Uncover Hidden Gems in Austin: Must-Visit Spots for Every Traveller

Hidden gems in Austin

Welcome to Austin, Texas – a vibrant city full of life and culture. While you may have heard of some of the city’s popular attractions, there are hidden gems in Austin that every traveler should add to their itinerary. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this guide will help you explore some of the best-kept secrets in Austin.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the beauty of Lady Bird Lake and its surrounding trails
  • Unwind at Zilker Park and the Barton Springs Pool
  • Explore the historic charm of Rainey Street
  • Immerse yourself in culture at the Blanton Museum of Art
  • Shop at the unique boutiques and galleries on South Congress Avenue
  • Experience live music on East 6th Street
  • Indulge in Austin’s food truck culture
  • Escape to McKinney Falls State Park for outdoor activities
  • Visit the LBJ Presidential Library for a historical experience
  • Explore the upscale shops and eateries at The Domain

Explore Lady Bird Lake and its Tranquil Trails

Austin is known for its beautiful natural scenery, and Lady Bird Lake is no exception. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful hike or an adventurous day on the water, this area has it all. Here are some must-visit spots around Lady Bird Lake to add to your itinerary:


The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is a 10-mile loop trail around the lake, perfect for a scenic run or leisurely walk. If you’re looking for a more secluded trail, the Barton Creek Greenbelt offers over 7 miles of hiking paths through lush greenery and over limestone cliffs.

Activity Location
Kayaking Zilker Park Boat Rentals
Paddleboarding Rowing Dock
Hiking Barton Creek Greenbelt


Looking for more to do? Check out the Zilker Botanical Garden, a 26-acre garden with themed sections and a beautiful koi pond. Or head over to the Zilker Park Disc Golf Course, an 18-hole disc golf course with beautiful views of downtown Austin.

“Lady Bird Lake is a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. I love starting my morning with a jog around the lake and ending my day with a paddleboard session on the water. It’s the perfect way to relax and recharge.”

No matter what your interests are, Lady Bird Lake is a must-visit spot in Austin. Be sure to take in the beautiful scenery and enjoy all the activities this area has to offer.

Unwind at Zilker Park and the Barton Springs Pool

If you’re looking for a natural escape from the bustling city, Zilker Park is the perfect spot. This 351-acre park offers a variety of recreational opportunities and stunning natural beauty, making it a must-visit spot for every traveler. One of the main attractions within the park is the Barton Springs Pool, a refreshing 3-acre pool that is fed by natural springs and maintains a year-round temperature of around 68-70 degrees.

Zilker Park is also home to several events and attractions throughout the year, including the popular Austin City Limits Music Festival and the Zilker Botanical Garden. You can enjoy a picnic, play frisbee, or even rent a canoe or kayak to paddle along the tranquil waters of Lady Bird Lake, which borders the park.

Located just minutes from downtown Austin, Zilker Park and the Barton Springs Pool offer a serene retreat from the city’s fast pace. Be sure to bring your swimsuit and sunscreen, and enjoy a day of relaxation and natural beauty.

Discover the Historic Charm of Rainey Street

Take a stroll down Rainey Street to experience the unique charm of Austin’s historic district. This street is home to some of the city’s oldest homes, converted into trendy bars and restaurants that offer a cozy, intimate vibe.

The laid-back atmosphere of Rainey Street makes it a great spot to unwind and catch up with friends over drinks. For a truly special experience, head to the Half Step, a speakeasy-style bar that offers a wide selection of craft cocktails and live music performances.

“Rainey Street is a quintessential taste of Austin at its finest.” – Austin Monthly

If you’re a beer lover, don’t miss the famous Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden, which features over 100 beers on tap and a menu of delicious sausages. For something sweet, be sure to try the innovative ice cream flavors at Lick Honest Ice Creams.

With its charming ambiance and variety of dining and drinking options, Rainey Street is a must-visit spot for travelers looking to experience the unique character of Austin.

Immerse Yourself in Culture at the Blanton Museum of Art

If you’re an art enthusiast, the Blanton Museum of Art is a must-visit spot in Austin. This museum boasts an impressive collection of over 19,000 works of art from across the globe, including pieces from various time periods and cultures.

The museum’s permanent collection features European paintings from the 14th to the 20th centuries, modern and contemporary art, and Latin American art. In addition to these collections, the museum hosts several rotating exhibitions throughout the year that showcase a range of different themes and mediums.

One of the standout features of the Blanton Museum of Art is the impressive gallery of prints and drawings, which includes works by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Goya, and Picasso. The museum also has a dedicated gallery space for prints and drawings by American artists.

If you’re traveling with children, the museum offers a variety of family-friendly programming to engage young visitors. The Blanton also hosts lectures, workshops, and other special events throughout the year, so be sure to check the museum’s calendar for upcoming events.

