We want to share the best things Austin has to offer each day! My goal isn’t to tell you EVERYTHING there is to do in Austin on any particular day, I filter through all the noise to give you the BEST things to do for a given day.
Blues On The Green is Austin’s longest-running free music series and a can’t-miss summer experience. Veterans know the drill, but for first-time attendees here is the rundown: You can bring in two factory sealed water bottles, blankets, chairs, and your dog (he must be on a leash at all times). That is what is says on the website, but for the record I’ve never been sent away for packing wine in my picnic basket. My best piece of advice is to either ride your bike, carpool, take the bus, or walk if you can. Parking and traffic around Zilker tonight can be quite the headache.
Republic Square is excited to announce their first FREE fitness series at the square. The series kicked off May 7th with free classes every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday throughout the month. All classes begin at 6:30pm.
-Mondays: Find your inner wild with free yoga by Wild Heart Yoga! (May 7th, 14th, & 21st)
-Tuesdays: Show your strength with free rowing and circuit training by Rō Fitness! (May 8th, 15th, 22nd, & 29th)
-Wednesdays: Go Beyond the Barre with free classes by barre3! (May 9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th)
-Thursdays: Interval Training with Orange Theory Fitness
May is National Physical Fitness month – help celebrate in Austin style. Child-friendly activities will be provided each night, and all classes are free. See you at the square!
422 Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX 78701
We love it when businesses get together to make Austin an even happier place. Now when you stay at the Hyatt Regency Austin, which is downtown on Lady Bird Lake and right next to views of the famous bats, you will get a very Austin-y bonus: the VIP treatment at YETI’s flagship store. Guests at the hotel can visit the brand’s retail store (right next door) and get a bunch of amazing loot. If you’re a fan of serious insulation, cold beers, and hot coffee—this is the thing for you.
Book “The Ultimate YETI Experience” package and you’ll take home a 20oz YETI Rambler stainless steel tumbler, a YETI Colster insulator for canned beverages, as well as a YETI hat, decal, and keychain bottle opener. You’ll also get two drink vouchers for the store’s BARRR, which is located just steps away from the hotel. This sweet deal will be available throughout 2018—just make sure you book the package at least 48 hours in advance of your stay and use the promotion code YETIPK.
We’ve got your indoor fun for this rainy day right here. The Austin Record Convention is the best place to find all the good vinyl at amazing prices! Stock up on vinyl LPs and 45s, CDs, posters, T-shirts, and other music memorabilia! Come search for those hidden gems with your fellow audiophiles.
Get the whole family out of the house and enjoy the smells of some gorgeous blooms. Come to Fareground’s very first Flower Market and bring some of that beauty home. Featured florists are Petals, ink. and Succulent Native! Treat yourself or a loved one to a unique bunch of local flowers and succulents.
When: Today, May 19th
Time: noon – 2:00 p.m.
Fareground at One Eleven
111 Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701
For the past nine years, Dallas has hosted a small-format live music festival called Homegrown Fest featuring top Texas acts. Last Saturday the tradition resumed at Main Street Garden park in the heart of Big D. Headliners Explosions in the Sky performed with neo-psychrock veterans, The Black Angels and one of that band’s inspiration, Roky Erickson.
Credit Mike Manewitz/@manewitz
Homegrown Festival was in danger of being cancelled due to poor ticket sales but an article that appeared in the Dallas Morning News seemed to have helped boost ticket sales. Organizers also elected to cut production costs, striking the second stage from the site plan and slashing the number of production and security personnel on hand. To their credit, the show ran on time all day in spite of that fact.
We arrived at the park as Denton’s Acid Carousel was preparing to kick off. The scraggly bunch of musicians looked like they’d been beamed in from another era, sporting 60’s vintage striped pants and bell-bottoms with rock star accessories as they worked through their set. The audience response was favorable from the handful of fans who showed up early to catch the group.
Credit Mike Manewitz/@manewitz
A hot, humid day in Dallas meant attendance ramped up slowly with only a handful of fans on hand to see local legends [DARYL] perform with an expanded lineup that included new and former members of the band. The extra guitars and keys filled the park with sound as fans drew closer to the stage to inspect the oddly configured “supergroup” of Dallas musicians.
Earlier in the day we were wowed by Fort Worth’s Duell who aggressively attacked their set list of hard rock songs. There was a lot of headbanging and hair flying (see photos). A five-piece with three guitars meant the group is capable of producing a “wall of sound” as mentioned in their Bandcamp bio. We think it’s an apt description. We also think a double bill of Duell and Austin’s The Well would be a dream lineup.
