Best Things to Do With Teens in Austin: 12 Exhilarating Attractions for Teenagers

by Jen
Best Things to Do With Teens in Austin
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Looking to visit Austin anytime soon? Let’s dive deep into the heart of Texas and uncover the best things to do with teens in Austin.

Known for its iconic music festivals and mouthwatering barbecue, Austin is more than just the capital of the Lone Star State—it’s a playground for the young and the young-at-heart. From the shimmering waters of Lady Bird Lake to the bustling streets of South Congress Ave, every corner of Austin tells a story.

Whether you’re a music enthusiast eager to catch a live show, an adventurer ready to tackle the city’s numerous trails, or a foodie on the hunt for the next best taco, Austin has something for everyone.

But what truly sets Austin apart is its creativity, evident in its eclectic art scenes, innovative tech hubs, and, of course, its iconic slogan: “Keep Austin Weird”. This spirit resonates deeply with the younger generation, making it a top destination for teenagers looking for both adventure and inspiration.

Imagine paddleboarding under the Texas sun, shopping for quirky finds in local boutiques, scaling indoor climbing walls, or simply lounging in the city’s many parks, soaking in the atmosphere. And when hunger strikes, Austin’s culinary scene is second to none. From gourmet donuts and spicy Tex-Mex to vegan delights and international cuisines, the city offers a gastronomic journey like no other. Fly to Austin, and you’re truly in for a treat.

With so much to offer, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But fret not! We’ve delved deep into Austin’s gems to curate a list of the top 12 activities and attractions tailored for teens.

The top places to visit with teens in Austin right now
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Best Things to Do With Teens in Austin

From the pulsating beats of Austin’s live music venues to the tranquil whispers of its nature trails, you need to dive deeper to uncover the unique Austin places to visit with teens.

Perhaps the city’s vibrant arts scene beckons, with its rich history and culture. Or maybe it’s the call of the wild, the promise of serene moments amidst Austin’s green havens. Whatever your heart desires, Austin is ready to serenade you with its myriad of things to do. So, without further ado, let’s explore the best attractions in Austin for teens that promise memories to cherish!

1. Embark on a Mural Scavenger Hunt in Austin

Austin’s streets are a canvas, painted with vibrant murals that tell tales of the city’s culture, history, and spirit. Embarking on a mural scavenger hunt is not only one of the fun things to do in Austin with teens. It’s also a journey through the city’s artistic soul. From iconic pieces like the “Greetings from Austin” postcard mural to hidden gems tucked away in alleyways, each artwork offers a unique glimpse into the city’s character.

Start your adventure in the bustling streets of South Congress Ave. Here, walls come alive with colorful depictions of local legends, abstract designs, and powerful messages. As you wander, challenge your teens to spot as many murals as they can, turning the experience into a friendly competition. Don’t forget to snap photos along the way, capturing memories and the city’s ever-evolving art scene.

Beyond being a visual treat, this activity offers an opportunity to discuss the stories and meanings behind each mural. Families can dive into conversations about art, expression, and the role of street art in urban landscapes.

Exploring South Congress Ave is one of the best things to do with teens in Austin.
Embark on a vibrant South Congress Ave adventure where murals of local legends, abstract art, and powerful messages come alive.

2. Tour the Majestic Texas State Capitol Building

Visiting Austin with teens presents a golden opportunity to delve into Texas’ vibrant history. The Texas State Capitol Building is an architectural marvel that stands as a testament to the state’s storied past. It’s also one of the best places in Austin for teens to gain insight into Texas’s legislative processes and historical milestones.

The Capitol, with its distinctive sunset red granite facade, towers over downtown Austin. This offers panoramic views of the cityscape. Inside, intricate carvings, portraits of past governors, and the whisperings of legislative debates transport visitors back in time. Guided tours are available daily for a more insightful adventure. Tours offer fascinating tidbits about the building’s history, the symbolism behind its design, and the pivotal events that have taken place within its walls.

But the experience isn’t confined to the interiors. The Capitol grounds, spanning 22 acres, are dotted with statues, monuments, and lush green spaces perfect for a leisurely stroll. Each monument tells a story, from the Heroes of the Alamo to the Ten Commandments. This offers teens a chance to reflect on the state’s diverse heritage.

Discover Texas State Capitol Building, an architectural marvel that offers insight into the state's past, legislative processes, and historical milestones.
Discover Texas State Capitol Building, an architectural marvel that offers insight into the state’s past, legislative processes, and historical milestones.

