Austin's Original Horse Drawn Carriage Company provides historic tours, rides and services in a horse drawn carriage in the downtown Austin area. Services include weddings, special events, romantic evenings, and entertaining guests from out of town. It is best to call at least 8 hours before your desired reservation time to guarantee you get the time slot you need.
Austin Convention and Visitors Center offers two free Austin guided walking tours of historical homes and places in downtown Austin. Both tours require 24 hour advance reservations and reservations may be made through the Austin Convention and Vistors Center website. The Historic Congress Avenue and Sixth Street tour times are 9 AM Thursday through Saturday and 2 PM on Sunday and include 19th century buildings such as the Old Bakery, the Driskill Hotel and St. Mary's Cathedral. The Bremond Block Historic District tour examines a collection of homes belonging to members of the John Bremond family built during the Victorian era and tour times are at 11 AM on Saturday and Sunday. The tour departure point for both these free things to do in Austin is the South entrance of the Capitol building at 1100 Congress Avenue.
Riding from one of their amphibious Hydra Terra vehicles, Austin Duck Adventures offers tours of downtown Austin from a different perspective. You will be treated to a 75 minute sightseeing tour including Historic Sixth Street, the State Capitol Building, Bob Bullock State History Museum, the Governor’s Mansion, and Lake Austin, from both land and lake! Advance reservations are recommended, and they are also available for corporate charter.
Departing from the front porch of the Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill, Austin Ghost Tours will take you on a walking tour of some of Austin's spookiest places. Having extensively researched Austin's history, the tour guides will tell you the real stories behind some of the most chilling moments in the cities past and present. In over 10 years they have never canceled a tour due to weather, so if it's rainy and stormy, consider yourself in for an atmospheric treat.
Austin Overtures specializes in providing "Austin in 90 minutes", an Austin sightseeing tour that familiarizes you with over 30 major historical, cultural, and and significant points of interest in just 90 minutes. The tour van is equipped with satellite activated narration, and is designed and powered by Mercedes Benz, so your wide will be smooth and safe.
Boarding in Austin at Saltillo Plaza and in Cedar Park off Highway 183, the Austin Steam Train Association operates a variety of train rides on vintage passenger trains through historic neighborhoods in the heart of Austin and in the Texas Hill Country. Staffed by a dedicated group of volunteers, the trains operate most Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year. Special entertainment excursions include holiday trips, murder mysteries for adults and story book specials for kids. No charge for children under 3 years old, however, each child must ride in the lap of an adult. Advance reservations are recommended.
One of the iconic fun free things to do in Austin is to watch the world's largest urban bat colony fly out from under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk. The Congress Avenue bridge is one of three bridges linking the downtown area to South Austin across the Colorado River or what is sometimes referred to as Town Lake or more recently renamed Lake Lady Bird. 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 emerge before dark, but may fly late as the time of year and weather conditions affect bat emergence times. July and August are the best times to see the most dramatic flights when new born pups first begin to forage with their mothers. It is possible to view the bats from the bridge, but the bridge itself is a high traffic throughfare. 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 on the southeast side of the bridge where there is a viewing area and an educational kiosk. 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. Bat Conservation International Bat Interpreters are present Thursday through Sunday nights in the months of June, July and August. Please remember to look, but DON'T TOUCH THE BATS. Bats are free wild animals and like all free wild animals, they may bite in self-defense if handled.
Deep under the heart of the University of Texas is the Texas Union Underground, a recreational facility open to the general public featuring bowling at the Texas Union Underground. The bowling alley at The Underground has 12 bowling lanes and shoe rental is available. A special feature of bowling at the Texas Union is "Glow Bowl" nights, bowling with black florescent lights, lasers and music. Reservations are accepted and league bowling is available. The Texas Union Informal Classes also offer five-week bowling lessons to learn etiquette, proper equipment and the fundamentals of the game including ten free practice games.
*The main party barge as well as several smaller boats were damaged in a Christmas day fire. Please call for availability.* Capital Cruises was established in 1991 with the only all-electric fleet on all the Highland Lakes. Great for weddings, corporate events, or just an afternoon date on the lake, they offer rentals in everything from paddle boats to party barges, as well as bat watching tours and 'gambling' cruises. Their website features an 'instant quote' feature for any rental you wish to make.
The Capitol Visitors Center is located on the southeast corner of the Capitol grounds in the restored 1856-57 General Land Office building. It focuses on the history and the qualities of the Texas Capitol and Governor's Mansion. The Visitors Center features interactive exhibits and films about Capitol and Texas history, lots of free brochures on Austin and Texas visitor information and a gift shop with Austin and Texas related gifts. Admission to the Capitol Visitor's Center is FREE.
A family owned business out of Fredericksberg, Die Gelbe Rose is German for "The Yellow Rose". They provide many different downtown carriage tours with at least 30 minutes advance notice. They also offer Cinderella carriages for weddings, birthdays, or just that evening out with your Cinderella. They will work with you to customize your extra special event, and have over 18 Clydesdale's to choose from. Please call (512) 477-8824 to make a reservation.
Austin Riverboats is Texas' longest running Riverboat rental service. Specializing in classic Riverboat experiences, they have two paddlewheel boats that can fit up to 220 guests. They also can cater upon request. Perfect for weddings, corporate, or special events.
Lone Star Riverboat is a family owned business, operating the largest electric paddle wheel boat in the nation, as well as several smaller boats. They are available for private rental, as well as public tours and bat-seeing trips. They are also a city-concession, meaning that a portion of their gross sales go to preserving the park system.
Segcity is the only official Segway endorsed Segway tour in all of Austin. They provide several different kinds of tours at different times of the day, and if you just want to ride a Segway for a little while, they even have a tour for that. As a licensed Segway dealer, if you fall in love with it you can buy one straight from them.
Texpert Tours is the ultimate in a tour experience. Completely customizable, Texpert Tours prides itself in building a tour catering exclusively to your interests, and requests. Available for any kind of tour (their website even offers a tour aboard a Mobile Jet), there is no set schedule or departure, and the Texpert himself will work with you to figure out when you would like to begin and end the tour.
Closed for almost 25 years, the University of Texas currently offers tours of UT's landmark Tower atop the old Main Building on the UT campus. Accompanied by a UT student guide, tours are self-guided with approximately 45 minutes to view Austin from the observation deck. The schedule varies depending on the time of year, but generally tours take place Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Advance reservation of tickets is strongly recommended. Reservations can be made by phoning 475-6633 or in person at The Texas Union building on campus at 2247 Guadalupe Street. Tickets are $6.00 per person and tours are frequently booked a week or more in advance. Unclaimed tickets are sold to a waiting list 10 minutes before each tour time. You may sign up on this list on a walk-up basis at the Texas Union Information Center starting one hour before a scheduled tour. Bags and purses are not allowed on the tour, but lockers are available to rent for $1.