There are many things to do in Austin if you are under 21. As the population continues to grow, the city’s scene has long since achieved the type of trendy metropolitan status that no other Texan town has been able to surpass. Then how did the city do it?
Austin is known for its live music culture, which draws big-name artists from all over the globe, and its eclectic food scene, which serves much more than tacos and BBQ. Outdoor recreation is a big part of Austinites’ weekends since the city is on a lake and is just a short distance from a slew of neighboring swimming holes and parks.
To make it easier for you to identify the best things to do in Austin, we’ve done our research to provide you with a list of them. You’ll discover the city’s famous arcades, parks, museums, top theaters, restaurants, music shops, and festivals.
List of Contents
1. Austin City Limits
The top 1 you should not miss in Austin if you are under 21 is the Austin City Limits Music Event, an annual music festival held in Zilker Park.
For more than a decade, Austin City Limits has been the name behind exciting and popular music festivals in Austin, Sydney, and Auckland and is an award-winning performance venue. Festivals like this one are one of the main reasons Austin is referred to as the Live Music Capital of the World.
This long-running concert series showcases musicians from many musical genres in a live-music environment. Originally designed to highlight original Texas music, the program has broadened its scope to include a diverse spectrum of genres and musicians, including Pearl Jam, Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello, and Neil Young.
In addition to rock, pop, and hip-hop, there are eight stages and other 130 performers that you should not miss. Also, the food booths are stocked with Austin favorites, while art sellers are on hand to offer their crafts.
Pinstack, located in Tech Ridge Center, is a bowling arcade that offers a vast range of games and activities suitable for people under 21. There are bumper cars, laser tag, and bowling, to name a few.
You can bowl a perfect game at the state-of-the-art bowling lanes or face your fear of heights on a 24-foot high rock climbing wall. Dodge your opponent’s laser beam in the two-story laser tag arena, or strap yourself in for a wild trip with bumper cars.
The vast gaming area has the most up-to-date video games and virtual reality technologies, including four-player Halo: Fireteam Raven and Virtual Rabbids, arcade classics, and the most up-to-date pinball machines. A 20-foot high ropes obstacle course towers above the gaming area are excellent for team development.
If you’re here, don’t miss dining on the lanes, on the patio, or in the tucked-away restaurant, separated from the gaming area. WTF Platter, Blackened Seared Salmon, Texas Smokehouse Burger, Classic Margherita Pizza, and PINSTACKED Cheese Fries are the menu highlights and Pinstack’s weekly chef’s specials.
3. The Hideout Theatre
The Hideout Theatre, located at 617 Congress Ave, has been in the business of improv theatre since 1999. Their acts are improvised at the moment, and each is one of a kind. Improv is a spontaneous, engaging, and enjoyable activity. But, like with many beautiful things, you’ll have to see it for yourself to appreciate it.
If you are a drama theater fan, you’ll surely enjoy this place. It has several improv styles, including short-form (games, like Whose Line, is it Anyway?), long-form (more significant scenes with relationship and character development), and narrative (a full-length drama act on the spot).
Don’t miss out on its variety of improv courses for adults, children, and teenagers on weeknights and weekends if you want to improve your acting skills. They provide Free Sample Programs and new Level One classes for adults. You’ll be studying improv from someone who has performed on stage and in the classroom for years.
4. Zilker Park
In Austin, Zilker Park is renowned as the “jewel in the heart,” and with good reason. Among the 351 acres of parkland are a natural spring-fed swimming pool, a sculpture garden, stand-up paddleboarding, dinosaurs (in the prehistoric gardens of the botanical garden), and unparalleled views of the Austin skyline.
Zilker Park, Austin’s premier recreation area, is nestled beside the Colorado River. While you’re here, take in the downtown skyline, cool off in the Barton Springs Pool, explore the Hike and Bike Trail, or see a show featuring some of the best live music. Also, festivals, including Austin City Limits Music Festival and ABC Kite Festival, are hosted each year.
Don’t miss out on the Austin Nature and Science Center, located on the park’s west side, that provides free entrance to visitors of all ages. Workshops are offered at the facility, with a wildlife preserve and a mammal boardwalk where you can see real prairie dogs, foxes, and bobcats. There is a large outdoor display called the Dino Pit, where you can pretend to be paleontologists and dig up fossils.
5. Barton Springs
You can find Barton Springs Pool, one of Austin’s crown jewels, inside Zilker Park’s 358 acres. With an average temperature of 68°F to 70°F, the pool is perfect for year-round swimming and is three acres in area. From state senators who have authored legislation to free-spirited sunbathers who turned heads in the 1970s, Barton Springs Pool has drawn a diverse group of people.
Barton Springs is a popular recreational destination in the city and is home to the critically endangered Barton Springs Salamander, a federally protected ecosystem. The pool’s depths span from 0′ to 18′, with grassy spaces around it for visitors to relax.
To get a memorable experience, attend Splash!, an educational exhibit adjacent to the pool bathhouse that teaches visitors about the biology and history of Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer that sustains it.
