Best What is There to Do in Austin Itinerary 1
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Best What is There to Do in Austin Itinerary

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Greetings, Internet Stranger and welcome to this what is there to do in Austin itinerary! When someone says Texas, certain images spring to mind: cowboy hats, rodeos, Matthew McConaughey, rodeo clowns, barbecue, perhaps mechanical bulls. Maybe you imagine you could see all of these things if you tried to explore a what is there to do in Austin itinerary.

But do you think of Whole Foods? That’s right, our nation’s premier paycheck-stealing purveyor of organic goods and services originated deep in the heart of Texas in the Lone Star State’s capital of Austin.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: What is there to Do in Austin Itinerary

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AUSTIN FOOD TOUR
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There’s a reason people nickname this city “The People’s Republic of Austin”. It’s a little bit country and a little bit your freshman dorm. Come join me and we’ll spend a terrific what is there to do in Austin itinerary eating, walking, and not buying expensive cowboy boots.

what is there to do in austin

What is there to do in Austin itinerary

Where to Stay?

There’s tons of places to stay in Austin because it’s a popular tourist attraction, a college city, and the capital of one of the largest states in the US. So you have plenty of options to choose from for your what is there to do in Austin itinerary. But I choose to stay at the Stephen F Austin Royal Sonesta Hotel.

This hotel has a great location right in the middle of downtown Austin, so you’re within walking distance of tons of bars and restaurants. However, the rooms were kept quiet, so I was able to sleep peacefully, no matter how noisy it got outside. There’s also a tasty restaurant on the property that serves the largest tortilla soup I have ever seen.

Click here to get a great rate on this hotel!

Or if you’d rather explore, click here to see many excellent hotels available in Austin.

This search engine will help you find the most affordable and convenient hotel during your what is there to do in Austin itinerary. With tons of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

what is there to do in austin itinerary

24 Hour Tip

I strongly suggest reserving your spot on the bus tour of Austin, which will be the easiest way to get to all the attractions on this itinerary. You’ll want to buy your ticket in advance to make sure you get a spot.

Check rates and availability of this great bus tour right here!

what is there to do in austin

What is there to do in Austin itinerary

Morning: Tour the State Capitol Building

I mentioned that Austin is the capital city of Texas, and like every proper capital city, it has a state capitol building for you to tour. Some of the more modern state capitols, like the ones in Anchorage and Honolulu, don’t have domes and columns and things. But call me old-fashioned–this is what I think a capitol building should look like.

Plus, the one in Austin is even better because it’s pink! Like most capitol buildings, the Texas Capitol offers free guided tours regularly during business hours.

The Texas Capitol is so popular that they even give some tours on the weekends, which most capitols don’t offer. You can check the schedule for the tours here.

But even if there aren’t any guided tours when you visit, you can do a self-guided tour for free during your what is there to do in Austin itinerary! And either way, you’ll be able to find…

Three Fun Facts: Texas State Capitol

what is there to do in austin
1) How Did Texas Become a State?

You probably know this already, Internet Stranger, but Texas used to be part of Mexico. Texans decided to separate from Mexico back in the 19th century, and the process did not exactly go smoothly. When you visit the Texas Capitol, your guide will almost definitely show you this massive painting, which depicts the Battle of San Jacinto.

In this battle, the Texans, led by Sam Houston, whomped the Mexican army, led by the famous Santa Ana, most decisively, using the element of surprise. I’m told it’s hard nowadays for Texans to use the element of surprise because their hats are so tall.

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2) Why Shouldn’t You Mess With Texas?

I didn’t get a definitive answer to this question on the tour, but I do know that Texans are extremely proud of their state. I mean, if you look at the lamps on the ceiling of the capitol building, you can see the word Texas printed in flaming letters.

However, there’s lots of other reasons for Texans to be proud of their state. Our guide showed us the portraits of some of Texas’s most famous politicians, like President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, and Barbara Jordan, who was the first openly gay woman elected to Congress.

