What to do in Austin when it rains – the perfect guide
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Headed to Austin for the weekend but the forecast isn’t showing sunny skies? In this post, I will share some recommendations on what to do in Austin when it rains.
Austin, the capital of Texas welcomes over 30 million tourists each year. Known as the live music capital of the world, people flock from all over to partake at the ACL music festival, float the river and attend SXSW, a huge tech and film festival that lasts two weeks.
The city offers 288 days of sunshine and plenty of outdoor activities but what to do on those dreary days when the rain seems to not be stopping?
Thankfully, there are heaps of activities to do in Austin when it rains! You will be able to stay dry and experience other parts of this dynamic city. Head to a nearby coffee shop, drink wine from the tap, and even discover this history of ice cream.
So grab your rain boots and join me on this guide of what to do in Austin when it rains!
What to do in Austin when it rains
Check out Thinkery Museum
Looking to mingle and have a stimulating conversation? Avoid the rain by heading to Thinkery on Thursdays.
This interactive museum closes to those underage and hosts a weekly adult-friendly social. Explore the interactive museum with all of the cocktails and none of the children. LOL! A DREAM! Chat with like-minded individuals over interactive science and art installations, this is one of the best indoor things to do in Austin.
Austin’s newest instagrammable bar! Wonder Bar has become a huge hit in North Austin. This circus-themed bar has new installations every 3 months for every Instagrammers feed.
Grab a seltzer from the bar and make your way to the different themed rooms, some of them can be a bit spicy… think purple eggplants everywhere, if you know what I mean? 😉 This is a cool place to spend a rainy Saturday in Austin.
Take a trip back in time to Cidercade
Cidercade is an arcade bar located in downtown Austin. You can play all of your favorite childhood arcade games like Frogger, Pacman, and even Indiana Jones.
They are open every day and require a $10 admission fee for free play. This fee does not include your drinks or food.
I recommend the crackberry drink and pizza rolls. YUM! Cidercade sells all of its ciders and has a long list for you to choose from.
Punch Bowl Social
Comfort food? Check. Hand-crafted cocktails? Check. Bowling? Check. Karaoke? Check. Socializing areas to meet new people? Check. Punch Bowl Social has everything you need for a high-quality night hiding from the rain. This 21,000 square foot restaurant/bar will keep you entertained for hours without even realizing the rain stopped.
Visit a local coffee shop
The most popular place you can find me on a rainy day in Austin is tucked away in a new coffee shop. Sometimes 2 or 3 in one day! Discover who has the best latte, catch up on that book you’ve been putting off, or strike up a convo with that mysterious man in the corner.
Here are a few of my hotspot coffee shops in Austin.
Codependent Cocktails and Coffee
A stylish all-day affair shop. Start with a freshly roasted drip coffee and pastry then end with a bold red glass of vino and a tasty charcuterie board.
Merit Coffee Co.
An ultra-modern coffee shop where you will be inclined to try more than one roast. Sourced from parts of Latin America and Africa, you will smell all the aromas from around the world. This is a great shop to work from as it has excellent wifi and big windows to watch the rain come down.
Better Half Coffee & Cocktails
The perfect little shop to head to for the solo traveler. This joint has the perfect coffee bar to sit at and sip away the day while chatting with the barista. Try their espresso martini in the evening, it is my favorite.
Visit the Austin Ice Cream Museum
I am sure you have seen the bright pink Instagram pictures with copious amounts of sprinkles people are diving into.
This museum became so popular in NYC, the designers decided to open another branch in Austin, Texas.
This is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon in North Austin. The museum takes you through 12 interactive installations of the history of ice cream, which are all equally instagramable.
Stop in at the cafe for a scoop of your favorite flavor. Make sure to reserve tickets online. Admission starts at $39 for adults.
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Check out the Wonder Spaces museum
Rainy days seem to be when my imagination is at its peak, so let your imagination run wild at the Wonder Spaces Museum. Experience 15 out-of-this-world exhibits with a purposefully crafted cocktail in hand that compliments the exhibits you’re walking through.
Prepare to be immersed in lights, mirrors, and many different mind-stimulating installations.
Wonder Spaces is open Wednesday – Sunday and costs $24 for adults. The tickets regularly sell out, purchase them online to secure your spot.
Learn about Texas history in Bullock Texas State History Museum
First time in Texas and want to learn the history of the lone star state? There is no better place to start than at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.
Named the official history museum of the State of Texas in 2001. Explore the settlement, independence, and battles fought to make Texas the state it is today. You can hear stories of those who have been impacted by the history of Texas with the museum’s story of the Texas project. This is a must-do in Austin.
Head to Beerworks in Austin to learn how these brewers are excelling independently as major beer distributors. You can take a full tour where the beer is brewed, bottled, and tapped all while sipping on one of their famous beers.
