Updated: April 30, 2023
The absolute best, most comprehensive, and most up-to-date guide (and map!) to weird, curious, and unusual Austin attractions, activities, events, bars and restaurants.
A map of weird things to do in Austin can be found at the bottom of this list.
Weirdness: Immersive interactive weirdness like you’ve never experienced.
Where: 1408 East Cesar Chavez (a few blocks from downtown). By reservation only.
Intentionally mysterious (and not to be confused with an escape room), it’s hard to explain the Eureka Room but its mission of “charming absurdity” might give you some idea. This highly praised immersive experience room might be the weirdest thing in Austin. What happens there? Well, you interact with other people in strange (but not too strange!) ways inside an 8×10 room filled with 21,000 LEDs. And there’s multiple programs packed into one visit, which makes it even harder to describe.
Check out the big list of 5-stars reviews on The Eureka Room’s website to get a better idea of what to expect. One visitor may have described it best when they said, “It was like being in a meme“.
Weirdness: Whole lotta weird junk to climb and explore. Amazing place.
Where: 4422 Lareina Dr. By appointment only. Do not just show up.
Probably Austin’s most famous weird location, this towering building/pile of junk is explorable and infinitely instagrammable. Plan ahead, though: You will be turned away without a reservation. I recommend you reserve days in advance.
Weirdness: An assortment of weird and creepy objects plus a famous iceman.
Where: 412 E 6th.
It might not look like much from the street, but this place is packed with weird oddities, ghastly things in jars, and wondrous items like The Fiji Mermaid, a wax museum and many other surprises. I was very surprised at the collection and the detail of this museum. If this is your sort of thing, I definitely recommend checking it out.
Weirdness: Dinosaur-themed animatronic car and pet wash. Yes, pet.
Where/When: 4809 South Congress Ave.
I recently found this fun place in South Austin by accident. I didn’t have time to get my car washed, but apparently there is an animatronic show every 1.5 hrs and you can also pay to have the dinosaurs in the back come alive.
There’s a self-serve wash or you can use the drive-through which begins with a dinosaur spraying (spitting?) on you from above while music that sounds like Jurassic Park’s theme song plays.
Where/When: Check their website for appearances.
Weirdness: Giant bike monsters with moving parts that you can sometimes ride.
These amazing animal and insect shaped bikes live in a secluded area near downtown. Wings flap, heads move, and they get attention whenever they show up. When will they show up? The only way to see them is to go to one of their events. Check out the mind-blowing photos on their website in the meantime. Hire them for your next parade or event and let your attendees ride the zoo themselves!
Weirdness: Drum circles, costumes, body paint, live music.
Where/When: Usually the second weekend in April in Pease District Park. Was held on 29th April in 2023.
This is the granddaddy of all Austin weird events (or at least the longest running one at 57 years!) and attracts a large crowd at Pease Park. There’s costume contests, vendors, drum circles, live music, more drum circles, and a lot of people doing their own thing.
While there are official Eeyore’s things happening at the day-long event, it has a very informal vibe of people hanging out, playing in drum circles as I mentioned, and just kicking back with friends in the park. It maintains a very loose association to its namesake, Eeyrore the chronically depressed donkey from A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories.
Weirdness: They rescue stuffed animals!
Where/When: 2825 Hancock Dr #111, Austin, TX 78731. By appointment only.
This organization has been adopting out forgotten and forlorn stuffed animals to qualified applicants for over a decade. Each stuffed animal has it’s own story and personality, translated to you by SARF founder Wendy Mitchell. The application process is no joke – hundreds of applications will drop on her desk sometimes for just a dozen stuffed animals.
After 10 years of doing popup shows around town at places like the Thinkery and 37th Street, they opened a brick-and-mortar location in Central Austin.
There’s also a lot of content and explanations on the SARF’s website, thesarf.org.
Weirdness: A store with a curious mix of things for kids and things for cats.
Where: 5732 Burnet Rd.
This easily-overlooked store has been in Austin for decades. I lived here for years before I had heard of it. It’s a bit thrift store, bit labor of love, and a bit old Austin weird.
Weirdness: Weird performance and interactive art space.
Where: 3600 Lyons Rd.
This is not really a museum, per se, but a multi-disciplinary art space. More often than not that means live performances but they also hold art shows and other events. The performances are wildly popular in certain artistic circles, but don’t expect things like air conditioning and or other high-brow comforts from this edgy venue. The only way to get their schedule is to be on their mailing list.
