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20 Aweome Things to Do in Austin with Teens

20 Aweome Things to Do in Austin with Teens

Travel to the Texas state capital of Austin has grown exponentially in recent years. With its eclectic mix of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and mouthwatering cuisine, Austin is a treasure trove of activities that will delight even the most discerning teenagers. 

Families can find natural wonders like Barton Springs Pool, historic sights, and a lively music scene on Sixth Street that help make it the Live Music Capital of the World. 

This list of things to do in Austin with teens is sure to engage teens of all interests and personalities and make for an unforgettable family trip full of excitement, laughter, and unforgettable memories.

Things to do in Austin with Teens- Outdoor Adventures

Barton Springs Pool and Zilker Park

Things to do in Austin with teens Barton Springs Pool

Zilker Park right in central Austin, has 358 acres of hiking trails, sports fields, and picnic areas for plenty of opportunities for active recreation. But one of the most popular locations in Zilker Park, especially in the hot Texas summer, is Barton Springs Pool.

The iconic Barton Springs Pool is a natural spring-fed oasis, ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Teens can enjoy the refreshing waters year-round, surrounded by lush greenery and scenic views. Daily prices range from $2 to $9, depending on age and residency. 

The Barton Creek Greenbelt

Barton Creek Greenbelt

The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a 7.25-mile stretch spanning from Zilker Park west to the Lost Creek neighborhood of Austin. The Greenbelt’s scenic trails wind through limestone cliffs, lush forests, and serene creeks, providing a refreshing escape from the city. 

Trails along the Greenbelt, like the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail, Twin Falls Trail, and Gus Fruh Trail, are great places to hike, bike, or as a go-between for swimming in natural swimming pools. Be sure to bring plenty of water, especially during the hot, humid summers, and be mindful of wildlife on the trails. Whether seeking adventure or relaxation, the Greenbelt trails are a rejuvenating experience for teens in Austin.

Kayak or Paddleboard on Lady Bird Lake

Kayaking in Austin
Photo via Flickr/EnWhy

Lady Bird Lake is actually a river-like reservoir on the Colorado River right in Austin. Kayaking or paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake makes for a great aquatic adventure for teens in the heart of Austin.

The Lake allows for a serene escape amidst the city skyline. Teens can paddle along the tranquil waters, taking in scenic views of lush parks and iconic landmarks like the Congress Avenue Bridge. 

Rental equipment is readily available from various outfitters along the lake’s shores, ensuring a hassle-free experience. Afterward, teens can explore nearby attractions such as the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail or indulge in a picnic at Zilker Park, making it a perfect day out in Austin for families.

Inner Space Cavern

Inner Space Cavern near Austin
Photo via Flickr/H3h

Inner Space Cavern, about an hour north of Austin, is one of the best-preserved caves in Texas. Estimated to be around 20-25 million years, these limestone formations and ancient fossils allow for an exciting and educational underground adventure for families with teens.

Teens can join a guided tour through the cavern’s expansive chambers, marveling at intricate stalactites, stalagmites, and other geological wonders.

Highlights include the Cathedral Room, with its towering formations, and the Hall of the Mountain King, adorned with delicate calcite crystals, providing a memorable and educational experience for teens in Austin. Prices vary depending on age and type of tour. For standard tours, it’s about $20 per person. 

Mount Bonnell

View from Mount Bonnell in Austin

Mount Bonnell in Austin gives a beautiful panoramic view of the city and surrounding landscapes, making it an ideal destination for families with teens seeking outdoor adventure. This iconic overlook, also known as Covert Park, provides a scenic backdrop for picnics, hiking, and photography.

Teens can climb the 106 steps to the summit, where they’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas of the Colorado River, downtown Austin, and the lush Hill Country. Sunset or sunrise visits have particularly spectacular views, while the surrounding trails allow for further exploration of the area’s natural beauty, making Mount Bonnell a must-visit spot for families in Austin.

Texas Trail Rides

Texas Trail Rides
Texas Trail Trides

For families with horse lovers or those who want to feel like a cowboy while in Texas, Texas Trail Rides makes for a memorable outdoor experience. Their guided horseback riding tours allow teens to explore the scenic beauty of the Texas Hill Country, immersing themselves in nature while bonding with gentle horses. 

The tours take riders through picturesque trails, winding through oak groves, creeks, and rolling hills. Highlights include sightings of local wildlife, such as deer and birds, as well as breathtaking views of the countryside. With knowledgeable guides leading the way, Texas Trail Rides provides a safe and enjoyable adventure for families looking to connect with nature and create lasting memories.

Visiting with younger children? Here are our favorite things to do in Austin with kids.

