Best Sightseeing Tours in Austin

Offbeat Ways to Explore Austin and the Hill Country

South Congress Yard Dog
••• South Congress Avenue. Kylie McLaughlin/Getty Images

In keeping with Austin's tradition of keepin' it weird, here are a few unconventional Austin tours for those seeking new and interesting ways to explore the Capital City. 

1. Velo View Bike Tours

Offering 12-, 25- and 55-mile routes, Velo View Bike Tours leads rides through the scenic hills west of Austin. All tours offer challenging climbs, beautiful views and fun stops along the way. For rockhoppers, the company also has mountain biking tours.

2. Austin Eats Food Tours

The popular South Congress walking tour delivers three hours of snacking plus a little exercise and window shopping. Food trucks and a few restaurants on nearby South 1st Street are part of the package. An East Austin bike tour is also available.

3. Pubcrawler of Austin

Not for the bashful, this tour involves riding around on a contraption that looks like it’s designed to go in circles. You bring your own beer or wine and then pedal around town on a 16-passenger bicycle. A driver handles the steering, but you supply the horsepower. The ride normally lasts about two hours and includes several stops at downtown bars.

4. Rocket Electrics

If you like the idea of a bike tour but don’t want to work that hard, hop on an electric bike. The live music bike tour is led by a local musician who even performs for the group at the end of the ride. Rocket Electrics also offers food trailer tours and low-key rides around lovely Lady Bird Lake.

5. The Cherry Bomb

A nightclub on wheels, The Cherry Bomb is a modified bus with a thumpin’ sound system, jukebox, karaoke machine and even a stripper pole. Ideal for large groups of up to 40, the bus is often booked for winery tours and tubing trips.

6. City Running Tours

The company offers regularly scheduled three-mile group runs through downtown and around the University of Texas campus.

A leisurely pace is encouraged, with periodic stops at landmarks and other interesting sights. The Texas Beer Run explores iconic restaurants and historic buildings and concludes with a bubbly reward.

7. Live Love Paddle

Enjoy a leisurely evening kayak tour to see Austin’s famous bats, which emerge nightly from underneath the Congress Street bridge. A knowledgeable guide shares fun facts about the 1.5-million-member bat colony as they head out for their nightly bug feast.

8. Haunted ATX Hearse Tours

Up to seven passengers can pile into this hearse-turned-limousine to explore 12 ghostly hotspots around town. The tour includes visits to the historic Driskill Hotel and the Texas Capitol. If that’s not strange enough for you, an alternative itinerary takes the crew to The Museum of the Weird before proceeding to the haunted sites.  

9. Austin Helicopter Tours

For the date of a lifetime, try the Flat Creek Estate Charter. You’ll fly through the hill country and over Lake Travis before arriving in high style at the Flat Creek Winery. Have a little wine, a little food and then hop back on your limo in the sky.

10. Austin Duck Adventures

By now, most people have heard of duck tours, those festive sightseeing trips that make use of repurposed amphibious marine vehicles.

The 75-minute tour covers most of central Austin, including the Texas Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion and 6th Street. Then the vehicle takes the plunge into Lake Austin for a guided tour of the natural scenery as well as a peek at the mansions of Austin’s rich and famous that are perched on cliffs above the lake.