For some people, the Austin nightlife scene is excuse enough to make a trip to our city. One street alone–6th Street–boasts three distinct personalities! But when the sun sets, there is much more to do than hit the bars. While we may not be the city that never sleeps, there sure is a lot worth staying up for. In fact, certain local activities are even better when the moon and stars are lighting the way!
Explore with the moon as your guide and see how magical the non-traditional Austin nightlife scene can be.
1/ Swing to the Moon and Back at Trapeze Texas
You know the age-old question: If you could have any super power, what would it be? Okay, maybe it’s not age-old. But I’m sure more than half of people would choose the power to fly. There’s a certain appeal to being able to float through the air and watch the world from above.
Trapeze Texas can help you fulfill your flying wishes and dreams of being a circus performer in one fell swoop. Night flying happens on Thursdays and Fridays from 6-9 p.m. Bounce, flip and roll in the night air. For a few sweet seconds, you might feel as if you’re flying over East Cesar Chavez Street, taking in the entire city from above.
2207 E. Cesar Chavez St. – Website
2/ Take in a Light Show at HOPE Outdoor Gallery
Although it might be too dark to spray your next street art masterpiece, HOPE Outdoor Gallery at night is an excellent place to catch incredible views of downtown ATX all lit up. (Carefully) climb to the highest wall on Castle Hill and look out over the gorgeous skyline. Make sure you see the owl’s face in the Frost building. That’s a personal favorite of mine.
1101 Baylor St.
3/ Putt Around at Peter Pan Mini Golf
Mini golf never loses its novelty, especially in the presence of a giant Peter Pan statue, rainbow turtles and a neon green T. Rex, lovingly referred to as a gentle giant. But when the heat is radiating off the astroturf and kids are running around, the charms of this retro pastime fade away. Thankfully, Peter Pan Mini Golf has late hours. While the rest of the city sleeps (or heads to 6th Street), you can putt around to your heart’s content.
1207 Barton Springs Road – Website
4/ Enjoy Dreamy Lake Views at Mozart’s
Mozart’s is a perfect haunt for those who want to admire the lake without actually getting into the water. The big outdoor patio glows with twinkling lights throughout the year, though it’s especially thrilling around the holidays. Look out across the lake while sipping on a delectable espresso drink paired with a bakery item, ice cream or gelato…though if it’s too late, you may want to stick with decaf.
3825 Lake Austin Blvd. – Website
5/ Twilight Bat Tours With Congress Avenue Kayaks
If you’ve already sat beside the Congress bridge to watch the bats fly out in droves, the next obvious step is to watch from the water! Congress Avenue Kayaks provides a guided group tour along the river. This is an incredible way to see the city from an entirely new angle. During bat season, tour groups post up beside the bridge to see the bats as they fly out from underneath. The bats are keen enough to know that nighttime is the best time to hit up the town.
6/ Moonlight Swim at Barton Springs
Barton Springs Pool is a great place to soak in the rays and people watch. But there is something magical about going for a night swim. Yes, the water may be chilly, but paddle into the smiling reflection of the moon while watching fellow swimmers float alongside the stars, and you’ll forget all about the goosebumps. The area is less crowded at night, but still full of eager swimmers. The best part: if you arrive after nine, then entrance is free!
2201 Barton Springs Road – Website
7/ Relax at Reverse Happy Hour
Just because we don’t want to focus solely on Austin’s bar scene, doesn’t mean we need to forget about it! There are so many restaurants and cocktail bars I want to try. While happy hour makes this easier on my wallet, traffic makes it nearly impossible to get anywhere before 6 p.m., when most happy hours end. Thankfully, some of our Austin faves have reverse happy hour! No need to battle time and traffic here!
- Peche – Sunday and Monday all night
- Lenoir – Tuesday through Sunday, 8-10 p.m.
- Prelogs – Wednesday through Saturday, 10-11 p.m.
- Michi Ramen – Every day from 9-11 p.m. with Sake Carafe happy hour on Wednesday from 5-11 p.m.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What’s your favorite Austin nightlife activity?