Where/When: See website for details.
Weirdness: Maybe more unique than weird but the level of effort people put in is pretty far out there.
Another one of Austin’s longest-running “weird” events (45 years!). From very humble beginnings it has grown into word slinging event that attracts punning pros from across the country. There’s various types of competitions, but the main event is a head to head battle in series of brackets leading up to the crowning of Austin’s Pun Champion of the World! Bring a chair, some sunscreen, and get there early to get a good spot!
11) Chicken Sh*t Bingo
Weirdness: Watching a chicken’s dunghole in hopes of winning big.
Where: Multiple locations.
The first place in Austin to do this (and perhaps the first place anywhere, but I doubt it) was Ginny’s Little Longhorn, now called The Little Longhorn Saloon. They put a sheet of plywood on a pool table, marked off a bunch of numbered squares, covered in a mesh cage of chicken wire to keep the star attraction from flying out and pooping all over the bar. Players (gamblers, really, but since gambling isn’t legal in Texas I’m calling them “players”) purchase numbered tickets for a couple bucks each. Then the chicken is placed onto the board and fed a generous amounts of chicken feed. For the next 1-20 minutes eager tourists stare at the chickens arsehole hoping to see the winning excrement appear and drop on their number.
Weirdness: Clever tricks tossing and catching ice cream.
Where/When: Summertime! Check website.
Amy’s Ice Creams’ servers are known for their serving flair – tossing and catching your ice cream around as they prepare it with whatever mix-ins you have ordered. Not all of the servers do this and some are better than others. This even is a friendly competition to see which “scoop” (what they call their ice cream slingers) will be declared the best. There’s also a team competition. Here’s a brief history and some videos of the event.
Weirdness: Weird dome building with fish inside.
Where: 1604 Fortview Rd.
A geodesic dome covered with a fake rock surface is the home for this fish and pond store. I lived in Austin for 20 years and hadn’t heard of this place. Unless you live in the neighborhood you probably haven’t either.
Weirdness: Weird artifacts and displays in a delightful home.
Where: 1808 Singleton Ave. By appointment only.
This funky house museum shows of a collection of…well…a little of everything. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And the parts include many strange and curious objects. The mission of the museum is “to preserve endangered modes of collection, offer a venue where the public can share objects and their stories, and contemplate diverse processes of collecting.”
15) Weird Wednesdays
Weirdness: The finest worst B-movies.
Where: Alamo Drafthouse, 1120 S Lamar Blvd.
According to its inventor, The Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, Weird Wednesday is a “weekly celebration of genre movies that are too outrageous for prime time. This Austin weird evening is a one-way ticket to the fringes of the unknown, where imagination and ambition dance on the graves of logic and reality.” I don’t think I could say it much better than that. I’ve got a few times and seen some insanely bad and bizarre stuff. You never know what they’re going to find.
Weirdness: A dome that makes the sky change color as you contemplate the universe.
Where: Student Activities Center, 2201 Speedway.
Artist James Turrell’s works explore light, color, and perspective. The University of Texas has one of his works on the roof of the student center. It’s basically a dome you sit inside. At the top is an oculus (a hole) that you can see the sky. At dusk they do showings where you sit inside the dome as different colored lights appear and make the changing color of the sky appear to change even more. I’ve never been here when it rains, but it probably sucks.
If you’ve seen Drake’s video for the song Hotline Bling, you’ve seen what it looks like to be inspired by Turrell.
While not in Austin, you might want to check out Turrell’s other works, including the not-quite-ready Roden Crater, a huge former volcano he’s hollowed out. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you will.
17) Curia Arcanum
Weirdness: Oddities, magical tools, books, jewelry in the live-work space of a fascinating couple.
Where: 5924 S Congress Ave Unit 23, Austin, TX 78745.
This a fun shop filled with all kinds of surprises and discoveries in the occult/magical style. But there’s more than that, so I highly encourage you to go check out this shop of curiosities in an understated mixed-use build down on South Congress. Fun to explore, shop and discover lots of interesting things. The book collection on related topics is extensive and one of the owners has developed their own method of cartomancy divination. If you don’t know what that means, go find out! (Check out my post on Curia Arcanum for more photos and details).
Weirdness: Find weird trees in a sort of treasure hunt using their awesome map.
Where: See website for locations.
This somewhat secret society of “urban wanderers and wonderers, artists, philosophers, scientists, nut-gatherers, tree-climbers, and others” is always on the search for strange trees. They have a wonderful map of some of these trees that makes a nice bike ride, long walk, or easy drive.