Things to do in Austin with Teens- Cultural Exploration

South Congress Avenue

20 Aweome Things to Do in Austin with Teens 1
Photo via Flickr/RandyVonLiski

South Congress Avenue in Austin beckons families with teens with its unique mix of eclectic shops, delectable eateries, and captivating street art. Teens can explore a treasure trove of unique boutiques, vintage stores, and artisanal shops, indulging in retail therapy and discovering one-of-a-kind finds. 

The area’s colorful murals and graffiti-lined walls provide the perfect backdrop for Instagram-worthy photoshoots, while live music performances and food truck fare add to the lively atmosphere.

Highlights include iconic landmarks like the “Greetings from Austin” mural and the exciting shopping scene. Families can enjoy strolling, shopping, and savoring the bohemian charm of South Congress Avenue together.

Attend Live Performances on Sixth Street

Antones in Austin
Photo via Antones

Attending live performances on Sixth Street in Austin is an exciting and immersive experience for families with teens. Known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Sixth Street boasts a vibrant music scene with venues catering to diverse tastes. 

Teens can groove to the rhythm of local bands, catch electrifying performances, and discover emerging artists in intimate settings. Family-friendly venues like The Continental Club and Antone’s have all-ages shows, ensuring everyone can enjoy the music together. Whether it’s rock, blues, or indie, Sixth Street provides a dynamic and memorable outing for families looking to soak up Austin’s musical culture.

Visit during the holidays? Check out guide to Christmas in Austin as well as our guide to the top pumpkin patches in Austin.

Bullock Texas State History Museum

Bullock Texas State History Museum

The Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin provides an engaging and educational experience for teens. Through interactive exhibits, immersive displays, and multimedia presentations, teens can explore the rich and diverse history of Texas. From the state’s earliest inhabitants to its role in shaping American culture, the museum gives insights into key historical events and figures. 

Teens can learn about topics like the Texas Revolution, cowboy culture, and space exploration, sparking curiosity and appreciation for their state’s heritage. With its dynamic exhibits and hands-on activities, the Bullock Museum creates a memorable and enlightening journey through Texas history for teens in Austin.

Texas State Capitol

Texas State Capitol

Visiting the Texas State Capitol in Austin gives teens a fascinating glimpse into the state’s political history and architectural grandeur. As the largest state capitol building in the U.S., it’s an impressive sight. Teens can explore the historic chambers and intricate artwork and learn about Texas’ legislative process through guided tours. 

Highlights include the grand rotunda, the House and Senate chambers, and the famous portrait gallery. Interactive exhibits showcase Texas’s role in shaping national events and fostering civic engagement and historical understanding. The Capitol’s majestic presence and educational offerings make it a must-visit destination for families exploring Austin with teens.

Austin Nature and Science Center

Austin Nature and Science Center
Photo via Facebook/Austin Nature and Science Center

The Austin Nature and Science Center provides educational and hands-on experience for teens interested in the natural world. Found within Zilker Park, it has immersive exhibits and outdoor habitats where teens can learn about local wildlife and ecosystems. Highlights include interactive displays on geology, paleontology, and native Texan flora and fauna. 

Teens can explore hiking trails, encounter rescued animals, and participate in educational programs and workshops. The Dino Pit allows teens to uncover fossils, while the Wildlife Exhibits allow for up-close encounters with native species. With its engaging exhibits and outdoor adventures, the Austin Nature and Science Center inspires curiosity and appreciation for the environment.

Keep exploring! Here are the best daytrips from Austin, Texas.

UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum 

Visiting the UMLAUF Sculture Garden is one of the best things to do in Austin with teens
Photo via Flickr/NickAmoscato

Fans of sculpture or modern art will love the UMLAUF Sculture Garden. The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum is a serene and culturally enriching experience for teens. Set amidst lush gardens and tranquil ponds, it showcases the works of renowned American sculptor Charles Umlauf. Teens can admire over 200 sculptures, ranging from figurative to abstract, and explore the beautiful grounds. 

Notable sights include Umlauf’s iconic sculptures, as well as rotating exhibitions featuring contemporary artists. The museum also hosts educational programs and workshops, providing teens with opportunities to engage with art and creativity. With its peaceful ambiance and inspiring artworks, the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum is a perfect retreat for teens seeking artistic inspiration.

Museum of Ice Cream

20 Aweome Things to Do in Austin with Teens 2

The Museum of Ice Cream in Austin gives teens a whimsical and Instagram-worthy experience that’s sure to delight. From colorful exhibits to interactive installations, teens can immerse themselves in a world of sweet delights and playful surprises. Highlights include the famous sprinkle pool, vibrant ice cream-themed rooms, and tasty treats to sample along the way. 

With its fun-filled environment and endless photo opportunities, the Museum of Ice Cream provides the perfect backdrop for teens to unleash their creativity, indulge their sweet tooth, and make memories with friends. It’s a deliciously delightful destination for teens in Austin.

