If you're brand new to town, or maybe considering finding a home in Austin, chances are you've got two things on your mind: 1) I don't want to spend money, and 2) I want to do things. Typically, those two don't go hand in hand very often. Many times, we get stuck inside watching Netflix all day. While that's absolutely fine, it can only be sustaining for so long. That's why we've compiled a list of some amazing things to do that are completely free of charge. They are also uniquely Austin things that you simply can't get anywhere else. With the help of this small guide, we hope you can get out there and get to know the city you live in.
Alamo Victory Program
There are a lot of free movie screenings in Austin. That's one of the great things about living in this city. There's only one program which will let you see movies for free as well as get you access to sneak previews before the movies are even released. The Alamo Drafthouse, an Austin-based chain which is spreading to the entire U.S., has its Victory program. This program lets you get regular benefits for movies at the Drafthouse. However, the best thing are the regular e-mails letting you know about upcoming previews for films. Members of the Victory program were part of fantastic events like the world premiere of Furious 7 at SXSW, along with free screenings of catalog titles like The Birds, The French Connection, and more. One of the best events from Victory of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. Victory members were treated to a free screening in the theater where they played nothing but the trailer. After each screening, a panel of experts dissected the trailer frame by frame. If you're looking for something fun and unique, you can't do better than Alamo Victory.
Austin is renowned for its wide selection of food trucks. In case you haven't noticed, it's kind of a food town here. If you want to take a wide sampling of what ATX has to offer, then Trailer Food Tuesdays is the event for you. This one is not as regular as our others, but it is something you have to attend. On certain Tuesdays in Austin, some of the best food trucks get together at a location and give out free samples. You can try a wide variety of flavors all within walking distance. Best of all? It doesn't cost you a dime in order to eat this good. Check out their website to get more details and some examples of previous Trailer Food Tuesdays. (Photo by Evan Bench)
Maria's Taco Xpress Gospel Brunch
Typically, gospel music can seem very intimidating and overwhelming. It evokes grandiosity and vast spirituality. It can be downright scary. So believe us when we say that this event is a singular experience that even non-gospel lovers can enjoy. Every Sunday, Maria's Taco Xpress gets a local band to play at their Gospel Brunch. While the food isn't free, the music is. If you've wanted to hear old hymns like, "Wade in the Water" with a full funk, rhythm and blues set-up behind it, then this is the event for you. Listen to the gospel standards in a way that makes them feel fresh and vital. Also, the music on its own is outstanding. See some of the best talent in Austin here at this event.
Book People Book Readings
Book People is an Austin institution. One of the largest bookstores in the city, it has been home to a tremendous amount of amazing activities in the past. Book People loves to boast about its 300+ events it hosts each year. Once you've seen the talent roster, you'll understand why. Book People hosts regular book readings from authors all over the world. Some names that have graced the book readings include B.J. Novak, Lena Dunham, Nick Offerman, LeVar Burton, and even Judy Blume. Each one of these readings involve selections from some of the best literature in the world. Each reading is also completely free of charge. You can choose to get a book signed afterwards, which is the cost of a ticket plus a nominal fee. You can get up close and intimate with some of the world's best authors for absolutely no charge.
Hope Outdoor Gallery
You might not know this, but Austin hosts one of the largest outdoor art galleries in the world. The Hope Outdoor Gallery boasts a three story “exhibit” that is unlike anything you've ever seen. Hope Outdoor Gallery is known also as “Graffiti Park.” That is because the exhibit is actually several graffitied walls. The walls scale upwards in levels, scaling the hill where is is located. It also provides an amazing vista for the city once on top of it. Each wall is comprised of completely unique graffiti art that can't be found anywhere else. Additionally, bring your own spray paint. People that visit the Hope Outdoor Gallery are encouraged to leave their mark on the wall. Feel free to write, paint, and do whatever you want on the wall and take photos with it. It is one of the largest constantly changing art exhibitions in the world and it's located in Austin for absolutely no charge. (Photo by Nan Rivera)
Walk Through Austin
It's very easy to get caught up in all the events in Austin. One of the greatest things to look at is the city of Austin itself. Simply seeing Congress Ave. lit up after sundown is cause for many photo ops. Additionally, walking a bit farther south on Congress lets you watch one of the world's largest migrations of bats every single night in the summer. Also, there are the numerous hiking trails that you can find parallelling the Colorado River. If you don't want to go downtown, you can do a quick five minute hike up Mount Bonnell, which offers a vista of the entire city. Watch the lights twinkle at night when you sit and watch atop Austin's best vantage point. In the day, Mount Bonnell offers amazing hiking trails that cost absolutely nothing. Work out your legs while taking in the fresh air and the fun atmosphere Austin has to offer. Don't be constricted by budget. Austin is one of the greatest cities in the world and there are a million free things to do. What are some hidden treasures you've found on your own? The Pauly Presley Realty team would love to hear about your favorite Austin gems!