19) Casa Neverlandia
Weirdness: Arty fantastical weird house.
Where: 305 W Milton St. By appointment only. This is a private residence.
This amazing art house in south Austin features many funky rooms and is a fantastic place to explore on a guided tour. There’s multiple fire poles for getting around. Ok, well. Getting down. Paid tours by reservation only. Visit their Facebook page to learn more.
20) Watch The Texas Lottery From A Secret Room In The Alley
Weirdness: Back alley gambling.
Where/When: 611 E. 6th Street.
Sure, most people know you can watch the lottery through their window on dirty 6th. But did you know that there’s a secret viewing room inside the building? To access the room, walk down the alley next to the building, then take a left and go around the dumpster and through the gates. You’ll see the lottery commission’s back door. Inside there is a small soundproof viewing room of only about eight seats and only a pane of glass between you and your future millions.
21) Collection Rert
Weirdness: Outsider and found art for and by everyone.
Where/When: 2608 Rogers Ave Unit B. May 27, 2023.
An art space in a private residence with frequent shows both inside and in the large backyard. Show openings typically have live music and other interesting and quirky performances. It’s both a very down-to-earth and far out intimate art venue “dedicated to creating uncommon cultural experiences and providing opportunities for artists to experiment”. It is truly Austin weird.
22) Me-Mer-Mo Monday
Weirdness: The weirdest collection of musicians and performance artists in town.
Where/When: 1500 E. 6th Street (Volstead Lounge). Mondays.
Austin’s long-time weekly show for indescribable musical weirdness and related performance art. You are absolutely guaranteed to see some really strange and unique stuff at Me Mer Mo Monday. Visit their Facebook page to learn more.
Weirdness: A tribute to the meat called SPAM.
Where/When: Might be defunct (again). Check link for details.
This event features SPAM cooking contests, SPAM eating contests, SPAM throwing contests, and SPAM costume contests. This was one of Austin’s original weird events, but it was on hiatus since 2007. In 2019 it returned for the first time in 12 years, then in 2020… pandemic. It returned in 2021. Fun fact: there are 15 flavors of SPAM, including pumpkin spice. My experience at SPAMARAMA has been that there’s usually only the one main flavor, SPAM-flavored SPAM.
Weirdness: Ranges from serious to curious
Where: 1100 Congress Ave (Mostly in the grounds in the back).
The Texas Capitol building is a cool place to explore but I want to give specific attention to the area outside the building. There’s some really unusual stuff out there. Such as the Statue of Liberty and statues of Texas children that exist for no other reason than to “honors and celebrates the youth of Texas”. There’s also a controversial Ten Commandments monument and war memorials and an atrium obscured by a hedge that looks down into the complex underground. It’s a nice place to walk around and hang out, as well.
25) Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds (permanently closed)
Weirdness: More unique than weird. A cavernous and delightful costume shop.
Where: 1506 S Congress Ave.
In many ways, this place defines the old Austin of South Congress. Sure, you might not need a costume right now, but go in anyways. This place is amazing and maybe you do need a costume after all. If nothing else, it’s great to explore this cavernous costume shop and visit one of the original weird SoCo shops. || Update: The store closed down in late 2022.
26) Texas Toy Museum
Weirdness: A small but fascinating toy museum with a bar.
Where: 314 1/2 Congress Ave.
Just to be clear: this is not about Texas toys, but all toys. But there’s no doubt it leans heavily toward the toys of the 80’s. This is a hands-on museum where you can touch many of the toys and video games they rotate through their exhibits throughout the year. They also buy vintage toys if you’ve got some cool and unusual ones collecting dust in the attic.
27) The Oasis
Weirdness: A curious sprawling restaurant and bar complex above the lake.
Where/When: 6550 Comanche Trail. See website for hours.
When people talk of The Oasis it’s usually about the great view of the lake or the ridiculously overpriced drinks. But look beyond that and you’ll see a place loaded with weirdness: the layout, the art and sculptures, the Italianateish architecture, the all inclusive color palette. It might not be your style but I don’t know anywhere else that has this look and feel.
Weirdness: Weird law stuff. It is a bit scattered around boring lawyer books so you’ll have to search for it.
Where: 727 E Dean Keeton St.
