Ultimate Weekend in Austin itinerary Ideas for first-time visitors

Austin is one of the most amazing cities to visit in America.

It is the capital of the Lone Star State and is famous for its vibrant nightlife, amazing attractions, and renowned food scene.

Austin, Texas is also known as the live music capital of the world.

The city has a distinct vibrant, eclectic, and Bohemian vibe which is perfectly captured by the city’s slogan “Keep Austin Weird”!

The city was named after Stephen Austin, father of the Republic of Texas in 1839.

It grew from a stuffy old political city to a quirky college town by the 90s and soon, became one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas.

Since then, Austin has changed a lot and sometimes feels more West Coast than Texan – if y’all know what we mean!

But hey – we aren’t cribbing – we absolutely love the changing colorful character of this lively city. Change is good, you know!

Today’s Austin is bohemian and cosmopolitan – heaven for budding coders, entrepreneurs, musicians, creatives, and even chefs!

It has created its unique identity that beckons visitors of all ages and promises a jolly good time.

Also Read
Texas to California Road Trip
Texas to Colorado Road Trip Stops

How many days do you need in Austin?

We recommend planning an Austin itinerary for 2 to 3 days to make the most of this amazing city.

A long weekend is a perfect time for visiting Austin and exploring all its attractions.

If you have 3 days in Austin, then you can visit some of the city’s top outdoor attractions and enjoy activities like hiking and biking.

Austin itinerary ideas

Visitors often wonder, what to see in Austin?

Austin is home to a large number of museums and galleries.

The most popular and highly-rated museums include: Texas State Capitol, The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, South Congress Avenue, and The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

Austin is also home to a number of unique historic landmarks such as The Driskill Hotel and Littlefield House.

The city’s most popular outdoor attractions include: Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, Zilker Park, Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail, and Mount Bonnell.

For those looking to explore more of the city’s vibrant art scene, we recommend adding a visit to one of Austin’s most popular neighborhood arts districts: South Congress Avenue Arts District and Warehouse Row.

After planning your trip to Austin for 2 or 3 days, you can now make your way from downtown to hip neighborhoods or some of the city’s famous independent shops, bars, and restaurants.

Weekend in Austin itinerary

Austin is hands down the most fun city in Texas and the best weekend trip!

If you’re planning to spend the weekend in Austin, then here is how you can make the most of your time there.

Day 1 in Austin itinerary: State Capitol, Museum District, South Congress Avenue

Begin your Weekend in Austin itinerary in downtown Austin.

Eat a hearty breakfast – pancakes or omelets or breakfast tacos or shrimp or grits – it’s all good – then get ready for a long and winding day in Austin.

Texas State Capitol

You cannot visit Austin without seeing the famous Texas State Capitol building.

The Texas Capitol building has a beautiful Italian Renaissance Revival style of architecture and is built from local pink granite found near Marble Falls.

Fun fact – The Texas State Capitol is taller than the US Capitol building!

The capitol building can be seen on a self-guided tour.

It offers stunning views of the city from its observation deck.

Be sure to check out the exhibits inside, as well as the gift shop, which offers a wide variety of souvenirs.

The capitol grounds are full of historical monuments and statues and worth a stroll.

Also, see the Texas Governor’s Mansion if you have the time.

Museum District

Adjacent to the Texas state capitol, you will find the Museum District.

Here, you can visit a number of museums.

The most popular museums include the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, The Blanton Art Museum at The University of Texas, Mexic-Arte Museum, and more.

With so many museums in one vicinity – including some rare one – you are sure to find something that interests you.

Additionally, it only takes 15 minutes or so to stroll from one museum to another in the Museum District.

Here is some information about each:

Mexic-Arte Museum

Mexic-Arte Museum is an art gallery located in the heart of the museum district.

The most popular exhibits include Mexican folk art, pre-Columbian Mesoamerican collections, and contemporary exhibitions.

Also on display are multimedia exhibits by Latino artists from across Texas.

Bullock History Museum

This is the most famous of Austin’s museums and a must-visit for those interested in local history.

A visit to this museum is like reading a book about Texas which starts with pre-historic fossils of dinosaurs and mammoth bones, glass bottles of 19th-century tequila, right up to its first oil well and first airport.

