Are you heading to our neck of the woods for Austin City Limits? If so, you’re in for a treat. Not only is there a solid lineup set for both weekends, but aside from the music festival, you’re heading to one of the best cities in the world! Okay, we may be biased since Austin is our hometown, but there’s no denying that this little city has so much to offer. From fun things to do and amazing sights to see to delicious eats that’ll excite your tastebuds, there’s something here for everyone.
That said, we want you to make the most of your time in our hood so we’re sharing some our favorite places around Austin that’ll let you experience the city like a local. While we could keep going on and on, we capped the list at just our absolute can’t-miss faves, which you should be able to pack in over the course of a few days. Fair warning: don’t be surprised if you find yourself not wanting to leave come the end of the weekend!
1) Barton Springs Pool
When the weather is warm (which it is right now in October) Barton Springs Pool is the place to cool off. This outdoor pool is fed from underground springs so it’s always the perfect temperature year-round, about 68-70 degrees—talk about refreshing! Whether you’re up for a dip or just plan to lay out and soak up some Texas rays, don’t miss it.
2) The Rowing Dock
If you’re looking for some action of even a great workout, head to the rowing dock where you can rent a stand up paddle board on Town Lake. Take in views of the city as you cruise at your leisure and then paddle down to Barton Creek to check out the turtles. Other things you’ll probably encounter along the way: people practicing SUP yoga, pups joining along for the ride, and fisherman in kayaks looking for their next catch.
3) Bat Bridge
Want to know how Austin earned its nickname, Bat City? Head over to Congress Avenue Bridge right before sundown to find out. Home to the world’s largest urban bat colony, up to 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from underneath the bridge each night from May-August and look like a cloud overtaking the sky! While most people stand on the bridge to check out the spectacle, we recommend grabbing a spot on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail below the bridge (on the southeast side) for a truly incredible experience.
In need of a healthy pick-me-up? Local fave JuiceLand is the place to go! Grab a nutrient-packed juice, smoothie, or bowl made with fresh produce and superfood add-ins that’ll bring you back to life. They even have yummy vegan grab and go options if you’re looking for something a little more substantial. While there are 20 locations throughout Austin, we suggest stopping by the OG on Barton Springs Road which is conveniently located right down the street from Zilker Park (the location of ACL).
5) Mount Bonnell
If you’re up for a hike, this is the one to pick! While the steep 102-stair climb to the top may look daunting, it goes by quickly and trust us, it’s well worth the trek. Once you reach the summit you’ll be at the highest point in Austin—775 feet up!—taking in breathtaking scenic views of downtown, Lake Austin, and the surrounding hills.
6) I Love You So Much Mural
You know you’ve seen it all over Instagram and for good reason: the famous I Love You So Much mural is the ultimate “like” magnet. Stop by Jo’s Coffee on South Congress to snap a photo against the wall with your BFF, partner, or loved one. And while you’re at it, head over to the Greetings From Austin postcard mural (pictured at top), located at the corner of South 1st and W. Annie Street, for double the Instagram photo opps.
7) Eat Some BBQ
You can’t come to Texas and not eat barbecue! While some people stand in line at 6am just to get a taste of famous Franklin Barbecue when it opens at 11am, we get that you’ve got a busy schedule and lots to do. That’s why we suggest grabbing lunch at Terry Black’s just down the street from Zilker Park. No matter what you order, you can’t go wrong! Other delicious spots to check out if you have the time: La Barbecue, Blacks Barbecue (a branch of the famous Lockhart, TX eatery), Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ, Micklewait Craft Meats, and Lambert’s.