View the Congress Bridge Bats
One of Austin’s most popular attractions, the Congress Bridge Bats, can be viewed for free from the bridge or from a viewing area on the southwest corner of Congress and Lady Bird Lake. Although boat and kayak tours are more fun, watching the bats for free is still a great option, especially for budget-conscious travelers. Read more about the best ways to view the Austin bats.
Explore Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake, located in the center of Austin, offers a 10.1-mile hike and bike trail that is the city’s most popular outdoor activity. However, you can also choose to do shorter loops, such as the 4.1-mile loop from Mopac to Congress Avenue and back. Another popular stretch is from I-35 to the Lamar Walking Bridge, which offers a scenic view of Austin on the walking bridge and along the new floating boardwalk on the south side of the river between Congress and I-35. Learn more about the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail.
Visit the Waterholes on Barton Creek Greenbelt
Austin’s second most popular hike and bike trail, the Barton Creek Greenbelt, is home to several waterfalls that are especially popular among younger crowds. The Flats, located where Barton Skyway dead ends into Spyglass Drive just west of Mopac Blvd, is the easiest waterfall area to get to. Another popular spot is Sculpture and Twin Falls further upstream. Learn more about exploring Barton Creek Greenbelt.
Hike Mount Bonnell
On the west side of Austin, Mount Bonnell offers a hidden viewpoint that is considered the highest point in Austin. The climb to the summit involves a lengthy stair climb, but the fantastic views of Lake Austin and downtown Austin from the top make it worth the effort. Learn more about Mount Bonnell.
Enjoy Austin on a Budget
These free sightseeing activities are a great way to explore Austin on a budget. Whether you choose to view the Congress Bridge Bats, hike and bike around Lady Bird Lake, visit the waterholes on Barton Creek Greenbelt, or hike Mount Bonnell, you’ll have a fantastic time exploring Austin without breaking the bank.