Uncover the Best of Austin: The Ultimate Austin Bucket List

Updated on June 8th, 2023

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Austin, TX is a vibrant and diverse city with something to offer everyone. From its world-renowned music scene to its delicious food culture, Austin is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a unique and exciting travel experience. Whether you’re looking to purchase a home in Austin or rent an apartment in the area, be sure to add these Redfin-recommended attractions to your bucket list. From swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Barton Springs to exploring the colorful murals of East Austin, there’s no shortage of exciting things to do in this vibrant city. So come on down, experience the energy and excitement of Austin, and cross these must-see destinations off your Austin bucket list.

Austin, TX skyline

Explore Deep Eddy Pool 

Deep Eddy Pool is one of the oldest and most iconic swimming pools in Austin. Built in 1915, the pool was originally a private resort, but it has since become a popular swimming destination. Visitors to Deep Eddy Pool can enjoy crystal-clear water, lush surroundings, and a unique and refreshing experience perfect for a hot summer day. 

Local photographer Stephanie Friedman says, “it’s no secret that Austin gets very hot at least 8 months out of the year. So finding a great place to cool off is important. Be sure to check out Deep Eddy Pool. It has a kid area as well as lap lanes. And make sure you get a snowcone at the concession stand while there.” 

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Visit The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a botanic garden and research center. The center is dedicated to conserving and promoting native plants and features a wide variety of native plant species on display throughout its extensive grounds. Visitors to the Wildflower Center can enjoy a peaceful and educational experience, learning about the importance of native plants and their role in the ecosystem.

It’s a rite of passage in Spring to find a beautiful patch of bluebonnets to take your photo in,” mentions Friedman. “The Wildflower Center has beautiful fields ready to serve as your backdrop.”

Check out the murals and street art in East Austin

East Austin is home to some of the most vibrant and creative street art in the world, featuring works from local and international artists. Visitors to East Austin can take a leisurely stroll or bike ride through the neighborhood, enjoying the stunning and often thought-provoking works of art on display. 

A mural in Austin

Go swimming at Hamilton Pool Preserve

The Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural swimming pool and conservation area. The preserve features a stunning 50-foot waterfall, limestone cliffs, and crystal-clear water perfect for swimming and cooling off on a hot day. Visitors can also explore the surrounding nature trails, which offer spectacular views of the Texas Hill Country and opportunities to see native wildlife. 

Local headshot and portrait photographer JD Swiger Photography notes, “I’ve heard so many amazing things about Hamilton Pool Preserve, and it definitely didn’t disappoint when I finally visited. The natural beauty of the grotto, waterfall, and limestone cliffs was absolutely breathtaking, and I felt like I was in a hidden paradise. Swimming in the cool, clear water was a refreshing experience, and I also loved exploring the nearby trails to take in the stunning views of the Texas Hill Country.”

Attend the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival

The annual South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film, and interactive festival is one of the most highly anticipated events in Austin. The festival brings together creative and innovative thinkers from all over the globe, showcasing cutting-edge films, music, and technology. SXSW is the perfect opportunity for visitors to experience the excitement and energy of Austin while connecting with like-minded individuals and discovering new and exciting ideas. 

Spend a day on Lake Travis

Lake Travis is a large, scenic reservoir known for its crystal-clear water and beautiful surroundings. The lake offers a wide variety of recreational activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, and kayaking, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors to Lake Travis can also enjoy spectacular sunsets, stunning views of the surrounding hills, and a variety of lakeside restaurants and bars. 

“If you’re in Austin, you must have a boat day on Lake Travis with your friends and family from your bucket list. This awesome lake is home to famous celebrity houses, some of the fanciest real estate in Texas, and they have some of the best party coves in the country,” shares boat rental company Big Tex Boat Rentals.

Lake Travis in Texas

Catch a game at Round Rock Express at Dell Diamond

“Be sure to catch a baseball game at the Round Rock Express at Dell Diamond, where the first-rate fireworks show every Friday is our favorite,” remarks automation company ArgonDigital. The Round Rock Express is a minor-league baseball team. The team plays its home games at the Dell Diamond stadium, a state-of-the-art facility with a capacity of over 11,000. Visitors to the stadium can enjoy a friendly atmosphere, exciting games, and a wide variety of food and drink options.

