Whether you’re travelling solo or not, there are plenty of things to do in Downtown Austin. So keep on reading to find something for your checklist.
One of the best things to do in most cities, you’ll acclimatise much quicker to your surroundings if you get out and about on foot. The Downtown Austin area is reasonably sized so you don’t necessarily need to go everywhere. But depending on how far out of the Centre you’re staying, you’ll end up seeing a lot more if you can walk it. Highly recommended if you’re travelling solo.
Of course if you’re in the city anytime around the summer months, the weather can be very hot. To say the least. If you’re used to the unreliable British weather as I am, the humidity can cause issues. So make sure to stop in to one of the many cafes and restaurants dotted around Downtown to pick up a cold drink. And take advantage of the air conditioning!
Have A night out on 6th street…
Affectionately known as “Dirty 6th”, if you’ve ever been to Bourbon Street in New Orleans – it’s a lot less “dirty” than that. It is popular with tourists but chances are if you’re reading this, then like me, that’s what you are. If you’re travelling on your own, you’ll find a heap of bar options that are easy to stop by and grab a drink in. There’ll also be plenty of live music playing, from duelling pianos to rock and country. You can just bar hop from one to the next with relative ease.
If you’re feeling less confident, just walk up the street along the whole row of bars and back down the other side again if you need to take some time. And do it again if needed. If you can’t bring yourself to go in anywhere that’s also fine! The most important thing is to never beat yourself up over it.
It’ll get really busy up here on the weekend nights. But it’s not that heavily populated in the streets around so do keep that in mind if you’re intending to walk a way back to your accommodation. I had no worries though walking back alone from here across the SoCo bridge. Austin has been named as one of the safest cities in the US – always be vigilant but try not to over-worry.
But also check out rainey street
You won’t get it from this terrible picture, but Rainey Street is a great place to go for a night out if you’re not so keen on the more grungy side of things. A little south west of Downtown, this street is becoming more and more popular as a 6th street alternative. Which means it will be over-touristy pretty soon, if not already. Either way, if you like specialty beers, cocktails, great settings and awesome live music, it’s worth checking out.
If you’re travelling solo – it didn’t feel quite as inconspicuous as being on 6th. But generally it’s difficult not to feel welcome in Austin. So head up high, head inside and order that drink! Then leave if you feel too uncomfortable…
Take a boat trip on the Colorado River
If you like to kayak or canoe or prefer your boats a little bigger, there are a number of tour operators running boat excursions along the river. And of course if you want to see the famous bats, well then you can book one for a little later on in the day and admire them from right underneath the bridge! When you’re looking for things to do in Downtown Austin, you can’t beat being out on the water!
Spot the local art
Austin is made up of an eclectic mix of people and you’ll find art in various forms all over the city. From graffiti (technically not legal still) to yarn-bombs to sculptures. Self-expression is truly an art form here. Just a little south of Downtown off Barton Springs Road you’ll find the Umlauf Sculpture Garden. It’s an outdoor exhibition of bronze sculptures by American sculptor Charles Umlauf. A great place to pass away an hour or so.
Find random history
Sure, the big fancy history is served up at the Capitol or the various museums around the city. But keep your eye out for unexpected places to pop up. For example, the one time house of writer William Sidney Porter (O. Henry) can be found on the corner of Trinity and 5th.
Cool off At barton springs pool
When the days are long and hot and you’ve done enough walking around, head to Zilker Park for a dip in Barton Springs Pool. An oasis in the city and measuring 3 acres in size, when you’re looking for things to do in Downtown Austin you won’t find one much more refreshing.
It does cost to get in ($8 if you’re not local) but it’s defintely worth the price of admission just to cool down a little!