25+ things to do in Austin, TX

Crowds gathered at the Congress Avenue Bridge watching bats fly from underneath
Watching bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge is an iconic Austin activity. | Photo via @pnw_vagabond

The holidays are almost here and if you’re hosting out-of-town guests in Austin, but aren’t sure where to take them or what sights to see, we’ve got plenty of recommendations for you to build the perfect itinerary for your visitors.

Stay

If your visitors are not staying with you, but looking for hotel recommendations, here are some ATXtoday-approved spots.

Austin Motel, 1220 S. Congress Ave. | $149+/night

You’ve seen the iconic neon sign for this motel on South Congress, but have you stayed in its eclectic rooms or swam in its charming pool area?

Heywood Hotel, 1609 E. Cesar Chavez St. | $179+/night

This award-winning modern boutique hotel contains seven guest rooms and is walkable to East Austin and Downtown

Hotel Saint Cecilia, 112 Academy Dr. | $400+/night

This luxury hotel is inspired by 1960s and 70s rock and roll, complete with stylish pool area, poolside bungalows, and funky suites.

The pool and neon sign reading "soul" at Hotel Saint Cecilia
Hotel Saint Cecilia is design in homage to the 1960s and 70s rock and roll scene. | Photo via @properposts

Sightseeing

Is it even a trip to Austin without walking down South Congress? While you’re there, take your visitors to the famous ‘I love you so much’ mural at Jo’s Coffee for the perfect family photo. If you’ve got any history buffs in the group, head to the Driskill Hotel for a tourthe 140-year-old building is considered one of the most haunted hotels in the US. 

Food + Bev 

If your guests need coffee to get going in the morning, but you’re not exactly a baristaMozart’s Coffee Roasters, Thunderbird Coffee, and Flitch Coffee are all offering seasonal drinks.

Austin is home to dozens of craft breweries. Austin Beer Garden, Hold Out Brewing, and Meanwhile Brewing are some local favorites that also serve lunch + dinner

Need plans after sunset? See the city from a rooftop bar: Group Therapy at Hotel Zaza, La Piscina at the Proper Hotel, and Rules & Regs at the Fairmont.

As for food — our personal favorites include Ramen Tatsu-ya, Terry Black’s BBQ, Odd Duck, and Veracruz All Natural. Tacos in Austin are an absolute must. 

We also recommend satisfying your sweet tooth at Tiny Pies — order the pumpkin chai flavor.

And if you have dietary restrictions, we’ve got you covered there too. Check out these local restaurants with gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options.

Barbecue from Terry Black's BBQ
Try the brisket and creamed corn at Terry Black’s Barbecue. | Photo via @unapologeticallyseasoned

For the whole family

Let the kids — or grandkidsrun around + explore the Thinkery children’s museum or plan your escape with the entire family at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

Load up the car and spend the afternoon exploring the Austin Zoo or take the family mini-golfing at Peter Pan Mini Golf

Outdoor activities

If your visitors are ready for some outdoor fun, we have a variety of parks to explore. Grab some tacos from Torchy’s + head to Zilker Park for a picnic. The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is the perfect way to get some fresh air while taking in all of the beauty Austin’s skyline has to offer. 

Bonus: take a dusk stroll over to the Congress Avenue Bridge and watch the famous display of bats flying out from under the bridge — Austin is home to the country’s largest urban bat population.

A view of Lady Bird Lake and a kayaker
The hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake offers excellent views of the Austin skyline. | Photo via @ash_theadventurer

Indoor activities

Austin also boasts an excellent music scene it’s not called the Live Music Capital of the World for nothing. Catch a show at ACL Live, The Paramount Theatre, or Stubb’s Austin.

If you’ve got any football fans in the group, check the Longhorns’ winter home game schedule.

And if you’re looking for season-specific activities, be sure to check out our November events calendar in advance to get a feel for what kinds of things they’ll want to see + do while in town.