The Austin Pride festival, one of the biggest in the country with over 400,000 people, fills the capital of Texas with revelers of all rainbow hues every August. And it makes sense why it’s so well-liked. Beyond its recognizable daylong festival and parade, which have been at the heart of Austin PRIDE celebrations for more than three decades, this eccentric city provides a wide range of attractions and amenities, making it a popular destination for LGBTQ tourists.

After Austin PRIDE and all the pre-event activities like drag-queen story times, bar crawls, and movie screenings wind down, attendees will find plenty to stay for. Make a long weekend out of it by taking in the urban delights of the city and seeking solitude in the nearby Hill Country. (and some true Texas barbecue). Just remember to bring your dance shoes, or at the very least, stock up on cowboy boots once you get there on South Congress Avenue. They’ll be necessary for you.Austin

Step into the Water With Your Toes

Even while PRIDE may be the reason you’re in town, there are plenty of opportunities to avoid the crowds and enjoy the Texas sun in Austin and its surroundings. Whenever the weather permits, locals and tourists alike swarm to Barton Springs Pool to swim. These hot springs are a distinctive urban swimming hole; they aren’t particularly “hot”; instead, they constantly maintain a cool temperature that is blissful in the summer. Barton Creek Greenbelt has simple hiking pathways perfect for a lazy afternoon. Take the access route that goes past flowing streams and gorgeous trees to start at Zilker Metropolitan Park, a bustling expanse of green where folks congregate for concerts and picnics.

Head east along Lady Bird Lake in Austin via the oak-shaded Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail. You’ll finally arrive at Fiesta Gardens, which is the pulsating center of the PRIDE festival and is home to performers, family activities, vendor booths, and more in Edward Rendon Sr. Metro Park. The neighborhood’s culinary center, East Cesar Chavez Street, is nearby and beckons with bars and eateries showcasing everything from vegan mole enchiladas to bacon-wrapped hot dogs topped with sesame miso.Austin

Take a Dance Walk Across Downtown

The free evening parade put on by Austin PRIDE starts at the State Capitol in the city center and travels down Congress Avenue to the Warehouse District on the same day as the festival. Off the parade path, though, there is a lot more to see.

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