Your ultimate summer weekend getaway in Austin is covered, thanks to this three-day itinerary that’s packed with things to do and places to go.
Start your day with a morning run, walk, or bike ride on the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. This 10-mile loop encircles downtown Austin’s Lady Bird Lake and includes some of the city’s most scenic urban spots.
You can also rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board from one of the rental shops along the lakeshore for an adventure on the water.
Stop in at the historic Texas Capitol Visitors Center and get a Lone Star State history lesson during a free guided tour of the handsome pink granite Texas State Capitol.
You’re not doing Austin right if you don’t try some of the world-famous barbecue. Get in line early for the ultra-tender brisket crafted by James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Aaron Franklin at Franklin Barbecue. Try the Brisket Frito Pie topped with chili and cheddar cheese at Micklethwait Craft Meats. Or sample house-made chipotle sausage and juicy ribs at la Barbecue.
Before calling it a day, slip into a real honky-tonk and go two-stepping at Broken Spoke, known for its chicken-fried steak and free dinner show; do some boot-scootin' at The White Horse, with live country jams; or drop in at Little Longhorn Saloon during its six-days-a-week happy hour, with $2.50 Lone Star beers.
Go on a selfie tour of Austin’s iconic murals. The popular “I love you so much” mural is a must-shoot and it’s painted on the wall of Jo's Coffee on South Congress Avenue. “Hi, How Are You” features a bug-eyed bullfrog named Jeremiah, originally drawn by outsider folk artist Daniel Johnston, near the University of Texas at Austin campus. And the colorful “Greetings from Austin” postcard is in South Austin.
For lunch, try Austin’s favorite food: tacos! Some of the most iconic are served by Veracruz All Natural, Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon, and Vaquero Taquero.
View Mexican and Latin American art at the Mexic-Arte Museum, and grab a ’gram pic of one of the revolving murals painted on the side of the museum.
Then walk down the street to see modern art at The Contemporary Austin Jones Center and get free same-day entry to The Contemporary Austin–Laguna Gloria, a beautiful Mediterranean-style villa with an outdoor sculpture park on Lake Austin.
Near Laguna Gloria, be sure to hike the stone steps of Mount Bonnell and get a sweeping view of the city from the top. This Lake Austin landmark has been a popular attraction since the 19th century.
Get your happy hour on with a taste of Austin’s cocktail culture at Whisler's, known for creative concoctions with mezcal and other unique ingredients; or make a reservation at Midnight Cowboy, serving classic libations in a sultry speakeasy.
Live music is a must in Austin. Catch a band at the legendary Continental Club on South Congress Avenue, which has been hosting musicians from rock to country for 60 years, and is often the site of surprise celebrity performances.
Later, hit some of Austin’s best LGBTQ+-friendly bars on Fourth Street in the Warehouse District, with dancing and drag queens at hot spots that include Rain on 4th, Highland Lounge, and Oilcan Harry’s.
Enjoy brunch — with a side of music — at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden, where the tables are communal, more than 200 craft beers are served, and 30 varieties of sausage are grilled during the Sunday Big Band Brunch.
For an afternoon escape, explore a taste of the Texas Hill Country at scenic breweries, wineries, and distilleries.
Follow the Driftwood Wine Trail and try wines at six scenic wineries. Sample sotol, an earthy Texas spirit, at Desert Door Distillery. Stroll around a working regenerative farm with a beer in hand at Vista Brewing. Or take a tour of the Garrison Brothers Distillery and taste sweet mash right from the stills at the state’s oldest whiskey distillery.
Prefer to stay closer to downtown? Pack a picnic dinner and head to Zilker Park. Take a refreshing dip in Barton Springs Pool, the park’s beloved spring-fed natural pool, or bring a frisbee for the dogs to enjoy in the expansive grassy park.
For more information on these destinations and other local favorites, head over to Visit Austin.