Free outdoor fun is attainable in Austin

Austin is a city filled with endless amounts of activities, places and opportunities. The music capital of Texas dominated Forbes’ 2013 list of “fast-growing” cities ranking at number one.  

Among the vast amount of diverse things to do, places to go and opportunities to experience, Austinites can always find something “without spending a dime.” Austin and its citizens live by a few mottos, and one of them is to “Keep Austin Free.”

Austin is known as a place of music, a hub of “hipsters,” a place for artists of all kinds, a place to spend a night on a street called “sixth” and overall, a weird place.  

It is a city constantly filled with people walking anywhere and everywhere. Austinites are not only walking but biking too, which has led the city to provide many of its streets with bike lanes.

Amongst the above mentioned things, Austin is known as environmentally friendly. With it being the origin of Whole Foods Market and its plastic and paper bag ban, Austinites can always be found roaming the outdoors of the city.

Hilltoppers can experience Austin’s best free things to do outdoors by going to these places:

1. Republic Square Park

Tired of being indoors but love being a movie watching couch potato? The Austin Parks Foundation, a non-profit organization, with the help of Alamo Drafthouse hosts free movies at Republic Square Park. The park is located at Fifth and Guadalupe. Austinites can even find close free parking, for both cars and bikes. Pets are welcome to join too.

2. Mount Bonnell

Need or like to exercise? Like hiking but are a beginner? Mount Bonnell is a long time enjoyed free outdoor attraction for Austinites. Within the city’s limits, it is known as the highest point in Austin reaching 785 feet. Spoiler alert: Mount Bonnell is climbed by a long set of stairs. After exercising their legs, Austinites can enjoy views of Lake Austin, downtown and the 360 bridge. Picnics, photo taking, and a deep breath of fresh air can all be experienced at Mount Bonnell.  

3. Barton Springs Pool

Enjoy rising early in the morning or staying up late? Like to swim? Barton Springs Pool is man-made and located in Zilker Park. It is a year-round 68 degrees tempered natural spring water pool. Austinites can enjoy a free swim daily from 5 a.m. until 8 a.m. and, given the date, 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. until 10 p.m. It is free literally and metaphorically by allowing Austinites to enjoy swimming and tanning topless.

4. Bat Viewing

Want to join in on one of Austin’s most talked about event? Austin is the home to over 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats during March-November every year. Largely due to the Austin-American Statesman, Austinites can view the bats take flight into the city’s sky at the Bat Observation Center located next to the Austin American-Statesman on South Congress Ave. near downtown. Austinites are encouraged to bring a blanket, friends, and have a picnic while enjoying this opportunity.  

5. Zilker Park

Don’t want to be limited to just one outdoor activity? Zilker Park, a 347-acre property, is filled with numerous outdoor activities. Austinites can relax in the open space, bring their pet, have a picnic, swim, dig for fossils, enjoy art, and even spot a celebrity every once in awhile. Zilker has many attractions to offer and experience. Admission is free, and during the week parking is too.

Students should make sure to take a load off from studying, and experience one of these amazing free experiences Austin has to offer.