This list of the best things to do after dinner in Austin shows that this vibrant city has lots going on late into the night. As it’s often hailed as the 'Live Music Capital of the World', you can find excellent live music venues that host some of the biggest names in country, rock, and jazz. More entertainment is provided by comedy clubs, dance venues, and drive-in movie theaters, while virtuoso breweries put Austin on the world’s craft brew map.

    Austin has a surprisingly wild side, with ample outdoor activities on offer. History enthusiasts can take in period buildings, ghost stories, and historic walking tours. Here's our pick of the best places to go in Austin at night.

    1

    Bat-watching at Congress Avenue Bridge

    Observe the biggest urban bat colony in the U.S.

    Bat-watching is a favorite pastime in Austin, with thousands of these nocturnal mammals swooping out from the Congress Avenue Bridge at night. It can take more than 45 minutes for all of the Mexican free-tailed bats to emerge to feed on insects.

    You can see these bats in Austin between March and October. Arrive early for a nice spot for watching the bats – they usually come out around 1 hour before sunset. The best viewpoints are from the water, riverside hiking trails east of the bridge, or at the Statesman Bat Observation Center.

    Location: Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, USA

    Phone: +1 512-364-0759

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    2

    Night kayaking

    See Austin from the water

    Night kayaking is a great way of exploring Austin's lakes and rivers. These tranquil spots become especially beautiful after sunset, thanks to the brilliant lights of Downtown. Some tours let you cruise past skyscrapers, while others take you under Congress Bridge to get a glimpse of its bat colony. You can also enjoy a tranquil paddle around the tree-lined waters of Lady Bird Lake at sunset.

    Guides point out lesser-known sights, from historic buildings to hidden wildlife. For something unique, opt for a transparent kayak with lights on the underside, so you can spot fish darting around below you. You're usually free to bring your own beverages, but always paddle responsibly.

    3

    Peter Pan Mini-Golf

    A kid-friendly golf center with dinosaurs and castles

    Peter Pan Mini-Golf is a colorful mini-golf course that’s popular with families in Austin. There are 2 courses of 18 holes each, where you navigate your ball uphill, around obstacles, and through tunnels. Take on the challenge of the loop-de-loop, which spins your ball around in a mini roller coaster, or attempt to squeeze your ball under a fake turtle.

    Peter Pan Mini-Golf stays open until late, making it a great after-dinner activity in Austin. It offers a range of sodas and desserts, and you're welcome to bring your own booze.

    Location: 1207 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704, USA

    Open: Friday from 10 am to 11 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 11 pm, Sunday–Thursday from 10 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 512-472-1033

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    4

    Blue Starlite Drive-in

    Nostalgic movie theater for classics and family movies

    Blue Starlite Drive-in is a small retro drive-in that harks back to the glamor of the 1950s. Pick your parking spot in front of a 26-ft screen and tune into the sound through your automobile radio. An onsite food truck sells snacks like hot dogs and velvet cake, along with sodas and hot apple cider. You're welcome to bring your own adult beverages, too.

    Movies at Blue Starlite Drive-in are a mix of recent blockbusters, classic movie theater, art-house flicks, and childhood favorites. If you don't have a automobile, there’s walk-in seating at the Forest Screen and Tikki Beach.

    Location: 2015 E M. Franklin Ave, Austin, Texas 78723, USA

    Phone: +1 707-374-8346

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    5

    Paramount Theater

    Music and magic in a historic setting

    The Paramount Theater has been entertaining Austin's residents for over 100 years. As the oldest theater in the city, its historic stage has welcomed leading figures like Maya Angelou, Miles Davis, the Marx Brothers, and Harry Houdini. The theater retains many of its original features, including gleaming chandeliers and stunning murals on the ceiling above the stage.

    The performances here are an assortment of movies, live music, comedy sets, magic shows, and musicals. It also hosts many of the city's big music awards, including the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame. An onsite bar serves some great local beers like Fire Eagle IPA and Live Oak Pilz, plus classic movie theater snacks.

    Location: 713 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, USA

    Phone: +1 512-472-5470

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    photo by Daderot (CC0 1.0) modified

    6

    Walking ghost tour

    Explore the supernatural side of Austin

    Join a walking ghost tour in Austin to learn about its many ghosts, haunted buildings, and uncanny incidents. Spine-chilling stories range from strange accidents and tragic suicides to violent brawls and grisly murders. One of the city’s most popular ghosts is the 'Midnight Assassin', a 19th-century serial killer who has never been identified to this day.

    Many walking ghost tours take you inside beautiful historic structures like the Wooten Building or around offbeat sites like the Cathedral of Junk. The costumed guides are keen storytellers with a passion for Austin's blood-curdling history.

    7

    Craft beer crawl

    Try all Austin's tastiest beers

    A craft beer crawl is a great way to explore Austin’s independent breweries. Many taprooms offer light and citrusy IPAs, mild white ales, oak-aged stouts flavored with vanilla, and even a few ciders.

    Start your night with the cluster of great breweries on Ben White Boulevard or East 7th Street. You can join an organized walking tour for a behind-the-scenes experience and chat with knowledgeable brewers. If you have more time, try a bus or bike tour to see more breweries and try even more delicious beers.

    8

    Broken Spoke

    A classic Texan country dance hall

    Broken Spoke is a quintessential country dance hall in Austin. It’s a great place to enjoy country and western music, boot-scooting dances, and locally brewed beers. Arrive before 8 pm to learn the basics of 2-stepping, line dancing, and Western swing. You can move to the dancefloor to show off your skills to the beat of live music.

    If you're lucky, you might get to hear the likes of Garth Brooks or Willie Nelson at Broken Spoke. As you'd expect from a proud Texas establishment, they have Lone Star on tap, plus plenty of Tex-Mex snacks to fuel you through a long night of dancing.

    Location: 3201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 4 pm to midnight (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +1 512-442-6189

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    photo by Heather Cowper (CC BY 2.0) modified

    9

    The Continental Club

    An iconic venue for country, jazz, rock, and blues

    The Continental Club is a legendary live music venue that has hosted some of the great musicians of the 20th century, including Robert Plant, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Wanda Jackson, and Glenn Miller. The cozy space has a 1950s style, stuffed with photographs and period memorabilia, along with a spacious dancefloor.

    Upstairs, the Continental Gallery hosts intimate performances. The walls are decorated with an ever-changing display of local art. There's a ping pong table for entertainment between sets. Phenomenal performances of jazz, soul, country and western take place every week.

    Location: 1315 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, USA

    Open: Monday from 6 pm to 2 am, Tuesday–Friday from 4 pm to 2 am, Saturday from 2 pm to 2 am, Sunday from 12.30 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +1 512-441-2444

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    10

    Sixth Street

    Lively crowds and late-night parties

    Sixth Street is a bustling avenue full of boisterous bars, upbeat music, and locals ready to party. Every evening, live music takes place on the walkway while laughter pours out of comedy clubs. Dive bars, rooftop lounges and dance clubs are just some of the many things to do in the hub of Austin's nightlife scene.

    Head to comedy clubs like The Velveeta Room or Esther's Follies for stand-up acts and open mic nights, or enjoy live music and dancing at The Dizzy Rooster and Pete's Dueling Piano Bar. Alamo Drafthouse Theater's film-and-drinks combo is always a hit for cinemagoers. Throughout the year, Sixth Street hosts movie and comedy festivals, arts and crafts events, and even a biker rally.

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    Victoria Hughes | Contributing Writer

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