Austin, TX

7 Most Underrated Places in Austin

Rob Adams
Photo by Mitchell Kmetz on Unsplash

If you have never been to Texas, you have no idea what you are missing out on! Since there is no better place to start, here are some amazing things you can do in Austin:

1. Haunted ATX Tour

Locals and visitors alike will enjoy the dark, spooky style of Haunted ATX hearse limo and van tours. One of the more unique experiences in Austin that is seriously keeping Austin weird, this tour lets you pack your friends in a hearse that's been converted into a limo or a passenger van wrapped in spooky art to visit historic locations and hear the tales of ghosts that haunt these landmarks.

Tours start at $49 per person, but lasts 3 hours so you get a lot of entertainment bang for your buck. The tour itself is a blend of scary stories, Austin history, and a deep dive into some intriguing tales behind some of Austin's most iconic buildings.

2. Congress Avenue Bridge

Crowds gather nightly on the Congress Avenue Bridge, at sunset, to watch Austin’s urban bat colony fly out from their home on the underside of the bridge over Lady Bird Lake. The 45-minute spectacle is one of those only-in-Austin happenings. The colony of Mexican free-tailed bats is the largest in an urban environment in North America—about 1.5 million bats take flight each night to feed (on pesky insects like mosquitoes, making the animal a local hero).

Note that the spectacle is seasonal, typically from May through October; during the winter, the bats migrate elsewhere. And even though the whole thing lasts 45 minutes, you get the idea in under five. If you can pair your viewing with another activity downtown—not difficult, as this part of town is extremely lively—it's worth making time to watch.

3. Blanton Museum of Art

This museum at The University of Texas has a compact collection that does an excellent job covering numerous genres. There are early Renaissance paintings, Roman-era pottery, modern works housed in the contemporary gallery, a vast prints collection, and Native American and Latin American works.

4. Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures

One of the most unique activities in Austin is the Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures. Opening for season in May, this aquatic adventure land mixes elements of Kevin Kosner's Waterworld with a splash of Gladiator and Total Wipeout. As a totally original Austin attraction, Waterloo Adventures holds its own in every aspect that makes Austin unique with an outdoor activity, killer scenery, and unparalleled excitement.

5. Magic's Theater

Located in Southwest Austin, Magic's Theater offers a full auditorium sized Magic show on Saturday nights and a close up magic show on Friday nights. It also doubles as a magic museum with pieces from Harry Houdini's collection, and offers a snack bar. One worthwhile feature is that you can bring your own wine with a small corkage fee.

6. Barton Springs Pool

This massive public swimming pool, fed by a natural spring, is one of Austin’s most prized outdoor settings. It's set within well-kept Zilker Park, which has lots of shade and lawns for sunbathing, and remains blissfully undisturbed by the city's whiplash growth. Not to mention the water temperature is a cool 68 degrees year-round, making it a much-needed respite during extremely hot summers, and perfectly pleasant in the wintertime, too.
Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash

7. Mount Bonnell

This well-manicured outdoor landmark is located in a tiny residential neighborhood. Though it's officially called “Covert Park,” the attraction is Mount Bonnell, which visitors of all ages seek out for its scenic summit views. A gentle, limestone-paved staircase, blessedly shaded by trees, leads up to a trellised lookout with sweeping views out over handsome Lake Austin.

Have you ever been to Austin? If so, would you recommend it? Would you go back? Share your thoughts in the comment section down below.

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