Austin may be known for its warmth in a social sense, thanks to its Southern hospitality and creative culture, but its actual warmth reaches epic proportions from June through September, when the Texas heat takes hold and everyone stays indoors to keep cool. If you’re headed to the heart of the Lone Star State this summer, we’ve got some suggestions for the best indoor activities in Austin.
Breeze through Town with Austin Duck Adventures
The Live Music Capital of the World is without a doubt a fun place to visit, and it’s tempting to try to see everything under the sun while you’re in town. But when the sun is raising temperatures above 100 degrees in the midday hours, it’s best to stay in the shade. Enter Austin Duck Adventures, which offers an amphibious ride across Lake Austin and through the streets of town, led by knowledgeable tour guides who are happy to give you the scoop on the city as you pass by all its landmarks. These tours are so much fun that the air-conditioning and lakeside breezes are just a blissful bonus.
Knock Back a Cold One at Live Oak Brewing Company
Austin has a great craft beer scene, and there’s no better place for an afternoon of laid-back enjoyment than the Live Oak Brewing Company taproom and biergarten. There, you can enjoy local favorites like a Live Oak Pilz, HefeWeisen, or Berliner Weisse in an air-conditioned taproom or at a picnic table under the shade of an enormous live oak (from which the brewery took its name). To round out the experience, try a round of disc golf out back and enjoy some bar snacks from the taproom or a German brat or pretzel from the part-time food truck onsite.
Soar Like a Bird with iFLY
If you feel the need for speed – or, at least, the sensation of flying without any actual danger – then head to iFLY for an indoor skydiving session. After a brief training, you’ll be up in the air in full gear, floating high above the floor of a hyper-realistic vertical wind tunnel. It’s the only way to fully experience the adrenaline rush of human flight without actually jumping from an aircraft with a parachute. (If this invigorating rush of wind isn’t a thrilling way to keep cool, then nothing is.)
Discover Creativity at Blanton Museum of Art
The beautiful Blanton Museum of Art opened its doors on the southern edge of the UT Austin campus in 2006 and has been wowing crowds with its extensive collection of 18,000+ works of art ever since. It’s one of the largest university museums in the country, and the lobby is a work of art all of its own – a cascading series of cool blue tiles surrounding its grand central staircase welcomes visitors into exhibits from the modern era back through the 6th century BC. While onsite, be sure to stand in awe at the center of Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, a spiritual new structure that plays with light and color, changing throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky.
Step Back in Time at Bullock Texas State History Museum
For a taste of Texas history, find your way to the big star sculpture marking the entrance to the Bullock Texas State History Museum. There, you’ll find three spacious floors filled with the story of Texas, told through multimedia exhibits and artifacts dating back to the early days of Mexican independence from Spain in the 1820s. Treat yourself to an IMAX experience while you’re there, enjoying an educational series or whatever hot new 3D, action-adventure or family-friendly feature films have found their way onto the museum’s giant screen. And, of course, don’t forget the popcorn and ice-cold soda.
Whatever time of year you visit Austin, you’re sure to have a cool experience. Book your stay through Hilton using an Explore Like a Local package, which gives guests special offers with exciting local partners like breweries, boutiques, and specialty tours.