Credit Mike Manewitz/@manewitz
After Dallas act Vodi performed, axe-wielding Austin rockers Ume, fronted by all-around badass Lauren Larson took the stage to display their power-trio chops to the Homegrown crowd. The response was overwhelming. It was nice to see after Ume took a bit of a hiatus as Larson took a bit of a hiatus to start a family. Word is the group has a new record coming.
Roky Erickson and his band took the stage next hitting on all cylinders as Erickson played and sang seated while the rest of his band stood alongside the legendary musician. The band played classic 13th Floor Elevators’ songs “Two-Headed Dog” “Levitation” and “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” The performance was arguably the best Roky Erickson performance we’ve seen since the singer re-entered the music world following his battle with mental illness with the collaboration record he made with Okkerville River in 2010.
Credit Mike Manewitz/@manewitz
The festival changed it up for a set following Erickson with Toronto’s Alvvays. The indie-popsters are touring in support of their sophomore album, Antisocialites. Although the Canadians may have appeared a bit out of place among the Texas acts sharing the stage with them, we found the group’s 12-song performance a nice change of pace. The shoegazey, indie-rock songs lightened the mood a bit. We saw a number of fans dancing and singing along to singer/guitarist Molly Rankin’s sweet voice.
Austin’s lords of psychedelic rock, The Black Angels took the stage next for a superlative sunset performance that made up for the sound issues that plagued the band at LEVITATION last month. That’s not to say the performance went perfectly. Sound issues at the beginning of the set required an amp swap that fixed the issue. TBA’s light man, Bob Mustachio had to wait until the sun went down 40 minutes into the band’s set for fans to be able to see his eye-popping projections. Then flood lights automatically came on that washed out half the screen behind the band. Eventually organizers shut off the floodlights just before the set ended.
Credit Mike Manewitz/@manewitz
The Black Angels’ music sounded great though. Set highlights included fan favorite, “Bad Vibrations.” early on. Other deep cuts such as 2006’s “Black Grease” off debut album, Passover was particularly good as were tracks from their latest record, Death Song. We enjoyed the fact that the band offered up new material but kept the setlist interesting by including cuts from their back catalog.
By the time headliners, Explosions in the Sky took the stage nightfall had come. The space between the sound board tent in the middle of the park and the stage had completely filled in with fans eager to have their minds blown by Austin’s most successful post-rock act.
Credit Mike Manewitz/@manewitz
The slow, then loud trademark sound transported the audience to a surreal soundscape. Along with a simple but effective lighting scheme, the band delivered an impassioned performance. Guitarist Munaf Rayani was particularly entertaining to watch. Rayani’s performance style is fun to watch. At one point, he grabbed his Fender with one hand by the neck and swung his axe in a large arc brushing the stage floor with the body of guitar. We’re certain his guitar tech works overtime after watching the man beat up his instrument.
View the complete EITS Homegrown Fest setlist here. If you were one of the few who witnessed the set, consider yourself lucky. The band’s only other tour date listed this year is May 26 at Sasquatch Festival in George, Washington according to their website.
Camp Twin Lakes — where the everyday grind is wiped away and your sense of adventure and fun are renewed! We are here to make your kids feel welcome. To help them quickly realize this is a place where they belong and can be themselves. Try new things. Make new friends. And be a part of something great. Your kids will have an amazing experience this summer, all in a safe, inclusive and nurturing environment. Featuring a wide variety of both water and land activities, Camp Twin Lakes has something to excite everyone – whether it’s kids, families, church groups, executives or the truly young-at-heart.
Experience Overnight and Day Camp in the heart of Hill Country just minutes from Austin. Camp Twin Lakes is THE camp in Cedar Park. Situated on 55 acres of park land, it features 2 lakes, the Wet Willie Water Slide, canoeing, kayaking, swim beach, Aqua Park, pools, archery range, paintball field, sports complex, covered pavilions and 3 indoor lodges. Our themed camps have the power to change the course of a summer and help kids develop in positive ways. We provide a safe, supportive and fun environment filled with new activities every day — all in the great outdoors.
Dates: June 6 – July 28 (Summer Overnight Camps), May 30 – August 15 (Summer Day Camps)
Location: 204 E. Little Elm Trl., Cedar Park, 78613
GIVEAWAY: Win a spot for your child in the YMCA Camp Twin Lakes Day Camp program! Valued at $200, this giveaway amount can also transfer to a an overnight camp spot. This giveaway is available for children ages 7-14 years old. The prize is non-transferable. All entries must be received by Friday, May 18 at 5 p.m. CST. To enter, complete the form below.
