparks.org
  22. Austin Nature and Science Museum – Explore with hands on nature exhibits, various educational programs.
  23. Participate in the Texas Nature Challenge: This challenge is designed for the whole family to enjoy different sites throughout Texas; there is a list of sites to visit and a place to share your experience with other families. 
  24. Barton Creek Greenbelt – This area of Austin contains over 12 miles of hiking and biking trails; bluffs for rock climbing and swimming holes. 
  25. Barton Springs Pool – The pool measures 3 acres and is fed from underground springs. Swimming times and prices vary.
  26. Explore Zilker Botanical Gardens – Located on 26 acres of fenced land in Austin, with intermingling themed gardenssummer in austin
  27. There at the Gardens, The Woodland Faerie Trail opens on May 27, 
  28. You can also experience the Woodland Faerie trail by moonlight June 9 and 10, 
  29. Also at the Botanical Gardens, the Fort and Faerie Workshop is June 24 where you can create a hidden space in the Garden along the Woodland Faerie Trail using natural materials. Learn about structure & construction.
  30. UMLAUF Sculture Garden and Museum – a variety of programs, tours and workshops are offered to educate the community about Charles Umlauf’s life and the art of sculpture. Family day is on the 2nd Sunday of every month, explore the collection, create art, listen to stories, practice yoga and watch the sculpture demos. Kids Kraft is a series of monthly workshops centered around the use natural and recycled materials for art making, for children in K-5th grade.
  31. Explore South Congress – Great food, pop up boutiques and fun shops.
  32. Book People – During the week there are puppet shows, story times, Tiny Tails petting zoo, activities and special guests. 
  33. Texas State Capital – Tours are available 7 days a week and different types of entertainment happen throughout the day. 
  34. The Contemporary Austin – Free hands-on art making activities, are offered for families every second Saturday of the month. The next date is June 10 from 11 am to 12 pm. 
  35. Bullock State History Museum – History will inspire as you connect with Texas stories told by changing artifacts, rare documents, story times, Free summer family film series and other special events. 
  36. Austin Aquarium – Located on Highway 183, it provides children and families fun access to learning about the planet, without a long trip to the coast. Enjoy the octopus encounter, the mermaid show or the numerous live action exhibits. 
  37. Mount Bonnell – Located within the western city limits of Austin, and considered the highest point in the city. This steep hike up limestone steps and the breathtaking view of the Colorado River has been enjoyed by families and couples alike.
  38. Pease Park – This park has numerous trails, bike rental, splash pad and different free events held there weekly.  
  39. Austin Zoo – The zoo is a rescue and rehabilitation place for animals, located in the southwest edge of Austin off highway 290. 
  40. Oasis Starlight Music Series – Held at the Oasis on Lake Travis, a good combination of ambiance and outdoor music makes this a must see event.
  41. Hill Country Science Mill – Located in Johnson City, you can customize your own Avatar. You can join their “Trash to Treasure” event on June 10. 
  42. Classic Game Fest – Taking place at the Palmer Events Center on July 29-30. Past games have included Contra, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Super Mario Kart. 
  43. Fly a kite at Zilker Park or Murchison Hill – Whether you make one or buy it from the store, it’s always fun trying to get it up in the air and watch it dip and dive.
  44. Take a bike ride through Austin parks, around the lake or around your neighborhood; use your own or rent a bike at any one of the 50 kiosks, throughout the city.
  45. Rock the Block Austin – This will be the first year for this program, by using volunteers to deliver food boxes to resettle refugees throughout the city. it will be held on Saturday June 24 starting at 3pm For more information or to participate, email [email protected]
  46. Farmers Markets – Numerous markets scattered throughout the city; where you can get fresh produce, crafts and food. 
  47. Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In – This mini “Pop-Up” drive in, can accommodate 50 cars, and shows movies from the 1940’s to the 1980’s.Explore the lakes by paddle boats, kayak, standup paddles.
  48. Mexic-Arte Museum – This museum is dedicated to the cultural enrichment and preservation of contemporary Mexican, Latino and Latin American art. For the last 22 years, they have sponsored Young Latino Artist 22, which is a exhibition for emerging Latino/a artists with professional level museum experience and exposure. The exhibition will be on Friday July 14 from 6 pm to 9 pm. 
  49. Emma S Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center – Tour the exhibits that were created by artists in the Latino arts Residency Program, writing classes with local authors, Yoga in Spanish, book clubs, bilingual summer camp and other events through the summer.
  50. Sabados en Familia is FREE and is held on Saturdays (June 10 and July 8) from 10 am to 1 pm. There will be art and wellness classes throughout the day and lunch is provided for free. 
  51. Sweet Eats Fruit Farm – Located in Georgetown, there are numerous family friendly activities such as: pony rides, petting zoo, pick fruit, hay maze, zipline, and face painting. It is open on the weekends fro 9 am to 6 pm, but closes when it rains. 
