Austin

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 l
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 t
The logical place to begin an exploration of the city is downtown, where the pink-granite Texas State Capitol, built in

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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  • 1. Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    The 38th Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Bob Bullock—a potent political force in his day—lobbied hard to establish a museum of state history during...Read More

  • 2. "I Love You So Much" Mural

    South Congress District | Public Art (Mural/Sculpture/Statue)

    The story goes that Austin musician Amy Cook took a can of red spray paint to write her then-partner, Liz Lambert, a love letter on the side...Read More

  • 3. Auditorium Shores

    South Austin | Park/Playground

    Depending on when you visit this lush green park, you’ll have a totally different experience. If you manage to make it here for a concert, the...Read More

  • 4. Austin City Hall

    Government Building

    The home of municipal government since November 2004 and the anchor of the Second Street District, City Hall is a striking modern showcase of...Read More

  • 5. Austin Nature and Science Center

    Zilker Park | Educational Institution

    Adjacent to the Zilker Botanical Gardens, this complex has an 80-acre preserve trail, interactive exhibits in the Discovery Lab that teach about...Read More

  • 6. Barton Creek Greenbelt

    Zilker Park | Park/Playground

    This park follows the contour of Barton Creek and the canyon it created west along a 8 mile-long area from Zilker Park to west of Loop 360....Read More

  • 7. Blanton Museum of Art

    University of Texas Area | Museum/Gallery

    Formerly the Huntington Art Gallery, this is among the largest university art museums in the United States. Although it's home to a teaching...Read More

  • 8. Circuit of the Americas

    Sports–Sight

    Most of Austin moves at a relaxed pace, but here, just a few miles outside the city limits, things speed up considerably. The Circuit of the...Read More

    View Tours and Activities
  • 9. Darrell K Royal—Texas Memorial Stadium

    University of Texas Area | Sports–Sight

    Longhorns bleed burnt orange and nowhere is that more evident than at a game at Darrell K Royal—Texas Memorial Stadium. The stadium was originally...Read More

  • 10. Dell Diamond

    Sports Venue

    Though most people think Austin’s sports teams only wear burnt orange, a little ways north, the colors are all red, white, and blue. Dell Diamond...Read More

  • 11. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

    University of Texas Area | Library/Archive

    This is American scholars’ go-to resource for 750,000-plus photographs, old documents, more than 400 quilts, and in excess of 50,000 music recordings...Read More

  • 12. Elisabet Ney Museum

    Hyde Park | Museum/Gallery

    The 19th century lives on at this delightfully eccentric museum, where German Romanticism meets the Texas frontier. The 70-plus sculptures and...Read More

  • 13. Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center

    Museum/Gallery

    This stunning architectural site is just off of the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, overlooking the river. Dedicated to celebrating notable...Read More

  • 14. Fire Department History Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    Next door to the O. Henry Museum and the Susanna Dickinson Museum, this truly spectacular gem is housed in Central Fire Station No. 1, Austin...Read More

  • 15. General Land Office

    Government Building

    The only surviving government building from Austin's first 30 years owes its Gothic style to its German-born and -trained architect, Conrad...Read More

  • 16. Harry Ransom Center

    University of Texas Area | Educational Institution

    Part of the University of Texas, this is one of the world's greatest collectors and exhibitors of important literary papers and other artifacts...Read More

  • 17. Inner Space Cavern

    Sports–Sight

    This Mesozoic-era karst cavern 24 miles north of Austin was discovered in 1963 and opened to the public three years later. Visitors enter from...Read More

  • 18. Joseph and Susanna Dickinson Hannig Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    As war stories go, the most defining for Texas is, of course, the Alamo. And although Davy Crockett, William Travis, and James Bowie are often...Read More

  • 19. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

    Garden/Arboretum

    This 43-acre complex, founded in 1982 by Lady Bird Johnson and actress Helen Hayes, has extensive plantings of native Texas wildflowers that...Read More

  • 20. Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

    University of Texas Area | Library/Archive

    The artifacts and voluminous documents on exhibit here provide some insight into the 36th president's mind and motivations, and though his foibles...Read More

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