Top 10 Things to do in Austin Texas

By: jwilder

Things to do in Austin Texas
Image credit: Caleb Feese [CC BY 2.0 (]

Experience adrenaline pumping fun of karting, travel back in time with a train ride or experience the world class Circuit of the Americas race track! These are just some of fun and unique things you can experience from our list of things to do in Austin for auto enthusiasts.

Whether you are visiting Austin or have recently moved to the Austin area and are looking for something fun to do on the weekend, you can find something fun to do on this list.

Updated for 2023!

Drool Over Googie Architecture and a Burger

P. Terry's Googie Resturant in Austin
P. Terry's Burger Stand at 5701 N Interstate Hwy 35, Austin, TX. Image Credit: P. Terry's

Celebrate Googie architecture revival by eating a burger at P. Terrys burger stand.

This location at 5701 N Interstate Hwy 35, has the boldest expression of Googie architecture of all of P. Terry’s restaurants in Austin.

Patrick Terry grew up in Abilene Texas. He had fond childhood memories of a burger joint called Mack Eplen’s. In fact, Patrick was so fond of this business he had dreams of building his own. And that he did, Googie style.

Patrick Terry, along with his wife Kathy, opened the first P. Terry's on July 5th, 2005 at the corner of South Lamar and Barton Springs in Austin.

P. Terry's hamburger stands embrace to the Googie architectural style. However, each building has its own distinctive character. All P. Terry's buildings were designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture.

Mission: Visit this location and take a killer architectural shot. Post it to Instagram and tag it with #heymotortexas so I can heart it!

P. Terry's Burger Stand
5701 N Interstate Hwy 35, Austin, TX

Go Karting

austin K1 Speed Gocart racing
Austin indoor karting track. Photo source: K1 Speed Austin.

Looking for something fun and exciting to do on four wheels in Austin without getting a ticket? Go karting! Great for families, and even corporate team building.

Austin has several go kart options for different needs. Please make sure to read the requirements before showing up to the kart track.

K1 Speed Indoor Track

K1 Speed is a world-class indoor go kart racing facility located in north Austin. Their indoor kart tracks are among the largest in the nation!

Key Features:

  • Indoor track is rain or shine.
  • Adult and Junior electric karts.
  • Pit Cafe serves snacks & drinks.
  • Meeting room for corporate events.

Great for individuals, couples, families and team building exercises!

K1 Speed
2500 McHale Ct.
Austin, TX 78578

COTA Karting Outdoor Track

Go karting at COTA, a world class race track, can't get much better. How can your kids will feel like pros at this venue?

Key Features:

  • Karting at (not on) a world class racetrack.
  • Dual seat Karts available for kids to ride with adults.
  • Kids can ride along.

COTA Karting Outdoor Track
9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd
Del Valle, TX

Improve Your Driving Skills

austin drive a racetrack
Photo by motortexas.

Harris Hill Raceway (San Marcos)

Harris Hill Raceway (H2R), offers classes such as Intro to Performance Driving, and also has membership options. The track was designed by track designer David Donovan, is located in the hills of northeastern San Marcos, Texas, and just 26 miles from downtown Austin.

Harris Hill Raceway
2840 Harris Hill Road
San Marcos, TX 78666

Take a Train Ride at Austin Steam Train

Things to do in Austin Train Ride

Although the website is called Austin Steam Train, the steam train has been undergoing major restoration since 1999. The current train, known as the Alco Diesel 442, is a diesel-electric RSD-15 six-axle road-switcher built by the American Locomotive Company in 1960. This type of train has the nickname of alligator due to its long and low nose.

The steam train is known as the Southern Pacific 786 and it has quite an interesting background, which we will explore a bit later.

Most of their rides depart from Cedar Park and either go to Bertram or a littie farther to Burnett. The shorter trip goes to Bertram (home to the annual Oatmeal Festival) where there is a short 15 minute stop to visit of the 1912 train station (relocated from Orange Grove). The longer Cedar Park to Burnett ride is approximately 2 hours each way.

They have several themed rides available that include plays and even a wine tasting trip.

Austin Steam Train
401 E. Whitestone Blvd., Ste C-100
Cedar Park TX 78613

Greetings from Austin Mural Photo Op

Photo by John Jackson (NotStock Photography).

The Greetings from Austin Mural is one of Austin's most beloved examples of outdoor artwork.

The mural was painted on the side of Roadhouse Relics in 1998 by Todd Sanders and his friend Rory Skagen.

The goal was to brighten up the neighborhood with the beautiful mural but it quickly became an iconic backdrop for many a photo opportunity for both visitors and locals.

Over the years the colors began to fade. Todd Sanders and Rory Skagen worked with community leader Troy Madres to raise funds in order to restore the mural. The restoration project took one month and the completed version was unveiled November 23, 2013.

Mission: Visit the mural at the address below. Take a killer shot of your car. Post it to Instagram and add tag #heymotortexas so I can heart it!

Roadhouse Relics Mural
1720 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

Go To a Drive In Movie Theater

Blue Starlight Drive In Austin Texas

The Blue Starlite is a "mini urban" drive-in movie theater that focuses on indie films, art house, cult, Gen X/Y, childhood favorites, and drive-in classics.

They call it a mini urban drive-in because it is located in the city (as opposed to a 10 acre field) and they limit the number of cars per movie showing to somewhere between 30 to 50 vehicles. They also have a walk-in section, and they strongly suggest you bring a FM radio and chairs!

Now for the really cool part.

You can rent the whole drive-in and have a movie night for two! You can also request a specific movie. A more practical scenario would be a group rental. A great idea for car clubs to add a little variety to your meetup!

Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive In
2103 E M Franklin Ave, Austin, TX

Visit the Austin Speed Shop

Austin Speed Shop

Curious about what a real hot rod shop looks like? We recommend a visit to the Austin Speed Shop.

The Austin Speed Shop is a custom automotive fabricating shop that specializes in building 1963 and older traditional style Hot Rod and Custom cars from start to finish.

The Austin Speed Shop, originally called South Austin Speed Shop, was founded in 2005 by a partnership of three hot rod enthusiasts and entrepreneurs.

Most people have never set foot in a hot rod shop. They're usually located in industrial areas or backyard workshops. There are very few that really welcome visits from the curious.

Austin Speed Shop
3507 Chapman Ln, Austin, TX 78744

And Finally, Go To a Car Show!

Since 2005 we have been listing Austin Car Shows! Almost every week there are car shows and meetups to participate in or just be a spectator.

Check our event calendar for the latest Austin Car Shows.

James Wilder

James Wilder is the owner, writer, photographer, designer, and developer for MOTOR Texas.


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