Austin, the capital of Texas, is the fourth largest city in the state and is known for its vibrant music scene. Check out the ideas below for enjoying Austin for less.
- Zilker Park: "Austin's most loved park" can be found in the heart of South Austin. The 350-acre park has a hiking and bike trail, among many other recreational activities and often hosts concerts and other events. There is also a botanical garden—free and open year round.
- Salt Lick BBQ: Check out this joint for some famous Texan barbeque. Some of their family recipes have roots back to the wagon trains of the mid-1800s. The plates will run slightly above $10, but it's worth it! You can also get their sliced beef sandwich for $9.95.
- 6th Street: This famous street is the heart of music, entertainment and nightlife. The historic buildings have been transformed into art galleries, cafes, bars and music venues and many do not charge a cover to enter.
- Texas State Capital: Free 45-minute tours of the capital are given daily, and there are also self-guided tours if you prefer to walk around yourself.
- Mount Bonnell: 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 worth it. This is a great spot for a picnic, too.
- Bullock Texas State History Museum: Learn about the history and culture of Texas! The Museum provides free admission to the exhibits on the first Sunday of each month from 2 to 6 pm.
- University of Texas Campus: Take a walk around the University of Texas's beautiful campus. There is also a free museum, the Texas Memorial Museum.
- Juan in a Million: Try some traditional (and cheap!) Mexican food at this beloved restaurant. Almost all entrees are between $7-$10.
- Congress Avenue Bridge Bats: Each year, anywhere from 750,000 to 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats migrate to Austin, usually in March or April, and camp out under this bridge. You can stand on the bridge at dusk and watch the bats emerge like a black cloud. They stay in Austin until early fall and are the largest urban bat colony in North America.
- Movies in the Park: Check out the schedule for this free film series from the Austin Parks Foundation and the Alamo Drafthouse.
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Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.