Plan to spend a few hours seeing the exhibits.

Blanton Museum of Art

The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas is regarded as one of the best art museums in Texas.

Entrance to this museum is free, and there is a wide range of art exhibits that change every few months.

LBJ Presidential Library and Museum

Plan to visit the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum during your weekend in Austin if you are interested in the history of Texas and how it shaped modern America.

The museum features several galleries, including a permanent exhibit on Johnson’s life and presidency.

Optional: University of Texas Campus

The University of Texas of Austin is a great place to visit, regardless if you are a college student or not.

This expansive campus has plenty of local shops and restaurants, green spaces for outdoor activities, live music, sports games, fraternity parties – basically something for everyone!

South Congress Avenue Arts District

From the Museum District, make your way down South Congress Avenue for a visit to the popular South Congress Avenue Arts District.

There, you can shop at popular boutiques and stores.

You can also grab a bite to eat at one of the different restaurants in the area.

Another must activity – Take a photo with the Greetings from Austin mural!

And, there are plenty of live music venues where you can end your night with some local tunes.

By sunset, make sure to return to the South Congress Avenue Bridge for one of the most spectacular sights in Austin – the bat flight!

South Congress Avenue bridge bat flight

South Congress Avenue bridge in Austin, Texas is home to the largest urban bat colony in the world.

Every year from March to November, about 1 million Mexican free-tailed bats and over 100,000 Brazilian free-tailed bats emerge from under the bridge at sunset.

To capture this spectacle on camera, plan for a late afternoon arrival.

You’ll find the best photo vantage points on either side of the South Congress Avenue Bridge or from the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge directly across from it.

Definitely visit South Congress Avenue bridge during your weekend in Austin, Tx.

Rainey Street Historic District

End your night in Rainey Street Historic District.

This is one of the most popular nightlife districts in Austin.

The district features several bars with live music.

Be forewarned that this area can be quite loud at night!

There are plenty of good restaurants near Rainey Street Historic District to grab a delicious meal before heading home.

By day, Rainey Street Historic District is a peaceful neighborhood with shops and restaurants to explore.

Day 2 in Austin itinerary: Zilker Park, Lady Bird Lake, East Austin, Sixth Street

Austin has a lot of outdoor attractions and parks to offer visitors, and we think it would be remiss to not experience this side of the city. 

You can start by exploring Zilker Park and enjoy the skyline views at Lady Bird Lake.

Then head to East Austin to immerse in the arts, culture, and culinary scene.

Enjoy the sunset from one of Austin’s favorite overlooks and end the night listening to live music on Sixth Street.

Barton Springs Pool

Next up on your Austin itinerary, the famous Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park!

This iconic pool is spring-fed and features a constant temperature of 68 degrees fahrenheit.

Barton Springs Pool sits next to the Barton Creek Greenbelt and is very popular in the summer.

Barton Creek Greenbelt

Barton Creek Greenbelt is a popular place for hiking, biking, running, swimming, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, and tubing.

It is a great place to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors!

Zilker Park

After visiting Barton Springs Pool, explore the rest of Zilker Park.

The park is huge and features several activities such as camping, hiking trails, biking, and picnicking.

Zilker Botanical Garden

A must-see in Zilker Park is the Zilker Botanical Garden.

The garden features a variety of plants and flowers, including roses and a turtle pond.

Admission to the Zilker Botanical Garden is free!

Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake, located in downtown Austin, is a must-visit stop on any Austin weekend itinerary.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy Lady Bird Lake.

You can hike or bike the scenic Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail or rent a kayak and paddle through it (rental costs vary depending on the type of boat).

Don’t forget to snap some photos of the Austin skyline views from Mopac Bridge.


Enjoy stand up paddle boarding or kayaking on the lake and enjoy Austin’s amazing skyline from the water.

Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail

Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail is a 10 mile long trail that loops around Lady Bird Lake.

You can rent bikes onsite if you don’t have your own with you.

Mopac Bridge

On the corner of South First Street and Barton Springs Road, you will find Mopac Bridge.

The bridge is a popular overlook for taking photos of the Austin skyline and Lady Bird Lake.