Who would have thought lawyers could be so interesting? The UT Law Library had over 1000 pieces of legal-related art donated to them by Elton M. Hyder, Jr. And there’s some really weird stuff in there. Many of these artifacts are scattered around the Law Library’s many bookshelves and study carrels, making it sort of a treasure hunt for weird lawyer stuff. Be warned: this is a serious library and is pin-drop quiet. If you’re not in the mood to keep your mouth shut, don’t go here – they know how to sue.
29) Donn’s Depot
Weirdness: A bar and music venue in an old railroad depot.
Where/When: 1600 W 5th St. See website for show listings
Donn’s Depot is a real treat. Part old train depot, part old train, part piano bar, part dancehall, this place is one of my favorites in town. It’s a mix of older-aged regulars, younger folks, and tourists. The women’s restroom is famous for its strange decorations and aged luxury. There’s live music every night that they’re open and each day of the week is usually the same group that has played for years. Donn himself plays often. Highly recommended if you want something off the beaten path and Texasy. Visit their Facebook page to learn more.
30) 37th Street Lights
Weirdness: Extreme old-Austin weirdness.
Where/When: 37th Street and Guadalupe. December every year.
A strange and wonderful collection of haphazard and themed decorations line this street near campus in an annual Austin tradition that nearly died out a few years ago. There’s lots of detail so it’s much more enjoyable to walk it than try to see it from you car.
31) No Lights No Lycra
Weirdness: Dance like nobody’s able to see you.
When: 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month
Dance in the dark with others – without judgment and without all the other less appealing aspects of going out dancing. “Proven to make you feel better!” and part of a larger movement you can read about here. For more information, you can visit their Facebook page.
32) Goga Yoga
Weirdness: Do some yoga while goats walk around and climb on you (if you’re lucky!)
Where: 12700 Hill Country Blvd S-115.
While you do yoga, goats climb on you. Part petting zoo, part yoga class, this strange but cute activity happens all over Austin and has even been featured on Shark Tank. Goga Yoga is probably the most well-known Goat Yoga place in town.
33) Fusebox Festival
Weirdness: The most edgy and experimental art they can find.
Where/When: Springtime. See website for details.
An edgy, strange, usually subversive, sometimes incomprehensible performing arts festival featuring many, many performers from around the world. Some performances are in traditional theaters but many of them create one of a kind experiences in parking garages, old warehouses, private homes, bridges, and other unique locations. Entry is free!
34) Smut Putt Heaven
Weirdness: Collections of the unusual in a private yard. Extremely Austin weird.
Where: 509 Gate Tree Lane. By appointment only (it’s a private residence).
Scott Stevens is a yardist extraordinaire. His yard has a few different themes: baby doll heads, some colorful snake type creations, and Alice Cooper. Scott is a huge Alice Cooper fan. You can contact him here to see if you can visit. See some photos here.
Weirdness: A presenting organization of strange sonic music events.
Where/When: See website for upcoming events.
I once played guitar at their show with two other guitarists. We pulled guitar strings back and forth over our guitar strings for 30 minutes. It’s that kind of show. Weird sounds, far out artists, loads of experimentation. If that’s your jam then this is the place for you. One of the main events they present is the New Media Art & Sound Summit (NMASS). Last year, it was held in June but dates for 2023 are yet to be announced.
36) Yeast By Sweet Beast Fest
Weirdness: Experimental, strange, and wonderful music festival in various clubs across town.
When: Every March, usually around SXSW time.
The oldest experimental and outsider music fest in North America, keeping Austin weird for 22 years and running, always 3 consecutive days and nights of weird, experimental music. You never know what you’ll see but it’ll be interesting, that’s for sure! For more information on their events, visit their Facebook page.
37) Terry Parks’ Art
Weirdness: Huge labor of love and infinite details weird.
Where: 608 San Gabriel Ranch Rd, Liberty Hill, TX.
I met Terry Parks (aka Terry Tunes) at an Austin Chronicle “Best of Austin” party. He’s what might be called a “yardist” and makes amazing sculpture collages out in Liberty Hill. Both he and his art are weird, colorful, and wonderfully friendly. You can see his art by appointment. Reach out to him on Faceboook here for more information.
Weirdness: Find tiny fairies in a garden that also has dinosaurs.
Where/When: Zilker Botanical Garden. May 2023.
Walk around the Zilker Botanical Gardens during this favorite annual event and see if you can locate all the many places your local fairie architects have been building over the last year. They’re small fairies, so look closely!
39) Fantastic Arcade
Weirdness: Fun video games with very strange premises.