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3) What’s This I Hear About Six Flags in Texas?

Yes, there have been six flags flown over the state of Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate flag, and the American flag. The Spanish flag obviously flew over Texas when Mexico was still a Spanish colony, but I had no idea that the French flag flew over Texas. Honestly, do Texans even know this? I feel like knowing they were once francais might upset some of them.

But at least we know now why the Capitol Building is pink! It must be in honor of a good French rose.

I would guess most Texans do know that Texas used to be its own country. In fact, there used to be a Texas embassy in Paris, and if you go to Paris, you can see a plaque marking where the embassy once stood. So really the French-Texan connection runs very deep.

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24 Hour Tip

Don’t continue your what is there to do in Austin itinerary without checking out the monuments decorating the grounds of the Capitol building. You can find everything from a monument honoring the Tejanos, who are Mexican-American Texans…

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to a tiny version of the Statue of Liberty. Texas, you have so much already! Why do you need a Statue of Liberty? I feel like New York owns this one, and Las Vegas already beat you to getting a weird small copy.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: What is there to Do in Austin Itinerary

#1 TOP PICK

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
AUSTIN CITY TOUR
✔️ Small group tour
✔️ Most popular tour on Viator

#2 PICK

Best What is There to Do in Austin Itinerary 3

AUSTIN FOOD TOUR
✔️ Delicious authentic treats
✔️ Expert local guide

#3 PICK

Best What is There to Do in Austin Itinerary 4

ALL OTHER AUSTIN TOURS
✔️
Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

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What is there to do in Austin itinerary

Afternoon: Zilker Park

I’m continuing this what is there to do in Austin itinerary with one of the loveliest places in the city. Zilker Park is a 351-acre urban oasis located just across Lady Bird Lake from Downtown Austin. It is a perfect place to go walk, read, stare at people, try to get lost by falling into a pit of scary rocks, or observe one-eyed owls.

If any of those things appeal to you, head straight for Zilker Park. I can even give you tips on how NOT to fall into a pit of scary rocks if you are so inclined.

The approximately top 5: Zilker park and environs

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1) lady bird lake

I recommend beginning your what is there to do in Austin itinerary at Zilker Park by strolling along the blue and gentle Lady Bird Lake. It is named after the yellow and gentle former First Lady of the United States, Lady Bird Johnson.

You will be accompanied by approximately a jillion healthful Austinians jogging from the local Whole Foods to the nearest honky tonk. Just try not to kick them as they run past, and don’t let their bouncing ponytails spoil the view.

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2) Enjoy the greenery of Zilker Park!

When you are done, it’s time to head into Zilker Park proper. It’s a great place to relax with a book and enjoy Austin’s very adequate skyline. Once you are satisfied with your glimpse of the most moderate skyscrapers that Texas has to offer, you have the many wonders of Zilker Park to entertain you.

There’s the Botanical Gardens, a Sculpture Garden, and the world famous Barton Springs, which is a stunning natural pool and popular swimming spot for many Austinisians. (I don’t know what to call people from Austin.)

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3) the austin nature and science center

My favorite part of Zilker Park was the Austin Nature and Science Center. It sounds like a natural history museum, but it’s actually more like an outdoor nature preserve. It is also completely free and not crowded, so I was able to go on a nature hike in a landscape that looked like something out of the zombie apocalypse while basking in the relative peace and quiet.

Just be careful while you are walking, especially if you have kids. The only other people taking a nature hike with me that day were a family with two young children and one of the small ones completely faceplanted while attempting to cross the pit of rocks pictured above because his parents were not holding his hand.

I did not laugh aloud. I laughed silently in my head.

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The Nature and Science Center is also home to rescue owls, including Barnaby the Scrivener, who only has one eye. Well, you know what they say, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed owl is king.

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24 hour tip

I wanted to go to the famous Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park so badly! But sadly it was not open during my what is there to do in Austin itinerary. Anyway, it was late December when I went to Austin, and even though it’s warmish in Texas then, I still would rather go to Barton Springs when it is warm enough to swim.

