5 Free Things to Do in Austin

5 Free Things to Do in AustinCourtesy lovelovepaddle.comCongress Avenue Bridge

Take a historic walk

Historic walking tours take visitors past the 19th-century buildings such as the Old Bakery (1876), Millett Opera House (1878), and the Driskill Hotel (1886), as well as the more Old-Worldy St. Mary’s Cathedral (1874) and St. David’s Church (1854). Those interested in life during Victorian times can also tour the Bremond Block Historic District, a collection of homes belonging to people related to John Bremond, Sr., a successful merchant with a taste for lovely homes.

Hang with the bats

The nooks and crannies under the Congress Avenue Bridge are home to more than a million Mexican free-tailed bats—the largest urban bat colony in North America—from March to October. July to September is peak bat-watching season. Gather nearby to watch the bats emerge at dusk to forage for insects. (Bat-watching cruises, kayak tours, and bicycle tours are also available, but for a fee).

Look at Lyndon’s books

Visit the Lyndon Bains Johnson Library and Museum, crammed with more than 54,000 objects donated by the president and Mrs. Johnson, their family, close friends, associates, and the American people. Exhibits offer an intriguing look at the life and times of LBJ. Highlights include a replica of the Oval Office, gifts from foreign heads of state, and masterpieces by American artists Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and Winslow Homer, and Mexican artist Diego Rivera.

Climb a mountain

For the most spectacular views in town, take the stairs or path leading to the top of Mount Bonnell, the highest point in the city at 775 feet. From here you can gaze on the surrounding bluffs, multi-million-dollar mansions, and the downtown skyline. Tables and grills are available for picnickers, and the sunset is brilliant year-round. The peak is named for George Bonnell, Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the Texas Republic, who first moved to Austin in 1839.

Make it movie night

Alamo Drafthouse offers free kids’ movies on the last Saturday of every month, as well as special screenings and other free events. Nueva Onda Mexican restaurant shows free indie movies on their patio once a month. During the summer, free movies are shown at the north Central Market location on Lamar every Wednesday night. Also this summer is the Regal Free Family Film Festival at three cinemas.

Sources: Examiner.com, austin360.com, lowfares.com, austintexas.org, videocityguide.com and websites linked above.

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