3. Test Your Climbing Might at the Austin Bouldering Project

In the heart of Austin lies a gem for adventure seekers: the Austin Bouldering Project. This vast climbing facility, recognized as one of the most expansive in North America, beckons both the novice and the expert. With routes of varying difficulties, it’s a great space for the young at heart!

For families scouting for fun places in Austin to visit with teens, the Austin Bouldering Project is an experience. Every inch of the establishment has been meticulously designed to offer climbers a taste of different terrains and challenges. From walls mimicking rugged mountain terrains to those resembling intricate urban structures, there’s a climb for every interest and skill level.

Beyond its climbing walls, the venue is a must see in Austin for its holistic approach to fitness and recreation. Alongside climbing, visitors can indulge in yoga sessions and strength training in a state-of-the-art gym. The facility also boasts cozy lounging areas, perfect for climbers to relax, share stories, and forge new friendships.

Experience the fun at the Austin Bouldering Project, a vast climbing facility catering to all skill levels and ages. | Source: https://austinboulderingproject.com/
Experience the fun at the Austin Bouldering Project, a vast climbing facility catering to all skill levels and ages. | Source: https://austinboulderingproject.com/

4. Dive into Barton Springs Pool

Amidst Austin’s urban sprawl, Barton Springs Pool emerges as a natural oasis. This offers residents and visitors a refreshing escape from the Texas heat. This spring-fed pool, with its crystal-clear waters and lush surroundings, is one of the unique places in Austin for teens to unwind and connect with nature.

Covering three acres in Zilker Park, Barton Springs Pool has a steady temperature of about 68°F. This makes it great for swimming, sunbathing, and picnics. The pool has a rich history, from Native American settlers to Spanish explorers. Even celebrities like Robert Redford have ties here, and he learned to swim at this pool as a kid!

For families and teens, Barton Springs Pool is an experience that encapsulates the best things to do with teens in Austin. The pool area is often buzzing with activity, from yoga sessions on the banks to musical performances that capture Austin’s vibrant arts scene. Moreover, the pool’s proximity to other Zilker Park attractions, such as the Zilker Botanical Garden and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, makes it a perfect starting point for a day of exploration.

Escape the heat at Barton Springs Pool, a natural oasis with crystal-clear spring waters and lush surroundings.
Escape the heat at Barton Springs Pool, a natural oasis with crystal-clear spring waters and lush surroundings.

5. Embark on a Food Truck Tasting Tour

Austin’s culinary scene is as diverse as its culture, with a myriad of flavors waiting to be explored. From gourmet tacos to artisanal donuts, the city’s streets are lined with food trucks that offer a unique gastronomic journey. Each truck tells a story, with recipes passed down through generations or innovative dishes that push the boundaries of traditional cuisine.

One of the coolest things to do in Austin with teens is to embark on a food truck tasting tour. It’s an adventure that tantalizes the taste buds and offers a glimpse into the city’s culinary soul. Start your journey in the bustling South Congress area. Here, trucks like Torchy’s Tacos and Gourdough’s serve up mouthwatering delights that have become synonymous with Austin’s food culture.

For those keen on exploring global flavors, trucks like Kebabalicious offer Turkish delights, while The Vegan Nom serves up plant-based Tex-Mex. Don’t miss out on East Side King, known for its Asian street food, or the savory pies at Aussie’s Grill and Beach Bar. Every food truck visit in Austin promises a unique culinary experience. This makes it one of the best Austin attractions.

Kebabalicious serves up a tantalizing array of flavorful kebabs and wraps for a delicious on-the-go experience.
Kebabalicious serves up a tantalizing array of flavorful kebabs and wraps for a delicious on-the-go experience.

6. Discover Blooms and Dinosaurs at Zilker Botanical Garden

Nestled near the heart of Austin, Zilker Metropolitan Park sprawls across 350 acres of lush greenery, shimmering waters, and recreational spaces. This urban oasis is a testament to Austin’s commitment to preserving natural beauty amidst its bustling cityscape. From botanical gardens to canoe rides on Lady Bird Lake, Zilker Park offers activities for all age groups.

One of the highlights of the park is the Zilker Botanical Garden, a horticultural masterpiece that showcases global flora. Wander through themed gardens, including the prehistoric garden, which transports visitors back to the time of dinosaurs. For those keen on aquatic adventures the park offers canoe rentals. Visitors can paddle across Lady Bird Lake, soaking in the city’s skyline from a unique vantage point.

