Whether you’re a lifelong resident or first-time visitor Austin has a ton of unique free activities. It’s no wonder Austin remains the top tourist destination in the South West. The city is full of art, community, and natural wonders to fall in love with. Here are 10 things to do under $10.
1. Zilker Park Botanical Gardens
Named “the jewel in the heart of Austin” the Zilker park botanical gardens span 26-acres of greenery. Currently, azaleas, poppies, and irises are in full bloom. Tickets are only $2 for Austin residents.
2. Blanton Museum of Art
The Blanton Museum of Art is Austin’s primary art gallery, located on UT’s campus. The museum has curated over 10,000 pieces, making it the largest collegiate art collection in the U.S. Admission is only $5 for students, except for Thursdays when tickets are free.
3. Butler Trail
Butler Trail is a 10-mile loop in downtown Austin boarding Lady Bird Lake. You can walk, run, or bike this path while taking in skyline views. There’s a considerable amount of shade and breeze from the river to keep you cool.
4. Barton Springs Pool
Take a dip in the outdoor 3-acre pool within Zilker Park. The natural municipal pool is filled by underground springs so the temperature remains cool throughout the summer. There’s plenty of grassy areas to sunbathe or picnic. Plus, it’s completely free.
5. Jester King Brewery
Jester King is an authentic farmhouse brewery settled in Texas Hill Country. They have a great selection of barrel-aged ales to accompany their locally sourced food menu. Not only is the staff incredibly friendly, but the land is gorgeous – all 165 acres of it. Farm tours are free of charge every Saturday. Jester King is home to a collection of animals, including baby goats in the spring.
6. 360 Bridge
The 360 bridge, officially the Pennybacker Bridge has a great view of Lake Austin. There’s a short hike up the cliff, but there are no stairs so you should wear proper shoes. It’s a nice spot to watch the sunset and snap some pictures.
7. Congress Bridge Bats
As you probably already know, Austin’s South Congress Bridge is home to about 1.5 million bats. Every evening the Brazillian free-tailed bats emerge from underneath the bridge to begin their 60-mile journey. They put on a pretty amazing show that can last about an hour. While there are boat tours underneath the bridge, I’m not sure why you’d want to place yourself in a bat poop hazard zone. Watching from the Statesman Bat Observation Center is free and less risky.
If you’re feeling a little less active, you could always browse the shelves of BookPeople. The popular Austin bookstore holds over 300 free events every year including author readings and book signings.
9. Practice Yoga
Practice Yoga is a donation based studio offering high-quality classes. Different Vinyasa, align and power levels are available for all skill sets. Reservations are not required but a $10 donation is suggested. Practice Yoga will supply mats, towels, and water.
10. Community Cinema & Amphitheater
Bring a blanket and catch a movie under the stars at this outdoor amphitheater. Community Cinema offers free weekly films for all ages. The theater is located outside the Community First! Village – an organization dedicated to providing affordable living arrangements to combat chronic homelessness. All profits from the concession stand go directly back to the community, providing living wages for its residents. Milkshakes, burgers, and s’mores are among the snack options.