is a glorious time - the weather becomes bearable, and it's a great time to take yourself and your family out to explore! I've compiled a list of 20 super fun (many free) events and activities that are just around the corner.
1. Swimming Holes:
Alright, we're in Texas. You've probably noticed that the coming of fall doesn't exactly mean cold temperatures until late October (sometimes even later). This means we have plenty of time to swim in one of Central Texas's many natural springs and pools! Recommendations include:
- Hamilton Pool: This one's a favorite... this beautiful pool was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion thousands of years ago. The result? Gorgeous waterfalls pouring into a jade green pool surrounded by huge slabs of limestone (stalactites included!) I highly recommend going. I also recommend calling ahead of time (to make sure swimming is allowed) and getting their early (there's a capacity limit that fills up quickly!)
- Krause Springs: This well known camping and swimming site is located in Spicewood, Texas, about 30 miles west of Austin. This privately owned property is home to 32 springs, some of which feed a manmade pool on site. While your there, check out the butterfly garden!
- Barton Springs: Located in Zilker Park in Austin, this man-made, spring fed pool is a popular venue for swimming. In the summer it gets really crowded, but as fall sets in, the crowds die down and it's a lovely place to take the family.
- The Blue Hole in Wimberley: A unique spot almost hidden in the center of Wimberley, the Blue Hole is a swimming hole surrounded by 126 acres of natural forest and native grass fields. There is plenty of room to run around, and even a rope swing or two!
2. Attend a Festival:
Austin is known for it's live music, and autumn means some of the biggest, best festivals are available to attend. With so much great art and music available in one area, it's hard not to get spoiled! These are just a few of the larger festivals:
- Utopiafest: The fifth annual Utopiafest takes place in Utopia, Texas, just south of San Antonio, September 19 - 22. While the festival takes place a few hours away from Austin, it's worth the drive. National and local acts such as EOTO, the Wheeler Brothers, Grupo Fantasma, and Whiskey Shivers are scheduled to play, while festival attendees camp in the beautiful Texas hill country.
- Austin City Limits Festival: Austin's most popular festival has expanded to two weekends this year, taking place October 4-6 and October 11-13. Huge performers such as Depeche Mode, Muse, Lionel Richey, The Cure, Wilco, and the Arctic Monkeys are set to play over the two weekends, along with so, so many more. If you want to experience something truly Austin, attend a weekend of ACL. You won't be disappointed!
- Art Outside: Taking place Northeast of Austin in Apache Pass October 18 - 21, this festival differs from the others in the respect that it is largely focused on visual art, interactive art, performance and film, as well as music. Music ranges from bluegrass to experimental, hip hop, and electronic, while attendees are surrounded by art installations, art galleries, and more. It's a very unique experience!
-Fun Fun Fun Fest: Taking place at Auditorium Shores November 8 - 10, this festival showcases a wide variety of music and comedy in the heart of Austin. Acts like MGMT, Slayer, MIA, Snoop Dog, and Tenacious D are set to perform over the three day period.
3. Go hiking at a state park:
As the weather cools down, it's a perfect time to go for a hike! The Austin area is full of state parks that have many hiking and biking trails available to the public. These include McKinney Falls State Park, Perdernales Falls, and Reimer's Ranch! Maps of many of Austin's hiking trails can be foundhere.
4. Take a Zipline Tour:
There are several places to hipline in Austin, one of the more popular is Lake Travis ZipLine Adventure, where customers can zip across incredible canyons andLake Travis
inlets. They are also home to the longest zipline in Texas… over 2800 feet!
5. Visit a cavern:
There are a few different caverns available to visit in Central Texas. One popular spot is Natural Bridge Caverns, located close to New Braunfels, TX. This family-oriented adventure allows visitors to explore beautiful underground caverns filled with stelagtites and stalagmites! Don't forget to go on the Natural Bridge Caverns wildlife safari… when I went I got to hand-feed all sorts of savanna-native animals, an emu even stuck his head in our car!
6. Aquarena Center, San Marcos:
San Marcos is home to some of the most interesting natural ecosystems in Texas. At the Aquarena Center, patrons can take glass-bottom boat tours, educational tours, and an aquarium exhibit! Kids love it.
7. Hang out at Zilker park
: Enough said. Zilker park in Austin hosts many events and festivals, but when it's not in use, it's also a great place to run around. Theres a disc golf course, open fields, hiking and biking trails and more.
8. Watch the Congress Bridge bats:
In the summer and early fall, hundreds of people gather to see the worlds largest urban bat colony emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge. There are about 1.5 million bats, and they're really entertaining to watch. These gentle and sophisticated animals fly nightly from under the bridge, and eat from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of insects!