For families and teens, Zilker Park stands out as one of the best places in Austin to spend a day outdoors. From outdoor musicals at the Zilker Hillside Theater to the interactive exhibits at the Austin Nature & Science Center, there’s no shortage of fun Austin attractions for teens. During the holiday season, the Zilker Tree offers a visual treat. It’s one of the tallest man-made Christmas trees, and it adds a festive touch to the park’s serene ambiance.

Exploring Zilker Park is one of the best things to do with teens in Austin.
Zilker Park is an urban oasis with lush greenery and diverse activities, preserving natural beauty amid the bustling cityscape.

7. Encounter Texas’s Pioneers and Innovators at the Bullock Museum

Steeped in history, Austin offers numerous avenues for exploration. At the forefront of these historical gateways is the Bullock Texas State History Museum. This architectural marvel, located near the State Capitol delves deep into Texas’s storied past. It also offers visitors a chance to navigate through centuries of events, innovations, and cultural shifts.

The museum’s exhibits span three floors, each dedicated to a specific era of Texas history. As you traverse the galleries, you’ll encounter historical artifacts. Each reveals stories about the state’s Native American heritage, tales of Spanish explorers, and insights into the oil boom that transformed Texas’s landscape. It’s a place where history comes alive, making it a top pick for those pondering what to do in Austin on a leisurely afternoon.

For teens and history buffs, the Bullock Museum is one of the unique things to do in Austin with teens. Interactive exhibits, such as the shipwreck La Belle and the immersive Texas Spirit Theater, offer engaging ways to absorb the state’s history. Beyond its walls, the museum’s IMAX theater showcases documentaries and blockbuster films, providing an added layer of entertainment.

The Bullock Texas State History Museum immerses visitors in centuries of the state's rich past.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum immerses visitors in centuries of Texas’s rich past.

8. Soar Over Picturesque Landscapes at Austin Zipline Adventures

For those seeking an adrenaline rush paired with breathtaking views, Austin Zipline Adventures offers an experience like no other. Situated over Lake Travis, this adventure park boasts the longest zipline in Texas. Here, visitors can soar over the pristine waters and rugged landscapes at exhilarating speeds.

The journey begins with a scenic hike up to the zipline launch point, where participants are greeted with panoramic views of the surrounding hills and the shimmering lake below. As you prepare for the descent, trained instructors ensure safety protocols are in place. This makes it one of the best things to do with teens in Austin. The thrill of the zipline is complemented by the serenity of the environment, creating a blend of excitement and tranquility.

After the heart-pounding descent, visitors can relax at the private beach, indulge in a picnic, or even try their hand at paddleboarding. It’s one of those unique places in Austin for teens where adventure meets relaxation!

Experience Austin Zipline Adventures, a thrilling journey that combines breathtaking views with an unforgettable rush.
Experience Austin Zipline Adventures, a thrilling journey that combines breathtaking views with an unforgettable rush.

Austin, renowned for its eclectic arts scene, boasts numerous venues where creativity flourishes. Among these, the HOPE Outdoor Gallery stands out as a unique open-air canvas. Located on Baylor Street, this community paint park spans three stories of concrete walls filled with vibrant murals, graffiti, and thought-provoking messages.

For teens with an artistic inclination, the HOPE Outdoor Gallery is one of the best places to go in Austin with teens. Established in 2011, the gallery has since become a haven for both budding and established artists. It’s a space where creativity knows no bounds, and every inch of the wall tells a story. From social commentaries to abstract designs, the artworks reflect a diverse range of styles and themes.

One of the fun things to do with teens in Austin is to participate in the gallery’s interactive ethos. While many come as spectators, others bring along their paint cans, adding their voice to the ever-evolving tapestry of art. The gallery also serves as a backdrop for photo shoots, music videos, and even educational tours, emphasizing its significance in Austin’s cultural landscape.

Beyond its artistic appeal, the HOPE Outdoor Gallery has a rich history. It was initially conceived as a temporary project for the SXSW festival but quickly grew in popularity. Today, it has become a permanent fixture in Austin’s art scene.

HOPE Outdoor Gallery on Baylor Street is a three-story canvas of vibrant murals and graffiti, a unique open-air space where creativity thrives.
HOPE Outdoor Gallery on Baylor Street is a three-story canvas of vibrant murals and graffiti, a unique open-air space where creativity thrives.

