It’s the last day of summer. Well, kind of — we all know we’ve got a few more months of stifling heat in our fair city, but with the official arrival of fall comes the reality that school has once again started, local summer-centric events are growing fewer and folks aren’t setting up their out-of-office emails quite as often.
Somehow, this summer in Austin has flown by, and you’ve likely found yourself wondering why you didn’t even tackle half the things on your summer to-do list. We’re not talking things like, “go school supply shopping.” We’re talking things like, “I’m finally going to go to Hippie Hollow this summer.”
That said, you’ve only got a few more weeks before the summer daze comes to an end. We’ve decided to whittle down the many Austin summer activities into a list of 10 things you positively must do in these dog days.
1. Take a dip in one of Austin’s natural swimming holes.
At this point, it doesn’t even matter which one. Barton Springs Pool is the obvious choice, of course, but it does get crowded. Deep Eddy Pool is just around the corner and usually has half the crowds. You can also try your hand at Hamilton Pool, which looks to still have some openings, or Jacob’s Well. Here’s a full list of Central Texas swimming holes, some of which are in Austin and some of which are totally great excuses to take a day trip.
2. Check out one of Austin’s breweries or wineries.
You could visit a new brewery or winery every weekend and still have a hard time visiting all the boozeries Austin has to offer. But if you’re anything like us, it’s easy to find one or two joints you really love and want to keep coming back to. Step out of your comfort zone a bit and try a new one, or several — we promise, change is a good thing. Check out our guide to Austin’s wineries, breweries and distilleries to help in your difficult decision-making.
3. Check out some live music.
Sure, it’s hot, but one of the best ways to spend a summer night in Austin is checking out live music. Our Austin360 music team has your picks for this upcoming week, or you can check out our guide to the best fall music festivals in Austin.
4. Check out a festival.
Though the summer days are waning, there are still plenty of festivals left to check out:
- Texas Craft Brewers Festival, Sept. 30. Texas brewers come together at Fiesta Gardens to offer the best in the state’s craft beers.
- Far East Fest, Oct. 1. Try food from several dozen Central Texas restaurants and food trucks at Austin’s Asian food festival in the parking lot of the Austin American-Statesman.
- Austin Margarita Festival, Oct. 28.The classic lime drink will be joined by more than 20 others with a wide range of flavors, including coconut, chocolate, green apple, jalapeño, grapefruit and more, plus wine, beer and other kinds of mixed drinks, live music and margarita-friendly food in the American-Statesman parking lot.
Go for a hike or go camping (or both).
We know it’s hot, but hear us out: even when it’s 100 degrees outside, Austin is still really beautiful. Check out these lesser-known hiking gems in the Austin area, and if you’re feeling particularly outdoorsy, here’s a list of places to camp around Austin.
6. Find your favorite frozen treat.
And boy, are there plenty to choose from: Milkshakes, paletas, ice cream shops, snow cone stands, mangonadas and more. If you’re hankering for something a little harder, we’ll just leave you with this list of where to find frozen drinks, from frosé to margaritas, across Austin.
7. While you’re at it, find your favorite barbecue joint.
Bad news: Franklin Barbecue is closed after a fire last month. But the good news is restaurant critic Matthew Odam’s got you covered with some fantastic alternatives to Austin’s most famous barbecue joint.
8. Feel fancy for a day while taking a dip in a hotel pool.
Want to feel like you’re on vacation without the travel stresses? Turns out there are quite a few Austin pools that offer free hours or passes for locals, and even more where you can enjoy a frosty drink poolside.
9. Spend some quality time in an inner tube.
Whether you’re in a tube on one of Central Texas’ (often chilly) rivers or at an area water park, it’s pretty much a Texas summer rite of passage to stare at the sky from an inner tube.
10. Try something that you’ve never done before — maybe even something that sounds a bit crazy.
Go ahead, get out of your comfort zone. Try deep water soloing (a.k.a. rock climbing with a splash) at Lake Travis. Maybe go to Austin’s first ax-throwing bar when it opens in August. Try your hand at kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. Maybe finally take a trip to Hippie Hollow and strip down at Austin’s only nude park. Hey, we’re not here to judge.
MORE SUMMER FUN FROM AUSTIN360: