Although the Austin housing market may be expensive in some cases, there are many other highly affordable aspects of our city. In fact, there are plenty of fun and free activities to do and enjoy—but you need to know where (and sometimes when) to look.
Check out some of our favorite free things to do in Austin:
Explore Zilker Park
Sitting just across from Lady Bird Lake, this park is the perfect place to “escape” the city life, while also being a part of it. You can stroll the paths and trails, swim in Barton Springs Pool, or simply sit back, relax, and admire the city skyline.
Check out the bats on Congress Avenue Bridge
The Congress Avenue Bridge is home to the largest colony of bats in North America—nearly 1.5 million bats call this structure their home. In the summer months, head on down to join the crowds of people who flock to the bridge to watch the hypnotic and fascinating flight patterns of the bats each night. These Mexican free-tail bats eat from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of bugs, including agricultural pests. Most of the colony is made up of females and each one gives birth to a “pup” (baby bat) each June. Watching them all in flight is a mesmerizing, must-see experience.
The diversity in Austin—combined with the incredible people who are drawn to our fair city—has resulted in a fascinating culture that must be explored. One of the best ways to get a real feel for Austin culture is through our museums and art galleries. Some of our favorites include:
- Blanton Museum of Art: Free every Thursday.
- Mexic-Arte Museum: Free admission every Sunday and in the month of December.
- Hope Outdoor Gallery: Free, but donations welcome.
- Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center: Always free.
There’s also Austin Museum Day to look forward to each year as well, where anyone can enjoy access to all Austin-area museums at no cost!
Take a dip in the local swimming holes
As it starts to get hotter than Hades out there, free swimming holes will offer much-needed relief to beat the heat. Check out some of these local favorites:
- Barton Creek Greenbelt
- Barton Springs Pool: Check website for free days.
- “Secret” Beach
- Campbell’s Hole
Go for a hike
We have nature in spades here in Austin—all you need to do to enjoy it is simply find the right trail to explore. Check out our article Enjoying the Great Outdoors: The Best Places to Hike in Austin for some of the best places to get out in the greenery.
Enjoy some sweet sounds
Austin is well-known for our music scene—and you don’t have to break the bank to experience the talent. Here are a few upcoming free concerts and fests to go see:
- Blues on the Green: This free concert series in Zilker Park cannot be missed.
- Unplugged at the Grove: From April to September, you can catch some amazing performances right at the Grove.
- Planet K’s free concert series at Symphony Square
Plus, there are many clubs and restaurants around town that offer free music.
Watch a movie
Over the spring and summer there are a few places that offer free movies for residents to take advantage of. These include:
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