If you live in the Austin area, you already know that there’s so much to do here, it’s easy to see why it’s the fastest growing major metropolitan area in the country. From cultural experiences and indoor activities to a sprawling landscape with caves, cliffs, waterfalls, and water holes we’ve compiled a list of 102 things to do this summer in and around Austin, including their current (as of this writing) accessibility modifications due to COVID.
And, as cliché as it is to say so, you’ll see in this list that there truly is something for everyone here in Austin.
From amusement centers to museums and camps for every interest, here are the best indoor attractions to hit this summer.
1 – Go ice skating at Chaparral Ice’s newest location at The Crossover, located in Leander. Chaparral Ice has two NHL-sized sheets of ice located in the 240,000+ square foot multi-sports complex, and offers public ice skating, Try Hockey for Free events for your little Wayne Gretzky wanna-be’s, and figure skating lessons. You can always still visit their Northcross location, too. Masks are optional, but they continue their multiple-times-daily Covid cleanings.
2 – Axe throwing is growing in popularity and can be a fun, different type of outing. There are a few places in Austin – Class Axe Throwing is open to those aged 12+, but if you’re looking for an adults-only experience, Urban Axe is 21+. The Rowdy Axe Company is a travelling axe-throwing company located in Liberty Hill, but will travel to your venue.
3 – The Science Mill is a museum and hands-on activities center all in one, with 50+ exhibits, summer camps, and an immersive STEM learning experience for all ages. All exhibits are currently re-opened, although – to eliminate the need for 3D glasses, as a precaution for COVID – they are showing standard format movies in their theater.
4 – Austin Ninja is an American Ninja Warriors Obstacle Course facility with two Austin locations, offering classes, private parties, and open gym hours (open gym is currently available only at the Cedar Park location). They ask that customers 10 and older continue physical distancing and wearing a mask that covers their mouth and nose, unless fully vaccinated.
5 – Fantastic Magic Camp teaches life skills and confidence through magic, juggling, and puppets. In operation since 1993, Fantastic Magic Camp has camps year-round and is available to kids 6-12. In-person summer camp is currently in session and accepting registrations. The camp runs through August 13.
6 – ZACH Theater is offering in-person theater camps that help kids find courage, creativity, and connection at both its downtown and its north locations, although they are running at reduced capacity and are enforcing social distancing to exceed the guidelines set forth by the CDC and Austin Public Health.
7 – My Coding Place offers STEM, chess, and coding classes, workshops, and camps for kids 7-18, as well as for adults. Currently offering virtual or in-studio camps, although their in-studio options are operating at reduced capacity (max of 10 students) for COVID precautions. My Coding Place is located on Far West Blvd., and also offers classes at the Lakeway Activity Center.
8 – eSports Cave is an almost-all-ages gaming center with state-of-the-art equipment to give customers an immersive gaming experience. Offering console stations with curved 4K monitors in one area to table groups with 24” monitors for competitive play and 27” monitors for a more cinematic experience. I say this is for “almost all ages” because they don’t list a minimum age, but I would suggest it for slightly older kids, around 10 or 11 years old, all the way up to the elderly. Ha!
9 – Big Top Candy Shop bills itself as “the most amazing candy shop the world has ever known.” Located on South Congress, it is adorned with antique circus memorabilia, a fully-functioning old-fashioned soda fountain and ice cream case, and stocked with candies from all around the world. The store is a delight to all your senses, from the unique decor to the vibrant colors of candy packaging, to the mouthwatering aroma of spun sugar, you and your kids will feel like… well, kids in a candy shop!
10 – Cathedral of Junk is an art installation built by Austin local, Vince Hannemann, in the backyard of his unassuming house in south Austin. He started building the creation in 1988, when he was in his 20’s, adding to it throughout the years. It is now 60 tons of junk wrapped around and among trees and greenery. He says of his creation that it has no profound meaning – he just likes it. And he says that when kids see it? They understand it. Available by appointment only, particularly during COVID. Located at 4422 Lareina Dr., Austin, TX
11 – Visit the Capitol and go on a self-guided tour – specialty and seasonal tours are not currently available – throughout what is widely recognized as one of the country’s most distinguished state capitols. Stand your kids on one side of the Texas state seal on the floor beneath the rotunda, then walk to the opposite side and whisper something to them. Because of the acoustics, they’ll hear your whisper as if it were right into their ear!
12- Visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum, my favorite museum in all of Texas because of its varied exhibits, from the battered hull of La Belle, a 17th century French ship that was part of an expedition in 1686, when it met its fate in Matagorda Bay during a devastating storm, and was discovered in 1995, to the original Goddess of Liberty, who adorned the top of the capitol building from 1888 until 1986. All exhibits are currently open, with occupancy limited by time stamping entry tickets.
13 – The Blanton Museum of Art, like the Bullock Museum, is limiting occupancy by offering timed-entry tickets. If you aren’t able to or comfortable with visiting in person, you can explore the museum via its #MuseumFromHome resource page.
14 – Visit Thinkery, a children’s museum with play-based learning experiences geared toward kids 12 and under. Most of its programs are suspended due to COVID, but they are planning a phased reopening beginning Labor Day. Until then, you can visit Thinkery online, but if you want to still visit the museum in person, you can do that. Masks are required for guests aged two and up, and they are limiting occupancy and requesting guests adhere to social distancing.
15 – Try curling, another on-ice activity, and one that doesn’t require skating skills. Available at Chaparral Ice, this activity is geared more to older kids and adults.
16 – Go Roller Skating at Austin Roller Rink, a good old-fashioned roller rink for all ages.
17 – Visit the Mexic-Arte Museum, a museum dedicated to enriching the community through exhibits, collections, preservation and interpretation of Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art and culture. One of only a few Mexican art museums in the country, its impressive history and robust cultural programs have prepared it to become one of the foremost art institutions in the region. Operating at 75% capacity, masks are required for all guests over age two, and cash is not currently accepted.
18 – Inflatable Wonderland is fun for those littles aged 11 and under, and you can enjoy discounted entry on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can have parties there or just go for open play.
19 – Go indoor skydiving at iFly.
More inside things to do this Summer!
20 – Spend the day at High Five or Main Event. Bowling, rock climbing, mini golf, laser tag, and arcade games give families plenty to do. Then enjoy lunch or dinner and a drink from the full bar.
21 – Pinballz is another fun amusement center, with classic and modern games, arcade, escape rooms, laser tag, go-karts, and bumper cars. The Lakeline location now offers axe throwing from Axe Alley.
22 – Indoor tumbling at one of the area’s trampoline parks like Urban Air, Altitude, and Jumpstreet
23 – Play dart tag at Dart-em Up!, and indoor foam dart sports arena
24 – Participate in a reading program through your local library. Here’s information on the summer reading program for Austin Public Library.
25 – Get creative at The Art Garage, where they have programs for kids, teens, and adults or Inspired Minds Art & Science Camp
26 – Go see Seussical the Musical, showing throughout July
27 – Work on your family teamwork at an escape room
28 – Get out all your frustrations at The Breaking Point, a rage room where you’re free to smash bottles, swing a hammer at plates of glass, or whatever other modes of catharsis you need.
29 – Take a cooking class at one the many venues around Austin or at Kids Kitchen in Cedar Park, for you northies.
30 – Visit Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge for beautiful hiking, and to learn why the area’s infamous cedar is so vital to the survival of the Golden-cheeked warbler, a species of bird that nests in only one place in the entire world: right here in Central Texas.
31 – Watch the world’s largest Mexican Free Tailed Bat community emerge from beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge.
32 – For you northies, you can also see an impressive showing of bats emerging from under the McNeil Street bridge at I-35 in north Austin.
