Free Things to Do in Austin


Free Things to Do in Austin

Zilker Park

Zilker is the park grounds for many awesome events that happen in Austin every year, including the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Blues on the Green (see next entry), the ABC Kite Fest, and more.

Any day of the week, you can find several pickup soccer games, volleyball games on the sand courts, dogs running around, and people lounging on blankets and soaking up the Austin skyline.

Whenever the weather is nice, take a stroll over to Zilker and catch some sun.


Blues on the Green

If you’re around Austin in the summertime and are already planning to checkout Zilker Park, then Blues on the Green is a great event to add to your calendar.

BotG, for short, is a free concert series that happens in the park on Wednesday nights once a month. Music starts around 8 p.m., but people get there early to grab a good spot and relax in the park. Many well-known local artists have played this event, which is put on by the local radio station KGSR.

Bring a cooler and some snacks, and enjoy a night of free tunes.


Barton Springs Pool

Right across the street from Zilker Park is Barton Springs Pool. It’s a natural spring that is always a constant temperature of about 68 degrees, which makes for a refreshing dip in the summer, and feels like a heated pool in the winter.

Barton Springs is a popular spot and commonly fills up on the weekends. If you’re planning to go on a nice day, try to get there early before the line gets long.

If you get there before the pool officially opens, you can enter for free. Many dedicated folks and competitive swimmers take advantage of this during the week.


Lake Austin

Technically part of the Colorado River, Lake Austin is the section of waterway that flows next to downtown Austin, just south of Cesar Chavez Street.

It’s free to hit the trail, or bring your own kayak or float. Alternatively, there are several spots to rent along the trail, where you can reserve a water bike, stand-up paddleboard, or canoe.

Lake Austin provides for a scenic view into and from downtown. There are convenient parking lots nearby on West Cesar Chavez Street or by the South First Street bridge.


Lake Travis

Also actually another section of the Colorado River, Lake Travis is a calm and serene experience about 40 minutes from downtown. Any day of the week, you’ll find plenty of boats out on the lake, and the surrounding area is lined with gorgeous houses. Go visit for free, or check out the shops and restaurants lining the water.

We suggest The Oasis restaurant for a sunset view or the neighboring brewery. Lake Travis is a popular destination for Austin visitors.


Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail

This trail lines Lady Bird Lake and connects various parts of downtown, including the Deep Eddy Pool, Congress Bridge, Rainey Street, Barton Springs Road, and the Pleasant Valley Bridge.

The trail is usually filled with friendly runners, walkers, bikers, and people lounging on various benches lining the trail. You’ll be motivated to squeeze in some exercise yourself.


Zilker Hillside Theater

Also next to Zilker Park and Barton Springs is the Zilker Hillside Theater. Every year, Shakespeare in the Park and the Zilker Theatre Productions’ Summer Musical are hosted here and free to attend (with a suggested donation).

Note that dogs aren’t allowed for the shows, and seating can be tight! Bring a lawn chair or blanket and your cooler.

Thinking about going? Plan your trip with the Zilker Theatre Productions Hillside Check List.


There’s so much to do in Austin at all times of the year. These are a few of our favorites to get you started. Enjoy!

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