Where/When: Occasional pop-up events. See website for details.
I’ve been here and they have some of the strangest, most bizarre games I’ve ever seen. One of them involved me trying to get health insurance by knocking a bunch of stuff over. Other games have included a competitive cat petting game for two players called “comPETition” and “Ghost Dentist VR” where you play a ghost with a dental practice.
40) Master Pancake Theater
Weirdness: Maybe more funny than weird but they add some very crazy twists.
When: Regular showings. Check Facebook page for schedule.
Live comedians make fun of movies, perform skits, and have fun with the audience in these “Mystery Science Theater 3000” styled shows. Mocking and celebrating both terrible movies and popular movies, these shows can be rowdy fun (so don’t go expecting people to stay quiet). They have both online shows and live shows at the Alamo Drafthouse. Voted “Austin’s Best Comedy Troupe” by the Austin Chronicle.
Weirdness: Marching band madness.
Where/When: On the solstice. Visit website for details.
Austin’s most popular eccentric 25-piece marching band, Minor Mishap brings their own brand of hijinks to a winter solstice parade. Bring a lantern of your choosing and join in the magic they create in this fun parade.
Weirdness: Absurdist but talented “professional” rasslin.
Where/When: 4th Tap Brewery. See website for details.
There’s wresting, there’s Professional Wrestling, and then there’s Party World Rasslin. I think their website says it best: “The performances combine physical comedy and absurdist premises with heartfelt stories and characters. It’s a DIY undertaking comprised of performers, volunteers, and artists.”
What does that mean? It means talented wrestlers, computers fighting dinosaurs, character backstories that rival Middle Earth, characters with names like ‘Mad Bladder’, bouts such as ‘Pastaman vs. Hot Dog’ and side entertainment like ‘Live Surgery with Gary The G.O.A.T’.
Weirdness: Live improvised music with costumes and sometimes as many as 20 musicians.
Where/When: Visit their Bandsintown page for information regarding upcoming shows.
This all improv, all genre, 10-25 piece jam and performance band experience has been playing Austin shows for almost a decade. You never know what you’re going to get. Usually danceable, always interesting to watch, the band has had everything from multiple theramins to tap dancers, harpists, clarinets and horns, percussion, rappers, singers, howlers, and one time brought a trampoline. Current and past players have also been part of White Denim, Neko Case, Ralph White, and other local and national bands. Fun!
44) Austin Central Library Door to Nowhere / Death Door
Weirdness: Mysterious door in unexpected location.
Where: 710 W Cesar Chavez St.
On the outside balcony on the roof of the library there is a (thankfully locked) door that opens into the building and directly over a three-story drop into the atrium. But don’t just go for the death door – the library is an interesting place to explore and hang out. The roof feels more like a club than a place for bookworms and there’s many other great places to read as well.
Weirdness: Cool hippie tribute to Austin weird and cool music and related.
Where: 6416 N Lamar Blvd.
Formerly the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture, this museum is a nice collection of posters and memorabilia from Austin music shows and events. While the name implies “Pop Culture”, most of the collection leans toward the 60s/70s/80s Austin music scene.
46) Sparky Park
Weirdness: Funky-weird electrical parts and related art.
Where: 3701 Grooms St.
Sparky Park was created on the site of a former City of Austin electrical substation. There’s some cool electrical-themed art there in a small grotto and a renovated building that is used for events. It’s a so-called “pocket park”, which means it’s pretty small and you can see it all in about 10 minutes. It’s charming, interesting, and very Austin weird though, so if you’re in the neighborhood it’s definitely worth checking out.
47) Fairy Alley
Weirdness: Magical-weird fairy world.
Where: Next to 1507, Treadwell St.
Tucked into an Alley in south Austin, is a tiny fairy land enchantingly detailed and lovingly maintained and updated.
48) Larry Monroe Forever Bridge
Weirdness: Arty mosaic’ed infrastructure.
Where: 1506 East Side Dr.
Stefanie DiStefano’s art is found all over Austin (and also all over Smithville, where she moved to from Austin years ago). Larry Monroe was a beloved Austin DJ and is honored with this wonderful memorial. You can also see Stefanie’s work in Patterson Park, near the pool.
Weirdness: A circus-themed bar.
Where/When: 1110 E 52nd St. See website for show listings.
This circus themed bar has a giant pink elephant statue on the stage and the walls are covered with smoke-stained murals of circus performers (smoking is no longer permitted). There’s other oddities and pieces of vintage Austin weird as well. There’s live music most nights from many different genres. Some people say it has a bit of a Twin Peaks vibe. Take that for what you will.
