There is no shortage of things to do in and around Austin, and no shortage of fun tour companies to match your interests.
Austin City Limits Tours. For more than 30 years, Austin City Limits—the acclaimed longest-running music series in American television—was housed at the Austin PBS affiliate KLRU on the University of Texas Campus. But in 2010, all Austin City Limits tapings were moved to a new home at the Austin City Limits Live At The Moody Theater (ACL Live) right in the heart of downtown. The show has hosted legends like Roy Orbison, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Marcia Ball, and Queen Ida. See photos that Scott Newton and Jim Marshall have captured from these legendary performances. The impressive collection lines the walls of the new studio. Tours begin on Willie Nelson Boulevard at the ACL Live box office and run weekdays 11–noon. (It's suggested to arrive 15 minutes early to ensure that the tour begins on time.) 310 Willie Nelson Blvd., Austin, Texas, 78701. 512/225–7999; www.acl-live.com. Free.
Austin Duck Adventures. This deservedly popular tour uses amphibious Hydra Terra vehicles, driven by highly entertaining guides who distribute duckbill-shaped quacking whistles to all on board (the better to honk at unsuspecting pedestrians). The 75-minute tour departs from the Austin Visitor Center and includes sights like Historic Sixth Street, the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the State Capitol, and the Governor's Mansion. The "Duck" ends the tour by splashing into the waters of Lake Austin. Austin Visitor Center, 602 E. 4th St., Austin, Texas, 78701. 512/477–5274; austinducks.com. $27.95. June–Labor Day, weekdays at 10, noon, and 2, Sat. 10, noon, 2 and 4, Sun. 11, 2 and 4; day after Labor Day–May, Mon. and Tues. at 2, Wed.–Fri. 11 and 2, weekends 11, 2 and 4.
Austin Eats Food Tours. Austin is rapidly gaining momentum as one of the country's greatest foodie destinations, and these tours will help you to find out why. Each tour, led by an expert guide, is approximately 3–4 hours long and features six or seven local eateries, with food (and sometimes drinks) included in the price. Options include a walking tour of South Congress Avenue, electric bicycle tours around East Austin eateries, and bus tours that follow the food trucks. Austin, Texas. 512/963–4545; www.austineatsfoodtours.com. From $65.
Austin Ghost Tours. This spookily different company offers downtown walking tours in the company of a costumed guide. Voted one of the top ten ghost tours in the country, the 90-minute stroll, covering about a mile, will delve into the history and hauntings of the Live Music Capital of the World. Tours leave from the Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are also special Halloween and Christmas outings. 303 Red River St., Austin, Texas, 78701. 512/853–9826; www.austinghosttours.com. $20.
Austin Historic Walking Tours. The Austin Visitors Center offers two free guided walking tours, both departing from the State Capital. The Congress Avenue and Sixth Street tour explores the historic buildings that remain amid the high-rise modern architecture of downtown Austin. On the tour of the Bremond Block Historic District you'll discover a wealth of Victorian mansions. Reservations should be made 48 hours in advance. Austin, Texas. 512/478–0098; 866/GO-AUSTIN; www.austintexas.org/visit/plan-your-trip/historic-walking-tours. Free. Congress Avenue and Sixth Street tour, Tues. and Thurs.–Sat. at 9, Sun. at 11 and 1; Bremond Block Historic District Tour: Sat. at 11.
Austin Overtures. This 90-minute, 30-mile tour provides an outstanding overview of Austin, including downtown, historic districts, the university, shopping and entertainment hubs, the "East Side," and the scenic Hill Country. Tours are offered daily and the Mercedes Benz Sprinter vans depart either from the Austin Visitors Center (602 E. 4th St.) or Wild About Music (209 E. 6th St.). Austin, Texas. 512/659–9478; www.austinovertures.com. $25. Weekdays at 10, 12:30 and 2:30; Sat. at 10, 12:30, 2:30 and 4:30; Sun. at 12:30, 2:30 and 4:30 (no 4:30 tours Nov.–Jan).
Double Decker Austin Tours. One of Austin's newest tours, this hop-on, hop-off bus service allows you to see some of the city's most popular sites at a customized pace. Buses run Thursday through Sunday, every two hours from 10:30–6, starting out from Austin Visitor Center and making stops at the LBJ Presidential Library, the Bullock Museum, South Congress Avenue, and Chuys/Zilker. Each bus has a tour guide on board to let you know what you're looking at along the way and to answer questions. Tickets can be purchased online, at the Austin Visitor Center, at SFANTHOR! on South Congress Avenue, or on the bus (as long as there are seats available). Austin Visitor Center, 602 E. 4th St., Austin, Texas, 78701. 512/596–2925; doubledeckeraustin.com. $35 full-day unlimited ride ticket; $25 for a single circuit with no hopping on or off.
Glide Revolution. Also known as Austin Segway Tours, this company offers various options to glide around the city on a segway. Tours range from 90 minutes to 2½ hours and include downtown highlights, Lady Bird Lake, and the bats of Congress Avenue Bridge. Austin, Texas. 512/495–9250; www.glidingrevolution.com. From $55.
Rocket Electrics Bike Tours. The only all-electric bike shop in the city of Austin offers tours that are truly unique. The Live Music Capital of the World Tour is led by a local musician, a mine of inside information about music venues and the bands who've played there—and he even rounds out the tour with a song; other tours include an exploration of foodie haunts around the city and a Sunday brunch tour. Tours last between two and four hours. Rocket Electrics, 1608 Riverside Dr, South Austin, Austin, Texas, 78741. 512/442–2453; www.rocketelectrics.com. From $58.
Segcity. If you're looking for a cutting-edge kind of city tour that's as fun, hip, and modern as the city itself, this could well fit the bill. Eight themed tours of Austin by Segway include nightlife, street art, hauntings, and food themes, along with city sightseeing. Tours leave from two different Austin locations and vary in time anywhere from 1½ to 3 hours, including safety training. Not into organized tours? You can rent one here and explore on your own. 621 E. 6th St., Sixth Street District, Austin, Texas, 78701. 512/402–9299; www.segcity.com/austin. From $60.
Texpert Tours. Even native Austinites could learn a thing or two from tour guide extraordinaire Howie Richey, the self-described "Texas Back Roads Scholar." A one-man encyclopedia of Austin and the Lone Star State, Richey is ready and willing to customize tours—both urban and rural—to visitors' desires. Besides regular Austin and Hill Country tours, Richey can guide you through literary Austin, weird Austin, brewpubs and concert venues, or even a day trip to San Antonio or an orientation for new residents. Austin, Texas. 512/383–8989; www.texperttours.com. From $130 per hour chauffeur driven, or $85 per hour in your own vehicle.