Thinking about taking a trip to the capitol city of Texas? You’ll have a great time exploring and getting to know this eclectic, diverse city. But oppressive heat and humidity can make your stay less than stellar if you go at the wrong time of year.
Learn the best time to visit Austin for excellent weather, cheap rates on rooms and flights, and smaller crowds right here in our guide. You’ll see the overall best, cheapest, least busy, and worst times to visit Austin below.
First, let’s take a look at some of the many reasons visitors flock to Texas’ capitol and why you need to pay this town a visit.
Why You Should Visit Austin, Texas
Austin is the capitol of the Lone Star State, full of historical landmarks and museums, packed with great places to eat and grab a drink, and a haven for the weird and wacky.
It’s also the number one tourist destination in the Southwest where more than 30 million choose to come visit each year! Here’s what you can’t miss while you’re paying Austin a well-deserved visit.
Landmarks and Sights to See
The Texas Capitol is right here in Austin and it’s one of the first things many visitors want to check out when they arrive.
Look for the gold dome shining in the downtown skyline — that’s the Texas Capitol, built in 1885. Surrounded by a 22-acre park filled with shade trees and historic monuments, you can stop by for a 30-minute tour and then leisurely walk the grounds.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum is another opportunity to learn about the Lone Star State’s history in a hands-on way.
From the giant IMAX theater to the 3 floors filled with interactive exhibits, you can easily spend half a day wandering through the museum and getting to know the history of Texas and the city of Austin.
But if you’re bringing the family in tow, one of your favorite parts of downtown Austin will no doubt be Zilker Metropolitan Park.
It’s 351 acres of family fun and outdoor enjoyment, from the 3-acre Barton Springs Pool (fed by natural springs and always a refreshing 68F) and an outdoor theater to botanical gardens, picnic pavilions, and playgrounds.
Check out the Congress Avenue Bridge to see thousands of Mexican bats take to the skies at dusk, walk the trails of the 12-mile Greenbelt in South-Central Austin, stop by the Lyndon B. Johnson Library, and admire the stunning Driskill Hotel built in the 1800s while you’re there.
Delicious Eats and Sips
Austin is home to some amazing restaurants, food trucks, coffee shops, and bars – you’ll find delicious options on every street and corner downtown.
While there are countless options for food and drink — barbeque, Mexican food, seafood, classic American burger joints, cocktail lounges, and craft breweries — don’t miss some of the top establishments in Austin.
Franklin Barbeque is known for its brisket. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema allows you to grab a beer and a great meal while you take in a show. The beloved Veracruz food truck downtown will introduce you to the enticing smells and tastes of authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.
Truluck’s seafood and steakhouse offers a taste of surf and turf, while Launderette — located in an old laundromat — serves up everything from southern staples to fresh twists on seafood and New American fare. Grab a slice of NY-style ‘za at Home Slice Pizza for a quick bite.
The “Dirty Sixth” – Sixth Street in Austin – is a full half mile packed with clubs, bars, live music, and nightlife where there’s always something to celebrate.
You’ll find the famous Coyote Ugly bar, the classy, reservation-only Midnight Cowboy lounge, popular comedy clubs, and more bachelorette parties screaming “Woooo!” than you’ve ever witnessed in your life.
It can get wild on Sixth, so head there on a weeknight for a calmer crowd or be prepared to get into party mode.
Get Weird Around Town
The slogan “Keep Austin Weird” shows how this eclectic town values the wild, the weird, and the WTF. If you’re in the mood to get a little weird yourself, Austin has tons of unique shops, stops, and sights to satisfy your urge.
- Visit The Museum of the Weird to see old armor, shrunken heads, evidence of mermaids, and more
- Check out the ever-growing Cathedral of Junk built by the self-proclaimed Junk King in South Austin
- Bare it all (or witness others doing so) at Hippie Hollow Park northwest of Austin, where clothing is optional
- Browse Uncommon Objects shop for oddities, trinkets, and souvenirs to remind you of Austin’s weirdness
- Celebrate Christmas anytime at Lala’s Little Nugget dive bar where decorations stick around year-round
- Chicken bingo at Little Longhorn Saloon will be an interesting event – don’t ask, just go on a Sunday night
Whether you want pretty scenery as you stroll through a park or by the river, delicious food and drink at popular local establishments and hole-in-the-wall joints, or downright weirdness at the more eclectic stops around the city, you’ll never run out of things to do here.
