After living here for a decade, I know a few things about Austinites. We love the summer (everything except the heat and mosquitoes), we love to stay busy and we love it when things are FREE.
Fortunately for us, there are plenty of things to do around the city that won’t cost us a penny and will keep us entertained during the year’s warmest season. Below are some of my favorite picks for summer 2015.
Every time I go to Zilker Park, I think about how I should visit more often and not take it for granted. The open green spaces combine with a beautiful backdrop of the city skyline to create one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever been to. Whether it’s throwing around your Aerobie, having a picnic or flying a kite, there are plenty of things you can do here that will brighten your day. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
Hit the Pool
Kids and adults alike love to take a dip in the summertime and there are a good number of free swimming pools in Austin. Grab the goggles and beach balls and go! Check out this list of free pools to find one in your area.
Visit the Peacocks at Mayfield Park and Preserve
Right off 35th near Mount Bonnell, you’ll find Mayfield Park and Preserve full of history and sprawling peacocks for your glancing pleasure. They’re very used to humans and can usually be spotted sitting in the trees as well as moseying around the grounds of the park.
Hang Out at the Dog Park
Our furry friends love the summer too, and Austin provides several free dog parks where they can sniff, run and socialize with their buds while you can relax, read or get a good game of fetch going. Make sure to study up on Austin dog park etiquette before your visit.
Blues on the Green
If you live in Austin, chances are good that you love live music. What’s better than catching some for free at sunset at one of the best parks in the city? With headliners like Bob Schneider and Shakey Graves, this year’s Blues on the Green lineup won’t disappoint.
Unplugged at the Grove
Book your Thursday nights through September because there’s free music at Shady Grove nearly every week. This year’s Unplugged at the Grove lineup consists of quality acts such as Charlie Mars, Dale Watson, Suzanna Choffel, Ray Wylie Hubbard and many more.
Sound and Cinema at The Long Center
Bring a blanket and take in some music and a movie after sunset on the lawn of The Long Center. While concessions are available to purchase on-site, it’s free to get in. Movies usually take place every other week. This year’s Sound and Cinema lineup has yet to be announced, but I’ll bet it’s a good one.
Dig for Fossils at Austin Nature and Science Center
Austin Nature and Science Center is a great, free place to keep the kids entertained in the summer. Between tons of artifacts, exhibits, nature trails, animals and even a pit full of dinosaur bones, there’s plenty of fun to be had.
Hike Mount Bonnell
I know it’ll be hot, but it’s a short hike to the top of Mount Bonnell and you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view. With an overlook of Lake Austin winding through the hills, it’s one of the more breathtaking sights in the city. I like to bring breakfast tacos and coffee and sit on my go-to boulder to eat while taking in the sights. Go at sunset for cooler temperatures and an optimal view.
See the Bats
Take in the flight of Austin’s massive colony of Mexican Free-Tailed Bats down on the Congress Bridge. Best viewing times are usually right around sunset and the entire group takes about 45 minutes to exit the bridge and head out on their nightly hunts. More information in our Guide to Bat Season in Austin.
@mattchampionatx wants to know:
What are your favorite free things to do in Austin during the summer?