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 18

West Austin and Zilker Park 11

University of Texas 9

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Austin Sights

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Blanton Museum of Art

  • 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...

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...

Elisabet Ney Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

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

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...

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,...

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...

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

  • Library/Archive

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

O. Henry Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

Writer William Sydney Porter, better known as O. Henry, rented this modest cottage from 1893 to 1895. Moved a few blocks from its original...

Republic of Texas Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

This organization, which also oversees the Alamo in San Antonio, maintains a collection of artifacts from the Republic of Texas era (1836–46...

Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery

  • Museum/Gallery

With a collection more akin to a first class art museum than a commercial gallery, the Russell has a longstanding reputation for being...

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