Do you have only 1 day to spend in Austin, Texas? If you have less than 24 hours in Austin, I have put together the perfect one day in Austin itinerary including the best things to do, where to eat and stay and other tips to make the most of your short visit.
Austin in One Day
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One Day in Austin Itinerary
Unlike many large cities, Austin does not have a large number of landmarks. It is a city best experienced through its food, music and culture. Here is my suggested itinerary for what to see and do in Austin in one day.
It is a fairly busy itinerary for a day so feel free to skip a few things if you prefer to explore Austin at a slower pace.
Tour the State Capitol
If I had to pick one must see in Austin it would be the State Capitol building. This iconic landmark is the biggest capitol building in the US. There are free guided tours as well as self-guided tours.
Stroll through SoCo
If you want to walk around Austin, head to the South Congress neighborhood (abbreviated SoCo). This area is full of unique shops, restaurants and murals.
Stop by Amy’s Ice Cream which has been described as a quintessentially Austin institution. Amy’s Ice Cream has over 350 ice cream flavors in rotation but is most well known for their Mexican Vanilla. They have a location in SoCo and a few other locations in Austin.
If you’ve always wanted a pair of your very own cowboy boots, head to Allens Boots. This store has the largest selection of boots under one roof in the world. You will find boots in every style and price range imaginable.
SoCo is home to some of Austin’s most popular murals including the “I Love You So Much” Wall on the side of Joe’s Coffee at 1300 S Congress Ave and “Willie for President” mural at 100 E Elizabeth St.
The “Greetings From Austin” mural at 1720 S 1st St. is a great photo spot that is only a few blocks away from the SoCo neighborhood.
Take a Dip in Barton Springs Pool
Barton Springs Pool is a popular recreational outdoor swimming pool located in Zilker Park. The three acre pool is fed with water from nearby underground natural springs with an average temperature of 68-70 degrees and is ideal for year-round swimming.
Hike or Bike Around Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake is a reservoir on the Colorado River located in downtown Austin. You can go hiking or biking around the lake. If you have more time or just want to spend time on the water, you can rent kayaks, canoes, stand up paddleboards (SUP) and pedal kayaks here.
Watch Bats Take Flight at Sunset
If you visit Austin during “bat season” (March to October but best in August and September), you can join the crowds to watch a cloud of over 1 million Mexican free-tail bats leave their home under Congress Avenue Bridge and fly into the sky. This largest colony of urban bats usually takes flight around sunset.
Listen to Live Music
After dinner head to one of Austin’s many live music venues. Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” because it has more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the United States.
Where to Eat in Austin
Austin is famous for Mexican food and barbecue. One of the best places for BBQ in Austin is La Barbecue.
If your time is limited, grab something to eat from one of Austin’s many food trucks or have a quick bite at the Whole Foods flagship store on Lamar. This is no ordinary Whole Foods store -they have food stations with all kinds of prepared food and even a wine bar.
Where to Stay in Austin
The Driskill is my top hotel choice when visiting Austin. This historic hotel (that many claim is haunted) is conveniently located on 6th Street in downtown Austin near numerous bars and restaurants. Click here to read Tripadvisor reviews and click here to see the latest prices.
When to Visit Austin
Austin is a great destination year around but summer can get too hot. Spring is one of the best times to visit Austin. Fall is another great time to visit.