You’ve booked your vacation rental home in Austin and you’re ready to see the sights. While you’re in town, stop in to see some of these tourist attractions and local favorites. These things to do when visiting Austin will help you get a taste of the city’s flair and flavor.

1. Swim in Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs Pool is a year-round swimming hole that residents and visitors love. The three-acre lake has an average natural temperature of 70 degrees. It’s been a favorite spot for generations, and Native Americans once believed that the warm waters held healing powers.

2. See Austin’s Bats

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Austin has a population of bats that swells to almost 1.5 million — most of which like to snooze under the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. They take to the skies at sundown, creating a spectacular view.

3. Watch a Film at Alamo Drafthouse

Alamo Drafthouse offers a unique film experience along with drinks and high-quality food. It’s a local institution and has been one of the top things to do in Austin, Texas, for over two decades.

4. Picnic at Zilker Metropolitan Park

Spreading out over 351 acres, Zilker Metropolitan Park is one of Austin’s top attractions and a nice place to have a picnic. During the week you’ll find better parking and fewer crowds. After your picnic, stroll on the trails, canoe on the waterways or play a game on one of the many athletic fields before returning to your vacation rental.

5. Listen to Live Music on Sixth Street

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Sixth Street has been dubbed the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Your trip to Austin wouldn’t be complete without listening to some of the local country music talent. There are several low-key bars and lively clubs, meaning there’s something for everyone.

6. Eat Good Food at Franklin Barbecue

Franklin Barbecue is one of the most popular restaurants in the city, as evidenced by the line that forms around the block starting at 6:30 a.m. Don’t wait until you’re starving to head over. The wait can sometimes last four hours.

7. Check Out the LBJ Library and Museum

The LBJ Library and Museum has hundreds of interesting exhibits and artifacts, offering a glimpse into American history during Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency. The library underwent renovations in 2012, giving this attraction new life.

8. Take a Tour of the State Capitol


Everything is bigger in Texas, including the state capitol, which stands 14 feet higher than the nation’s capitol building. The large pink granite building maintains much of the same look and feel of the original construction and offers a glimpse into Texas history.

9. Line Dance at the Broken Spoke

Established in 1964, the Broken Spoke is the last Texas dance hall of its kind. Listen to live music, line dance with the crowd or take a dance lesson and learn to two-step with the best of them.

10. Enjoy the View from the University of Texas Tower

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There are some spectacular views of Austin all around the city, but none compare to the view from the top of the University of Texas Tower. Enjoy guided or self-guided tours that go all the way up to the observation deck, where you get a panoramic view of the campus, the capitol and the entire city.