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Old + new in Austin: 12 options for 6 activities

Explore some of Bat City’s oldest establishments alongside new additions to the business + restaurant scene.

pool filled with people surrounded by grass with people sunbathing

Deep Eddy Pool charges $5 admission for Austin residents and $9 admission for non-residents.

Photo by ATXtoday

There’s a lot of chatter in our city about “new Austin” + “old Austin” — where to find them, how they mingle, and when they clash.

In an era of new development and growth, we’re here to present two options for activities in Austin: one that’s been around for decades and another that’s newer on the scene or coming soon.

Take a swim

  • Old — Did you know Austin is home to the oldest swimming pool in Texas? Deep Eddy Pool has a designated section to swim laps, a walk-in area, grass for sunbathing, trees for shade, and snacks + snow cones for purchase. Locals love heading to Pool Burger post-dip for dinner and a Mai Tai.
  • New — ResortPass offers day passes to several rooftop pools in Downtown Austin. City Editor Morgan enjoyed lounging at Fairmont Austin’s pool and drinking cocktails from Rules & Regs.
rooftop pool in Downtown Austin with white lounge chairs in the water, palm trees, and white umbrellas

A day pass to Fairmont Austin’s rooftop pool on ResortPass costs $40.

Photo by ATXtoday

Sip a beer

  • Old — Founded in 1866, German restaurant Scholz Garten claims two titles: the oldest operating business in Texas and the longest running beer garden in the US. The patio is a prime location for tasting German fare + cold beer.
  • New — Austin is packed with beer and wine gardens, and Cosmic Saltillo‘s launch in 2023 was a warmly welcomed addition. The east Austin gathering spot is a popular pick for co-working, weekend hangs, and everything in between.

Go bowling

  • Old — After five decades in business, Highland Lanes will close by the end of 2024. There’s still time to experience the old-school bowling alley and the iconic burgers at Lebowski’s Grill inside.
  • New — The South Congress Avenue site that was meant to become St. Elmo Public Market is now turning into a bowling alley, arcade, and bar. Pins Mechanical Co. is scheduled to open with 24 duckpin bowling lanes by the end of 2024.
retro bowling alley lanes

Highland Lanes has been in Austin for 50 years, offering a laid-back atmosphere for bowling.

Photo by ATXtoday

Visit a museum

  • Old — In the heart of Hyde Park, the Elisabet Ney Museum offers a glimpse into the German sculptor’s artistry and life. Ney built the stone villa in 1892, and it’s where she created some of her most famous statues.
  • New — The Blanton Museum of Art has been around since 1963, but its newly renovated grounds debuted in 2023. Visitors will find plenty of beauty in Central Texas’ largest public collection of art.
large art sculptures in front of the texas state capitol building

The Blanton Museum of Art’s newly renovated grounds are the perfect spot to take in Downtown views.

Photo by ATXtoday

Have a sweet treat

  • Old — Lammes Candies was founded in 1885 on Congress Avenue. Over a century later, the confectioner and chocolatier known for its Texas Chewie Pecan Praline operates four shops in Austin.
  • New — Golden Eye Chocolates opened its first physical location in north Austin in January. The shop’s chocolates come in a variety of out-of-the-box flavors and are almost too pretty to eat.

Play at the park

  • Old — Pease Park was Austin’s first public park and it’s also considered to be one of the first public parks in Texas. In March, it received a new inhabitant: an 18-ft tall troll named Malin.
  • New — Skyline Park opened in Easton Park in 2024, providing a new space for young Austinities to gather, explore, and play.
walkway to the pease park treehouse, a sphere structure with a rope hammock in the middle

Pease Park’s treehouse is a work of art you can step inside.

Photo by ATXtoday

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