9. Go to a dog park:
Austin has many places for our furry friends to run around. A favorite of many Austinite's is the Red Bud Trail dog park, which includes scenic views of Lady Bird Lake, as well as tons of local greenery. Another good one is the Lady Bird Lake trail dog park, where dogs can play freely off-leash while you enjoy views of the lake, downtown, and the skyline!
10. Eat at one of the food trucks:
Austin's is becoming known for their wide variety of different food trailers, with over 1,00 trucks available to choose from. The East Side King truck (at the Grackle) serves pork belly sandwiches among other things, and was voted one of the 100 best food
trucks in America by Forbes Magazine. Dock and Roll Diner is another good one, serving delicious lobster rolls that have been featured in a few culinary magazines… they're heaven on a bun. The Peached Tortilla was also featured on Forbes list, and serves Southern and Asian influenced tacos and sliders.
11. Visit the State Capitol
: Self guided tours of the Capitol and Grounds are available during business hours, and one can request a guided tour if they want as well. The Capitol grounds are really very pretty, and full of historical significance!
12. 6th Street:
6th street is great for visitors or locals who just want to hear some good, live music. There is live music going on every single night of the week, and most bars don't have covers on the week days. Don't forget to get a pedicab ride while you're down there!
13. Check out a movie at an Alamo Drafthouse:
Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas allow you to watch a movie while eating and drinking restaurant style food and drink. The theaters show new releases, as well as host quote-alongs, act-alongs, and special viewings of older, classic movies. If you haven't been to a show yet, make it a goal this fall.
14. Shop at a farmers market:
Fall is the absolute BEST time to shop at a farmers market. Something about walking through the isles of (many times) organic, home grown fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, and baked goods just makes you feel good. The Barton Creek farmers market, held Saturday Morning from 9 to 1 in the Barton Creek Mall parking lot has everything from fresh produce, breads, meats, jams and jellies, to arts, crafts, and even live music! Also, the Mueller Farmers Market, held on Sundays from 10 to 2 is centrally located just north ofDowntown
, and sells many of the same kinds of products.
15. Go vintage shopping:
Vintage shopping in Austin is amazing, there are TONS of places to choose from. If you want to hit a few places on the same trip, visit South Congress. Stores like Feather's Vintage and New Bohemia offer an amazing selection ranging from thrifty finds to high-dollar pieces. Another good place is Blue Velvet off North Lamar, having a well organized, versatile selection.
16. Catch a UT football game:
Football season for the University of Texas Longhorns started on August 31st, and continues until their last game December 7th. View their game schedulehere
. Catch a game, and cheer on our beloved Longhorns while you enjoy a hot dog.
17. Enjoy some art:
ART on 5th consistently houses beautiful beautiful exhibits (located on West 5th and Lamar), and the Blanton Museum (at the University of Texas) has the"Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings, 1475 - 1540"
exhibit that starts October 5th. If you're looking for something more innovative, check out the public art project entitled "Thirst" on Lady Bird Lake (between the Lamar Boulevard Bridge and the Pfluger pedestrian bridge). Starting September 28, for three months a drought-ravaged 35 foot cedar elm tree, painted white, will seem to hover over Lady Bird Lake. On the shore, a 2.5 mile chain of 14,000 white Tibetan-style prayer flags will loop through the trees. The privately funded project pays homage to the more than 300 million Texas tress lost to the exceptional drought of the past several years.
18. Run a race:
One thing that has been growing in popularity in Austin recently is running 5k races. With tons of different themes and causes, you can find a race to run almost every weekend this Fall. One fun looking race isThe ColorVibe Run
, held on October 12th. At one of the happiest runs around, racers get splashed with different color paint as they run a course at the Travis County Expo Center, with proceeds going to a local charity.
19. Visit a haunted house:
Halloween is 48 days away, and nothing gets you in the scary mood better than a good haunted house. House of Torment is held in Highland Mall, opens (today!) September 13th, and features three different haunted houses in one! The Blackthorne District, Cursed Ancients Emerge, and Slaughterhouse look pretty terrifying on theirwebsite
. If that sounds a little bit to scary for the kids, check out theHalloween Children's Concert
Sunday, Oct 27 at the Long Center presented by the Austin Symphony! Costumes are encouraged!
20. Attend an F1 race:
The new Formula 1 Race Track built in East Austin is a major attraction for people from around the world. Formula 1 racing cars are some of the fastest cars in the world. Being single-seater, open-wheel cars that race in some of the most exclusive locations in the world, F1 drivers are thought to be the upper echelon of race car drivers, and the races are very exciting! The Formula 1 Grand Prix will be held on Saturday, November 16, and will feature the races, as well as musical acts like Sting!
If this list doesn't keep you busy all through the autumn months, there are TONS more things to attend and explore in Austin and the Central Texas Area. So much so that many visitors are searching for homes in Austin so that they can stay here permanently!