Admission to the Blanton Museum of Art is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and free for children under 12 and University of Texas at Austin students, faculty, and staff. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 5pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 5pm.

Explore the Eclectic Shops on South Congress Avenue

If you’re looking to indulge in some retail therapy, South Congress Avenue is a must-visit. This vibrant neighborhood is home to numerous unique shops, boutiques, and galleries.

One shop that stands out is the iconic “Allens Boots”. This authentic cowboy boot store has been a staple on South Congress Avenue for over 40 years. Visitors will find an impressive range of boots for both men and women, as well as western wear and accessories. Another must-visit store is “Maya Star”. This boutique showcases a carefully curated selection of clothing, jewelry, and home decor from local and international designers.

The street also offers a variety of galleries, such as “South Congress Books”. This cozy and historic bookstore specializes in rare, collectible, and first edition books. Art lovers should check out “Tesoros Trading Company”, which features a collection of folk art, textiles, and pottery from Mexico and other Latin American countries.

When you need a break from shopping, South Congress Avenue also has a variety of notable eateries. Stop by “Home Slice Pizza” for a delicious slice of New York-style pizza, or head to “Hopdoddy Burger Bar” for a gourmet burger and craft beer. For a sweet treat, “Amy’s Ice Creams” is a local favorite for their unique flavors and creative toppings.

Experience Live Music on East 6th Street

If you’re a music lover, you can’t miss a visit to East 6th Street, one of Austin’s most iconic destinations. This vibrant street is lined with bars, clubs, and music venues that showcase the best local artists and musicians.

Whether you’re looking for indie rock, blues, country, or jazz, there’s something for everyone on East 6th Street. From small, intimate venues to larger clubs with impressive sound systems, you’re sure to find your perfect spot for a night of live music.

Some of the most popular venues on East 6th Street include The White Horse, Antone’s Nightclub, and The Continental Club. But don’t be afraid to explore the side streets and alleys, as you never know where you might stumble upon the next big thing.

For the ultimate live music experience, plan your visit during one of Austin’s many music festivals, such as South by Southwest (SXSW) or Austin City Limits (ACL). During these events, East 6th Street comes alive with even more music and excitement.

So put on your dancing shoes, grab a drink, and get ready to immerse yourself in Austin’s legendary live music scene on East 6th Street.

Indulge in Austin’s Food Truck Culture

Austin is renowned for its vibrant food scene, and food trucks are a major part of it. These mobile culinary spots can be found all over the city, offering diverse and delicious cuisines in a casual setting.

To truly experience the best of Austin’s food truck culture, visit some of the popular food truck parks or areas. The South Congress area has several food trucks offering everything from tacos to vegan fare. The East Side also has a variety of food trucks, including some that serve Korean and Japanese cuisine.

If you’re not sure where to start, head to The Picnic on Barton Springs Road. This food truck park has a high concentration of food trucks, serving anything from burgers to crepes. It’s a great spot to sample different foods and indulge in Austin’s foodie culture.

When visiting food trucks, be sure to come hungry, as the portions are often generous, and the prices are reasonable. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with the food truck owners or other customers, as the food truck scene is a friendly and communal experience.

Whether you’re a foodie or just looking for a quick and tasty meal, Austin’s food truck culture is not to be missed.

Escape to McKinney Falls State Park

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Austin, McKinney Falls State Park is the perfect spot. Located just a short drive from downtown, this park offers visitors the chance to explore beautiful waterfalls, natural swimming holes, and hiking trails.

The park is named after Thomas F. McKinney, who owned the land in the mid-1800s. Today, visitors can still see the remains of McKinney’s homestead, which dates back to the 1850s.

Activities and Amenities

McKinney Falls State Park is home to two stunning waterfalls, Upper McKinney Falls and Lower McKinney Falls. The waterfalls are fed by Onion Creek, which runs through the park. Visitors can swim in the natural swimming holes below the falls or hike to overlooks for stunning views.

The park also has over nine miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to challenging. The Rock Shelter Trail is a popular moderate hike that takes visitors to a rock shelter used by Native Americans thousands of years ago.

Camping is available at McKinney Falls State Park, with campsites for tents and RVs. The park also has picnic areas, a playground, and restrooms with showers.

Tips for Visiting

  • Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of water, especially if you plan to hike.
  • Dogs are allowed in the park, but must be on a leash at all times.
  • Check weather conditions before your visit, as heavy rain can cause the creek to flow dangerously and close down certain areas.
  • Weekends can be busy, so plan to arrive early or come on a weekday to avoid crowds.

McKinney Falls State Park is a hidden gem that every traveler should visit during their time in Austin. Whether you’re looking for a place to hike, swim, or simply relax, this park has something for everyone.

