10 Indoor Austin Activities for Family Fun, Date Nights and More
As the summer heat continues to soar, these spots offer creative ways to enjoy the days and nights while staying cool inside
When it’s 100 degrees (and 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.
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.
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 annual Summer Classic Film Series, which spans beloved movies from The Sandlot to 101 Dalmatians.
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. 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.
Get lit at the Central Library
Not only is the downtown Austin Public Library simply stunning, there’s also the rooftop views, first floor art gallery, 5th floor Digital Maker Space, but there are also books here. That’s right, books. What more do you need to while away the summer day?
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 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.
Reenact “Ghost” at Broad Studios Club House
Saturday nights are even more romantic at this Springdale pottery studio, Broad Studios. 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.
Game on at Cidercade
Leave the quarters at home, folks. Pay the $12 admission fee and get unlimited game play on more than 150 arcade games. But this isn’t the mall arcade you grew up with – Cidercade also offers 45 taps of hard ciders, seltzers, kombuchas, beers and more, as well as cocktails, thin crust artisan pizza and wings.
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 17 extraordinary art installations that make incredible use of lights, video and 3-D printing. Oh, and also there’s a full bar.
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.
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.