12 Months Of Austin Activities In 2019
If you’re seeking a new year’s goal and/or you find yourself month after month, year after year, thinking of all the Austin things you’d like to do but seem to let slip off the radar, make 2019 the year to explore more of Austin. The city has an endless supply of adventures – without ever having to leave the city limits – to keep your bucket list full.
Here are a few monthly ideas to explore more of Austin in 2019:
- Explore the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Lady Bird lake. 10 miles of city scenery, people watching, art, dogs, swan boats, actual swans, culture and more.
- Visit The Thinkery. An evolution of Austin Children’s Museum where fun and science collide, filled with tons of interactive learning and play activities for all ages.
- Attend a UT basketball game. The energy at UT basketball games is high. There are plenty of January and February games to hide from winter and cheer on the Horns.
- Tour the Texas Capitol. Regular Capitol tours are free for all. If the weather is nice, picnic on the beautiful lawn under the Capitol’s grand trees.
- Attend a show at ACL Live. The Moody Theater is a great venue and iteration #2 of ACL Live. A personal favorite: Bob Schneider’s annual Valentine’s show with the Moonlight Orchestra.
- Volunteer at a local charity. February 28 is the 2019 date for Amplify Austin, Austin’s day of giving. You can you search their site for all local nonprofits with volunteer opportunities.
- Fly a kite at ABC Kite Fest at Zilker Park. Great family-friendly event. Bring your own kite or visit the park to simply watch. They even have kite flying contests you can enter.
- Explore SXSW. Every year thousands of people fill Austin for SXSW. If you don’t have a formal ticket to one of the festivals (it’s not just music!), get a guest pass for free events and activities. There are also hundreds of unofficial events and activities throughout the city.
- Visit Rodeo Austin. If SXSW isn’t quite your thing, maybe Rodeo Austin the latter half of March is, with live music, a stock show, rodeo and fair. Various artist play each night.
- Ride the Zilker Zephyr. Tucked near Barton Springs and the Zilker playground is a mini train that takes you on a 20-25 minute ride around the park. Explore the park while there.
- Run the Capitol 10K. Grab some friends and family and join the state’s largest 10K. You don’t actually have to be a runner to participate in the downtown race.
- Hike Mount Bonnell or 360 Bridge. While you’re out being active, both of these spots will give you incredible, iconic views of Austin. Great outing for visitors too.
- Shop at the Pecan Street Festival. Free two-day arts festival held downtown on 6th in the spring and fall. If you don’t visit to browse the art, come for the food and music.
- Hike the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Great to visit outside of the dry months so there is actually water flowing and you can swim. Multiple entrances – see link for more info. I also love hiking the less crowded Bull Creek Greenbelt off of 360.
- Explore UT campus and the Drag. Smile in front of Littlefield Fountain, tour the tower, visit a campus library or museum, watch fireworks at the spring commencement celebration. You don’t have to be a student to get a taste of Longhorn life.
- Listen to live music at Blues on the Green. Free live music has to be one of the greatest benefits of living in Austin. Gather with the city at Zilker on one of the select Wednesdays in the summer for a free concert.
- Play a round at Peter Pan Mini Golf. This course is as unique and weird as Austin and it’s BYOB, so great for adults or a family outing.
- Kayak Town Lake (aka Lady Bird Lake). Kayak, canoe, paddleboard, even ride a swan pedal boat. There are many docks available for rentals, like the Rowing Dock.
- Watch the 4th of July fireworks downtown. This free event at Vic Mathias/Auditorium Shores is led by sounds from the Austin Symphony, closing with a huge fireworks show.
- Listen to tunes at Unplugged at The Grove. Another great event is Unplugged at the Grove, a free concert series held at Shady Grove Thursday evenings April through September. Eat, drink, listen to live music.
- Watch a movie in the park. Austin has several free outdoor movie events throughout the summer. Find schedules for the Long Center, Republic Square Park, Deep Eddy Pool and more.
- Swim at Barton Springs or Deep Eddy Pool. Pick a swimming hole, any swimming hole, to cool off in the Texas heat. Both of these picks are fed with 65-75 degree water.
- Watch the South Congress Bridge Bats. Bucket list item for anyone visiting or living in Austin during “bat season.” Watch from a boat or the bridge. Austin also hosts Bat Fest in August.
- Visit Camp Mabry. Stroll the mile-long track and see the stationed planes (that you see from MoPac) in person, and/or enjoy free admission to the Texas Military Forces Museum on-site.
- Grub at The Picnic food truck park. Food trucks are all over the city, but this is a one-stop shop off of Barton Springs Road to try different options, including the infamous Mighty Cone.
- Hike McKinney Falls State Park. There are so many great parks in Central Texas, this one in Austin specifically. Hike, bike, and if the weather is right, swim too.
- Visit a museum for free on Austin Museum Day. This community event is held the second to last Sunday of September and grants free access to museums across the area.
- Attend Austin City Limits Music Festival. Whether for one day or the full weekend, ACL Festival is a bucket list must. They even have Austin Kiddie Limits (a kid’s festival within the festival), and kids under 10 can attend free.
- Attend a UT tailgate. Even if you’re not headed to a football game this fall, you can still sport your burnt orange at a tailgate. There are various free tailgating activities around, like Bevo Boulevard, and establishments that ooze UT on game days, like Scholz Garten.
- Go on an Austin Mural Tour. Austin has so many great murals celebrating the city’s art and culture. Grab your kids and take them around town to smile with some of the best.
- Stroll South Congress. Some may avoid the tourist scene of South Congress, but it will remain one of my favorite spots to stroll with visitors. Tons of great food, eclectic shopping, live music and more. Extra evening activities on First Thursdays too.
- Walk or run the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot. A fun way to kick off your Thanksgiving holiday. They have a Kids K, timed and untimed mile and a 1 mile walk/run. All proceeds benefit Caritas of Austin.
- Join the Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade. The parade heads south on Congress and benefits Operation Blue Santa. See site for more details.
- Visit Austin’s Trails of Lights. Zilker Park lights up for two weeks with a festive display of lights and activities. There are various special events and plenty of insider tips, so plan ahead.
- Shop at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. Snag some last minute gifts at the 12-day Austin-centric shopping event featuring national and local artists, live music and more.
- Top off 2019 at Austin’s New Year. This is a free family-friendly (no booze!) New Year’s Eve event at Auditorium Shores with a lineup of kids’ activities, food trucks and fireworks.
What are you excited to do in Austin in 2019? Share in the comments!