It may not occur to you what to do in Austin as a tourist since the town is known as a center for high tech. However, with its research centers, huge parks, relaxation points, and museums, Austin provides that there is never a dull moment during your holiday. In case you are into watching the hustle and bustle of the city, go on Sixth Street. On the other hand, if you are sick of the town’s loud noise, head to McKinney Falls State Park. There are also multiple attractions for children who desire to play day and night. If you are still wondering why to choose the capital of Texas as a holiday destination, scan our list of the best places to visit in Austin.
- 1 Featured Tours in Austin TX
- 2 The Texas State Capitol
- 3 Mount Bonnell
- 4 Zilker Metropolitan Park
- 5 SoCo District
- 6 Blanton Museum of Art
- 7 Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake
- 8 Sixth Street
- 9 Barton Springs Pool
- 10 Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater
- 11 LBJ Presidential Library
- 12 Bullock Texas State History Museum
- 13 See Austin Bats
- 14 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- 15 Mexic-Arte Museum
- 16 Austin Nature & Science Center
- 17 Mayfield Park and Preserve
- 18 McKinney Falls State Park
- 19 Esther’s Follies
- 20 Thinkery
- 21 The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria
Featured Tours in Austin TX
The Texas State Capitol
The sixth-tallest state capitol has resided in Austin since 1888. Designed by Elijah E. Myers, a prominent architect, the name of the capitol in question entered the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. What’s more, it became one of the National Historic Landmarks in 1986.
The building shaped like a rectangle consists of several sections: a vital four-story structure, three-story blocks, and a dome. Constructed in an Italian Renaissance Revival style, the property is home to pictures of the Republic of Texas’s ex-presidents. Capitol view corridors are worth visiting. Even a law forbade building constructions higher than 200 feet to save the visual superiority of the spot.
Address: 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, United States
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From the top of Mount Bobbell, Covert Park’s pearl, the overlook over the city is breathtaking. It is the uppermost point, 755 feet in height, found in the capital of Texas. You are likely to be beside yourself with anger, supposing you forget to take your camera to the spot.
The peak is accessible all day long. Apart from being free of charge, the prominent landmark has series of spots for motor vehicle parking. The only way to get to the summit is by going on a 102-step nature ramble. The area is rich in live oak, ash juniper, persimmon, and mountain laurel.
Zilker Metropolitan Park
The Zilker Park’s area once was Andrew Jackson Zilker’s possession, but he presented the region to the town in 1917. The 350-acre park offers many attractions, such as multiple athletic fields and fascinating museums. Though it may seem strange, there are as many activities necessary to keep you excited for two days.
The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum is highly appropriate for fans of art. And the best point for those who relish communing with nature is the Zilker Botanical Garden. Probably one of the top places to go in Austin, TX, is Barton Springs Pool. Additionally, the park hosts the Austin City Limits Musical Festival, the ABC Kite Fest, and more remarkable events.
Address: 2207 Lou Neff Rd, Austin, TX 78746, United States
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With its countless shops selling clothes, furniture, shoes, suits, and jewelry, SoCo is ideal for shopping maniacs. Those who are looking for unique outfits should see the items that Lucy’s Disguise offers. In addition, there is a shop that only displays black pieces of clothing.
The center is renowned for its one-of-a-kind eateries. You will fall in love with the interior design of the South Congress Cafe. Vinaigrette off South Congress is an excellent eatery specialized in salads. Erin Wade, the possessor of the restaurant, conscientiously picks up the freshest vegetables and meats from nearby farms.
Blanton Museum of Art
Located at the University of Texas, Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art displays temporary and permanent exhibitions. Its assemblage includes Old Master paintings, pieces from Latin America, the C.R Smith Collection of Western American Art, Renaissance works, and other artistic productions.
Its 18,000 unique objects attract the attention of many visitors annually. Furthermore, the museum, only three times per year, hosts a performance series called SoundSpace. The team at the helm of Steve Parker won a prize from the Austin Critic’s Table.
Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake
The hustle and bustle is the theme of daily life on Sixth Street. The street gets full of tourists walking elbow-to-elbow, especially from Thursday to Saturday. There, one can drop into a bar, go to a stylish restaurant and attend shows.
Attend the performances named Esther’s Follies, Flamingo Cantina, and the Parish to get the best out of your visit to Sixth Street. The viable dining options are Chez Nous, Iron Cactus, and Casino El Camino. While Chez Nous has a romantic and relaxed atmosphere, the ambiance of Iron Cactus is Mexican. Casino El Camino is particularly suitable for burger lovers.
Location: Roughly bounded by 5th, 7th, Lavaca Streets and I-35, Austin, Texas
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Barton Springs Pool
The reason why Barton Springs Pool is called the “soul of Austin” is the fact that it once was thought to have healing powers. Today, locals consider the pool a hot weather lifesaver. And tourists usually explore it during the best Austin tours.
The temperature of the swimming hole climbs to no more than 70 degrees. Fortunately, the pole that covers 3 acres is close to bathrooms. What is more, a guest lecture that gives you the chance to learn about the history and biology of the pool is available.
Address: 2201 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746, United States
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Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater
“Austin City Limits,” a music show, is recorded at this theatre. Now, Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” partly by dint of the mentioned television program. Moreover, the site holds up to 100 concert series annually.