In fact, I recommend following this itinerary in warm weather months because the sights of Zilker Park are more likely to be open and in bloom.

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4) the mighty cone at the picnic

Read carefully because we are not going to have a picnic lunch. We are going to leave Zilker Park and eat lunch at The Picnic, which is maybe the most famous food truck park in the United States.

The Picnic had about ten local food trucks open when I was there, but in addition it has convenient facilities like a public restrooms and benches on which you can sit and enjoy your truck food. The trucks I saw offered everything from acai shakes to Turkish wraps.

I’m sure you won’t go wrong with whatever you choose, but I was very happy with my Chicken Cone from The Mighty Cone. This was a paper cone filled with strips of chicken tenders topped with mango-jalapeno slaw and a spicy ancho sauce. I loved this because of the fiery kick of the flavors combined with the perfectly moist and crispy bird.

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5) Cannone Gelato

After that spicy cone, cool down with some Cannone Gelato from yet another food truck at the picnic. I got the refreshing mint, which is one of my top two ice cream flavors. (The other is hazelnut, in case you ever want to buy me ice cream for my birthday.)

But they also have funky flaves like pineapple jalapeno, so just get whatever fits your mood best.

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6) Zilker Botanical Garden

No what is there to do in Austin itinerary is complete without a stop at the stunning Zilker Botanical Garden. This is a peaceful place to enjoy the natural beauty of Zilker Park, and if you visit Austin on a real scorcher of a day, which is always highly possible, it’s the perfect spot to find some shade.

The helpful attendant who took my entrance fee was eager to point out their most popular areas of the Botanical Garden. He first instructed me to visit the Japanese Garden…

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Where you can relax with some bodacious koi fish…

what is there to do in austin

Then he told me to peruse the prehistoric garden, which you can see has real dinosaurs. I was a bit surprised that the dinos never once tried to eat me. Do I look like I wouldn’t be delicious?

what is there to do in austin

What is there to do in Austin itinerary

Early Evening: Explore South Austin

If Matthew McConaughey were to read this article, I feel like this is the point in our what is there to do in Austin itinerary at which he would say, “All right, all right, all right.” And then he would point out that Austin has a laid-back kinda groove and why get bogged down with some stick-in-the-mud itinerary?

Why not just go with the flow, and see where the mood and the music take you, man? Fair enough, Imaginary McConaughey! Time is a flat circle, and I’m going to let you use that time to explore on your own.

But let that exploration begin on South Congress Street. Ask any tourist to Austin what the first thing that springs to mind when they think of their time in Texas’s capital is, and their answer will probably involve the phrase “Keep Austin Weird”. This motto shows up on everything from magnets to bumper stickers to facial hair art.

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I had so many questions about these three simple words. Namely: “Why is Austin weird? What is weird about Austin? Who is trying to stop Austin from being weird? Why are they trying to stop Austin from being weird? And how can we prevent this de-weirdening?”

Well, I didn’t get answers to most of those questions. But I did learn that a big part of what makes Austin weird can be found on South Congress Avenue.

South Congress is Austin’s everything. You can find music clubs, great restaurants, and fun shopping. If you want to hear honky tonk music or buy a used skull to put on display in your office cubicle, you should come to South Congress.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: What is there to Do in Austin Itinerary

#1 TOP PICK

Best What is There to Do in Austin Itinerary 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
AUSTIN CITY TOUR
✔️ Small group tour
✔️ Most popular tour on Viator

#2 PICK

Best What is There to Do in Austin Itinerary 3

AUSTIN FOOD TOUR
✔️ Delicious authentic treats
✔️ Expert local guide

#3 PICK

Best What is There to Do in Austin Itinerary 4

ALL OTHER AUSTIN TOURS
✔️
Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

what is there to do in austin

What is there to do in Austin itinerary

Evening: Dinner and a Show!

My restaurant recommendation for you this evening is…a seafood restaurant in landlocked Austin! I was tickled at the idea of eating at a fresh seafood restaurant in a city that is nowhere near any coast.