Map out your summer fun like a pro with the 2018 Summer Fun Guide! There are over 40 events and activities for kids of all ages, guaranteeing a summer full of fun in Austin, Texas.
General Anytime Fun
Alamo Drafthouse Kids Camp
The Alamo Drafthouse’s annual Summer Kids Camp is a film series of screenings, designed specifically for families, that is affordable and fun for all with a mix of new favorites and classic kid-friendly films. Enjoy classic and family favorite films all summer long for just $1, $3 or $5 with all proceeds benefiting local non-profits.
Austin Public Library’s Summer Reading Program The Austin Public Library is your free ticket to a summer full of reading and loads of fun activities this June through August. You can also win prizes for reading! Pick up a reading log at the Library or print one at austinsummerreading.org. For every 20 minutes you read, color in a section. Color sections by number to display a hidden picture! Return your completed log to any of the Austin Public Library’s 21 locations between July and August, 2018. Congratulations, you did it! You’ve earned a prize book. You can earn one prize book per summer. Be sure to check the Library’s calendar for ongoing events all summer long.
Full of shade-packed trees, the Austin Zoo is a sanctuary to animals that are rescued and, many times, rehabilitated. Set on 15-acres on the southwest edge of Austin, the zoo allows Austin families to get a close-up look at over 300 animals, representing more than 100 different species. Read more about the Austin Zoo here.
Barton Creek Greenbelt
Explore the 12+ miles of greenbelt on a hike while getting some fresh air. A splash in some water in the process is a bonus to cool down in the heat of summer.
Barton Springs Pool
Barton Springs is the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day. Some people are a bit intimidated by the 68-70 degree water, and you will observe shouts and squeals as swimmers take the plunge. But, whether you prefer to inch your way down the steps or to cannonball in, you will emerge from the water rejuvenated and a little more comfortable soaking in the 100 degree heat outside. Read up on some tips on visiting Barton Springs Pool here.
When was the last time you saw 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats bats emerge at dusk? One of our town’s best arguments that we’re still keeping it weird are the huge crowds which assemble in downtown Austin to watch these winged mammals head out to get their dinner.
Austin’s local Indie bookstore is a definite must-do on your summer to-do list! Air conditioning, books on multiple levels, a giant kids’ space, and events, too! You can’t go wrong with a visit to BookPeople.
Strike! There’s nothing quite like the look on your little one’s face when he or she finally knocks all the pins down after watching countless gutter balls roll down the lane. Bonus: in the summer, bowling is a great way to beat the heat!
Cathedral of Junk If “Keep Austin Weird” was a religion, the Cathedral of Junk would be its premier place of worship. It’s a multistory structure made out of all kinds of stuff, from concrete-filled tires to old CDs, street signs, glass bottles and toys. It reminds you of a post-apocalyptic urban setting in a video game or a movie, where survivors have created life anew using fragments of the old world. Extreme upcycling? Whatever the term, it’s gorgeous.
In Texas, we’ll do just about anything to escape the heat of summer. Why not have fun while you’re cooling down? At Chaparral Ice, there are always friendly and helpful staff and good music. If you feel like taking it a step further, they offer ice-skating classes for a wide range of ages.
Deep Eddy Pool
When it comes to pools, there are few out there quite like Deep Eddy. Once a swimming hole on the Colorado River, Deep Eddy is a freshwater swimming pool, similar to Barton Springs. Each night, one of the two sides of the pool is drained and refilled with fresh well water, so you practically have a new pool to swim in every other day. Summertime fun includes watching movies in the pool! Check back here for the 2018 Splash Movie Nights schedule, soon to be announced.
Dig in the Sand
Lakes, parks and more offer kids a chance to get a little dirty in a sand pit…. some may also have some hidden dinosaur bones, too!
Just outside of Austin in Cedar Creek, the Dinosaur Park is a must-see for any dino lover. This outdoor museum boasts life-size exhibits of dinosaurs on an easy to navigate trail, complete with a pre-printed scavenger hunt. There is a playground, picnic tables, a dino dig pit (small), and a gift store. Make it a day trip: read more about exploring Cedar Creek, Texas here.
Summer is a great time of year to go fishing with the kids. Find a shady spot, pack an ice chest with some cold beverages and wait ’til the fish bite.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Don’t miss these beautiful grounds located in South Austin. Be sure to visit during the month of June on their special Nature Nights – it’s FREE and possibly a little cooler than visiting during the day!