Standing next to the Colorado River, the venue has a seating capacity of 2,750. Whereas some seats need a reservation, others do not require any booking. Nevertheless, the room is not equipped with a single uncomfortable chair. Ticket prices depend on the duration of the performance.
LBJ Presidential Library
LBJ Presidential Library is devoted to the life and work of the 36th president of the US. The library displays multiple pictures, artifacts, presidential papers, and, last but not least, the presidential limousine. The gallery also features items from the historic day when Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as a president after Kennedy’s assassination.
Spending time in the museum opens up an excellent opportunity to learn about American history to travelers. Anyway, the staff of the organization is known to be highly qualified and extremely kind.
Bullock Texas State History Museum
Born in 2001, Bullock Texas State History Museum nestles north of the Texas State Capitol. It carries the name of the 38th lieutenant of Texas, who, unfortunately, couldn’t have seen the museum functioning. The galleries’ collections embrace the original Goddess of Liberty statue and the space equipment of Edgar Mitchell.
Thus, the museum reveals a lot about the Lone Star State’s dim and distant past. There are in total 500 objects of historical interest. Other highlights include the grandest IMAX screen in the state, the 4-D Texas Spirit Theater, plus a cafe. One can obtain a museum piece from a nearby shop.
See Austin Bats
One unusual Austin attraction is gazing at the 1.5 million bats of the Congress Avenue Bridge. They inhabited the spot in 1980, viz. when the restoration of the bridge led to the occurrence of numerous cracks. In other words, the rebuilding formed ideal accommodations for bats. Specialists claim that Austin hosts the biggest non-rural bat community in North America.
Just imagine seeing this many bats flying together. Probably, there is not a guest of the place who was not mesmerized by the view. Agencies, which offer cruises that you may take, supposing you long to see this spot full of bats, are Capital Cruises and the Lone Star Riverboat. Nocturnal kayak journeys are also available.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
One of the initiators of the center is Claudia Alta Taylor Lady Bird Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson’s spouse. The organization aims to inform people about the advantages of cultivating different kinds of plants. Presently, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the grandest research institute for local plant species.
Evening primrose and bluebonnets, which are perfect for a family photo background, are part of the Texan flora. In total, the center features 970 plus types of greenery. Other enhancements include a cafeteria, a store selling presents, and an observation tower.
Located close to The Driskill, the Mexic-Arte Museum displays Mexican and Latin American works of art. Its permanent assemblage consists of pictures from the Mexican Revolution as well as ceremonial masks. Other seductions include contemporary artistic productions from native craftsmen.
In addition, the gallery hosts several types of shows all year long. Although the museum is considered small, it is not by any means a waste of time. The adjoining shop offers different pieces of art created by native artists.
Austin Nature & Science Center
Undeniably, one of the top things to do in Austin is exploring its science museums. Found in 1960, the Austin Nature & Science Center attracts dozens of curious children, adults, and schoolies. The museum located within Zilker Park not only educates but also entertains its guests. Programs of the organization include lectures on butterflies, caving, and other deeply fascinating themes.
Do not hesitate to bring your child with you since the site is kid-friendly and offers numerous activities that prevent children from getting bored. For instance, walking along the Forest Trail that gives information about the trees standing on both sides of the route is a marvelous way of spending time with your younger version. Moreover, access to the center costs absolutely nothing.
Address: 2389 Stratford Dr, Austin, TX 78746, United States
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Mayfield Park and Preserve
Mayfield Park and Preserve is part of the National Registry of Historic Places. The main enticement of the spot is its charming peacocks. In 1971 Mary Mayfield Gutsch gifted the cottage and gardens situated in the park to the town. Today, one is able to use them for special celebrations.
Nestled approximately 5 miles away from downtown Austin, the park is accessible via no. 335 bus. However, visitors have to walk a mile after getting off the bus to arrive at the destination. You can pay a visit to the spot from 5 a.m. to 10 .m. for free. Take into account that pets are not allowed here.
Address: 3505 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703, United States
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McKinney Falls State Park
Leave the hustle and bustle of the town and de-stress at McKinney Falls State Park while enjoying the view of the sparkling Onion Greek or biking the 9-mile long trails. The park is a proud possessor of 81 campsites and six comfy huts where visitors stay the night.
The property, found in 1976, carries the name of Thomas F. McKinney, who called this area home in the 19th century. Bald Cypress, sycamores, and pecan trees perfectly encircle the Onion Greek. On the other hand, the fauna of the region is dominated by white-tailed deer, raccoons, armadillos, and cottontail rabbits.
Esther’s Follies lies on the prominent Sixth Street in Austin. The theatre that carries the name of the famous actress Esther Williams holds countless performances developing comedic themes – juggling, magic, singing, et cetera. Generally, the acts are of one and a half hours’ duration.
Unfortunately, initially-built Esther’s Follies construction went in flames in 1982. To the delight of admires of the group, this building became Esther’s Follies’ place. Today, it keeps both locals and tourists entertained for hours.
Thinkery’s attractions that mix science, arts, math, and technology are perfect for 11-year old children. Kiddos always have a whale of a time in the Kitchen Lab and Light Lab. The playground outside of the museum is exactly what a child needs to be on cloud nine. Keep in mind that a bunch of programs are in existence to keep children entertained while you are winding down.
The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria
The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria once displayed all collections of the Austin Museum of Art. Today, it is an eminent art school but still possesses several pieces of art. Driscoll Villa, the Betty, and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, and the Gatehouse Gallery stand within the boundaries of the museum.