food & drink · music & nightlife · attractions & tours · outdoor activities ·
Published May 15, 2023
Austin's Ultimate Summer Bucket List
Saddle up—it’s summertime in Austin. 😎
by Austin Bucket List
It's summertime in Austin, and that means tons of outdoor activities, from kayaking and paddleboarding at Ladybird Lake to hiking and biking throughout the city's parks. It also means twilight concerts and movies, patio happy hours, and epic firework displays—plus so much more!
We rounded up the best of Austin's summer events and bucket list-worthy experiences so you don't miss any of the excitement. Grab some sunscreen, put on your shades, and get ready to make the most of summertime in Austin. 😎
19 Fun Things to Do in Austin This Summer
Take a Dip at Barton Springs Pool
No summer bucket list is complete without a dip in Barton Springs Pool. One of Austin's crown jewels, this picturesque paradise is made up of crystal blue water surrounded by lush greenery. Located within Zilker Park, the springs are a perfect place to soak cool off under the Texas sun.
Where: 2131 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX
Attend Sad Summer Fest
The hottest (and saddest) music festival of the year will come to Austin on July 26! Headlined by Taking Back Sunday, Sad Summer Fest is your chance to relive your emo days with music from the best bands in the business, including the Maine, Andrew McMahon, Mom Jeans, and more.
Where: Germania Insurance Amphitheatre: 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd., Austin, TX
Go Kayaking or Paddle Boarding on Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake hosts a range of water activities, from paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, and more. It's the perfect spot to spend a breezy summer day on the water while overlooking Downtown Austin.
Where: Lady Bird Lake, Austin, TX
Austin is home to one of the biggest (and most fun) Pride events in the country. With over 400,000 participants last year, this year's event is sure to be bigger and better than ever. Join in on drag brunches and bingo all summer long, and don't miss the epic parade and festival with performances, rides, attractions, and more on August 12!
Where: Parade begins at the Capitol and marches down Congress, ending at the Congress Bridge.
Attend Free Summer Concerts at the Long Center
The Drop-In is a free outdoor concert series at the Long Center, and it's back for summer 2023! Running every Thursday from May 25 through August 10, you can catch live performances on the lawn. This year promises to be bigger and better than ever, with more music and a brand-new 3D-printed stage! Pack up your blankets and lawn chairs, and prepare to vibe all summer long.
Where: 701 W Riverside Dr, Austin, TX
Play Pickleball at Bouldin Acres
Bouldin Acres may just be the perfect summer hangout spot. This local restaurant and drinkery boasts a delicious food and drinks menu, but you can also take advantage of the open-air patio, fenced-in dog park, lawn games, and pickleball courts! Text the group chat and get together for post-work drinks, followed by some friendly competition on the courts!
Where: 2027 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX
Go on a BARge Crawl
Yes, you read that right. Every single Friday this summer, you can bar crawl on Lake Travis from 5:30 to 10:30 pm! You will travel to Shack 512 and Beachside Billy's in a spacious, captained pontoon boat and enjoy stunning views of the lake, delicious food, drink specials, live music, and more!
P.S. You can also rent private pontoons with a captain for up to 12 people. Perfect for a lowkey afternoon on the water or summer celebrations with friends!
Where: Tide Up Boat Rentals Lake Travis: 4370 Mansfield Dam Rd, Austin, TX
Go Two-Step Dancing at 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!
Where: 3201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX
Have a Picnic at Zilker Park
Home to 351 acres of beautiful park grounds, it’s no wonder Zilker Park is Austin’s most loved outdoor space. With hiking and biking trails, disc golf courses, waterfronts, nature and science centers, and so much more, there's no shortage of summer activities to choose from. For a chill summer afternoon, though, nothing beats spreading out a blanket, busting out some cold cuts, and popping open a cold drink for a picnic in the park!
Where: 2207 Lou Neff Rd, Austin, TX
Take a Winery Tour & Tasting
Spend a summer afternoon tasting your way through Austin's finest selection of spirits. Check out the Austin Winery in south Austin for an after-work glass and a chat with a winemaker or another member of the team. On weekends, the winery hosts a larger, more diverse crowd, aiming to bring more Texas wine lovers into the fold with friendly service and frank educational conversations.
Or, take a day trip out to Texas Hill Country and taste your way through Westcave Cellars, offering beer and wine flights, or Becker Vineyards for beautiful scenery, tastings, and estate tours!
Where: Various locations.
See the July 4th Concert & Fireworks Show
No summer in Texas is complete without fireworks. The Austin Symphony Orchestra will put on an amazing event on Independence Day, complete with a fireworks display over the city skyline backed by symphonic patriotic classics. The festivities kick off at 8 pm, followed by a concert at 8:30 pm, and culminating with “mile-high” fireworks. The best part? It's free and open to the public!
Where: The Long Center: 701 W Riverside Dr, Austin, TX
Explore the Greenways at Waterloo Park
Waterloo Park has undergone a massive transformation in recent years. Newly reopened in 2021, the sprawling space is now home to an amphitheatre that seats 5,000 and a smaller venue seating 200 people. You'll also find an extensive network of greenways, walking trails, and bike paths. Get a morning run in, or spend an afternoon biking through the park!
Bonus: the park is also hosting a myriad of free summer programs, from exercise classes to concerts to free movie nights. See the schedule here!
Where: 500 E 12th St, Austin, TX
Zen out at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden
The Umlauf Sculpture Garden is a shady oasis in the heart of Austin. Explore works of art from Charles Umlauf in this serene outdoor setting, and check out various events like UMLAUF After Hours, featuring live music at twilight, guided tours, yoga in the park, and summer camps. It's a must-visit this summer for anyone who needs a moment of peace from that hectic city life!
Where: 605 Azie Morton Rd, Austin, TX
Have All-You-Can-Eat BBQ at 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.
Where: 18300 FM 1826, Driftwood, TX | 3350 East Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock, TX
Go Ziplining at 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.
Where: 1223 Paleface Ranch Road, Spicewood, TX | 14529 Pocahontas Trail, Leander, TX
Swing by for Happy Hour on Aba Restaurant’s Patio
You know we’re a sucker for a good happy hour, and Aba doesn’t disappoint with its 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.
Where: 1011 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX
Go Hiking at 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.
Where: 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX
Attend Blues on the Green
Blues on the Green may just be Austin’s favorite summer tradition! The free concert series at Zilker Park will return this year with live performances and unmatched vibes. Text the group chat, pack a picnic blanket, and catch performances from your favorite artists. 2023 dates TBA.
Where: 8309 N. IH 35, Austin, TX
Visit Austin's Museums for Free
If you're looking for some free summer activities that offer art, culture, and air conditioning, Austin's museums have you covered. The city is home to dozens of interesting museums, many of which offer free admission days. The Contemporary Austin is free every Thursday (reservations encouraged), along with the Blanton Museum of Art, which is also free for University of Texas ID holders.
The Mexic-Arte Museum in downtown Austin is free every Sunday, and the Texas Military Forces Museum and The Elisabet Ney Museum are always free to visit!
Where: Various locations.
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