Note: This list is part of a larger list of weird Austin stuff that I’ve put together called 101+ Weird and Unique Things To Do In Austin. I have many other related Austin weird lists. Find the links at the bottom of this page.
I thought it would be helpful to list some of the things often mentioned in “Things to Do in Austin” lists that I don’t think are worth your time, are closed (but still appear on other sites’ “Things to Do” lists), or are interesting but um.. illegal. Don’t try it. You did NOT hear it from me.
(Currently Closed) Every “weird Austin” list on the internet has this listed despite the fact that it’s been closed for years. They are opening a new location across from the airport but as of this writing, it has not been opened yet. That is supposed to open in 2021 according to this article.
#2 Secret Beach
It’s a secret. Unless you know how to google.
If you have ever been to a beach before this won’t seem like much of a beach. It’s really just a bit of the Colorado River where people go swimming (illegally) in the runoff from downtown and Westlake. At least, when there’s enough water flowing. The uniqueness and noteworthyness is because this is central Texas and we don’t have that many beaches. If you live in Austin you might like it. If you live in a place where there are beaches you’ll just be like WTF.
3800 Mt Bonnell Rd
Writing this is heresy, but someone needs to say it: Mt. Bonnell isn’t that interesting. It’s 100 stairs up to a small and crowded patio that overlooks a water treatment plant. Downtown can be seen far off in the distance through the haze. You’ll probably have to stand on a table to see it. Facing the other direction you’ll see the river and some rich people’s houses and a bunch of tourists walking around wondering when they’ll get to do something they enjoy.
Yes, it’s the tallest point in Austin but seriously, unless you are from a place that doesn’t have any hills this probably isn’t worth your time. I’ve been there at least a couple dozen times so I am confident that my opinion is fact. You’re better off driving a half mile down the hill to check out Laguna Gloria or the Peacocks at Mayfield Preserve.
Secret Lab, University of Texas
Between 1952 and 1983, the Texas State Mental Hospital collected and preserved the brains of deceased patients. They now reside at the University of Texas and are used for educational purposes. They are not open to the public, but if you wish to pay a semester’s tuition you might get to see them as a student.
Under The University of Texas
When I moved to Austin in the 90’s I heard a lot about UT’s nearly now near 100-year old underground tunnel system. There are reportedly over 8 miles of them spanning the campus, all of them off limits to everyone due to various safety concerns. In 2005 a short documentary about the system was made, called Subterranean City: The UT Steam Tunnels Be warned though. A spokesperson for the university stated “Anyone caught trying to enter the tunnels, anyone caught in the tunnels — they will be arrested and they will be put in jail”.
My backyard. Want to buy it?
The world’s largest playable cornhole game lives in Austin. In my backyard under a blue tarp. It is about 300 square feet and the bags measure about 4 feet across. It was quite an ordeal and adventure making giant cornhole.
Giant Cornhole was made as a promotional item for the company I started, Big Weekend Calendars, which make the Austin Events Wall Calendar, a wall calendar that tells you when over 250 events and activities happen throughout the year.
This event had a short life but was one of my favorites. It was a tour of many weird art yards in Austin, with a few art homes thrown in for good measure. While we now have the (unrelated) Austin Weird Homes Tour, art yards are their own special thing and I would love to see this event return.
Years ago I went on a hike to a random park in South Austin and noticed that someone had placed weird art sculptures in the woods. It was cool to try to find the rusty art hiding in and around trees. I didn’t write the name of the park down and have not been able to identify which park it was. If you know it, please email me.
#9 IRLXD Events
It’s more than likely you landed on this page here from a google search. While this site might appear to be dedicated to weird things to do, it’s actually just one page on my blog.
I’m an IRL Experience Designer in Austin and I specialize in absurd, strange, and surprising experiences.
I’ve created many different experiences, but you might want to check out the series I did for Big Weekend Calendars to get an idea of what I create. Or see what’s happening at my Eureka Room. Or read the IRLXD blog to see what I’m currently working on.
Want more weird, unique, and unusual stuff to do in Austin?
There was too much to write about on one page so split it up into related categories to help you find what you need faster:
- Weird Austin Activities. These are things you can do almost any week of the year.
- Weird Austin Events. These are events or things that happen sporadically. Plan ahead!
- Weird / Unique Austin Bars and Restaurants.
- Unique Austin Things To Do. Unique to Austin but not necessarily weird.
- Unusual Austin Things To Do. Unusual but not unique to Austin and really not that weird (but still cool).
Too many lists for you? See a summary of all 101+ Austin Things To Do here!