Their taproom is the perfect escape from the rain and a great place to meet others in the area. They have new beers on tap every week and everyone seems to be a little bit happier here… at least I know I am. 😉
Crux climbing center
Crux Climbing Center is a great way to stay active on a rainy day. This is my favorite indoor climbing center in Austin. You can rent all of your gear on sight and give it a try at bouldering, with plenty of pathways up the wall from easy to extra difficult.
If you are unsure if you want to give this a try without a harness no worries, they have a back wall that will allow you to climb with a guide.
I have met so many people at this gym that I always recommend it when someone is looking to meet friends outside of a bar setting. If climbing isn’t your thing but you are wanting to get involved with an active community, Crux also holds daily yoga classes!
Texas Farmers Market at Mueller
One of the first things I do when I am visiting a new city solo is look for their local farmers’ markets. This isn’t the first thing you would normally consider when it’s raining, but the Texas Farmers Market Mueller is special.
Last year they decided to create a permanent location located indoors to keep things up and running rain or shine. Perfect right?! Sip, stroll, and shop local every Sunday from 10 am-2 pm.
Journey around the world through wine at Wonderlust wine
Wanderlust wine is my absolute favorite spot in Austin. The world’s largest self-pour tap winery.
Grab a glass, fill it up and pay for the number of ounces you get. This way you can try wine from all over.
Think Napa, France, South Africa, and Chile. They have happy hour every day from 3 pm-6 pm making this the perfect midday escape from the rain! Wednesdays this place is PACKED as they have half off all wines. I recommend making a reservation, this is a great place to meet locals!
Watch a movie in the original Alamo Drafthouse
Spend a rainy day in Austin at the cinema. Alamo Drafthouse theaters are located throughout Texas but the original is located in Austin! A luxury movie-watching experience with reclining chairs and your waiter to make sure your bottomless popcorn stays full.
My favorite thing about this theatre is its no-phone policy. If someone in the theatre is being disruptive or shining their phone light, they will have one warning before being asked to leave the theatre. No more frustrating distractions while watching your favorite movie on the big screen.
Free things to do in Austin on a Rainy Day
Austin Public Library
The Central Austin Public Library is one of my favorite places to spend a rainy day in Austin. The library is open to the city of Austin from Monday to Saturday from 10 am-6 pm. Enjoy their covered rooftop garden overlooking Ladybird lake.
It is the perfect spot to cuddle up with a book and listen to the rain coming down on the city. You can also grab a bite to eat at the cookbook cafe to avoid heading out into the rain when you get hungry.
An iconic bookstore in Austin Texas. Book People is the perfect place to escape the rain and be transported elsewhere through the written word. This independent bookstore has a coffee shop inside for you to stay caffeinated and warm the whole day.
Visit the Texas State Capitol
The state capital offers a free self-guided walking tour every day at 1. This is a fantastic way to learn the history of Texas and to get a bird’s eye view of the city by climbing to the tip of the dome.
Take Yoga class at Cherrywood Coffeehouse – every day at 8 am
Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed on a rainy day. Luckily Cherrywood Coffeehouse makes this much easier. Every morning they host a free 8 am yoga class. Get the day started with meditation, stretching, and finish with a yummy cup of joe.
The Contemporary Austin
Formally known as the Austin Museum of Art, The Contemporary Austin is a great way to spend a rainy day in Austin Texas. Open free to the public on Thursdays you can stroll through the museum’s exhibitions, commissions, education, and collections. Check their schedule to see if they have a “drop in and create” night while you are in town. An instructor will be there to guide learners through an art lesson and the creation of something special.
Top Restaurants in Austin on a Rainy Day
What is a rainy day without ramen? My go-to spot in Austin is at the famous Ramen Tatsu-ya. This place is pretty packed rain or shine. There are 3 locations in Austin, I recommend the original, located on 6th street. Try the Mi-So-Hot for a bit of spice to warm you up!
Handmade noodles with the freshest ingredients on this rainy day in Austin. This authentic Chinese restaurant is booming with a variety of options from traditional fried noodles to a Chinese-inspired burrito. Now that is a Texas influence if I have ever seen one!
The wood-fired pizza at Bufalina is a must-eat in Austin Texas. The rain just makes the already cozy interior feel a bit cozier. Make sure to book a reservation this place fills up every night of the week.
One of the best things to do in Austin on a rainy morning is head to brunch at Mattie’s. Their famous melt-in-your-mouth Milk Punch French Toast accompanies a slow morning perfectly. Try Uncle Bob’s Boozy Iced Coffee to get your weekend in Austin started right.
Emmer and Rye
An entire farm-to-table restaurant that has a different menu each day. I love their seasonal options and the great rainy day surprise it brings. Served dim sum style this is a great restaurant to bring friends to. Do be aware it has a higher price tag than other options on this list!