**This Ultimate Guide of Things to Do in Austin TX Post Was Updated on 6/9/21
Austin is one of my favorite cities in the U.S., hands down. It has its own unique culture, it’s very, very weird, and it always feels like home every time I visit. Not to mention: it’s a haven for foodies. I’ve visited several times over the past few years, and it never gets old!
If you’re headed to ATX soon, here are some of my absolute favorite things to do in Austin that need to be on your radar!
Things to do in Austin
Austin Travel Guide — Getting There & Getting Around
Austin’s airport is a little on the smaller side, so flights tend to be more expensive than normal (the cheapest I’ve ever been able to snag a flight to Austin from the East Coast has been $300). I would set up an alert on Google Flights to monitor flights and snag the best deal. November is one of my favorite months to visit Austin because the weather has cooled down a bit, and it’s comfortable to walk around and explore everything that ATX has to offer.
As far as getting around goes: Austin is a little more spread out. However, I’d still advise against a car rental since parking can be expensive or difficult in certain parts of town. If we take day trips, we’ll rent a car for one day, but I don’t think there’s a need to have one if you’re staying in town. We’ve used Uber, Lyft, and car2go while we’ve visited Austin in the past and were able to get around the city with ease.
Travel Guide — Things to Do in Austin TX
- Shop & Go Mural Hopping on South Congress. South Congress is definitely one of the more touristy spots in town, but it’s worth visiting. There are quite a few murals up and down this bustling street — including the “I Love You So Much” mural you see above. Walk up and down South Congress, snap some photos for the ‘gram at one of these picture-perfect murals, and hit up some of my favorite boutiques on South Congress (Favor the Kind and Uncommon Objects are incredible!)
- Get Portraits at Lumiere Tintype Photography. One of the coolest things to do in Austin, TX is getting a timeless tintype portrait taken at Lumiere. It’s a hidden gem and an exceptional find in the era of digital photography. Tintype portraits were most widely used in the 1860s and 1870s, and you can expect a high-quality portrait from this session that will last for generations to come. This studio is only open Thursday-Sunday, and I’d recommend grabbing a drink and a bite to eat at Justine’s Brasserie while you wait for your portrait to process.
- Head to a UT – Austin Game. When I visited back in 2016, I had never been to a college football game, and I asked my friend if we could get tickets for the Texas game. I’m not a huge sports fan, but it ended up being incredible. Texas takes its football very seriously, my friends: the tailgating alone is one of the most magical, unique things I’ve ever experienced. Nothing compares to the energy you feel at Texas Memorial Stadium, either.
- Visit the Blanton Museum of Art. If you need to get your art fix, the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas is a must-see. They have over 18,000 pieces of art in their extensive collection, and you can view art from across the ages: from Ancient Greek pieces to abstract expressionism to the incredible Ellsworth Kelly Austin installation, there’s something for everyone at Blanton.
- Catch some live music. Austin is the live music capital of the world. As soon as we got off of our flight, there was live music at the airport. We heard musicians on the street, in boutiques, at bars — you name it, it was pretty much everywhere. Some of the iconic spots to catch live music in Austin include Paramount Theatre, Continental Club, Cactus Cafe, and more.
- Make a day trip to the Texas Hill Country. Are you a wine lover like I am? Texas wine is pretty incredible, and Texas Hill Country is about an hour outside of Austin, and there are dozens of wineries to try. Looking for the best ones to try? Don’t miss my Texas Hill Country guide!
Austin Travel Guide — Where to Eat
There is no shortage of good places to eat in Austin. I’m sure I’m going to add to this list in the future, but in the meantime, here are some must-visit spots.
Breakfast & Brunch:
- Fresca’s: Lunch and dinner are fantastic here, but Fresca’s had my favorite breakfast tacos in the city, hands down. Try the Migas taco (AKA “The Tricky”) — you won’t regret it!
- Paperboy: I was introduced to Paperboy at an event in D.C., and I’ve been hooked ever since. They have two locations in town and focus on quality breakfast food and coffee. I highly recommend the Texas Hash — it has the perfect amount of kick to it.
- Le Politique: This French spot is not only one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in town, but it also serves a solid brunch. The burger is incredible, their hash of the day is divine, and the pastries are next level.
- Caffe Medici: A fantastic coffee shop located in Downtown Austin that partners with Tacodeli to serve breakfast tacos.
- Gordough’s Public House: If you’re a donut lover, this is the spot for you. This is one of my favorite brunches in Austin — get the Fried Chicken Donut; it tastes exactly like chicken and waffles!
- June’s All Day: Any meal here is solid, but we enjoyed brunch at this South Congress cafe. Sit on their patio, people watch and enjoy the food and the vibe.
- Joe’s Bakery and Coffee Shop: If you’re looking for a laid-back and cheap Tex Mex breakfast, Joe’s is a great spot for a casual meal. It’s no-frills and was takeout only when we went, but if you want something fast, it does the trick!
Lunch & Dinner:
- Valentina’s: Valentina’s has mouthwatering Tex Mex BBQ, with beef and pork sourced from local farms and ranches. When I visited in 2021, they were only accepting online orders to limit contact, so make sure to order ahead.
- Veracruz All Natural: This might have been my favorite taco in Austin. They’ve been featured on Food Network and have won many accolades, and Veracruz lives up to the hype. Their Migas taco was named one of the top 5 tacos in the U.S., and I’d recommend it.
- El Alma Cafe y Cantina: My friends, this is a Mexican food experience. There’s a wide variety of tacos to choose from, their specialty margaritas are incredible (try the avocado marg), and they have some of the best guac I’ve ever had. Not to mention, they have an incredible rooftop and a great ambiance.
- Lucy’s Fried Chicken: If you’re looking to indulge and ruin your diet, Lucy’s is the perfect spot for you. Bring all of your friends: you have the option to get a southern, family-style meal here, and it will not disappoint.
- Salt Lick BBQ: If you’re in Texas, BBQ is a must. We skipped the long lines at Franklin and headed to Driftwood to try out this iconic barbecue joint: and it did not disappoint. I might have shed a tear while eating the burnt ends!
Austin Travel Guide — Breweries & Nightlife
- Ah Sing Den: Hands down, these were the best cocktails I had in Austin. In fact, they might be some of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. I loved this bar’s cozy yet eclectic vibe, but make sure to get reservations — this place books up fast.
- Whisler’s: I met a sorority sister here, and I fell in love with this East Austin cocktail bar: it has an incredible patio, great cocktails, and a great calendar of events.
- Handlebar: Handlebar is a super fun spot in Downtown Austin with funky decor, an adult playground, and a great rooftop deck.
- Floppy Disk Repair Co.: Don’t let the name fool you: this is a super fun speakeasy that serves up some of the best drinks in the city. You do need a code to gain entry, and the code does change every couple of weeks — you can get the password by asking around town.
Loving this things to do in Austin, TX feature? Take a look here for more of my travel favorites!
Photos by Tom McGovern
Which of these things to do in Austin sounds fun to you? Let me know in a comment below!