Located deep within Texas Hill Country, Austin is the state capital with an alternative spirit. Their slogan is “Keep Austin Weird”, and this attitude can be seen all across the city.
Famous for its hipster aesthetics, variety of food trucks, and buzzing live music scene, Austin is a great place to experience a different side of Texas.
Tours can be a great way to dive into the local culture and history, with many taking you to the best neighbourhoods across the city and even out into Hill Country where you can experience the more stereotypical Texan way of life.
These are the 15 best tours you can take from Austin.
1. Downtown Austin Adventure: 3-Hour Scavenger Hunt
Smartphone scavenger hunts are great for experiencing a city at your own pace, however this one has an added gameplay function if you are taking part as a group. It is themed around the Amazing Race and challenges your group to race their way around each site. You can then decide to take a ‘pit-stop’ at each location before continuing with the race. It takes around three hours on average, and is a great way for taking in the main attractions across the city centre.
2. Best of Austin Small Group Guided Tour
This two-hour tour comes with bus transport between locations, allowing you to visit some attractions outside of the main centre. You will be taken to the most important landmarks, vibrant neighbourhoods, and a variety of food trucks. The knowledgeable guide will also show you some of the city’s lesser-known spots. As it is limited to a small group, the tour can be somewhat customised to the group and has a more intimate feel.
3. Austin In A Nutshell Bike Tour
This tour is on bike, giving you a more environmentally friendly option to cover a lot of ground. The two-hour tour is done at a relaxing pace, appealing to most fitness levels. You will be taken around the main historic district, as well as through Zilker Park, and around Lady Bird Lake. The guide is a local expert, and a safety equipment is included. You can also opt to be picked up from, and dropped off at, your hotel in the centre of Austin.
4. Austin Beer and Brewery Tour
Austin is the hub for craft beer in Texas, and this tour takes you to some of the most popular breweries across the city. You will be able to sample at least ten beers on the journey, with visits to three breweries in the East Side area. Transport in an electric vehicle is included, taking you safely between each location in an environmentally friendly manner. The local guide will detail the history and modern significance of each brewery, and you will get the chance to see how different kinds of beers are made.
5. Food Is My Best Friend Tour
Austin is also famed across Texas for its vibrant food scene, and a tour is a great way to sample the variety of cuisines on offer. You will sample four different restaurants, offering a wide range of dishes from Texas barbecue to soups and smoothies. A free beverage (beer or soft drink) is also included at the Texas barbecue stop. This tour avoids the main tourist points, instead opting to take you to the restaurants favoured by locals. Pick-up and drop-off from Downtown Austin hotels is included.
6. Austin’s Salt Lick and Winery Tour
This tour caters to foodies and wine-lovers looking to get out of Austin and deeper into rural Texas. You will be taken to the famous Salt Lick restaurant where you can enjoy a typical Texas barbecue meal. Afterwards you will be shown around two popular wineries, where you can learn about wine production in the United States and sample some of their finest offerings. Transportation is included from Downtown Austin, allowing you to relax on the way and sample as much wine as you can.
7. Rainey Street Bar Hop Game Walking Tour
This is another great self-guided scavenger hunt style tour of Austin. You are challenged to find hidden items in a variety of participating bars across the city, allowing you to learn about the history whilst also experiencing the lively bar culture. Rainey Street is also full of craft boutiques and cafés, so there is plenty of opportunity for you to take a break from the game and check out other sides of the vibrant area. Though this works on all Apple devices, this game is specifically designed for use with an iPad. It is currently not available on other tablets or phones.
8. Austin Live Music Crawl
As if beer and barbecue weren’t enough, Austin also has a buzzing live music scene. With over 270 venues to choose from across the city, finding the best one can be difficult. This tour does the research for you and shows you the finest examples of Texan live music. You will also learn about local history and culture whilst on the tour and have the opportunity to sample local cuisine and beer at some of the venues. Private transportation is included to allow you to relax on the journey, and group sizes are limited for an intimate experience.
9. Downtown Austin Helicopter Tour
Looking to splash out whilst in Austin? Take to the skies and get breathtaking panoramic views across the city with this helicopter tour. This 30-minute tour flies over Downtown Austin, as well as some of the most magnificent lakes and shorelines close to the city. Snacks and drinks are included on-board the helicopter, and there is a complimentary champagne toast to celebrate your time in the city. A full safety briefing is given before take-off, and headsets are provided to ensure you can hear your guide.
10. Texas Hill Country and LBJ Tour from Austin
This tour from Austin allows you to experience the culture of rural Texas, as well as learn about its historical influences. As the birthplace of Lyndon B Johnson, you will also discover the setting that shaped the life of the former President and get the chance to visit his childhood home. Afterwards, you will discover the impact cowboys and German immigrants had on this corner of America, and check out Luckenbach – a town famed for its influences on country music.
11. Haunted Austin Walking Tour
Most cities across the United States have their famous haunted attractions, and Austin is no exception. This tour takes you to some of the most notorious haunted locations across the city, allowing you to dive into the macabre past of the state capital. You will learn about real life murder stories, as well as local ghost legends and folklore. The tour combines popular attractions with off-the-beaten path haunted sights. Group sizes are limited, allowing for a more personal experience for guests.
12. Food Truck Tour in Your Biker Gang
Join members of a local biker gang in this tour of Austin’s best sights and food trucks. You will be provided with an electric bike, allowing you to whizz around the city with ease regardless of whether you have a licence or not. A full safety briefing is given, with helmets provided before you start. You will be able to sample the best offerings from Austin’s famous food trucks and learn about the history of the city at the best-known attractions. There are plenty of photo stops, and couples can opt to use a two seater bike.
13. Shops, Murals & Iconic Places
Indulge in some retail therapy with this Segway tour along Austin’s characteristic South Congress Avenue. Lined with boutiques, cafés, and thrift stores, this street is a great place to purchase your own little piece of Austin’s alternative spirit. The tour finishes up at some of the most iconic murals in the city, allowing you to take photos to commemorate your trip. The guide will take you to their choice of the best stores, however you are also given plenty of free time to explore the neighbourhood at your own pace.
14. The Brunch Bus: Austin Food Tour with Live Band Onboard
Austin has an amazing brunch scene, and this tour takes you to three establishments that exemplify the multicultural spirit of the local cuisine. You will sample tacos, Czech breakfast food, and chicken and waffles, with transportation included. To celebrate the vibrant music scene, a live band is included on board. All food and drinks are included at each establishment. There are also photos taken at each stop, which will then be sent to you after your tour providing you with a great souvenir of your experience.
15. San Marcos River Adventure Kayak Tour
This is a great experience if you are looking for a relaxing getaway from the city. Located just outside of Austin, the San Marcos River winds through some of the most picturesque parts of the Texan landscape. Your guide is fully qualified and will help you grasp the basics of river kayaking. All safety equipment is included, and the tour is designed to be environmentally friendly. Though the location is easy to reach via car or public transport, you can also opt for direct transport from a central location for an additional fee.