East Austin

After exploring Lady Bird Lake, head to East Austin to check out several neighborhoods filled with art galleries, restaurants, breweries, and more.

Street art

Austin, Texas is known for its street art. In fact, it is one of the best cities for street art in America!

It’s everywhere, and there are tours you can take to discover it.  

You might even stumble upon a few colorful murals while exploring East Austin!

We recommend taking a food tour first, as several of the stops will be familiar after your free walking tours in the afternoon.

South Austin

Get ready for an adventure by heading to South Austin.

You will visit several neighborhoods and enjoy some of the city’s most iconic attractions!

Then enjoy sunset views from one of Austin’s most famous viewpoints: Mt Bonell or the 360 bridge!

Mount Bonell

Mount Bonnell is located at the top of a large hill in West Austin.

It provides amazing views of downtown Austin and the surrounding area.

Mayfield Park, located near Mount Bonell, is a nice place to relax and see the beautiful peacocks!

The 360 Bridge

The 360 Bridge is located on the Colorado River and provides another breathtaking view of the Austin skyline at sunset.

East 6th Street

Historic East 6th Street is filled with bars, unique boutiques, restaurants, street art, and live music venues.

On any given weekend in Austin, you will find local and traveling musicians and bands playing at different bars and venues across the city.

The bars in East 6th Street are very popular during the weekends.

East Austin District is the place to be if you want to experience local culture, arts, food scene, music, and more!

Try Texas bbq

End your day by sampling some of the famous Texas BBQ in Austin.

Texas BBQ is famous for its beef brisket and sausages.

Some of the most popular spots in Texas include Franklin Black’s BBQ, and La Barbecue.

3 Days Austin itinerary

3 or more days in Austin allows you to enjoy the hidden gems in Austin as well as explore the beautiful surrounding countryside.

Day 3 in Austin

Austin is the perfect base to explore the surrounding Texas Hill Country.

Just beyond Austin city limits, you will find a variety of outdoor attractions and gorgeous views.

Take a cruise on the Colorado River, enjoy a dip in the natural swimming holes near Austin, or see the gorgeous Texas bluebonnets.

Hamilton Pool Preserve

About 40-minute drive from Austin, Dripping Springs is located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country.

It is home to the famous Hamilton Pool Preserve.

Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural swimming hole and one of the most popular attractions near Austin.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Enchanted Rock is another must-see when exploring the Texas Hill Country.

This pink granite dome is 550 million years old.

On a clear day, you can enjoy incredible views from the summit.

You must take a guided hike to reach the top of Enchanted Rock, but it is definitely worth it!

Where to stay in Austin?

We recommend booking a hotel in downtown Austin and easy access to East Austin, South Congress Avenue, and Westlake.

You may also choose to stay near South Congress Avenue or the popular SoCo district.

There are also some great hotels located right on Lady Bird Lake if you’d like to enjoy activities near the water.

Best Time to Visit Austin, Texas

Austin enjoys year-round mild weather and is fun to visit throughout the year. 

Spring in Austin

Spring in Austin is the best time to visit as temperatures are mild and you can enjoy outdoor activities such as swimming.

During Spring, visitors will also get a chance to see all of Austin’s lovely wildflowers and bluebonnets in full bloom.

If you’re planning your Spring Break in Austin then avoid March as this is when most students are free from college.

The popular South by Southwest festival also takes place in March, making this a very popular time to visit the city.

Summer in Austin

Austin summers can be extremely hot with very little rainfall. The average high temperatures in June, July, and August hover around 95 F!

Austin is also known for its local music scene so check out the city’s famous music venues during your weekend in Austin!

Fall in Austin

Autumn is a great time to visit as it typically doesn’t get too cold.

Fall is also when you can enjoy all of Austin’s festivals and events including the famous Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Winter in Austin

Austin winters are mild but it does snow occasionally in December, January, and February.

Austin’s Christmas lights are a wonderful attraction to visit during the holiday season.

Stroll around downtown Austin, check out Zilker Park, or tour the city on a horse-drawn carriage!

With great food and drinks, trendy boutiques and vintage clothing shops, independent music venues, and an eclectic live music scene, Austin is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing weekend trip.

We hope you liked our weekend in Austin itinerary.