Austin Sights

The logical place to begin an exploration of the city is downtown, where the pink-granite Texas State Capitol, built in 1888, is the most visible manmade attraction. The Colorado River, which slices through Austin, was once an unpredictable waterway but has since been tamed into a series of lakes, including two within the city limits. Twenty-two-mile-long Lake Austin, in the western part of the

city, flows into Lady Bird Lake, a narrow stretch of water that meanders for 5 miles through the center of downtown. There are also 10 miles of riverside hiking and biking trails.

The sprawling University of Texas, one of the largest universities in the United States, flanks the capitol's north end. Among other things, it is home to several world class museums. Just to the northwest of the university is a fun and funky student-centered commercial street called Guadalupe ("The Drag").

Almost every street in downtown, from Cesar Chavez to 15th, is hopping with bars, music venues, and restaurants. The best shopping is either in the Second Street District or on South Congress Ave.

From March to October, check out the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, under which the world’s largest urban colony of Mexican free-tailed bats hangs out (literally). The bats make their exodus a half an hour after sunset to feed on insects.

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Central Austin, Downtown, and Capitol Area 14

West Austin and Zilker Park 9

University of Texas 7

Greater Austin 5

Outside the City 2

South Congress District 2

East Austin 2

South Austin 2

Sixth Street District 1

North Austin 1

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Arts/ Performance Venue 1

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Building/ Architectural Site 1

Cemetery 1

Educational Institution 3

Garden/ Arboretum 3

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Hotel–Sight 1

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Mountain–Sight 1

Museum/ Gallery 17

Nature Preserve/ Wildlife Refuge 3

Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 1

Park/ Playground 3

Public Art (Mural/ Sculpture/ Statue) 2

Restaurant–Sight 1

Sports Venue 1

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Austin Sights

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The Old Bakery and Emporium

  • Restaurant–Sight

In 1876, Swedish baker Charles Lundberg built this charming building near the capitol and operated it as a bakery for the next 60 years.

The Thinkery

  • Museum/Gallery

In 2013, the former Austin Children's Museum moved into a new building and evolved into The Thinkery, where kids (and kids at heart)...

The Veloway

  • Sports–Sight

This paved asphalt loop winds for a little more than 3 miles through Slaughter Creek Metropolitan Park and is reserved exclusively for...

Treaty Oak

  • Historic District/Site

Many local legends attach themselves to Austin's most famous tree. At least 500 years old, the live oak, on Baylor Street in the West...

Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum

  • Garden/Arboretum

This pleasant space at the south end of Zilker Park houses 53 of Charles Umlauf's sculptures in the house where he lived and worked.

University of Texas

  • Educational Institution

The 350-acre campus breeds Texas Longhorns, as passionate about football (and other sports) as they are about academics (it has one of...

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

  • Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

Stunning contrasting views of the Hill Country and the Austin skyline make it worth the trip to this area near the 360 Bridge. You can...

Willie Nelson Statue

  • Public Art (Mural/Sculpture/Statue)

Back in the 1970s when mainstream country music was all in Nashville, Willie Nelson kept his feet firmly planted in Texas. Playing around...

Zilker Botanical Gardens

  • Garden/Arboretum

Across from Zilker Park, this botanical garden has more than 26 acres of horticultural delights, including butterfly trails and Xeriscape...

Zilker Park

  • Park/Playground

The former site of temporary Franciscan missions in 1730 and a former Native American gathering place is now Austin's everyday backyard...

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