By itself, Perla’s does not look very quirky, it just looks like a classy beach resort restaurant with yellow and blue decor and striped deck chairs and umbrellas set up on the patio. But plop it down on the busy South Congress Avenue in the middle of Texas at the end of December, and the quirk factor definitely increases.

My adorable and helpful waiter walked me through the many options on the seafood heavy menu. I began with the wood grilled Creole oysters with butter, Parmesan, bread crumbs, lemon and toast. I cannot bring myself to eat raw oysters in a month with no R in it, but cooked oysters are always welcome.

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My main course was the sumptuous branzino with clams, garlic, Calabrian chili, marinara, and olive oil. This almost made me feel like I was in Florence, Texas because of that Italian chili and also lots of garlic and tomato sauce and no dairy at all.

And any seafood dish that combines multiple types of seafood always gives you the most bang for your buck, as my grandmother used to say.

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For dessert, I got the butterscotch pot de creme. See! I told you the Texas-France connection was very real. Butterscotch pot de creme is often very rich, but this was lightened up with creme fraiche, mango, and shortbread crumbles. The perfect finish to a refreshing seafood dinner!

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24 hour treasure: The Continental Club

There is only one option for an evening’s entertainment if it is your first time in Austin or on South Congress. You have to take in a concert at the legendary Continental Club. The Continental Club has nothing to do with Christopher Walken’s SNL character, The Continental.

Amazingly enough, the Continental Club is even cooler than champan-ye. Everyone from Stevie Ray Vaughn to The Replacements has played there.

24 Hour tip

It is very easy to get into the Continental Club. You don’t buy tickets in advance, you just pay a cover charge at the door.

As soon as I read that a Texas swing band called The Hot Club of Cowtown would be playing the Continental when I was in town, I squished my cheeks in glee and knew I had to go. I do believe that a Texas swing band with the word “cow” in its name is the epitome of Austin quirk.

And I was not disappointed! The band played an interesting mix of both country music like “I’m an Old Cowhand” to standards like “Stardust” and even the famous folk song, “Dark Eyes”.

Obviously I can’t promise that you would be able to hear The Hot Club of Cowtown or any other town when you are staying in Austin, but I can promise that you’ll have a blast. That’s the 24 Hour guarantee!

what is there to do in austin

What is there to do in Austin itinerary

Tools For Travel

  • A cell charger so that you’ll be able to keep taking photos all during your what is there to do in Austin itinerary
  • The best travel guide to Austin.
  • The most reliable travel umbrella that is small enough to fit in my purse, but strong enough to stand up to powerful winds during our what is there to do in Austin itinerary
  • These great TSA approved clear toiletries bags, so I can always keep spare toothpaste and travel sized toiletries in any carry-on.
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you how travel can take you on a journey of self-discovery.

That’s a Perfect what is there to do in Austin itinerary

What would you do on a what is there to do in Austin itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Austin? And why wouldn’t the dinosaurs at the botanical garden eat me? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: What is there to Do in Austin Itinerary

#1 TOP PICK

Best What is There to Do in Austin Itinerary 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
AUSTIN CITY TOUR
✔️ Small group tour
✔️ Most popular tour on Viator

#2 PICK

Best What is There to Do in Austin Itinerary 3

AUSTIN FOOD TOUR
✔️ Delicious authentic treats
✔️ Expert local guide

#3 PICK

Best What is There to Do in Austin Itinerary 4

ALL OTHER AUSTIN TOURS
✔️
Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY enjoy a what is there to do in Austin itinerary

Try a one day in Dallas itinerary. You can experience 24 hours in Dallas. Check out 24 hours in Austin. Enjoy the best Austin TX food tour. Experience the best tours in Austin Texas. You can check out 24 hours in San Antonio. Enjoy the best Mission tour in San Antonio. Try out the best Hill Country San Antonio TX tour.

Best What is There to Do in Austin Itinerary 14

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