Now you just need to know the right time to head down. See the best time to visit Austin for any trip goal you have below!
Overall Best Time to Visit Austin
- March-May, September-October is the best time to visit Austin
- Less hot and humid, pleasant weather, and tons of events
- Sunny days ideal for exploring and walking the city
The best time to visit Austin, TX is a tie. If you plan your visit in March through May or September through October, you’ll experience the best weather and festivals Austin has to offer. Here’s what makes these 2 seasons so perfect for a visit.
March-May boasts comfortable temperatures between the low 70s and mid-80s, a far cry from the blistering hot and humid summer months. March is when Austin hosts the annual SXSW music festival, so music lovers will want to plan to arrive in time for the festivities.
Wildflowers burst into bloom in April, and trips to Zilker Park’s Barton Springs Pool are perfect this time of year. In May, the University of Texas’ graduation ceremony brings huge crowds to the city and back-to-back events to check out day and night.
September-October is the other ideal time to visit. Temperatures are higher – low 80s to upper 90s – but it’s less humid and there’s just enough rainfall to start cooling things down.
You’ll see brilliant fall foliage colors, slightly smaller crowds, and a full calendar of events (Austin City Limits Music Festival, Here and There Festival, etc.) to keep you busy.
It gets pretty crowded in Austin during the spring and fall seasons as tourists flock to the city while it’s at its most comfortable for walking and spending time outdoors. You’ll want to book early to get the best deals and availability on rooms and flights, but it’s well worth it to go at the best time of year.
Cheapest Time to Visit Austin
- November-February is the cheapest time to visit
- Cooler weather, little rainfall, upper 50s-low 70s
- Shoulder season with reduced rates on flights & rooms
If you want the most affordable trip, the best time to visit Austin is November through February, the city’s shoulder season.
This period covers late fall through winter when the weather is nice and cool, events slow down a bit (but there’s still lots going on), and rates on flights and hotels take a serious nosedive.
You can score the best deals by visiting Austin in this less-busy shoulder season. This period boasts the lowest rates on hotel rooms in Austin for the year, and you can score a great room downtown or close to it for well under $100/night.
There are enough crowds to make the city feel lively but not so many you’re fighting for parking spaces or waiting hours in line for food and drinks.
Without the huge crowds of spring and early fall, you’ll find that even food and drink prices may be lower in the city at this time of year.
Holiday festivals and decorations make the city an incredible sight around December, but know that prices briefly rise in mid-to-late December as well. Plan to go in November, early December, January, or February for the best rates.
Least Busy Time to Visit Austin
- July-August see the fewest visitors in Austin
- Hot temperatures and high humidity keep crowds away
- Full line-up of events and festivals indoor and outdoor
If you want to skip the busiest tourism seasons here, the best time to visit Austin is during July and August.
Temperatures can range from pretty hot to unforgivably muggy at this time of year, but if you can deal with the heatwave, it’s the perfect time for a laid-back visit without the throngs of tourists.
Just plan to spend a lot of time in water (pools, lakes, rivers – whatever floats your boat), indoors, or take lots of shade and water breaks when you plan to be outside.
Come early in July to celebrate Independence Day with the locals at the many fireworks shows and 4th of July events held here. It’s hot, but there’s always water nearby to cool off in and Austin’s parks and pools provide welcome retreats from the burning sun.
Check out the Taco & Margarita Festival, Watermelon Festival, and Greater Austin Comic Con for things to do in July.
August is also part of Austin’s low season because — surprise — it’s still extremely hot and humid, though a little cooler than July, at this time of year here
If you can handle the heat, check out a free summer musical at Zilker Park, join the Austin Pride Parade, attend the Austin Summer Carnival (samba fest), and stick around for the wacky Bat Fest with music, contests, games, and more at the Congress Avenue Bridge.
Worst Time to Visit Austin
- July-August is the worst time to visit
- Heat and humidity make it hard to enjoy time outdoors
- Prices for flights/hotels won’t drop until November
The worst time to visit is also one of the least busy times to go to Austin – July and August. Above, we covered some of the highlights of visiting during this less-crowded period at the peak of summer.
But we need to talk about the stark reality of going at the height of Austin’s hot and humid summer season. Average highs are around 95F in July and August, which may not sound bad, but it’s stifling when combined with the average humidity levels around 88%.
