Summer is here, and Austin Texas is ready for it! And if you’re looking for things to do in the summer in Austin, I’ve got your back: this blog post is packed with tons of ideas.
I’ve spent 7 summers in Austin, so I’ve enjoyed my share of Austin festivals, swimming holes, and all-around good times in the Texas heat.
I’ve created this blog post for 2019 with lots of the festival dates and website links to help you schedule your Austin summer bucket list as easily as possible!
This blog post is divide into 4 parts:
Part 1: Air Conditioning
Part 2: The Great Outdoors
Part 3: Festivals
Part 4: Swimming Holes
50 + Things To Do In Austin This Summer:
Part 1: Air conditioning.
- Shopping! Lots of the big shopping districts in Austin are outdoor malls, so you get a little bit of the outdoors, and a lot of the air-conditioning. Head to the downtown Austin Second Street District, South Congress (here’s my complete guide), or the Domain.
- Check out one of the museums in Austin. (The Contempoary, The Bullock Museum, The Thinkery or the LBJ Library.)
- Listen to some live (Indoor!) Music (C-Boys, Moody Theater, Continental Club, Mohawk)
- Dining…omg, where to even begin? Head to my Austin Index and run your own search to find your ideal restaurant in Austin!
- Take a cooking class: Antonelli’s cheese class, Whole Foods cooking classes, Central Market cooking classes, Thai Fresh cooking classes.
- Go bowling at old-school bowling alley Dart Bowl.
- See a movie at Alamo Drafthouse or Violet Crown.
- Tour the Texas State Capitol. It’s the largest state capitol building in the country! Here’s all the info you need to schedule a tour.
- Go to a brewery. Here are 14 great ones…with air conditioning!
- Catch a play at the Zach Theatre.
- Find your next favorite book at BookPeople.
Part 2: The Great Outdoors (can you handle it?!)
Austin gets hot, hot, hot in the summer, so be sure to pack lots of water, sunscreen, and bug spray! Try to head out in the evening hours, or just find plenty of shade during the afternoons to cool off.
Here are some of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors during the Austin summers:
- Watch the bats on the South Congress bridge. (They emerge about 20 minutes before sunset every night in the summer.)
- Bring your picnic blankets, kids, and pups to the Long Center lawn for the annual Austin Sound & Cinema, where you can watch a free movies (2019 dates: June 19, July 10, July 31, and August 14.)
- Watch the free Zilker summer musical (they’re doing The Little Mermaid in 2019! Shows run from July 12-Aug 17.)
- Blues On The Green is back! Head to Zilker on May 22, June 12, July 17, and August 7 for this massive outdoor music series. Click here to see the lineup.
- It’s Farmer’s Market season, so go pick up some fresh produce on the weekends! The Mueller market and both of the SFC markets are great!
- Catch a show at the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in theater.
- Watch fireworks with 100,000 of your closest friends at the HEB Austin Symphony July 4th Fireworks and Concert.
- Watch the sunset at Mt Bonnell.
- Get a double (or triple!) scoop at some of the best ice cream shops in Austin. Here are 11 ice cream shops you should try in Austin.
- Check out one of the many outdoor concert venues: Stubbs, Mohawk, Scoot Inn, and Austin360 Amphitheater are a few good ones!
- Unplugged at the Grove is here for its 26th year in 2019! Show up to The Shady Grove every Thursday for free music at 8 pm, drink specials for 21+, and a bunch of chill vibes.
- Take a picnic to Zilker Park. Kids and pups are welcome!
- Rent a boat on Lake Travis or Lake Austin. Float On is the best boat rental company in Austin!
- Rent a SUP on Lady Bird Lake. Bonus: do this in the evening and you can watch the bats emerge!
- Wander around the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. There’s always something sustainable and native in bloom.
- Play Peter Pan Mini-Golf. It’s been an Austin tradition since 1948!
- Enjoy the calm at Umlauf Sculpture Garden. They also have “Yoga in the Garden” every Wednesday and Friday from 10-11:30 am for $10 for members/$15 for non-members.
Part 3: Festivals
- Hot Luck Fest: May 23-May 27. Food, food, and more food!
- Lawn Chair and Ice Chest Festival: June 8. Enjoy food trucks, live performances, kids activities, and a mobile petting zoo.
- Trailer Food Tuesdays: June 26th, July 17th, August 7th. A bunch of food trucks parked outside the Long Center from about 5-9 pm = best Austin summer night.
- Float Fest: July 20-21. Music, floating on the river, camping….ultimate Texas experience!
- Austin Ice Cream Festival (check the website for 2019 dates.)
- Austin Pride Festival & Parade: August 10, 2019. There were 400,000 attendees in 2018….how many will e there in 2019?!
- Bat Fest: August 24th. 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats, two music stages, arts and crafts, and more!
- Hot Sauce Fest: August 25th. Summer heat + the spiciest hot sauce….can you handle it?
- Out of Bounds Comedy Festival: August 27-Sep 2. This is a seven-day live performance festivals with improv, sketch, and stand-up comedy.
- Pecan Street Festival: September 21-22. This is a FREE arts/crafts and music festival. It’s one of the largest and longest-running in the nation!
- Austin City Limits Music Festival: October 4-6 and 11-13. Even though October isn’t technically part of summer, it’s hot enough at ACL to include it in the roundup.
- Austin Fermentation Festival: October 20. I mean….keep Austin weird, right? Psst: this festival is FREE!
Part 4: Swimming
- Barton Springs: freezing cold water feels SO good on the hottest days of the year!
- Deep Eddy pool is spring-fed (like Barton Springs), so it’s also ice cold, but this one also has lanes for a lap swimming workout.
- Big Stacey pool is totally free! Can’t beat that.
- Jacob’s Well: drive out to Wimberley to jump into this underground aquatic cave with a 12 foot opening.
- Skinny dip at Hippie Hollow. Yep, swimsuits are optional here!
- Hamilton Pool: this is a popular summer hangout spot…make reservations months in advance!
- Swanky hotel pools: Hotel Ella, South Congress Hotel, The Westin, The W, and the Line Hotel are just a few of the swanky Austin hotel pools that sell day passes.
- Free swimming holes: Twin Falls, Sculpture Falls, and the Liz Carpenter Splash Pad are a few of the free swimming holes/splash pads that are perfect to visit on a hot summer day.
- McKinney Falls State Park. There are shallow areas for wading and deeper areas where you can jump in to cool down from your hike.
- Krause Springs is out in the hill country. You can even camp out here if you want to make a day trip out of it.