Visit LaLa’s Little Nugget

LaLa’s Little Nugget is a beloved dive bar known for its funky atmosphere and Christmas-themed decor. The bar is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. Visitors to LaLa’s can enjoy a wide variety of drinks, including the famous “Lala’s Special” cocktail, while surrounded by festive holiday decorations all year round. 

“Be sure to visit LaLa’s Little Nugget,” suggests advertising agency Door No.3 Austin. “It’s always Christmas at LaLa’s. This is a great dive bar with year-round holiday decor.”

Hike Mount Bonnell 

Hiking Mount Bonnell is a must-do activity for anyone in Austin. The trail offers stunning views of the city skyline, as well as breathtaking vistas of the surrounding Hill Country. Hiking to the top of the mountain is a great way to exercise, enjoy the fresh air, and get out in nature, all while taking in some of the most beautiful views in the city. 

Mount Bonnell

Go biking at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park is a beautiful and expansive park that features miles of hiking and biking trails, fishing ponds, picnic areas, and even a public swimming pool. Visitors to Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park can explore the scenic wooded areas and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding hills, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Local photographer Jingaling Photography shares, “Biking in Austin is a great weekend activity for my family. Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park has some of our favorite family-friendly bike routes. Biking is also a romantic way for couples to explore the city’s vibrant culture and beautiful scenery. The city offers a variety of bike trails, including the scenic Lady Bird Lake Trail, which runs through downtown Austin.”

Eat delicious food at Bouldin Creek Cafe 

Bouldin Creek Cafe is a popular vegetarian cafe known for its delicious and innovative plant-based cuisine. The cafe offers a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes, made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. 

“They serve delicious vegan and vegetarian options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” notes photographer Joi Conti. “I like being there early in the morning grabbing a plant-based breakfast listed on their chalkboard menu special with a London Fog.”

Take a dip at Barton Springs

Barton Springs is a natural spring-fed pool known for its crystal-clear water and beautiful surroundings. The pool is a popular destination for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking, offering a refreshing and relaxing escape from the heat of the Texas sun.

“In the middle of the city, and with a year-round temperature of 68 degrees, this natural spring is amazing in the summer and magical in the winter. All Austinites head to Barton Springs in the summer, but you can also find swimmers using the spring as a lap pool early in the morning,” shares Alvaro Soto and Russel Taylor, owners of Casa de Soco ATX.

They also share a pro tip. “To enjoy Barton Springs like a local, start by downloading the app ATXSwims and purchasing your tickets ahead of time. This will save you time and a headache as the machines are not always working. We also love to park or enter through the south entrance. It is the easiest way to get in and out, and you’ll get the best view of the pool.”

Barton Springs

Visit the iconic Texas State Capitol building

The Texas State Capitol building is an iconic destination that features stunning architecture and rich history. Visitors to the Capitol can explore the extensive grounds and enjoy breathtaking views of the city while learning about the state’s political history and legislative process.

Go bat watching at Congress Avenue Bridge

Bat watching in Austin is an experience like no other. Every evening during the summer months, over a million Mexican free-tailed bats take to the skies from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin. Witnessing this incredible natural phenomenon is a must-do activity for anyone thinking about moving or visiting the city. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the bats as they fly out in a cloud-like formation, creating an unforgettable sight.

Roam through Mayfield Park 

Mayfield Park is a beautiful, historic park known for its lush gardens, towering trees, and charming peacocks. Visitors to Mayfield Park can explore the park’s extensive trails and gardens, featuring a wide variety of native plant species and colorful flowers. The park is also home to a large population of peacocks, which roam freely throughout the park and offer a unique and delightful sight. 

Austin-based photographer Kelli Hindman of Hello Life Films shares, “Keep Austin Weird is a popular theme among Austinites, and this park is no exception. Famous for the colorful peacocks wandering the grounds, large Koi ponds, landscaped gardens, and a beautiful stone archway, Mayfield park is a hot spot in the city.” 

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Ryan Castillo

Content Marketing Manager

Ryan is part of the Content Marketing team and enjoys writing about market trends and local insights. His dream home would be a large cape cod-style house by the beach.

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