UT students find fun, safe activities around Austin during pandemic


Photo Credit: Barbra Daly | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s note: This article originally contained a series of direct quotes that the author paraphrased, and it has been corrected to include the direct, unparaphrased quotes from the transcription of the interviews. The Texan deeply regrets this breach of our standards. Read the statement from the fall 2020 managing editor here.

Research shows spending time in nature helps improve both mental and physical health. According to a paper in the journal Scientific Reports, experts recommend spending two hours a week outdoors. 

Amid COVID-19 restrictions, finding safe ways to spend time outside can be difficult. The Daily Texan has put together a list of different outdoor activities students can safely participate in. 

Rock Climbing

Journalism freshman Ignacio Perez has been rock climbing since he was a freshman in high school, and he was attracted to UT because of its nationally recognized rock climbing team.

While the climbing team has stalled competitions because of the pandemic, Perez still climbs as a member of the recreational team at Crux Climbing Center.

“(Rock) climbing is kind of like a community thing where the people you surround yourself with will make you better and make you want to push yourself,” Perez said.

Crux Climbing Center offers resources such as personal training, online classes, yoga and a sauna to help people reach their fitness goals. With the center at only 20% capacity, mask requirements, social distancing markers and sanitation stations, climbers have a safe environment to have fun and stay active.

“There's something for everybody in it whether ...you just want to be fit ...or you really like problem solving (involved in) climbing,” Perez said.


Journalism freshman Madalynn Lambert found joy in kayaking on Lady Bird Lake only a few minutes from campus.

“It was just so relaxing and so peaceful,” Lambert said.

Lambert said the lake was not overcrowded and the employees were all helpful, friendly and wore masks. For as little as $15 an hour per person, Lambert and her friend had an entertaining day kayaking. 

“If you want to do something with your family or friends that's calming and not chaotic or (doesn’t cost as much) money, ... I would definitely (suggest) kayaking,” Lambert said.

Barton Creek Farmers Market

Undeclared sophomore Hailey Harris-Savage spent some time away from campus at the Barton Creek Farmers Market. With stalls packed full with fresh food and artisan gifts, different vendors sell local wares to the visitors every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Honestly, one of my favorite things about the farmers market, other than the fact that I got to get out of my dorm, was the people there,” Harris-Savage said. 

Barton Creek Farmers Market has a lot to offer from friendly faces and personable conversations to delicious food, fresh fruit juice and hand-crafted novelty items from local business owners.

“(Going to the farmers market was) definitely a good change, ... especially with classes being online,” Harris-Savage said. “I feel like that's a good and safe way to be able to get out.”

Barton Creek is only one of many farmers markets to explore. SFC Farmers Market Downtown, the Texas Farmers Market at Mueller and the Lakeway Commons Farmers Market are a few more options around Austin.