Bucket Listers

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Austin's Ultimate 2021 Summer Bucket List

Saddle up, it’s summertime in Austin. ☀️ Check out 17 of the latest in-season gems.

by Austin Bucket List


Summertime and the livin’s easy...and after 2020, we all deserve that. After a year of sanitation, social distancing, and sidewalk dining, we’re pumped to experience the season we know and love to a much fuller extent. Because we’re here to insure no one misses another summer – ever again – we’ve put together a list of all the best activities to hit during this sunshine season. Be sure to check back as we update throughout the following months!

Spend a day relaxing at Barton Springs

(Photo Credit: Barton Springs)

Lush greens and crystal clear blues describe the picturesque paradise that is Barton Springs. Located within Zilker Park, the springs are a perfect place to soak up the Texas sun. Starting this summer, reservations will be required in order to maintain capacity limits, so head to their website to see a complete list of guidelines.

5:00AM - 8:00AM daily for swim at your own risk
8:00AM - 10:00PM Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays guarded swim (reservation required)
Where: 2131 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746

Go Kayaking or Paddle Boarding on Lady Bird Lake

(Photo Credit: Lady Bird Lake)

Named after former First Lady Johnson, Lady Bird Lake is a reservoir in Austin that hosts a range of water activities. From paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, and more, you can spend a breezy summer day on the water while overlooking Downtown Austin.

When: 10AM - 9PM Every Day
Where: Lady Bird Lake

ACL Radio's Blues on the Green

(Photo Credit: ACL Radio's Blues on the Green) 

Set your picnic blankets down and pack a koozie or two – ACL Radio’s Blues on the Green is back! Spend the summer soaking up all the live music you’ve missed over the past year. Once a month, a new artist will even play for free. Fun for all ages.

When: Monthly Summer 2021
Where: 2100 Barton Springs Rd, Zilker Park, Austin, TX 78746

Go for a Hike or Bike Ride at Zilker Park

(Photo Credit: Zilker Park)

With over 351 acres of land, it’s no wonder Zilker Park is Austin’s most loved outdoor space. Zilker Park features Barton Springs, picnic sites, disc golf courses, nature and science centers, and so much more, it’ll be hard to tackle in one trip. The park boasts many hiking and biking trails with the serene views of Lady Bird Lake running peacefully by its side.

When: 5AM - 10PM Daily
Where: 2207 Lou Neff Rd, Austin, TX 78746

Rent a Pontoon Boat on Lake Travis

(Photo Credit: Lake Travis)

All aboard! The captain is calling and he wants you to live out your rockstar fantasies by renting a pontoon on Lake Travis for you and all your friends. There are many boat rental companies, but we suggest True North Charters which starts at $285 for a half day rental and $1,320 for a full day. *cue “I’m on a Boat”*

When: 3, 5 & 8-hour rentals
Where: TBA based on boat rental

Spend an Afternoon in the Reopened Waterloo Park

(Photo Credit: Waterloo Park)

2011 was a rough year for Waterloo Park when it closed to allow the city to build a flood-control intake building and tunnel underneath Waller Creek. Fast forward ten years later, Waterloo is back and better than ever with an amphitheatre that seats 5,000 and a smaller venue seating 200 people. On top of entertainment, there are new bike trails, walking paths, and concession stands. Talk about a true glo up.

When: Opening August 2021
Where: 500 E 12th St, Austin, TX 78701

ACL Festival

(Photo Credit: ACL Festival) 

Zilker Park pulls through yet again, and this time it’s with live music. ACL is Austin’s very own music fest, full of talented performances, delicious street food, interviews, vendors, and so much more. Previous artists include Billie Eilish, Alabama Shakes, Phish, Spoon, and Run The Jewels, so when we say there’s something for everyone, we mean it. Tickets aren’t on sale yet, so be sure to sign up for their emails for festival notifications.

When: Oct 1-3 & 8-10, 2021
Where: Zilker Park 

Texas Climbing Adventures

(Photo Credit: Texas Climbing Adventures) 

Grab your harness and get ready to scale the beautiful mountains of Austin. Texas Climbing Adventures offers guided climbs that range in difficulty with a challenge by choice teaching method that works with your level of comfort. The cost depends on the location and length of the climb, but one thing is certain, you’ll leave Texas Climbing Adventures feeling confident and ready to take on your next mountain (or ready to take on a warm bath to soothe your achy muscles). 

