5 Free Things in Austin

Events, Things to Do, What's New — By mhill on September 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Congress Avenue Bats - Photo by alumroot http://www.flickr.com/photos/alumroot/

Austin offers an infinite amount of things to do throughout the city, but if you are on a budget here are 5 Free Things to do around town:

Watch the Congress Avenue bats

Every year nearly 1 Million Mexican free-tailed bats call Austin home, typically arriving as the warm weather sets back in the Spring. They stay in Austin until early fall, and are the largest urban bat colony in North America. When in Austin, they camp out on downtown’s Congress Avenue Bridge. You can stand on the bridge at dusk and watch the bats emerge as a black cloud against the sunset as they seek out their dinner. Be sure to ask the locals what time the bats are coming out, because our recent drought has them coming out earlier than usual.

Zilker Park and Botanical Garden

This 350-acre park in the Barton Springs area is open year-round and free to visit. The park serves as a hub for many recreational activities and the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake, both of which run next to the park. It also home to the Zilker Botanical Gardens and there are multiple themed gardens, such as a romantic rose garden, butterfly garden, and Japanese garden complete with a koi pond. There are also many free events in the park such as Blues on the Green, Trail of Lights, and the Zilker Kite Festival.

Mount Bonnell

Mt. Bonnell has been a major attraction in Austin since the 1850s. This scenic overlook is the highest point in the Austin City Limits. It requires a climb up many steps, but once you get to the top, the view over Lake Austin is stunning. You can also see downtown and the 360 bridge from up here. It is a very romantic spot, perfect for a date night or even a proposal. Make sure you make a pit stop to Dry Creek Bar along the way.

University of Texas and museums

Wander about this historic college campus for a fun and free activity. You can see the University of Texas tower, which is the center point of the university. Check out the behemoth football stadium, which serves as home to the Texas Longhorns. You can also go into the Harry Ransom Center for free, which holds many of the world’s prized possessions; upon walking in, you can take a look at the world’s first photograph and an authentic copy of the Gutenberg bible. The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum, which is free and features many historical and cultural exhibits.  If museums bore you, you can always tailgate

Texas Capitol Building

Austin is not only the home of the University of Texas, but the Texas State Capitol Building. The Capitol grounds span 22 acres and feature historical buildings, 17 monuments, and beautifully landscaped lawns in addition to the Capitol building itself. The capitol rotunda features portraits of every person who has served as president of the Republic of Texas or Governor of the state of Texas. The building has nearly four hundred rooms and more than nine hundred windows. Come learn about Texas History and make some of your own.