10. Go on a Galactic Adventure at Austin Planetarium

The wonders of the cosmos have always captivated the human imagination. At the Austin Planetarium, part of the Texas Museum of Science & Technology, these celestial wonders come to life in stunning detail. With state-of-the-art technology and immersive displays, the planetarium offers visitors a journey through the stars, planets, and galaxies.

The planetarium boasts a 33-foot dome screen, providing a 360-degree visual experience. As you recline in the comfortable seats, you’re transported to distant galaxies, nebulae, and star systems. The high-resolution projections, combined with surround sound, create an experience that’s both educational and awe-inspiring. It’s a place where universe’s mysteries unfold, making it one of the top spots for those seeking fun things to do with teens in Austin.

For families and educators, the Austin Planetarium is one of the coolest activities in Austin for teens. The facility offers a range of programs tailored to different age groups. From interactive workshops to special night sky viewings, there’s always something happening. Additionally, the planetarium frequently hosts guest lectures from renowned astronomers and scientists, providing insights into the latest space research and discoveries.

Austin Planetarium brings celestial wonders to life through immersive displays and state-of-the-art technology.
Austin Planetarium brings celestial wonders to life through immersive displays and state-of-the-art technology.

10. Unearth Prehistoric Wonders in Inner Space Cavern’s Depths

Hidden beneath the Texas soil lies a subterranean wonder that has captivated explorers for decades: Inner Space Cavern. Discovered in the 1960s during a highway construction project, this cave offers a glimpse into the past. Stalactites, stalagmites, and intricate cave formations paint a picture of nature’s artistry. This makes it one of the coolest activities in Austin for teens.

As you embark on a guided tour, the cave’s history unfolds. Fossils of prehistoric creatures, some dating back over 10,000 years, tell tales of a time when mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and other ancient animals roamed the region. The cave’s chambers, each with its unique formations and characteristics, provide a sensory experience as you navigate the dimly lit paths.

One of the highlights of Inner Space Cavern is the Adventure Tour. Here, visitors are taken off the beaten path to explore areas of the cave that remain in their natural state. It’s a more challenging route, requiring participants to crawl and climb, but the reward is an unfiltered view of the cave’s beauty. For travelers looking for the best things to do in Austin, Inner Space Cavern, combines history with natural beauty.

Discover Inner Space Cavern, an awe-inspiring subterranean wonder offering a glimpse into the past with nature's intricate formations.
Discover Inner Space Cavern, an awe-inspiring subterranean wonder offering a glimpse into the past with nature’s intricate formations.

11. Jam Out at Austin’s Premier Music Hotspots

When it comes to the best things to do with teens in Austin, the vibrant music scene tops the list. Known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin’s heartbeat is its rich tapestry of sounds. From the soulful strums of blues guitars to the energetic beats of indie rock, the city offers a musical experience for every taste. Teens with an ear for melodies will find themselves immersed in a world where every corner hums with live performances and iconic venues.

Mohawk Austin, nestled on Red River Street, exemplifies the city’s dedication to music. This multi-tiered venue showcases a diverse range of artists, from budding local talents to renowned international acts. As melodies fill the air, the outdoor stage, framed by the Austin skyline, creates an intimate and electric ambiance.

Attending a live concert at one of Austin’s legendary venues, like The Continental Club, is undeniably among the top experiences in the city. Established in the 1950s, The Continental Club has been a cornerstone of Austin’s music scene, echoing with the rhythms of rockabilly, country, and swing. It’s a place where history and music intertwine. This place offers listeners a journey through time. For those seeking memorable experiences, diving into Austin’s music culture is a must. After all, what could be better than enjoying live music in a city that celebrates it so passionately?

Catch a live concert at The Continental Club, a musical cornerstone since the 1950s, where history and rhythm blend.
Catch a live concert at The Continental Club, a musical cornerstone since the 1950s, where history and rhythm blend.

12. Crack Codes and Solve Puzzles at The Escape Game Austin

In the heart of Austin lies an adventure that requires wit, teamwork, and a keen sense of observation: The Escape Game Austin. This immersive experience thrusts participants into intricately designed rooms, each with its unique storyline and set of challenges. From breaking out of prison to finding hidden gold, every escape room offers a narrative that’s both thrilling and engaging.