Museum of the Weird

20 Aweome Things to Do in Austin with Teens 3

For teens who want to experience more of Austin’s motto “Keep Austin Weird,” The Museum of the Weird in Austin is a thrilling experience like no other. This is great for teens who don’t get squeamish (think shrunken heads and bizarre wax figures). Featuring a collection of bizarre and mysterious artifacts, it’s a journey into the realms of the supernatural and the unexplained. 

Teens can marvel at oddities such as shrunken heads, two-headed animals, and cryptids from around the world. The museum’s interactive exhibits and entertaining displays make it a captivating destination for curious minds. Notable highlights include the Fiji Mermaid, Bigfoot casts, and the Alien Autopsy Room.

With its eclectic mix of curiosities and supernatural wonders, the Museum of the Weird promises an unforgettable adventure for teens in Austin.

Things to do in Austin with Teens- Entertainment and Recreation

Schlitterbahn

Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels is a great day trip from San Antonio
Photo via Schlitterbahn

Schlitterbahn Waterpark just outside of Austin gives teens and families a welcome escape from the Texas heat. Located in New Braunfels, a short drive from Austin, it houses many thrilling water rides and attractions. Teens can brave the heart-pounding drops of the Master Blaster, float along the lazy river, or catch waves in the Torrent Wave River. 

The park’s tubing adventures, such as the Hillside Tube Chute, are perfect for adrenaline-fueled excitement. With its tropical-themed decor, numerous slides, and family-friendly amenities, Schlitterbahn provides a fun-filled day of aquatic adventure for teens and families alike, making it a perfect summer destination.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Hill Country which is our favorite place to road trip in the state. Here is an amazing Texas Hill Country Road Trip itinerary put together by our local writer.

Pinballz Arcade 

Pinballz Arcade in Austin
Photo via Facebook/Pinballz Arcade

Pinballz Arcade in Austin is a haven for teens seeking nostalgic fun and excitement. With an extensive collection of classic and modern arcade games, teens can immerse themselves in a world of electronic entertainment. From vintage pinball machines to cutting-edge video games, there’s something for every gamer’s taste. 

The arcade’s fun and exciting environment and friendly staff allow teens to socialize, compete, and make memories with friends. With multiple locations across Austin, Pinballz Arcade is a convenient and thrilling destination for teens to unleash their gaming skills and enjoy hours of non-stop fun.

Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In

 Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In
Photo via Visit Austin

For families looking for a movie-going experience with a twist, The Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In in Austin gives teens a unique and nostalgic movie-watching experience. Situated in a cozy urban setting, it combines the charm of a classic drive-in with modern amenities. 

Teens can enjoy blockbuster hits and cult classics from the comfort of a car, complete with snacks and drinks from the concession stand. The intimate atmosphere fosters a sense of community and nostalgia, making it a perfect outing for teens to hang out with friends or enjoy a date night. With its retro vibes and cinematic magic, the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In provides teens with an unforgettable movie-going experience.

Barton Creek Square Mall

Barton Creek Square Mall

For families with shopaholics or those looking for a break from the Texas heat, the Barton Creek Square Mall in Austin combines shopping, dining, and entertainment under one roof. Teens can explore a wide range of stores, from popular fashion retailers like H&M and Forever 21 to tech-savvy destinations like Apple Store. 

The mall also features entertainment options such as a movie theater and arcade, providing plenty of opportunities for teens to hang out with friends and family. With its diverse selection of stores and entertainment options, Barton Creek Square Mall is a fun and convenient destination for teens to spend time in Austin.

Central Market North Lamar

20 Aweome Things to Do in Austin with Teens 4

Foodies will love the Central Market North Lamar in Austin. Teens can explore aisles filled with international delicacies, fresh produce, and artisanal goods, expanding their palate and culinary knowledge. The bustling atmosphere and diverse food options make it an exciting destination for teens to indulge in gastronomic adventures with friends and family. 

From freshly baked bread to exotic cheeses and ready-to-eat meals, Central Market North Lamar provides a lively and immersive food experience that teens are sure to enjoy in Austin.

Sample Austin’s Famous Restaurants

Torchy's Tacos in Austin
Torchy’s Tacos

Austin’s famous restaurants are a delicious culinary journey that’s a must for any food-loving teen. From iconic BBQ joints like Franklin Barbecue, serving mouthwatering brisket and ribs, to the trendy Torchy’s Tacos, with innovative taco creations like the Trailer Park and the Green Chile Pork, Austin’s dining scene is brimming with flavor and character.

And don’t miss the legendary breakfast fare at Magnolia Cafe, serving up mouthwatering pancakes and migas all day long. 

With its diverse array of eateries showcasing the best of Texan and international cuisine, Austin’s famous restaurants promise a gastronomic adventure that teens won’t soon forget.