10 Surprisingly Free Things That You Can Do In Austin

Welcome to Austin, Texas’ lively capital, where creativity blooms and there’s always something new to experience! Austin is famous for its great music, tasty food, and vibrant downtown area. But did you know it’s also full of free activities? You can enjoy beautiful outdoor spaces and dive into cultural treasures without spending any money. In this guide, we’re excited to share 10 free things you can do in Austin. This will help you enjoy your time here to the fullest without spending anything. Let’s explore Austin’s best free attractions and enjoy unforgettable adventures that are completely free!

Discover Nature’s Playground: Barton Creek Greenbelt

Explore the wild heart of Austin at the Barton Creek Greenbelt, a vast urban paradise with miles of trails ideal for hiking, biking, or even rock climbing if you’re looking for a thrill. This green oasis stretches over 12 miles, providing a peaceful escape from city life. It’s a place where you can wander through varied landscapes and stumble upon hidden gems.

Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife like deer and birds, and you might even spot the rare Barton Springs salamander, unique to the Barton Springs Pool area and protected by federal law. As you delve into the greenbelt, dramatic limestone cliffs and stunning overlooks unfold before you, offering incredible views. There are natural swimming holes to cool off in and plenty of serene spots to relax and soak in the natural beauty.

Related: Things to Know Before Moving To Austin TX

Explore the Texas State Capitol

Discover yourself the rich history and political heritage of the Lone Star State with a visit to the Texas State Capitol in Austin. This iconic landmark represents Texas’ storied past and enduring legacy, showcasing stunning architecture and serving as the seat of government for the state.

Step inside the majestic halls of the Capitol building and embark on a free guided tour led by knowledgeable docents, who will regale you with tales of Texas history, from its early days as an independent republic to its pivotal role in shaping the nation’s destiny. Marvel at the grandeur of the Capitol’s interior, adorned with intricate details, impressive artwork, and historic artifacts that offer insight into the state’s cultural heritage.

As you explore the Capitol’s corridors and chambers, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of Texas’ unique political system and the legislative process that governs the state. Learn about the roles of the governor, lieutenant governor, and state legislators, and discover how laws are made and enacted in the state of Texas.

Texas State Capitol promises an enlightening and memorable experience that celebrates the state’s rich cultural heritage and democratic ideals.

Related: Not Decided Where To Move in Austin Yet? We Ranked The Top 5 Neighborhoods in Austin

Dive into the Heartbeat of Austin: Live Music 

Known as the Live Music Capital of the World, this vibrant city pulses with the rhythm of countless live performances happening every night.  Austin offers a diverse array of musical experiences suitable for every taste and preference.

One of the best parts? Many of these performances are absolutely free. Whether you’re strolling down Sixth Street, exploring the trendy East Side, or venturing into the historic neighborhoods of South Austin, you’re bound to stumble upon live music pouring out from doorways and windows, inviting you to stop and listen.The community that comes together to celebrate and support live music, is the best part. 

So, grab a friend, pick a venue, and get ready to be swept away by the sounds of Austin. 

Walk or Bike The Lady Bird Lake Trail

There’s a special place where you can enjoy nature right in the middle of the city—it’s called Lady Bird Lake Trail in Austin, Texas. This scenic trail goes around the tranquil waters of Lady Bird Lake, offering outdoor enthusiasts a perfect escape, and a great chance to walk or ride. 

As you meander along the trail, you’ll encounter vibrant wildlife, serene waterways, and peaceful spots perfect for a picnic or a moment of reflection.Stretching for over 10 miles, the trail offers opportunities for exploration and discovery. 

But perhaps the most magical time to experience the Lady Bird Lake Trail is during sunrise or sunset, when the sky is ablaze with color and the city comes alive with activity. 

Whether you want to get some exercise or just relax outside, Lady Bird Lake Trail is a great place to visit.

Related: Cost Of Living in Austin Texas

Uncover Austin’s Artistic Side: Explore the Contemporary Austin

Dive into a realm of creativity and innovation at the Contemporary Austin Museum, a focal point for modern art in the city’s center. This vibrant museum shines a spotlight on contemporary art, featuring a mix of local and international artists.

Every month, the museum opens its doors for free events, including live performances, talks by artists, and hands-on workshops. These events offer a unique chance to interact with art in new and exciting ways.

The museum acts as a launching pad for up-and-coming artists and a space where seasoned artists can explore new dimensions of their work. It’s a place brimming with imagination, where the transformative power of art is celebrated and shared.