33 – Zipline across Lake Travis
34 – Listen to live music on a patio overlooking Lake Austin at Mozart’s Coffee
35 – Walk around Lady Bird Lake
36 – Play mini golf at Peter Pan Mini Golf, an Austin tradition since 1948
37 – Visit Hope Outdoor Gallery, a brand new open-air cultural arts center in East Austin
38 – Visit the Texas Farmers Market, now located at Branch Park Pavilion at Mueller, and enjoy live music and lakeside shopping for fresh local produce while the kids play in the waterscape.
39 – Watch the Perseids annual meteor shower – the most popular meteor shower, caused by dust from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Shooting stars can be seen anytime from around July 17 through August 26, with its most active dates being August 12-13. No need to travel, you can just throw a blanket out in your driveway and stare at the sky all night. For the best viewing, drive away from the city where the skies are darkest.
While you’re looking for things to do this summer in and around Austin, make sure you stay mosquito-free
40 – Ride on a real steam train. Austin Steam Train cars were built in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s and have been restored for your comfort.
41 – Take a Goat Yoga class with the whole family
42 – Visit dinosaur footprints on the banks of the San Gabriel River in Leander
43 – Hike along Barton Creek Greenbelt, 13.8 miles of moderate-rated, gorgeous terrain
44 – Take a quick quarter-size train ride at the SW Williamson County Park in Round Rock
45 – Grab the kids and the dog for a hike on one of two trails at St. Edward’s Park, and plan to take a dip in the creek’s cold waters
46 – See the peacocks at Mayfield Park & Nature Preserve.
47 – Visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. They have a variety of events happening all summer long. Masks are optional, but reservations are required for visits.
48 – Learn wilderness survival, among many other skills for kids and adults, at Earth Native Wilderness School. You can even learn pottery, basket weaving, and bow & arrow making!
49 – Go horseback riding or take horseback riding lessons at Rio Vista Farms. There’s still availability for their August Horseback Riding Camp.
50 – Kids aged 9 and up can learn to rock climb at Rock About Kids Climbing Camp. They are following CDC guidelines as those evolve, and they report that they were able to hold all scheduled camps during 2020 with no infections.
51 – Go to a Round Rock Express game
Want more ideas for things to do around Austin this summer? Read here for ideas on the perfect Austin staycation!
52 – Take a baseball camp at Round Rock Express summer camp
53 – Visit Merlin the Magical Sage at Eastwood Park
54 – Enjoy dinner and drinks on the patio while the kids romp around the Lawn at the Domain
55 – See the giant spider sculpture, Arachnophilia
56 – View the Pennybacker Bridge from up high
57 – Take golf lessons or play a round of golf at one of the many area courses
58 – Spend the day at Garey Park in Georgetown for fishing, hiking, equestrian activities, wildlife viewing, and tons of water activities
59 – Attend the CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals at Austin’s newest high-profile venue and home to Austin Football Club, Q2 on July 29. The brand new stadium will be the site of the city’s first ever official men’s and women’s international soccer matches. You’ll want to be a part of this inaugural event!
60 – Visit J. Lorraine, Texas, a real ghost town near Manor
61 – Take tennis lessons
62 – An outdoor Wipe Out-style challenge course, take the family out to The Challenge Course & Adventure Program in Georgetown
Swimming and Water Activities
63 – Play all day at Lake Travis. The largest of the seven Highland Lakes, Lake Travis holds recreation possibilities for all ages. Fish off its banks, rent a boat, tackle the floating challenge course at Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures, watch the sunset over dinner, cover the kids’ eyes at Hippie Hollow, or just grab a beachside burger.
64 – Go paddleboarding on Lake Austin
65 – Swim in the icy, clear waters of Barton Springs Pool, an outdoor swimming pool filled entirely with water from natural springs. Beginning in July, the reservation system put into place due to Covid will be lifted, no longer limiting visitors to a two-hour swim (although they will still have modified hours).
66 – Take the family and the pups for a swim at Barkin’ Springs, just downstream from the spillway at Barton Springs.
67 – Go Kayaking and enjoy a picnic lunch at Leander’s newest city park, Lakewood Park.
