Essential Things To Do In Austin On A Weekend Getaway

These cool things to do in Austin are local favorites conveniently located close to downtown and central Austin.

Bat Viewing at The Congress Avenue Bridge
Web Site: Bat Viewing at The Congress Avenue Bridge
305 South Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701

Phone: (512) 416-5700 (Category 3636)
No list of things to do in Austin is complete without including watching the bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk. The bats that live under the Congress Avenue Bridge are part of the world’s largest urban bat colony. Each night from mid-March to November, approximately a million or more Mexican free-tail bats emerge from under the bridge at dusk to blanket the sky as they head out to forage for food. The bats generally fly out before dark, but sometimes fly out after dark depending on the time of year and the weather. July and August are a good time of year to see the bats because that is when new born bat pups first begin to forage with their mothers. It is possible to view the bats from the Congress Avenue Bridge, but the bridge itself is a high traffic thoroughfare. The best way to see the bats is to bring a blanket or lawn chairs to the free Austin Bat Observation Center located at the Austin American Statesman offices at 305 South Congress Avenue. If parking is not available at the Austin American Statesman, additional parking after 6 PM is located at Texas Department of Transportation offices located around the corner off Riverside Drive. It is also possible to see the bats from Lady Bird Lake by taking a tour on a boat or renting a kayak. Watching the bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge is one of things to do in Austin that is really special to Austin.

Continental Club Austin
Web Site: Continental Club Austin
1315 South Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78704

Phone: (512) 441-0202
Any must do list of things to do in Austin should include live music and a great place to go is the legendary Continental Club on South Congress. Rolling Stone Magazine named it one of the best clubs in America. Thought to be the first location in Travis County to sell liquor by the drink, the Continental Club opened on South Congress Avenue in 1957. Legendary performers such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Plant have performed at the Continental Club. The Continental is often a place to spot celebrities who like to visit Austin like Johnny Depp, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Matthew McConaughey and Dennis Quaid. With a venue capacity of only 300 people, the small size of the Continental Club means every spot in the room has a great view of the stage. Standout local Austin musicians that play regular gigs at the Continental Club in Austin include the Wagoneers, Dale Watson, the Peterson Brothers, Jon Dee Graham, Alejandro Escovedo and James McMurtry. A visit to the Continental Club is one of the things to do in Austin that captures the spirit of the Austin music scene.

I Love You So Much Mural At Jo’s Coffee on South Congress
Web Site: Jo’s Coffee on South Congress
1300 South Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78704

Phone: (512) 444-3800
If you stand at the corner of South Congress Avenue and West James Street and watch the number of people posing for photos, you might come to the conclusion that having a picture taken at the “I Love You So Much” mural is on everyone’s list of cool things to do in Austin. From quick snaps with phones to professional photographers doing engagement photos, this now iconic spot on South Congress has been photographed millions of times. The red spray paint scrawl was originally a love letter from musician Amy Cook to the owner of Jo’s Coffee House and her then girlfriend Liz Lambert. The love affair between Amy and Liz has been long over, but the Austin residents and visitors flock to the simple declaration of affection at all times of the day and night. Insiders Tip: Grab a cup of coffee at Jo’s and it’s a short drive to get another photographic keepsake of your trip to Austin in front of the “Greetings From Austin” mural at the corner of 1720 South 1st Street (the mural is on the West Annie side of the corner).

Magnolia Cafe South
Web Site: Magnolia Cafe South
1920 South Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78704

Phone: (512) 445-0000
Magnolia Cafe on South Congress is one of the things to do in Austin whether the day is just starting up or winding down. Magnolia Cafe South is open 24 hours a day. Look for the neon “Sorry, We’re Open” sign on South Congress Avenue. Magnolia Cafe is well known for it’s breakfast any time of the day including omelettes and pancakes. Rotating art exhibits from local artists decorate the walls and the ceiling of Magnolia Cafe South. There is also outdoor patio dining under large oak trees. The South Congress Magnolia Cafe is associated with the gift shop Prima Dora next door. If there is a wait for a table and Prima Dora is open, Magnolia’s announcement system will be heard in the gift shop. Prima Dora has a lot of cool Austin related gifts and Austin souvenirs, so it is a great place to shop while waiting for a table at Magnolia. Expect a wait after 2 AM when the bars close, but Magnolia Cafe South is one of the things to do in Austin to end a great day.

Threadgill’s World Headquarters South Austin
Web Site: Threadgill’s World Headquarters South Austin
301 West Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78704

Phone: (512) 472-9304
Experiencing a little bit of what Austin was like in the 1970s during Austin’s cosmic cowboy heyday puts Threadgill’s restarant on the things to do in Austin list. Threadgill’s World Headquarters South Austin is located on Riverside Drive between Congress Avenue and South First. Threadgill’s World Headquarters was founded by former concert promoter and co-founder of Armadillo World Headquarters, Eddie Wilson. Threadgill’s World Headquarters is located next to the former site of the the Armadillo World Headquarters on Barton Springs Road. The Armadillo World Headquarters was the music venue that is regarded as the birthplace of Texas progressive country, otherwise known as “redneck rock.” Artists such as Willie Nelson, Michael Martin Murphy and Jerry Jeff Walker frequently played at Armadillo World Headquarters. Threadgill’s World Headquarters celebrates the history of the Armadillo with posters, album covers and photographs from the 1970’s in Austin covering every wall. Threadgill’s serves Southern style cooking. Threadgill’s World Headquarters also has two stages, one inside and one outside in the Beer Garden, and hosts live music every weekend and most weeknights. For a taste of the old cosmic cowboy Austin, Threadgill’s on Riverside Drive is one of the must do things to do in Austin.