The moment you step into one of their rooms, the real world fades away. The attention to detail in the design and the captivating storylines make it feel as if you’ve been transported into a different universe. It’s all about teamwork here. As the clock ticks down, teams must collaborate, piecing together clues and solving puzzles to achieve their goal. It’s no wonder that this is one of the coolest things to do in Austin with teens.

While the challenge is undoubtedly a draw, what truly sets The Escape Game Austin apart is its dedication to creating a memorable experience. The staff, always enthusiastic and helpful, ensures that every participant, regardless of age or experience level, has a fantastic time.

Experience the Escape Game is one of the best things to do with teens in Austin.
Experience the Escape Game, where teamwork and observation unlock intricately designed rooms with thrilling narratives.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Things to Do With Teens in Austin

Looking for more content on the top things to do with teens in Austin? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Austin.

Where can I go under 21 in Austin?

Austin is renowned for its live music, unique culture, and vibrant nightlife. While some venues and activities may cater specifically to those over 21, especially after certain hours, there are still plenty of attractions and activities in Austin for those under 21. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Live Music: While some music venues are 21 and up, many are all-ages. Check out Mohawk Austin, Stubb’s, and Emo’s for some popular options that often host all-ages shows.
  2. Zilker Park: A great spot to relax, play sports, have a picnic, or even rent a kayak or paddleboard to use on Lady Bird Lake.
  3. Barton Springs Pool: Located within Zilker Park, it’s a natural spring-fed pool with year-round temperatures around 68-70 degrees.
  4. Austin Nature & Science Center: A family-friendly spot with exhibits and activities centered on the natural environment.
  5. Graffiti Park at Castle Hill: While the original location is closed, the spirit of the park is being relocated to Carson Creek Ranch. It’s a haven for street artists and a fun place to view eclectic and ever-changing artwork.
  6. Shopping on South Congress Avenue: Full of quirky shops, boutiques, and food trucks.
  7. Mount Bonnell: Climb up for a breathtaking view of the city and the Colorado River.
  8. Greenbelt: Hike, bike, or just explore the Barton Creek Greenbelt. After a rain, there are even some great spots to swim!
  9. Museums: Check out The Blanton Museum of Art, the Bullock Texas State History Museum, and the LBJ Library and Museum.
  10. Austin Bats: Watch the bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge at sunset, a unique Austin spectacle.
  11. Food Trucks: Try out some of the city’s renowned food trucks, which offer everything from tacos to gourmet donuts.

What makes Austin a great destination for families with teens?

Austin is a dynamic city that seamlessly blends culture, nature, and entertainment. With its rich music scene, outdoor adventures, and interactive attractions, it offers a diverse range of activities that cater specifically to teens. From live music venues to thrilling escape rooms, Austin ensures that families find the best things to do with teens in Austin that are both engaging and memorable.

Are there any age restrictions for the activities mentioned?

While many of the activities in Austin are suitable for all ages, some might have age restrictions, especially those that are more adventure-oriented. It’s always a good idea to check with individual attractions or venues beforehand to ensure they align with your family’s needs.

The city provides a diverse range of water activities allowing visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of its waterways.
The city provides a diverse range of water activities allowing visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of its waterways.

How budget-friendly is Austin for families?

Austin offers a mix of both free and ticketed attractions. The city boasts numerous parks, murals, and outdoor spaces that can be enjoyed without any cost. However, specialized attractions or activities might have associated fees. Planning in advance and looking out for family deals can help in making the most of your visit without breaking the bank.

Is Austin safe for family vacations?

Absolutely! Austin is considered one of the safer major cities in the U.S. As with any destination, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and follow general safety precautions, especially when exploring in the evenings.

Can we combine educational experiences with fun when visiting Austin with teens?

Definitely! Austin is home to several museums, historical sites, and educational centers that offer a blend of learning and fun. From the Texas State Capitol to interactive science centers, families can enjoy experiences that are both informative and entertaining.

Final Thoughts on Exploring Austin With Teens

Austin, with its rich culture, nature, and entertainment, truly stands out as a must-visit destination for families. From its iconic music venues to serene parks, from thrilling escape rooms to educational museums, the city offers a diverse palette of experiences.

As we’ve journeyed through the best things to do with teens in Austin, it’s evident that the city promises unforgettable memories. So, pack your bags, gather your family, and set out to explore the heart of Texas. Austin awaits with open arms and a rhythm that’s sure to captivate your heart!

The top things to do with teens in Austin for all types of travelers
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