15 Awesome Free Things to Do in Austin

Austin is a great city to find lush outdoor parks, live music, and interesting museums. And, many of them can be enjoyed free of charge.
Written by Patrick Price
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Updated on May 23, 2022
is the political capital and cultural epicenter of
. There, you will find plenty of free things to do. The city is home to numerous beautiful parks, art galleries, hiking trails, museums, and so much more! 
Going to a Longhorns’ game or attending SXSW may be some highlights of Austin’s cultural scene—but those events come at quite the cost. The good news is that you can still enjoy Austin’s cultural excellence for free. 
Finding those free activity goodies can be challenging, though. So,
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Free outdoor adventures in Austin

#1. Lady Bird Lake Trail

Address: Many access points including one on the First Street Bridge and one by the public parking lot on South Lamar Boulevard.
Winding throughout the heart of Austin, the
Lady Bird Lake Trail
is 10 miles of beautiful scenery
The trail wraps around Lady Bird Lake and then rolls off into the city. It runs past many of the city's iconic sights including the
Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Statue
and the famed Roy Butler Pedestrian Bridge
Locals use the trail as a sort of active social hub and outdoor meeting place. This trail is a great way to tour the city for free and experience the local culture! 

#2. Zilker Metropolitan Park

Address: 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 78704
Right in the middle of Austin, you’ll find 351 acres of sprawling greenery known as
Zilker Metropolitan Park
. This oasis of natural beauty is considered “Austin’s most-loved park”. It offers naturally occurring pools, walking/hiking trails, tennis courts, wide-open fields, and so much more! 
The park’s many facilities, most of which are open to the public, include such attractions as the
Zilker Botanical Gardens
and the
Austin Nature & Science Center.
You’ll also find a lot of cool events at the park, such as the
Austin City Limits Music Festival
and the
Zilker Summer Musical
. Some of these events are free, but others do charge an admission fee. 

#3. Barton Creek Greenbelt

Address: 2642 Barton Hills Dr, Austin, TX 78704, 3900 Mopac Frontage Rd, Austin, TX 78746, and many more entrances 
Perhaps Austin’s most visually appealing outdoor attraction is the breathtaking
Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail
12.68 miles of public trail that follows the banks of Barton Creek. You can access the trail from several locations, but
The Barton Springs Pool
is the best starting point. 
Follow along the path to see rivers, lakes, and waterfalls. Above, below, and all around these natural water features, you’ll be treated to an unparalleled tapestry of greenery created by thriving plant life
The Greenbelt is a great place for hiking or
. If you want to cool off, many areas of the creek are open for swimming and all kinds of water-based fun! 

#4. Mount Bonnell in Covert Park

Address: 3800 Mount Bonnell Road, Austin Texas 78731
For a stunning view of the city, climb
Mount Bonnell in Covert Park
—a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike. Hike the famous
flagstone steps
on the
Mount Bonnel trail
to reach the 775-foot peak. From there, you can see the entire surrounding countryside like never before! 
The park is free to the public, and it is open each day from 5:00 A.M until 10:00 P.M, local time. 

#5. Mayfield Park & Nature Preserve 

Address: 3505 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703
Originally the site of the Mayfield–Gutsch Estate,
Mayfield Park
is now home to a
nature preserve
where you can see the
for which the park is famous. You also can visit the park’s
, gardens, and a
historic cottage
that was part of the original estate. 
Mayfield Park is free to the public and is open each day from 5:00 A.M until 10:00 P.M. If you want to help keep the park’s natural beauty protected, you can

#6. Texas State Cemetery

Address: 909 Navasota St, Austin, TX 78702
This one might sound a bit macabre, but the
Texas State Cemetery
harbors an unmatched tranquil beauty that makes it the perfect setting for a quiet stroll. The visitor’s center and cemetery grounds are open to the public each day from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M
You can schedule a
guided tour
to see the ornate stonework and beautiful nature as well. On the tour, you’ll have the chance to see the markers for some of the city’s most
honored dead
, the
Texas Armed Forces Memorial Flagpole
, and the
Medal of Honor Monument
When you’re visiting, remember to be respectful and always follow the cemetery’s
rules and regulations

Austin’s free events and festivals

#7. Best of Austin Market Party

Address: Lustre Pearl South, 10400 Menchaca Road.
In late May, you can attend a larger-than-life extravaganza known as the
Best of Austin Market Party
, which isput on by
The Austin Chronicle
. During this event, vendors, tattoo artists, musicians, comedians, DJs, and artists of all kinds turn out to celebrate and demonstrate the very best of what Austin has to offer. 
The Best of Austin Market Party is a not-for-profit event, and all proceeds go to the
Austin Pets Alive!
animal shelter. 
The event is open to all but, if you have a few extra dollars to spend, you can pick up some antiques, patronize the arts, or grab a cold drink—courtesy of
WildGins Co.
Pro Tip The party may be free, but that doesn’t mean that there’s unlimited space. If you want to make sure you have a spot—especially if you’re hoping to set up a shop or a booth—you’ll want to
well in advance. 

