free outdoor fun

Give yourself a much-needed gift: Austin is full of ways to work off holiday-induced pounds for free

Give yourself a much-needed gift: Austin is full of ways to work off holiday-induced pounds for free

Austin Photo Set: News_Patricia_free outdoor fun_dec 2012_Littlefield Fountain
Littlefield Austin Courtesy of aboutaustin
Austin Photo Set: News_Patricia_free outdoor fun_dec 2012_pease mansion
Pease Mansion
Austin Photo Set: News_Kevin_reasons to visit austin_super 8_may 2012_town lake run
Lady Bird Lake Courtesy of Lake Austin Blog
Austin Photo: Places_outdoors_barton_creek_greenbelt_hole
Barton Creek Greenbelt Courtesy of Barton Creek Greenbelt
Austin Photo Set: News_Patricia_free outdoor fun_dec 2012_Littlefield Fountain
Austin Photo Set: News_Patricia_free outdoor fun_dec 2012_pease mansion
Austin Photo Set: News_Kevin_reasons to visit austin_super 8_may 2012_town lake run
Austin Photo: Places_outdoors_barton_creek_greenbelt_hole

You’ve shopped and eaten your way through the past couple of days (or weeks), and it is starting to show.

It’s the time of the season, right before the changing of the year, when being low on funds and big on love handles converge and you find yourself in a bit of a funk. Give yourself a much-needed gift—Austin is chock-full of ways to work off those few holiday-induced pounds and not spend a penny doing it. 

Yesterday we outlined hikes near town; here’s to even more free outdoor fun.

Hike the Barton Creek Greenbelt

Fall in love with Mother Nature all over again while you traverse 7.2 miles of trails and spend an hour — or four — hiking, walking, running and climbing. Most folks head to the entrance at 3755-B Capital of Texas Hwy, but for easy access without the crowds, go to the trailhead off Mopac at Barton Skyway. 

Stroll around Old Enfield

One of Austin’s toniest neighborhoods was once 365-acres of land outside the city owned by Governor and Mrs. Elisha Marshall Pease. In 1856, the couple purchased James Shaw’s Greek-revival home (known as Woodlawn), which was constructed by master builder Abner H. Cook, and renamed it Pease Mansion.

Today, the beautifully renovated edifice is a private residence surrounded by some of Austin’s oldest (and most expensive) homes — eye candy for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Walk around Lady Bird Lake at sunset

There’s no better way to feel the city’s pulse than to get your legs moving around the 10-mile trail at Lady Bird Lake. At sunset, the serenity of the water juxtaposes nicely against the backdrop of the city’s growing downtown skyline.

Go the distance or create your own path utilizing the many entry/exit points. Either way, the buzzing crowds of exercise enthusiasts will get you pumped.

Tour the Forty Acres

School is out, so take the opportunity to explore the University of Texas campus and discover many of its architectural gems. Begin your journey at Littlefield Fountain, a memorial to UT students and alumni who were killed in WWI. Then walk up the South Mall to the steps of the Tower, which was constructed in the thirties. The building, which is 307 feet tall, used to house the library but is now home to administration offices.

From there, go forth and see what you might stumble upon, including Gregory Gym; the Turtle Pond, which was dedicated to the victims of the 1966 Tower shootings; Hogg Auditorium; and the Harry Ransom Center, which houses a Gutenberg Bible.