10 Indoor Activities for Family Fun, Date Night Entertainment and More

As the summer heat continues to soar, these spots offer creative ways to enjoy the day while staying inside

By Darcie Duttweiler
Austin Indoor Activities
Photo by Joanna Kulesza

When it’s 100 degrees (or even hotter!) Austinites’ first impulse is probably to go jump into a refreshing swimming hole. Sure, that’s a great option to beat the heat, but our fair city also has plenty of amazing and fun experiences that will also chill you out. Whether you want to tap into your artistic side, entertain the kiddos for hours or just find some solitude in the blasting AC, these excursions will keep you cool during the hottest months.

Austin Indoor Activities
Photo by Bells and Whistles Productions

Have a reel good time at Paramount Theatre

It’s hard not to feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you walk into the over-a-century-old Paramount Theatre where magician Harry Houdini once performed. Grab a popcorn and head to the balcony to catch an old-timey (or modern) classic film during the Austin institution’s 48th Summer Classic Film Series, which spans beloved movies from “Casablanca” to “Raising Arizona.”


Austin Indoor Activities
Photo by Rachel Fore-Harlow

Go underground at Inner Space Cavern

Take a trip to the ’burbs for this natural wonder. Hidden for over 10,000 years, Inner Space Cavern is one of the best-preserved caves in Texas and has been opened to the public since 1966. The amazing cave has beautiful formations, large rooms, prehistoric animal bones, and, even better, it remains a constant 72 degrees.


Austin Indoor Activities
Photo by Jasmin Porter

Strike out at Bull & Bowl

What do you get when you combine duckpin bowling, billiards, private karaoke, shuffleboard, arcade games and even a mechanical bull? The answer is Bull & Bowl, which opened in July of last year. For those not already in the know, duck pin bowling is played similarly to the “Big Lebowski’’ game we all know and love, except you get three rolls, the balls and pins are smaller and the lane is shorter. Better yet: you don’t have to rent shoes, which makes it already significantly less disgusting and more fun.


Austin Indoor Activities

Get lit at the Central Library

Not only is the downtown Austin Public Library simply stunning, there’s also the scrumptious Cookbook Cafe at the bottom of it where you can enjoy delicious baked goods, sandwiches and salads, but there are also books here. That’s right, books. What more do you need to while away the summer day?


Austin Indoor Activities
Photo by Ben Mitzner

Reach the top at Austin Bouldering Project

Whether you’re an expert climber or a newbie, the Austin Bouldering Project is the perfect place to soar to new heights without having to actually be dangling off a cliff out in the Texas sun. With a new second location off Westgate, it’s now easier than ever for South Austinites to get their climbing fix. In addition to different climbing options, there are fitness classes, yoga, weights and even walls specially designed for kids.


Austin Indoor Activities
Photo by Joanna Kulesza

Reenact “Ghost” at Broad Studios Club House

Saturday nights are even more romantic at this Springdale pottery studio. The date night classes are a perfect way to learn how to throw clay on the wheel and make pots together. Each couple receives a lesson, two pre-centered balls of clay, a bottle of wine and a personal charcuterie or cheese board by Spread & Co. Don’t be surprised if you’re humming “Unchained Melody” the whole time.


Austin Indoor Activities
Photo by Kaden Buchanan

Game on at Bishop Cidercade

Leave the quarters at home, folks. Pay the $10 admission fee and get unlimited game play on more than 150 arcade games. But this isn’t the mall arcade you grew up with – Bishop Cidercade also offers 45 taps of hard ciders, seltzers, kombuchas, beers and more, as well as cocktails, thin crust artisan pizza and wings.


Austin Indoor Activities
"Arc" by Ian Brill. Photo by Devon Hutchins.

Be illuminated at Wonderspaces

No matter how you feel about Instagram photo-op pop-ups, Wonderspaces is definitely more interesting than just a selfie spot. The immersive and interactive art show presents 14 extraordinary art installations that make incredible use of lights, video and 3-D printing. Oh, and also there’s a full bar.


Austin Indoor Activities
Photo courtesy of Blanton Museum of Art

Learn Something New Every Day

While our city may be known more for its music than its museums, it’s hard not to feel like a kid again on a field trip when visiting one of these informative institutions. The Blanton Museum of Art offers world-class art displays, including the famous Ellsworth Kelly chapel. The Harry Ransom Center has free admission — and one of the last remaining Guttenburg bibles. The Bullock Texas State History Museum features important Texas history (and the best IMAX theater in town). The LBJ Presidential Library
is not just for president buffs, as its temporary exhibits are usually as equally enthralling as the animatronic LBJ is creepy.

Austin Indoor Activities
Photo by Michael Gail Photography

Set your kiddos free at the Thinkery

Just need to entertain your children and let them burn off energy without throwing them into the sweltering heat? With exhibits like Train Town, Light Lab and Fresh! Farmers Market, the Thinkery children’s museum is the perfect place to have fun while also learning at the same time.


Read More From the Summer Issue | July & August 2022

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