68 – Cool off at Blue Hole Regional Park, 126 acres of recreation and gorgeous landscape in Wimberley. Reservations are required, in order to manage crowd capacity.
69 – Take swimming lessons
70 – Go hiking at Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls, with 3.2 miles of dog-friendly trails
71 – Swim in the oldest pool in Texas, Deep Eddy Pool, which features an original bath house built during the Great Depression.
Looking for even more things to do in and around Austin this summer? Read our Summer Camp Guide here!
72 – Visit Typhoon Texas
73 – Spend the day at Rock N’ River Water Park
74 – Rent a palapa-style cabana at Son’s Blue River Camp and pretend you’re at a Caribbean resort
75 – Enjoy indoor water fun at Splash Shack in Cedar Park
76 – Splash around at The Quarry Splashpad at SW Williamson County Regional Park, located on the border of Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Leander
77 – Visit brand new Kalahari, America’s largest indoor water park and resort
78 – Take the fam to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels
79 – Swim and play at Volente Beach
80 – Swim in Jacob’s Well, a fully-submerged cave – the second-largest in Texas! Reservations are required, and the Nature Center is currently closed, but you can swim to your heart’s content in the constant-68° water.
81 – Watch an outdoor musical for free at Zilker Summer Musical. This summer’s show: Little Shop of Horrors. Reservations required.
82 – Enjoy outdoor play and adventures at the 2-acre Alliance Children’s Garden
83 – Enjoy a fancy picnic at Open Room Austin at Sand Beach Park, complete with a long, lace tablecloth-covered table and chandeliers.
84 – Hike, bike, fish, explore at McKinney Falls State Park
85 – Go camping at Canyon of the Eagles, 940 acres of Hill Country terrain along Lake Buchanan.
86 – Visit Leander’s newest skate park at Lakewood Park
87 – See the stars up-close from the Eagle Eye Observatory, considered one of the best astronomical viewing sites in Texas
Out and About
88- Grab a burger from Top Notch burger stand, not only an Austin classic since 1971, but a bit famous, after its cameo appearance in Dazed and Confused in 1993, and birthplace of Matthew McConoughey’s line, “alright, alright, alright.”
89 – Go on a tour of Austin’s murals. Here’s information on some of the city’s must-visit wall art, along with an interactive map to guide you on the most efficient route.
90 – Visit the pinkest place in Austin (and arguably the most Instagrammable venue in the city) for a photo opp and a taco at Taquero Mucho.
91 – Ride the CapMetro like a real city slicker! Austin’s public metrorail takes you from Leander all the way to the city center, at the Austin Convention Center, and has stops along the way so you can tour the city without ever having to get behind the wheel. Idea: take CapMetro into Downtown, walk a few blocks for barbecue at Austin’s famous Stubb’s Bar-B-Q.
92 – Take a nighttime sight-seeing tour to see the Mueller Sunflowers, Austin’s largest art installation, and one that plays a highly functional role for the area: it returns electricity back into the city’s power grid.
93 – Frequented by dignitaries, celebrities, and – most importantly – locals, Guero’s Taco Bar is an Austin staple. Currently operating at 50% capacity, there’s live music scheduled every Thursday-Sunday.
94 – Enjoy lakeside tacos and incredible views at the Hula Hut on Lake Austin
95 – Book a weekend in a retro Airstream RV
96 – Take the kids to Top Golf
97 – Watch a movie old school-style at the Blue Starlite Drive-In, a mini-urban drive-in theater
98 – See more than 600 exotic animals at the Exotic Resort Zoo drive-through safari in Johnson City (visit Lyndon B. Johnson’s ranch, where he was born, raised, lived, died, and buried).
99 – Another fun drive-in movie spot: The Globe Drive-in, Pflugerville
100 – Tour a series of underground tunnels at Inner Space Caverns in Georgetown
101 – Train your own service dog at The Dog Alliance. They also host Kids Camp throughout the summer, as well as after school, for ages 5-15.
102 – Sleep in a real treehouse at Cypress Valley