Visit with the peacocks at Mayfield Park and Preserve, an urban oasis in the center of town. In addition to the feathered friends your children will make, they can explore the shaded trails and ponds. Tip: Combine activities by visiting Mount Bonnell and the Contemporary Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria – they are all very close to Mayfield Park.
Mount Bonnel Hiking up to the top of Mount Bonnell is definitely an activity best done in the early morning or late evening during the summer months. But the view at the top is well worth the sweat you’ll work up to get there. Read more about what to expect and some tips for climbing with kids here.
Museums in Austin
Whether you’re looking for art or science, history or all things presidential, Austin has a plethora of museums to choose from. Here’s a great list of museums to visit in the Austin area. Make a hot summer day an art day by visiting a couple of art museums with the kids, then lay out paint and canvas at home so the kids can create their own masterpieces.
Parks in Greater Austin
For parents, a great way to get out of the house is by exploring parks with our kids. That said, it can be easy to go to the same parks over and over again. Why not mix it up and try out a new park? We’ve visited a whole lot of parks in and around Austin, and we’ve laid out our favorites from north to south, east and west in a special parks series. If it’s an extra steamy day, check out these favorite parks that offer lots of shade in the summer.
Playland Skate Center
Playland Skate center is open every day during the summer! Beat the heat and get some exercise in at Playland, in a fun, safe, friendly environment for the whole family! Discount Night every in Thursday for June and July starting at 7pm. Check out their website for daily schedule and other special events. Summer Hours start June 1st!
Rock Climbing If your kids are climbing the walls, take them to one of Austin’s indoor rock climbing locations for a new twist on getting their energy out. Whether it’s rock climbing or bouldering (rock climbing without the use of ropes or harnesses), kids as young as toddlers can learn the art of climbing at both indoor and outdoor locations located throughout the Austin area.
Check out the new 30-foot-tall stainless steel robotic hand at the Science Mill! With a remote joystick mimicking the robot hand, kids can easily operate this exhibit to make each of the giant fingers move, much like their own. This exhibit is a powerful, interactive icon of creativity, engineering and design. Plus, explore the museum’s 50+ interactive indoor and outdoor exhibits and watch a 3D movie!
Pools are great, but sometimes, splash pads are even better. Often adjacent to playgrounds, you can get a twofer by playing on the playground and then cooling off in the water. They are almost always free. If you have littles who are still learning to swim, a trip to the splash pad is a lot less stressful than a visit to the pool.
When kids have the wiggles and lots of energy, head to the Domain to visit the Austin Springfree Trampoline store. With several trampolines set up, your kids will have a blast jumping and testing out all of the cool accessories. Bonus: there’s air conditioning!
Stroll South Congress Avenue
Exploring the stores and restaurants on South Congress Avenue is always a big hit, especially if you have some out of town visitors this summer. If you get hungry, there are plenty of restaurants to satisfy your hunger. Have some extra cash to spend? No problem! There are plenty of cool, eclectic stores to shop at. It’s a mecca of hipsters and an area that’s quite enjoyable for everyone in the family. Be sure to head down to Congress Avenue on the first Thursday of each month (weather permitting) to enjoy vendors, local artisans, live music and more
Texas State Capitol
Who says you can’t combine fun and learning while on summer break? Not us! Take the kids to explore the Texas State Capitol – they’ll learn all about Texas history, politics, and you can even grab a bite to eat in the basement cafeteria. Read more about taking a tour of the Capitol here.
Topgolf is an entertainment venue in north Austin offering point-scoring golf with over 100 climate-controlled hitting bays, with an on-site restaurant and bar. If your kids love golf, Topgolf Austin is once again hosting Summer Academy, a week-long half-day program for kids ranging from 6 – 12. Summer Academy is a fun way to stay physically active, mentally active and engaged with the community all while learning a great skill.
Zilker Botanical Gardens
When you think botanical gardens, you think plants and flowers, right? But the Zilker Botanical Garden is much more – ponds, dinosaurs, wildlife, butterfly habitats and more! Kids of all ages love this beautiful space.
No trip to Zilker Park or Barton Springs Pool is complete without a ride on the iconic Zilker Zephyr. Kids and adults take delight in this train ride across Zilker Park, offering great views of Austin as well.
Blues on the Green
Austin’s favorite summer tradition is back. 93.3 KGSR’s Blues on the Green invites music lovers out to Zilker Park to enjoy a family and pet friendly night of homegrown music in a relaxed atmosphere. Grab your family, friends, dogs, and blankets, and join us for Austin’s largest FREE concert series. Read some tips on attending Blues on the Green here.