It’s a heavy heat that makes spending extended time outdoors difficult, especially if you’re not acclimated to this type of humid heat.
Sure, there’s lots going on in the city in July and August – 4th of July celebrations, fireworks, music and food festivals, parades, and carnivals – but if you can’t hang with the heat and humidity, these events won’t be very fun.
If you must go at this time of year, plan to spend lots of time in and on the water, plan to visit indoor museums and shops during the daytime, and carry lots of water to drink while you’re out and about.
More Things to Consider
You’ve seen the best time to visit Austin for excellent weather and events, cheap prices, and thin crowds. What else should you know to make the most of your visit to the capitol of the Lone Star State?
Check out these helpful travel tips to make your stay memorable, comfortable, and fun!
- Austin is family-friendly when you stick to the right areas. While Austin is a party haven for some, it’s also a great city for the whole family. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the many parks, swimming holes, interactive museums, candy shops, mini golf, Austin Zoo, and cave exploration in and around the city. Just steer clear of the clothing-optional, adults-only Hippie Hollow Park and Sixth Street – Dirty Sixth, as locals call it – to keep things family-friendly.
- Stay hydrated in the heat. It’s hottest in July and August, but the surrounding late spring, early summer, and early fall months can be pretty hot, too. Stay hydrated while you’re out and about to help beat the heat! Bring a large, insulated water bottle or jug to refill while exploring the city to stay cool and reduce your chances of heatstroke or exhaustion.
- Check out event calendars for your visit. Austin events are a big part of what make the city such a great place to visit, so make sure you know what is going on during your stay! From live music fests to food truck days and city-wide celebrations, there’s always something to do here. The Austin Events calendar lists all local events, big and small, so you can fill your trip itinerary or choose a better time to book your stay.
- Plan around major holidays for smaller crowds. If you can avoid visiting Austin around major holidays – Christmas, Spring Break, Independence Day, Labor Day, etc. – you’ll have a less-crowded stay without quite so many tourists sharing the city. Local events and happenings can also influence the size of crowds, like the University of Texas graduation ceremony in May. Keeping these holidays and annual events in mind can help you plan a more relaxing, less-crowded visit.
- Bring the right gear and clothing. Packing for Austin varies by the season. If you’re going in late spring or summertime, bring lots of sunscreen, a hat, and lightweight, breathable clothing. Don’t forget a swimsuit! If you’re going in early spring or fall (the best time to visit Austin), you’ll want lightweight, breathable tees, shorts, comfortable walking shoes, and sandals. For late fall and winter, lightweight layers are your best bet – bring a jacket for cooler evenings, pants, and shorts for the heat of midday.
- Set out early each day. While no one wants to wake up early on vacation, it’s the best way to see and experience Austin while avoiding the largest crowds and heat. If you can set out from your hotel by 7am on a summer day, you’ll be able to enjoy time outdoors without absolutely roasting – and you’ll beat the lines for a smoother, more enjoyable day out!
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Austin?
All things considered, the best time to visit Austin is in the spring (March-May) and fall (September-October). This is the most comfortable period, weather and temperature-wise, and there’s so much going on in the city.
It’s warm enough for summer wear but not as hot and humid as the height of summertime. These are the perfect times to get out and walk/explore the city from sunrise to nighttime!
The Cheapest Time to Visit
The best time to visit Austin on a budget is November-February, which is the shoulder season for tourism here. Crowds thin out considerably, prices on flights, hotels, and rental cars take a major dip.
And you’ll be able to experience Austin on a shoestring budget at this time of year. Late fall and winter is full of festivals and events, plus it’s really neat to see the city decked out in holiday fashion!
The Least Busy Time to Visit
For fewer crowds, go during July and August. This is the best time to visit Austin without huge crowds, but it’s also the hottest, most humid time of year here (and some consider it the worst time to visit).
At the peak of summer, temperatures surge into the upper 90s and make their way past 100F some days. You’ll love the shorter lines at shops and restaurants and wide-open availability for flights and hotels, though.
Austin is sticking with its slogan and keeping things weird year-round. No matter when you choose to go, you’ll experience one of Texas’ most interesting cities that is jam-packed with things to do and see.
From historic landmarks and museums to the wacky shops, celebrations, and art installations throughout the city, you’ll be surrounded by equal parts weird and wonderful down in Austin.