  52. Austin Toy Museum – Take a trip down memory lane and let your kids discover the toys you layed with before they were born or make your own action figure at the mold making class held on June 3 and June 24. 
  53. See a youth concert – Sounds of the Young Black and Gifted Concert are youth from the Austin area that will dance, sing and perform instrumental pieces on Wednesday May 31 at the George Washington Carver Museum. 
  54. Paint ball – If you have kids older than toddler-age, this might be the activity for you; different price ranges and skill levels.
  55. The B.L Joyce Parade, supporting education in fine arts will be held on Wednesday May 31st and start at 11 am. It will start at the Huston-Tillotson University and end at the George Washington Carver Museum. If there are any questions, please call (512) 974-4926.
  56. George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center – This free museum offers gallery exhibits, programs, classes, summer camps, and theater productions dedicated to African-American historical material. 
  57. Kids Obstacle Challenge – On June 10, a adventure and mud obstacle course will be created in Dripping Springs Ranch Park, for kids 5-16 yrs old. 
  58. Pioneer Farms – Central Texas’ living history park and museum. Located in Northeast Austin, there are 6 themed historic areas to explore, along with 90 wooded acres of land. Learning about the past, visually and with the family. 
  59. Aqua Dulce – A certified Organic vegetable farm located in southeast Austin that provides Austin restaurants and markets with year round produce. Each month they encourage volunteers to help on the farm.
  60. Urban Roots – They use the idea that food and farming can transform the lives of young people and inspire, engage and nourish the community. There will be an open house on Tuesday May 23 and they welcome volunteers to work on the farm (rain or shine) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. 
  61. Texas Museum of Science and Technology – The Cedar Park museum has three main attractions and one ticket gets you into it all: ‘Wonderful Things’ from the Pharaohs tomb; 33 ft. Austin Planetarium; and a fossil exhibit. 
  62. Courthouse tours at the Williamson Museum – Take a trip back in time, as you tour the historic County Courthouse. Tours start at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 on Fridays and Saturday and last about 45 min. 
  63. Take a kid Mountain Biking – Hosted by Bicycle Sport Shop, Saturday, July 29 from 9:30 am to 11 am. 
  64. See Shakespeare in Zilker Park- During the month of May, is FREE Shakespeare in the park ‘Comedy of Errors. For a schedule of days and times go to austinshakespeare.org
  65. Alamo Drafthouse – Signature Series: kids camp, which has ticket prices ranging from $1-$3 and 100% of the ticket sales benefiting local non-profits. Check drafthouse.com for the upcoming movie list.
  66. Parents’ Night Out – in partnership with the Thinkery, the kids can experience an exclusive evening at the Thinkery, as the parents enjoy a newly released movie at Alamo Drafthouse Mueller. There are some rules, but definitely worth checking out. Visit the Thinkery’s page for updates on future dates.
  67. Explore The Thinkery, with its science programs and activities for babies, kids of all ages and adults. Take advantage of the Baby Bloomers program days for the babies. 
  68. HOPE Outdoor Gallery, also known as Baylor Street Art Wall. Climb to the top and check out the view or stay at the bottom and take pictures, the artwork here is always changing. On the corner of 11th and Baylor in Austin
  69. Explore Old Settlers Park (3300 Palm Valley Blvd) in Round Rock for both the Juneteenth Rhythm and Ribs Festival on June 16-17, the new Joanne Land Playground, which includes new climbing towers, obstacles, slides and tunnels.
  70. Rock’N River Water Park – Also in Old Settlers Park , the Rock’N River now includes a huge sprayground play area called “Splashville” that includes 51 play features. Play features include  4 new water slides, tipping buckets, down jets, hose jets, tipping cone, water curtain, water guns, net obstacles and more! Newly renovated and opens Memorial Day Weekend.
  71. Music on Main Street in Round Rock – Music every Wednesday, from 6pm-8pm through the month of May. 
  72. 5th Annual Night Rider Family Bike Ride in Round Rock – This is a non-competitive glow-in the dark bike ride and block party, using the trail system. The event is on Saturday July 22 at 8:30 pm starting at the Raab House. 
  73. Round Rock Express game– located on Highway 79 in Round Rock, games go until September. For tickets, promotional nights and the game schedule go to rrexpress.com.
  74. Disc Golf – 11 courses in and around Austin, this activity requires Frisbees and a course. To find the locations of courses and the ones that fit your skill level, go to discgolfscene.com
  75. Escape Rooms – A new type of adventure game, where you must solve puzzles and find clues in order to ‘escape’ the room. Ages vary depending on the business.