#8. Barre in the Park

Address: 3901 Promontory Point Drive, Austin, TX 78744
Every Sunday, from 9:00 A.M until 10:00 A.M, you can attend a free/donation-based outdoor Yoga class for all ages and skill levels.
Barre in the Park
is put together by the
Barre3 Austin
yoga studio and
Meanwhile Brewing Co
. So you can get your exercise—and enjoy a pint. 

Address: 3825 Lake Austin Boulevard, Austin, TX 78703
Mozart's Coffee Roasters puts on a mid-week performing arts event every Tuesday at 8:00 P.M
Known as
Late at the Lake
, it’s a one-of-a-kind event, featuring an art party, an open mic, and a live podcast recording—and the result is amazing! 
Musicians, comedians, poets, and performers of all kinds gather together to share their work and support each other. Stop in and enjoy the show—or take the stage yourself and show the people what you’ve got! 
It won’t cost you anything—unless you decide to buy one of the excellent house brew coffees. 

Free museums, monuments, and more

#10. Texas African American History Memorial

Address: 100 W 11th St, Austin, TX 78701
Constructed in 2016, this visually
striking monument
memorializes the many hardships and contributions of African Americans in Texas. Beginning in the 1500s and running up until the present, the memorial tells the dynamic, turbulent, and inspiring tale of a people’s struggle—and perseverance. 
While you’re in the area, you can also check out the
Black Austin Matters Mural
and the
Texas Capital historic landmark

Address: 2200 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703
Stop in at the
Texas Military Forces Museum
for a free lesson on Texas’s proud military history—stretching from the brave volunteer rebels of the 1830s up until the present. 
about the TexasWar of Independence in 1836 and the crucial contribution of the
36th Infantry Division during WWI
, as well as the contributions of Texas soldiers during
and the
Cold War

#12. Umlauf Sculpture Garden + Museum

Address: 605 Azie Morton Rd, Austin, TX 78704
UmlaufSculpture Garden + Museum
or “UMLAUF” is an outdoor garden and sculpture museum. It features the masterfully crafted art of the famed sculptor Charles Umlauf and is a great place to learn about art and nature. 
The museum does offer free admission but only for members. If you’re not a member, it will cost you $7. Once inside, you’ll be able to see the museum’s striking
current exhibits
as well as the
permanent collection
Pro Tip The museum does not allow food, beverages, smoking, or pets. Plan your visit accordingly. 

Unique free activities in Austin

Address: 10000 Research Blvd Ste 118, Austin, TX 78759
For some free fine art and culture, spend an evening at the
Ao5 Gallery
—the largest fine art gallery in Austin. The gallery’s
features pieces from around the world and is constantly being updated. 
At Ao5, you can also attend one of the many
that the gallery hosts, such as art openings, book signings, fine art appreciation soirées, and more! 
Pro Tip While admission to the gallery is free, some events might not be. Check on
Ao5’s website
for any ticket fees for specific events before attending.  

#14. Radha Madhav Dham

Address: 400 Barsana Rd, Austin, TX 78737
Radha Madhav Dham
is a gorgeous Hindu temple and the home of the U.S. chapter of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat—a nonprofit organization. 
The temple welcomes all manner of visitors—even those who are not Hindu. Every day, hundreds of guests come to admire the architecture and spend time in peaceful reflection. While admission is free, if you want to
rent a room
for the night, it will cost about $35. 
The temple also hosts frequent venerations, meditations, and
—if you’re lucky, you might be there in time to attend one. If you’d like, you can also
sign up to volunteer
and help around the grounds. 

#15. Tipster Free Walking Tours

Address: Address will vary depending on the tour
There’s no better way to experience the city than to see it!
offers pay-what-you-want tours of Austin that will take you all over! 
You can enjoy the
Austin Music Tour
or the
East Side Art Tour
to get a taste of Austin’s vibrant artistic culture. You can also have a fun night on the
Austin Brewery Tour
. Or, if you’re in the mood for something a little more thrilling, brave the
Haunts & Horrors of Austin Tour

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