Top 5 Things to Do in Austin to Brighten Your New Year

Downtown Austin, TX PedicabHow long have you lived in Austin? I’d bet money that it’s less than two years. Maybe even less than a year.

Now, it could be that the odds are in my favor. People who have lived in Austin for more than two years are seasoned Austinites. They don’t need to read blogs to find things to do in Austin.

Or it could be that my initial hunch is right. True blooded, native born Austinites have all dissolved into thin air, displaced by the pressure of so many transplants. (Though I did live here as a young kid, and I did go to UT, I’m a transplant too. But that’s beside the point.)

Regardless of whether you’re a rare, native Austinite, or a dime a dozen transplant (I’m not normally this cheeky), I bring you my Top 5 Things to Do in Austin. You’ll find every disclaimer you could possibly want after my awesome list.

Go Disc Golfing


Slightly clueless on my first disc golf outing ever

I’m terrible at disc golfing. I do this little hop when I throw, and I can throw about twenty feet at a time. Even with my issues, I’ll be the first person to tell you that disc golfing in Austin is a fantastic pastime.

There are courses all over the city, including in far south and far north Austin. A starter set of discs will cost you all of $20 bucks (Disc Nation ftw), and courses are free. Plus, disc golfers are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

Get the perspective of a pro local disc golfer, including insight on disc golf etiquette, in our guest article by Troy Herman. We also have a review of the new Roy G. Guerrero course in East Austin.

Get Personal with Lady Bird…Lake

Kayaking on Lady Bird Lake in Austin

Kayaking on Lady Bird Lake

It’s great fun to leave dry land and get out on the lake by downtown. You can rent a canoe, kayak, paddle boat or stand-up paddle board from various companies. We’ve had a great experience with Rowing Dock in the past, but there are plenty of other options. Just a reminder: swimming is not permitted.

Hit Up a Festival or Market

Wine at Austin Mediterranean Festival

The Austin Mediterranean Festival is a fantastic annual event in Austin

Austin has some kind of festival or market every weekend. There are weekly farmers’ markets like Great Hills, HOPE, and Mueller. Then there are cultural or artistic events – many of them at Palmer Events Center – like the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar that just finished up.

We’ve been to the City-Wide Garage Sale at Palmer (which had a nominal entry fee and will be back January 19-20th), as well as a humongous dog show (which was free). In both cases, we were just driving by and stopped in to see the show! Keep your eye on publications like the Austin Chronicle or the Community Impact Newspaper that comes in the mail to get updates about events like these. Or you could always ask me what’s going on.

Put on Your Foodie Hat and Find the Best


Eric with the best cheesesteak in Austin at Way South Philly food truck

Austin has fantastic food! Here on the Austinot, we’ve done a Tex-Mex series and a Coffee Shop series, and we’re still in the midst of our Best Burger Joint in Austin series. We’ve declared our pick for the best Thai food in Austin, and have some best pizza candidates in mind. I have my picks for Chinese and Mediterranean food, but I’m still keeping them a secret. And I haven’t even talked about food trucks yet.

All that to say that playing food detective and finding the “best of” is definitely one of the top things to do in Austin. On one condition: tell me what you find!

Leave City Limits

Austin is fabulous, but so is Texas Hill Country as a whole. We take a day trip almost every weekend. Here are some of our favorite places to visit:


Natural Bridge Caverns is magnificent and less than an hour from Austin

We’ve made some recent day trip discoveries that we’ll be writing about soon, including Alamo Springs Cafe (rated the third best burger in Texas by Texas Monthly in 2009) and Lyndon B. Johnson State Park outside Johnson City.

And now for my disclaimers. Are these really the top 5 things to do in Austin? It’s arguable. They’re the things I thought up first, and they’re the things I usually tell new Austinites about. But you can add your own toppy-tops. In fact, please do. That’s what the comments section is for.


@QuasiBrit asks:

What are your favorite things to do in Austin?


Kayaking photo via Flickr CC, courtesy of athrasher.


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