The Carousel Lounge is also one of Austin’s last remaining beer-wine-setups bars. What does that mean? They have a special license that allows them to sell beer and wine. And it allows you to bring your own bottle of liquor. You can’t drink it straight, though. You buy a setup of ice or some other mixers. Though of course you can make the drink as stiff as you want.
50) Nerd Nite
Weirdness: Listen to talks from three speakers about things they really nerd out about.
Where: 7010 Easy Wind Dr #150, Austin, TX
Once a month, hundreds of nerds gather in a bar or theater to listen to speakers talk about whatever they nerd out about. It’s not just science and sci-fi. Whatever you are passionate about, you could give a talk about. You never know what you’ll see or learn at Nerd Nite. It started in New York, but there is a passionate following in Austin. This ain’t no highbrow show. It’s casual and there’s drinking. Most shows are FREE.
Weirdness: Sit around salt and breathe salt while you chill out and get “health”.
Where: 2951 Ranch Rd 620 S #102.
Sit in a room that expells salty air and achieve (alleged) health benefits. This is not my thing but I believe that other people might want to check it out and I thought it was worth experiencing at least once. Check out the (bat-less) Austin Salt Cave for this unusual experience. (Heads up: it’s not a real cave.)
Weirdness: Large bowls make body-shaking sounds as you relax.
Where: Multiple locations.
When I went to the Austin Salt Cave it was to see the Singing Bowl Lady. This was a relaxing experience of listening to a woman talentedly play Tibetan bowls. The vibration of the bowls she plays can be felt deep within your body, which is a strange feeling. If you don’t want to do it at the Salt Cave, she has many other locations where you can do the experience.
Weirdness: Ride a ski lift (in Austin!) with a mountain bike.
Where: 200 Greenwood Hills Trail, Burnet, TX 78611
Ride a ski lift with your bike to the top of a (Texas) Mountain, then ride down. To be honest, I’ve never been here but it looks fun if you’re into mountain or BMX biking. It’s out of town but I thought it was worth a mention.
54) This Weird Wooden Art I Found
Weirdness: Who put this here? What and why. I don’t know.
Where: 719 Shady Lane.
There’s a few cool sculptures carved from trees in front of this random driveway on Shady Lane. I could find no other information on them.
The remaining items on this list are on in various states of limbo or are illegal so you won’t be able to go. But I thought they were worth mentioning because other lists out there are out of date.
55) HOPE Gallery and Graffiti Park (permanently closed)
Weirdness: Loads of graffiti art on walls and all around.
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.
Weirdness: View the insides of the weirdest homes around.
An annual tour of those strange houses you’ve always seen and wondered about. Or never seen and will be surprised about. Their website alone features 100+ homes you can check out virutally and the real tour allows you to meet the owners and other like-minded tourists. Unfortunately the couple running the Austin Weird Homes Tour have retired from it and are looking for someone to take it over. Could that be you?
57) UT Brains Collection
Weirdness: Brains in jars.
Where: Secret lab not open to the public, 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. You may read more about it here.
58) Underground UT Tunnels
Weirdness: Subterranean tunnels under the city that are illegal to visit.
Where: 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 called Subterranean City: The UT Steam Tunnels was made. 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”.
59) Giant Cornhole (RIP)
Weirdness: The world’s largest playable cornhole game.
Where: 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 this 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 calendar that tells you when over 250 events and activities happen throughout the year.
60) Austin Art Yards Tour (RIP)
Weirdness: A tour of the most fabulous art yards in town.
Where: Multiple locations. RIP
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.
62) IRLXD Events
Weirdness: Bizarre Austin weird events of top-calibre.
Where/When: Various. Stay tuned.
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.
The Map of Weird Stuff to Do in Austin!
When I travel I always make a map so that I can plan a little better. Here’s a map of any places I listed above that have addresses.
TIP: Click the weird little rectangle in the upper left of the map’s menu bar to show a list of locations.
What does it mean to be weird?
I’m very particular about what I’d call “Weird” or “Unique” and have taken the time to make these distinctions for discerning experience-seekers such as myself.
If you’re curious about my methodology, I’ve explained it on my page, Keep Austin Weird or Keep Austin Unique?
More to come!
This list is updated often. If you find something you think belongs on this list or if you find errors, please contact me and let me know. I hope you found it useful.