When: 8AM - 7PM daily
Where: Austin Greenbelt, Reimers Ranch, Enchanted Rock

Eat your Weight in Queso at the Annual Quesoff

(Photo Credit: Annual Quesoff)

Covid had us missing a lot of things but the annual Quesoff may be top on our list, because truly, what is better than judging a bunch of different melted cheeses? The Quesoff features different Austin restaurants showing off their version of a Texas staple. So come bask in all your cheesy glory, for just $16. Even better, some of the proceeds goes towards the Central Texas Food Bank.

When: May 29th 5PM - 8PM
Where: Mohawk Austin, 912 Red River Street, Austin, TX 78701

Watch a Movie at Alamo Drafthouse

(Photo Credit: Alamo Drafthouse) 

Dinner and a movie – but make it bougie. The Alamo Drafthouse is the ideal place to catch a flick, while crushing some craft beers and tasty snacks. With multiple Austin locations and a range of movie options from oldies and classics to family-friendly flicks and new releases, the Alamo Drafthouse is going to be a staple for those lazy summer nights.

When: Various
Where: Various

Zen out at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden

(Photo Credit: Umlauf Sculpture Garden) 

The Umlauf Sculpture Garden features works of art from Charles Umlauf, providing educational and cultural experiences that can only be gained via the examination of nature and the arts. Featuring various events like Garden Party in June, guided tours, and summer camp, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden is a must-visit this summer for anyone who needs a moment of peace from that hectic city life.

When: Tuesday - Friday 10AM - 4PM, Saturday - Sunday 11AM - 4PM, Monday Closed 
Where: 605 Azie Morton Rd, Austin, TX 78704

Two-Step Dancing at Broken Spoke

(Photo Credit: Broken Spoke)

Giddy up and get ready for a true country experience. Two-step Tuesday at the Broken Spoke is the place to throw on your cowboy hat, head to the dance floor, and boogie with the best of ‘em. In addition to Two-step Tuesday, the Broken Spoke teaches dance lessons throughout the week, has live music, and serves BBQ/Tex-Mex food for that traditional Texas experience. Yee-haw!

When: Every Tuesday at 8PM
Where: 3201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

Have All-You-Can-Eat BBQ at Salt Lick's Barbeque Pit

(Photo Credit: Salt Lick's Barbeque Pit)

We’re officially changing “hot girl summer” to “hot grill summer” in honor of Salt Lick’s BBQ. Fire up the charcoal because there’s meat on the menu at both of Salt Lick’s locations. Fill your stomachs with all-you-can-eat meat and don’t forget to hit up the gift shop for some sauces and rubs, because once you eat here, we can guarantee you’ll want to recreate your meal at home.

When: Sunday - Thursday 11AM - 9PM, Friday - Saturday 11AM - 10PM
Where: 18300 FM 1826, Driftwood, TX 78619 | 3350 East Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665

Spend a Weekend Off the Grid at Yurtopia Wimberly

(Photo Credit: Yurtopia Wimberly)

We all need a city escape now and then, and that’s where Yurtopia Wimberly comes into play. Camping is fun and all, but if you’re one of those people that still needs a pillow and mattress, Yurtopia’s glamping is the place for you. Different yurts come at different price points, with some including fire pits and hot tubs and all including WiFi and a bed – it’s all about balance!

Where: 135 Winn Ranch Rd, Wimberley, TX 78676

Zipline Adventures at Lake Travis

(Photo Credit: Lake Travis)

What do you get when you mix bars, live music, golf, boating, ziplining, and more? Lake Travis. For those looking for something a little different, hit the heights with one of the few ziplining tours Lake Travis has to offer. Soar, fly, and break free as you coast over the canopies, wander over the water, and fly over the festivities. Call to book your tour.

Where: 1223 Paleface Ranch Road, Spicewood, TX, USA | 14529 Pocohontas Trail, Leander, TX 78641, United States

Go hiking at McKinney Falls State Park

(Photo Credit: McKinney Falls State Park) 

When looking for a picturesque hike in Austin, look no further than McKinney Falls State Park. With activities like camping, hiking, biking, and fishing, McKinney is the perfect stop for anyone looking for an outdoor adventure. McKinney Falls is closed to the public from 6/2-6/20.

When: Open daily, 8AM – 10PM
Where: 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744

Happy Hour on Aba Restaurant’s Patio

(Photo Credit: Aba) 

You know we’re a sucker for a good happy hour, and Aba doesn’t disappoint with it’s scenic greenery, craft drinks, and Mediterranean fare. Bring your drinks outside and enjoy a cocktail or two on the gorgeous patio, surrounded by twinkle lights, trees, and plush seating that’ll make you want to stay all night long.

When: Monday - Saturday, 11AM - 10PM
Where: 1011 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704