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.
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.
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.
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.
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From 2019-2020, a higher percentage of people moved to one Central Texas city than any other in the nation—and it wasn't the tech hub of Austin, Texas.
Instead, it was a former sleepy suburb tucked away in the nearby Hill Country. Leander, Texas, situated just north of fellow northwest Austin suburb Cedar Park, had the highest growth rate in the nation for two years in a row, swelling from just 26,000 residents in 2010 to nearly 60,000 in the latest U.S. Census.
Some may start to scratch their heads at those who choose to move to the lesser-known suburb when "boomtown" Austin is just around the corner. But while the Texas capital has priced or crowded out many prospective buyers and renters, Leander offers relatively cheaper real estate alongside a small-town feel.
The result has been explosive growth—something Thrive realtor and former Leander City Council Member Shanan Shepard has seen firsthand.
"I'm very well aware of what (growth) felt like all the way back to probably 2012," Shepherd said. "The city has wanted to grow, (and) over time, there's been a strong effort by the city to encourage development here."
Once a town of fewer than 10,000, Leander now boasts two of the fastest-growing residential neighborhoods in the Austin metro, and its county, Williamson County, saw 32.3% growth in home sales in February (Austin, meanwhile, saw home sales increase 2.5%). Swaths of new businesses and developments, including a $715 million, mixed-use shopping and dining "town center" development, have planted roots in the hilly countryside, and a new Cap Metro rail line is in the works to help bring commuters into Austin's city hub.
Shepherd, who formerly worked on the city's Economic Development Committee, said this is no accident.
"(It's) wanted to see development, wanted restaurants and retail and just commercial opportunities for two reasons: to diversify the tax base so that all of the tax burden didn't fall on homeowners... (and) for people to live here, to go to dinner or go shop and get your car washed," Shepherd said. "There's a higher education level generally and more disposable income in households, so all those things make it attractive for commercial development."
Leander's not alone: Austin suburbs from Round Rock to Buda have been eyed as some of the fastest-growing suburbs in recent years, thanks in part to rising Austin prices, new tech jobs and the desire for quieter lives amid the pandemic. But Shepherd said a few things still set Leander atop the list.
"I don't know that it's exclusive anymore," Shepherd said. "It used to be, and a lot of it was just affordability that it's pretty. There are a lot of trees and rolling hills and some of those other areas don't have as much of that. So it was a combination of those things, and 183 makes it an easy commute into Austin."
But even those far north Austin suburbs aren't immune to Austin's new housing prices. Williamson County's median home price is inching up to Travis County's at $479,000 in February, up 32.7% from the year before.
That's reflected in Shepherd's customer base, which increasingly includes investors and may indicate a new kind of growth coming to the area.
"We don't see a whole lot of young buyers anymore because, frankly, they've been priced out," Shepherd said. "Most of the people here are actually investors. There's a lot of people looking to invest here because of the growth."
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Doors for the grand opening of Tesla's $1.1 billion gigafactory in southeast Travis County open at 4 p.m. Thursday, and up to 15,000 could attend. The invite-only event known as Cyber Rodeo will feature food, drinks, entertainment and possibly fireworks.
Tesla has said people may not transfer, sell or buy tickets. And you have to leave the kids and fancy cameras at home, as the event is for adults only and Tesla won't allow drones or professional recording equipment inside. While some are willing to pay $500 to be someone's plus one, here are a few we know who have been invited or have traveled to Austin in the hopes of going:
Tesla Owners Club
Austonia talked to Theresa Ramsdell as she was preparing for her flight from Washington state, where she's the president of the Tesla Owners Club, to Austin for the grand opening. Ramsdell, who owns two Model 3's and a Model S Plaid, said her notice that she'd been invited came in about two weeks ago.
Ramsdell picked her husband as her plus one and is hoping to tour the factory. A while back, she had planned a club drive to the Fremont, California factory but couldn't go due to COVID-19 precautions. But now, she'll get an up-close look.
"I'm excited to see all the new tech that's going into the cars," Ramsdell said, noting the structural battery pack that Texas-made Model Y's are known for.
Other club presidents in the U.S. and Canada were also given an invitation, including the Austin chapter.
Mayor Steve Adler and other local officials
Adler has been invited, but it hasn't been confirmed whether he will be able to make it to the festivities, a spokesperson for the mayor told Ausotnia. On Sunday, Adler tweeted he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Other officials that could be in attendance include city council members, who have a meeting that day, and Travis County Commissioners. Del Valle ISD also received a limited number of tickets.
Made it to Austin this afternoon! Drove past #GigaTexas - #CyberRodeo - I still can't believe I'll be there, on the inside! @teslaownersSV @WholeMarsBlogpic.twitter.com/TqffPwgGsM— Indra @ #CyberRodeo #GigaTexas (@Indra @ #CyberRodeo #GigaTexas) 1649218445
Just days before, this Twitter user sent out a request to CEO Elon Musk asking for two invites. He says he got one arrived in Austin this week for the event. A flood of others have done the same, hoping Musk will help them in.
With nearly 17,000 YouTube subscribers, Tesla Joy is a Model 3 owner in Los Angeles, California who has also made the trip to Austin and swung by to see the factory from afar Wednesday.
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