6. Franklin Barbecue
Franklin Barbecue would win the “Most Hyped Restaurant” title in Austin. It is perhaps the most talked about in Texas. Is it possible for a BBQ establishment to achieve this degree of fame? Aaron Franklin, a James Beard Award-winning chef, spent years perfecting his skill before launching the BBQ trailer that he outgrew.
Seasoning and smoking bring out the best in the meat. Forget about any other kind of pulled pork once you’ve had this one. In Franklin’s house-made sausage, you’ll find a spicy, delicious, and juice-zing treat. In other words, don’t dismiss the hype just yet.
James Beard award-winner Aaron Franklin seasons and smokes his brisket to juicy perfection. It’s so good that people queue up and sometimes wait four hours for a taste. You won’t be dissatisfied with either La Barbecue or Leroy & Lewis, and you’ll miss half of your life if you miss tasting them during your visit.
7. Waterloo Records
If you are a die-hard music fan, Waterloo offers everything you need, from a vintage Willie Nelson LP to the newest Leon Bridges album. As the city’s most famous and visible music shop, it has a wide selection of new releases from independent and major labels and deluxe reissues of classic albums.
The used daily arrival area contains many jewels, ranging from legendary hip-hop singles to weird disco rarities. However, it takes a real digger’s luck to get a discovery from their dollar bins. You can stay up with local musicians by checking out the Texas best-seller rankings and keep an eye out for in-store concerts by updating yourself with their event calendar.
If you’re more of a book and film buff than a vinyl fanatic, check out the comprehensive music-themed sections, including CDs for the analog-challenged.
8. Pinballz Lake Creek
Pinballz Lake Creek, located on Research Blvd, has the most games, attractions, party rooms, and event facilities among three Pinballz facilities, with more than 100,000 square feet of entertaining family entertainment.
If you visit this place, you’ll have fun with its incredible attractions, such as their Virtual Reality (VR) Arena, XD Dark Ride Theater, bumper cars, laser tag, laser maze, and mini-bowling. Also, maximize your enjoyment through a full menu of delectable scratch-made food from Mikki’s Tavern, hundreds of classic pinballs, tickets & prize games, and modern and new video games.
Don’t miss to set off on a thrilling journey into a new realm brimming with surprise and excitement in Hologate VR. Put on the Hologate headsets, and you with your friends (maximum of three) will be transported into a virtual reality world where you can battle robots, zombies, dragons, dodge, and snowballs.
9. Bullock Museum
To keep up with the latest exhibits, films, and activities, stop by the Bullock Museum. It is situated only three blocks north of the Capitol in downtown Austin.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum has three levels of exhibits, an IMAX with Laser theater, a 4D special effects theater, a cafe, and a museum shop. For more than 700 years, the museum has collaborated with other institutions to present unique historical objects and develop exciting exhibits that reflect Texas’s rich cultural heritage.
A visit to Texas isn’t complete without learning about the state’s unique past. From the Alamo to the murder of John F. Kennedy, Texas has a colorful and significant history. Don’t miss everything from Bush family lore and space research to breathtaking IMAX films and free public events to fully enjoy this museum.
10. Laguna Gloria
The Laguna Gloria branch of The Contemporary Austin Museum, located on the beaches of Lake Austin and only a 10-minute drive from downtown, is the ideal site to see the newest and best sculptures and designs. Grab a cup of coffee at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters in West Austin, then drive up the road to the museum, which is nestled on the slopes of Mount Bonnell.
Even though you’re just five miles from downtown, you feel like you’ve been transported to another world as you enter The Contemporary Austin–Laguna Gloria’s gates. You can glimpse art from modern artists from around the globe throughout the grounds, from towering sculptures to tranquil forested trails.
One of Austin’s most popular sites for weddings and other private events, the Driscoll Villa, was constructed in 1916 and is located in Laguna Gloria. The Art School at The Contemporary is located on the opposite side of the grounds. It offers students a range of mediums to hone their technical abilities while expanding their creative potential.
11. Mayfield Park
Mayfield Park, originally known as the Mayfield-Gutsch Estate, is a prominent destination in this city. The park is situated in downtown Austin on 36th Street, just across from the Austin Museum of Art. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1994.
On your visit to Mayfield Park, you can enjoy two acres of cottage gardens. These gardens have a variety of lovely blooms and ever-changing scenery that varies depending on the season you visit. You can find waterlily ponds in the botanical gardens. You can spend a whole morning or afternoon roaming through the gardens, taking in the sights and smells.
Witness the park’s many peacocks, often regarded as some of the most beautiful birds on the planet, for a full-blown experience. The peacocks dance about the grounds confidently and brilliantly amid the tourists. The park’s peacocks have become renowned, and they are featured prominently in the park’s marketing and promotional materials.
Are you ready to see all of Austin’s beautiful places? This isn’t even close to covering half of them, but it should get you started. Austin is waiting for you!
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