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Don't break the bank: What to do in Austin for $10 or less

Barton Springs Pool is one of many places to spend your day at this spring for under $10 a person.

Austin is one of those cities filled with fun activities for anyone and everyone—even if you're on a budget. Whether you're looking for some fun drinking or you want to spend a day in nature, Austin has you covered with some bizarre and other tranquil entertainment options for the best day ever.

Here are 9 activities under $10 you should try in Austin.

Chicken Shit Bingo at The Little Longhorn Saloon

Address: 5434 Burnet Road

For the past 40 years, The Little Longhorn Saloon has provided Austinites with amazing live music of all genres, a good time and one of the weirdest and most creative activities: chicken shit bingo.

If you had to do a double take on that name, you aren't alone. The popular weekly activity is a fan favorite at The LIttle Longhorn Saloon. From 4-8 p.m. on Sundays, you can make a $2 donation to buy your ticket and gather with your friends for the unique bingo experience. Once the chickens are fed and the anticipation for what is followed begins, the rounds of bingo start. Your ticket will have a number that will correspond with one on the table and if a chicken happens to do its business on your lucky number, you win a cash prize.

Cathedral of Junk

Address: 4422 Lareina Dr.

Hidden behind a south Austin home is none other than the Cathedral of Junk, a beloved Austin treasure. What started as a fun project for owner Vince Hannemann has become the talk of the town and a location for tours, weddings, parties and much more.

Hannemann started building his towering artwork in 1988 when he was in his 20s and has since collected some 60 tons of unwanted items, adding to the Cathedral of Junk. Adults can make a $10 donation to tour the Austin gem and kids 18 and younger get in for free. You can make a reservation to tour the Cathedral of Junk by calling Vince at 512-299-7413.

Zilker Botanical Garden

Address: 2220 Barton Springs Road

In the heart of downtown is a land where the grass is green and gardens don't fall short on the horizon. At the Zilker Botanical Garden, guests can tour around the different themed gardens while enjoying some sunlight and all that nature has to offer. The botanical garden has three garden themes: Taniguchi Japanese Garden, Hartman Prehistoric Garden and the Rose Garden, all offering different sights and peaceful walking tours. General admission tickets range from $6 to $8 depending on the time of day and a reservation can be made online here.

There are also free days offered for 2021: May 2, July 17, Sept. 12, Nov. 11 and Dec. 27.

Barton Springs Pool

Address: 2131 William Barton Dr.

It's no secret that Austinites cherish one of the most well-known treasures of the city: Barton Springs Pool. The 3 acre pool is made possible from underground springs with warm water temperatures of 68-70 degrees, making it a perfect place to visit year-round. The pool has been visited by locals, tourists, celebrities and all people wanting to enjoy a beautiful natural treasure within downtown city limits. Austin residents can enter the Barton Springs Pool for $5; entry for children between the ages of 1 and 11 is $2, ages 12 to 17 is $3 and seniors 62 or older is $2.

Mayfield Park

Address: 3505 W 35th St.

Since before humans toured the grounds of Mayfield Park, bright and colorful peacocks claimed it as theirs and haven't left since. Mayfield Park, home to over 20 acres of palm trees, brilliant gardens, koi ponds and as stated before, brilliantly eccentric peacocks. From 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., guests can roam around the park while exploring the historic buildings, running into peacocks and enjoying the outdoors.

Watch the sunset at Oasis Texas Brewing Company

Address: 6650 Comanche Trail Suite #301

Lake Travis has some of the most breathtaking views in Austin, and now, you can enjoy a cold beer and some sunset views at the Oasis Texas Brewing Company. From 4-6 p.m. on Thursday and 2-6 p.m. on Fridays, the brewery hosts a killer happy hour with a great view. Guests can order $12 sliders and beer tasting featuring a fried chicken slider, wagyu beef slider and triple threat pork slider plus a flight of 3 beers. If the extra $2 is a dealbreaker, you can try any slider and a beer for $5 during happy hour. Checking out Lake Travis during golden hour might be an activity worth doing every weekend.

The Congress Avenue Bridge bats

Address: Congress Ave.

Locals know that starting in late March until early fall, spotting bats during sunset isn't a surprise. Whether it's your first time seeing the Mexican free-tailed bats wake and start their night flight or you've seen it one too many times, it's a mindblowing and beautiful activity worth witnessing, sometimes more than one. The small winged nocturnal animals come out to play right around sunset. If you find yourself on the Congress Avenue Bridge, along with hundreds of other people wanting to see the magical experience, you won't be disappointed.

Carousel Lounge

Address: 1110 E. 52nd

Halloween is far away but Carousel Lounge, a beloved Austin circus-themed bar will be reopening it's doors just in time for a fun summer. The oh-so-Austin and unique dive bar has been providing Austinites with quite a weird scene of circus-themed everything since the 1960s. Now, with the pandemic's end in sight, the bar will be opening its doors May 1 for a night of creepy fun, drinks and tons of live music. If you're not sold on the idea or being surrounded by clowns, you'll be happy to know its BYO-liquor, according to do512. Go for the experience, save on the alcohol.

Yard Bar

Address: 6700 Burnet Road

At Yard Bar, you'll find yourself enjoying a cold beer while spending time with exclusively dog lovers, all while giving your own pup a space to have fun. For a $9 per dog entry pass, 21 and older guests can enjoy the afternoon at the outdoor restaurant while drinking $5 draft beers and soaking up some sun. Along with pup-inspired meals for your own four-legged friends, Yard Bar also offers human food such as burgers and sandwiches. So if you're looking for good beer, good food and even better—dogs, Yard Bar has you covered.


‘Like speed dating of cats’ at Purr-fecto Cat Lounge
Purr-fecto Cat Lounge

Lina Martinez with her newly adopted cat, Emmanuel, who she renamed Sullivan.

Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.

As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.

“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”

Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.

“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”

Actually, a purr-fect idea.

Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.

At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”

Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.

“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”

Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.

“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”

Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.

“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”

Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.

“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”

And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.

“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”

Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.

“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”

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