Houston has plenty of free fun this summer, but if you want to hit the road, Austin is great at less than three hours away. Even though I grew up in Austin 20 years, I went to the current expert for tips! Heidi Gollub, founder of Free Fun in Austin, shares her ideas for Top 5 Things to Do in Austin this summer.

If you have plans to visit Austin in the next month or two, be sure to check out some of the city’s best free annual events. This summer, you can kick back or kick up your heels while enjoying live music, theatre, dancing, and movies under the stars!

free fun in Austin

Here are a few local favorites for free summer fun in Austin:

  1. Zilker Summer Musical: Oklahoma!Oklahoma! will open on July 11 and run through August 16, 2014, Thursday – Sunday evenings, starting at approximately 8:30 p.m. Zilker Summer Musical productions are free and open to the public, but bring $5 for parking in Zilker Park. Zilker Hillside Theatre, 2201 Barton Springs Road, Austin.

  2. Sound & Cinema at the Long Center – Hear a band perform a tribute to a movie, then watch a free screening of that movie on select Wednesday evenings through August 20, 2014. These family-friendly evenings on the lawn at the Long Center City Terrace offer the perfect view of the downtown skyline at dusk. If you get too toasty under the setting sun, meander over to the neighboring Butler Park to splash in the colorful, illuminated water of Liz Carpenter Fountain.  Or, if you prefer indoor (air-conditioned) fun, RSVP for the free Rhythm On Stage events at the Long Center, Tuesdays in July! Long Center, 701 W Riverside Drive, Austin.

  3. Austin Symphony Hartman Foundation “Concerts in the Park” – Sunday evenings through August 24, 2014 (excluding July 6), catch an ensemble of the Austin Symphony performing live on the grounds of the Long Center (701 W Riverside Drive, Austin). The free concerts in the park begin at 7:30 p.m.  If daytime concerts for kids are more your speed, check out the Austin Symphony’s Children’s Day Art Park on Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. in the Symphony Square amphitheater (1101 Red River Street, Austin). For just 50¢ per child, you can enjoy an instrument petting zoo, balloons, clowns, musical entertainment, and more.

  4. Blues on the Green – On select Wednesday evenings through August 6, 2014, local radio station KGSR hosts free, live music in Zilker Park. Take your blankets or lawn chairs and join in the fun. The music starts at 8 p.m. The stage for Blues on the Green is on the east end of Zilker Park, where Lou Neff Road wraps around. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Spring Road, Austin.

  5. Music Under the Star at the Bullock Museum –  Friday nights in July, celebrate outstanding Texas music with the free summer concert series, Music Under the Star.  Bring your camp chairs and blankets and dance the evening away. This free concert series features a fantastic line-up of Texas musicians who will play from 6 to 9 p.m. on the Bullock Museum’s Lone Star Plaza. Free parking will be available in the Museum garage after 6 p.m. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Avenue, Austin.

And here’s one bonus Austin summer experience that is nearly free and not to be missed!

  1. Deep Eddy Movie Nights – Bring a float and watch a film at the oldest swimming pool in Texas!  You’re sure to keep cool in Deep Eddy’s refreshing, spring-fed waters. Movies are free with pool admission ($1 – $4) and begin at dusk on select Saturday evenings through August 2, 2014. Deep Eddy Pool, 401 Deep Eddy Ave., Austin.

Want more ideas for exploring Austin on the cheap? Check out Free Fun in Austin’s free 2014 Summer Fun Guide!

Heidi Gollub, Free Fun in AustinHeidi Gollub spends her days exploring Austin and beyond with five kids in tow.  She writes about their adventures on her website, Free Fun in Austin. She also serves as a Local Expert for the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s True Austin program.