  76. The Art Garage – a art studio where anyone can be creative and have some fun. Programs range from pottery painting, glass art, jewelry, canvas painting, tie-dye and more. 
  77. Blue Hole – Located in Georgetown, it is a scenic lagoon bordered by limestone bluffs along the San Gabriel River. Open from dawn until dusk, it features a wading area, picnic areas and bathrooms. 
  78. Dinosaur Park – Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday this park features realistic looking dinosaurs in a tree-lined nature trail; picnics and small animals are welcome. 
  79. Have your kids take a cooking class and then practice what they learn when they get home. 
  80. Ride a Train – Take a ride through Texas Hill Country in a train car pulled by a diesel locomotive, there are different excursions, depending on the time you want to spend on the train. 
  81. Go Camping – For information on the different types of campsites and what would work best for your family, go to tpwd.texas.gov.
  82. Painting with a twist, family edition. Check out the calendar for painting events that are good for “all ages.”
  83. Longhorn Cavern State Park – Longhorn Cavern is an 11 mile cave enviroment created over many year of water on the limestone bedrock. The cavern is a guided, paid tour and is open from 10 am to 3 pm, Monday thru Friday and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, Sunday. 
  84. Float the River – The Comal River tends to be the shorter, and more family friendly place to go tubing. You may want to avoid holidays and later start times in the day, to avoid the rowdier crowd.
  85. Join a sports team – During the summer you can join a kickball team, volley ball or soccer team, check your local YMCA, i9 or Soccer Shots, some of the starting ages are as young as 3 years old.
  86. Local Swimming Pools – The aquatic division of Austin operates 51 public pool facilities, which offers swimming lessons, life guard training, water fitness classes, swim team competitions and water events for the public. 
  87. Austin Duck Adventures – A tour of downtown Austin and Lake Austin, this amphibious tour is 75 minutes long and great for new arrivals and families. 
  88. Horseback Riding – Through the Hill Country or by the lake, there are numerous companies that offer this service and some age requirements are as young as 3.
  89. Lake Travis Flight-Hot air balloon launch over Lake Travis, this event is usually done in early August and in the early morning. 
  90. 4th Annual Austin Duck Derby presented by Austrian Sonic Drive Ins – At 11:30 am on Saturday August 5th, hundreds of people of all ages will watch 15,000 eco-friendly rubber ducks launch into Lady Bird lake from the Ann Richards Bridge on Congress Ave. Adopt a duck and cheer it on to win the race!
  91. Ziplining Tours – Some companies can accommodate kids as young as 9 years old, with a weight requirement. The tours will go over rivers, forests and lakes and will require some hiking.
  92. Zilker Summer Musical – Bring a blanket and a picnic to enjoy The Wizard of Oz, starting in July. This production is free, but the production does accept donations, in order to keep up this tradition. For information on rules and times for the production, go to zilker.org.
  93. Dog Extravaganza – On Saturday May 27 at Metz Recreation Center from 12 pm to 2 pm, there will be games, door prizes, and free snacks/samples for your furry friends. Come mingle with other pups from around Austin.
  94. See comics – Hosted by Rogues Gallery Comics and Games, on Saturday June 24 from 11 am to 5 pm, this event is in its 7th year and will feature creators who will sketch, sign and talk with kids about making comics. For more information and schedule of creators, go to roguesgallerytx.com
  95. I FLY-Indoor Skydiving is the simulation of free fall conditions and there are family packages. Visit iflyworld.com/Austin for regulations and pricing.
  96. Splash mob on Sixth Street – The 7th annual water event is usually held at the end of July or the beginning of August (exact date TBD) on infamous Sixth Street; water guns, cannons, balloons or any water device is welcome. Check Annual Austin Splash Mob on Facebook for the upcoming date and time.
  97. Bubblepalooza 2017 – June 3 at the Long Center with live music AND bubbles! 
  98. Texas Memorial Museum – Also on June 3, celebrate the start of summer with FREE admission to the museum! The dig pit will be open to young paleontologists from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Meet a paleontologist for fossil identifications in the Paleo Lab 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  99. Catch Air and Caring for Camo — Catch Air will be teaming up with Caring For Camo, a local non-profit whose goal is to support the men and women of the United States Armed Forces with letters and care packages. All proceeds Caring for Camo collects go directly to helping the troops.  For EVERY admission to Catch Air Anderson Mill purchased on May 29th, 2017 Catch Air will donate $1 to Caring for Camo.
  100. Austin Symphony Children’s Day Art Park – For just 50 cents per child, kids and adults can experience the magic of the arts at Children’s Day Art Park. The events are on Wednesday mornings from 9:30 – 11:30 am, June 7-July 26th. 
  101. Sound & Cinema at the Long Center. Free event each Wednesday June 21- July 26.

What is your favorite way to enjoy summer in Austin? 

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