Visit the LBJ Presidential Library

The LBJ Presidential Library is a must-see for history buffs and anyone interested in the life and legacy of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Located on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, this impressive library boasts a vast collection of documents, photos, and artifacts related to President Johnson’s time in office.

The museum offers visitors an immersive experience, with interactive exhibits and audio recordings of historical speeches. Highlights of the museum include the Oval Office replica, the Civil Rights exhibit, and the First Ladies’ exhibit.

Visitors can also explore the beautiful grounds surrounding the library, including the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the Texas Hill Country.

Ticket prices for the LBJ Presidential Library range from $5 to $10, depending on age and other factors. The museum is open daily except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Explore the Unique Shops and Eateries at the Domain

The Domain is a must-visit destination for those who enjoy upscale shopping and dining. With over 100 stores and restaurants, this outdoor shopping mall offers visitors a unique and high-end experience.

Be sure to check out the variety of shops at The Domain, ranging from designer fashion to specialty stores. Popular stores include Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, and Apple. If you’re looking for something more unique, check out stores like Warby Parker for eyewear, or the Kendra Scott Jewelry store for beautiful accessories.

The Domain also offers some of the best dining options in the city. Indulge in delicious bites at restaurants such as The Culinary Dropout, North Italia, or Thai Kun. Don’t forget to stop by the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM for a sweet treat!

In addition to shopping and dining, The Domain often hosts events such as outdoor concerts and art festivals. Check their website for the latest updates on upcoming events.


From the tranquil trails of Lady Bird Lake to the historic charm of Rainey Street, the eclectic shops on South Congress Avenue, and the lively music scene on East 6th Street, Austin’s hidden gems offer something for every traveler.

Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in culture at the Blanton Museum of Art, indulge in food truck delights, or escape to the natural beauty of McKinney Falls State Park, Austin has it all. Don’t forget to visit the iconic LBJ Presidential Library and upscale shopping and dining hub, The Domain.

Make the most of your Austin experience by exploring these must-visit spots. You won’t regret it!


Q: What are some hidden gems in Austin that every traveler should visit?

A: Austin has many hidden gems that are worth exploring. Some must-visit spots include Lady Bird Lake and its tranquil trails, Zilker Park and the Barton Springs Pool, Rainey Street with its historic charm, the Blanton Museum of Art, South Congress Avenue with its eclectic shops, East 6th Street for live music, Austin’s food truck culture, McKinney Falls State Park for outdoor activities, the LBJ Presidential Library, and The Domain for upscale shopping and dining.

Q: What activities can I do at Lady Bird Lake?

A: Lady Bird Lake offers a variety of activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and hiking. You can also enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride along the trails that surround the lake.

Q: What is there to do at Zilker Park and the Barton Springs Pool?

A: Zilker Park offers recreational opportunities and is home to the iconic Barton Springs Pool, where you can swim in the natural spring-fed pool. The park also hosts events such as the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Visitors can relax, have a picnic, or play various sports in the park.

Q: What makes Rainey Street special?

A: Rainey Street is known for its unique atmosphere and historic charm. It offers a variety of bars, restaurants, and live music venues housed in converted bungalows. It’s the perfect place to experience Austin’s vibrant nightlife.

Q: What can I expect at the Blanton Museum of Art?

A: The Blanton Museum of Art features an impressive art collection and hosts exhibitions from renowned artists. They also offer special events and programs. Admission prices and opening hours can be found on their website.

Q: What can I find on South Congress Avenue?

A: South Congress Avenue is known for its unique shops, boutiques, and galleries. You’ll find a vibrant atmosphere and a variety of stores to explore. There are also notable eateries and cafes in the area.

Q: What makes East 6th Street famous?

A: East 6th Street is famous for its live music scene. It offers a range of venues, from small bars to larger clubs, where you can enjoy live music performances. It’s a must-visit for music enthusiasts.

Q: Where can I find Austin’s food trucks?

A: Austin has a thriving food truck culture. You can find food trucks throughout the city, but popular food truck parks or areas include South Congress Avenue and East 6th Street. Exploring these areas will give you a chance to indulge in different cuisines.

Q: What activities are available at McKinney Falls State Park?

A: McKinney Falls State Park offers hiking trails, swimming opportunities in the natural pools, and camping facilities for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s a great place to escape to nature and enjoy various activities.

Q: What can I expect at the LBJ Presidential Library?

A: The LBJ Presidential Library showcases exhibits and artifacts from Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency. They also offer special events and programs. You can find information on admission prices and opening hours on their website.

Q: What can I find at The Domain?

A: The Domain is a popular upscale shopping and dining destination. It offers unique stores, boutiques, and a variety of restaurants. It’s the perfect place to spend a day shopping and indulging in delicious food.