When: May 23, June 13, July 18, August 8, 8 p.m. Where: Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin Cost: FREE
A Spoonful of Sugar
This summer, Austin Scottish Rite Theater and the Hideout Theatre present a delightful, family-friendly improv show: Spoonful of Sugar! The Sugar family is in trouble. Their parents are overworked, their children misbehaving and neglected. When they are finally forced to hire on a nanny, the children are pleasantly surprised to discover that their new nanny is magical. ready to infuse their lives with a little bit of whimsy, mystery, and fun! Join us as the Sugars’ new nanny takes us on a series of fantastical adventures, exploring the hidden, magical world behind the every day, which we bring to life with suggestions and help from the kids (and their parents) in our audience.
When: Saturday and Sunday, June 3 – July 1, 11 a.m. Where: Austin Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St., Austin Cost: $12 for ages 12 and up, $8 ages 12 and under
Summer Kids Series
The youngest animal lover in your life has more reason to celebrate this summer, as our Summer Kids Series gets underway with hands-on activities for kids of all ages as they learn more about the world of animals and the Austin Humane Society. Along the way they’ll find out what it means to care for a pet of their own and be inspired to help animals in need.
When: Tuesdays, June 5 – August 14, multiple times and sessions Where: Austin Humane Society, 124 West Anderson Ln., Austin Cost: FREE
Austin Symphony’s Children’s Day Art Park
The Austin Symphony Children’s Day Art Park offers FREE concerts for kids in June and July at a brand new location, the Austin Central Public Library. In addition to the music, there will be arts and crafts, an instrument zoo and more.
When: Wednesday mornings, June 6 – July 25, doors open at 10 a.m.
Where: Austin Central Library, 710 W Cesar Chavez St., Austin Cost: FREE
Bubblepalooza, the Long Center’s official start to summer returns on Saturday, June 9, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The kick off to their All Summer Long series of free community events, this annual celebration of open play on the Long Center’s front lawn is perfect for families of all ages, with live music, games, arts + crafts, trailer food, and of course—tons of bubbles!
When: Saturday, June 9, 2018, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Where: Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W Riverside Dr, Austin Cost: FREE
Second Saturdays are for Families at Contemporary Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria
The Contemporary Austin offers FREE hands-on art-making workshops each month, inspired by the exhibitions on view. Join us to see family-friendly performances, meet local artists, and make art to take home. Recommended for ages 2–11. Reservations are requested to participate in art-making workshops due to limited space; please reserve your spot at the links below beginning the 1st of each month.
When: June 9, July 14, August 11, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Where: The Contemporary Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St., Austin Cost: FREE
Too Many Stories
Too Many Stories! is a Scottish Rite favorite, back by popular demand for weekday matinees in summer 2018. Kallie catches Sam and Bogus getting away with loot they’ve stolen from a department store. With the help of the kids in the Scottish Rite Theater audience, a smart little girl outwits and exhausts the bad guys through story, music, and improvisation. All ages.
When: Wednesday, June 13 – August 1 Where: Austin Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St., Austin Cost: $6 for adults and children, under 2 free
Fans From Fans Summer Fan Drive
The Summer Fan Drive provides new box and oscillating fans to seniors, adults with disabilities, and families with children in Central Texas. Take part in a day of fun with activities for kids, live music, a Pancake Pileup and more at this annual event.
When: June 15, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Where: Threadgill’s World Headquarters, 301 West Riverside Dr., Austin Cost: Suggested donation of $20 or a new fan
Central Texas Juneteenth Celebration
Watch a parade that kicks off the Juneteenth festivities and then celebrate in the park afterwards with live music, food, activities and vendors.
When: June 16, parade at 10 a.m. and event begins at noon Where: Chestnut House, 1183 Chestnut Ave., Austin
If you still need a great plan to honor the mom in your life, here it is: The Austin Symphonic Band is giving a free Mother’s Day concert at the State Capitol! The band will perform a selection of festive tunes with a cajun flair, including works by Frank Ticheli and John Philip Sousa.
Pack a picnic with her favorite foods and get there early to spread out a blanket or grab one of our limited audience chairs in the front row.
When: Today, May 13th
Time: 7-8 p.m.
Texas State Capitol South Steps
1100 Congress Ave.
Austin, Texas 78701
There’s free street parking on Sundays, or park in the Texas State Capitol Visitor’s Garage.