Step Into Austin’s Sculptural Oasis: Umlauf Sculpture Garden

In the heart of Austin lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered—the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum.As you wander through the garden, you’ll encounter over 200 stunning sculptures, each one a masterpiece in its own right. From graceful figures to abstract forms, Umlauf’s works span a diverse range of styles and themes, inviting visitors to explore and interpret the beauty of the human form and the natural world.

One of the best parts? Admission to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden is free on first Sundays of the month, making it accessible to everyone eager to experience the wonder of Umlauf’s creations. It’s the perfect opportunity to stroll through the tranquil garden, soak in the beauty of the sculptures, and perhaps even gain insight into the artist’s creative process.

You’ll find yourself immersed in the captivating world of sculptural art, courtesy of acclaimed artist Charles Umlauf.

Read Next: Tips When Moving With Pets

Experience Austin’s Natural Spectacle: Congress Avenue Bridge Bats

As the sun sets, a remarkable scene unfolds at the Congress Avenue Bridge—the flight of millions of bats. This spectacle, known as the Congress Avenue Bridge Bat Colony, is a must-see in Austin, drawing both visitors and locals. You can gather by Lady Bird Lake or find a spot on the bridge to watch the incredible sight of bats swarming into the evening sky.

The best part? Experiencing this natural wonder is completely free. But the magic doesn’t stop with the view. These bats are vital to Austin’s environment, helping control pests and adding to the city’s biodiversity.

So, why not make an evening of it? Bring a blanket, pack some snacks, and head to the Congress Avenue Bridge for an unforgettable and cost-free adventure as you watch the bats begin their nightly journey at dusk.

Related: The Ultimate Guide About Living in South Austin, TX

Zilker Metropolitan Park: Austin’s Playground for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Along the banks of the Colorado River, Zilker Metropolitan Park stands as a beacon of outdoor adventure and cultural exploration in the heart of Austin. Spanning over 350 acres, this expansive park offers a plethora of activities and attractions that cater to visitors of all ages and interests.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Zilker Park is a paradise waiting to be explored.Cyclists can pedal along dedicated bike paths, while picnickers can spread out a blanket and enjoy a leisurely lunch amidst picturesque surroundings.

Zilker Park is also home to a variety of recreational facilities, including volleyball courts, soccer fields, and even a nine-hole disc golf course. 

In addition to its outdoor offerings, Zilker Park is also a cultural hub, hosting a variety of events and exhibits throughout the year. From music festivals and art shows to outdoor theater performances and educational programs, there’s always something exciting happening in the park.One of the park’s most iconic attractions is Barton Springs Pool, a natural spring-fed swimming pool that offers refreshing relief from the Texas heat year-round.  

Next: 17 Hidden Costs of Moving in Austin

Self-Guided Tour of Austin Murals

Immerse yourself in the colorful creativity of Austin’s street art scene with a self-guided tour of the city’s iconic murals.  With a map or smartphone, set out on a journey to uncover some of Austin’s most Instagram-worthy murals scattered throughout the city.Check this famous neighborhoods like South Congress, East Austin, and the downtown area, where you’ll find murals adorning building facades, alleyways, and even the sides of food trucks.

Each mural tells its own unique story, reflecting the personality of the artist and the community in which it resides. You can snap a selfie in front of the iconic “Greetings from Austin” or near the larger-than-life masterpieces like “Hi, How Are You?” and “You’re My Butter Half.”

One of the best parts of this activity? It won’t cost you a dime. A self-guided tour of the city’s murals offers endless opportunities for inspiration and discovery. 

Related: Steps to Get Your Kitchen Organized After a Move

Feed Your Curiosity and Connect with Nature: Austin Nature and Science Center

Within the scenic beauty of Zilker Park, the Austin Nature and Science Center offers a captivating blend of educational exploration and wildlife encounters for visitors of all ages. Step into a journey of discovery as you feed your mind and connect with the natural world. Explore exhibits showcasing the wonders of astronomy, geology, paleontology, and more, delving into the mysteries of the universe and the Earth’s rich history.

But the excitement doesn’t end indoors. Venture outside and encounter native wildlife up close in the center’s wildlife exhibits and outdoor habitats. 

Learn about local flora and fauna, discover the secrets of the forest floor, and gain a greater appreciation for the interconnectedness of all living things.

And the best part? Admission to the Austin Nature and Science Center is free, making it accessible to everyone eager to explore the wonders of the natural world.