Take a look at the top 20 things to do in Austin
Austin is the capital of the state of Texas, and one of the most populous cities in the United States. The area of Austin was only settled in during the 1830s, but it quickly became an important city and replaced Houston as the capital of Texas. Many big companies have headquarters or regional offices in Austin, including Amazon.com, Apple Inc., Cisco, eBay, Google, IBM and Intel, so the development of the city is still ongoing. The city is also known for its tourism and hospitality, and, according to the FBI, it is one of the safest cities in the country. Take a look at our list of the top 20 best things to do in Austin if you got interested in this city.
- 6th Street
The 6th Street is a historic street and entertainment district in the city. Many bars, clubs, music venues, and shopping destinations are located here, and it is well known as the center of the music scene, so if you like music then coming here is one of the best things to do in Austin for you. Many shops are dedicated to musical genres or particular bands, and the venues offer countless live music all day long. It is often crowded by music-enthusiast people, and many of them also play there in the public.
2. Texas State Capitol
The Texas State Capitol is the main legislative building of Austin and Texas, and it contains the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature and the Office of the Governor. It is actually even bigger than the United States Capitol in Washington, and some find it even more impresssive, although it is not as famous. It’s a beautiful building, that is for sure, so make sure to see it at least from the outside.
3. Zilker Park
Zilker Park is a large recreational area in Austin. In addition to general-purpose lawns, sports fields, historical markers, concession stands and picnic areas, the park includes numerous public attractions, like museums and gardens. You can stroll along the walkways, have a picnic or just lay down and relax, unless of course you want to try some of the sport activities available here. Everyone can find something they’ll like here.
4. Nature & Science Center
The Nature & Science Center in Zilker Park offers countless exhibitions and activities for both children and adults. Some of these are indoors, but most of them are outdoors so it is even more nature-friendly. Kids can try to unearth dinosaur bones in the Dino Pit, buried under sand, and you can also check out some animals here. These exhibitions are both educational and interactive, making it even more fun.
5. Zilker Botanical Garden
The Zilker Botanical Garden is a beautiful garden where you’ll find numerous exotic and wonderful plants, trees and flowers. The place is divided into several gardens, each with its own theme and beauty. These include the Isamu Taniguchi Oriental Garden, the Herb and Fragrance Garden, the Cactus and Succulent Garden, the Doug Blachly Butterfly Trail and Garden, the Mabel Davis Rose Garden and so on.
6. Umlauf Sculpture Garden
Just like its name suggests, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden is a part of Zilker Park where you can find dozens of spectacular statues and sculptures along trailers surrounded by trees, plants and water streams. Umlauf’s “The Kiss” is the centerpiece of the sculpture garden pond, and definitely the most popular one of the bunch, but the other ones are just as beautiful, so be sure to see them.
7. Barton Springs Pool
The Barton Springs Pool is a highly popular spot in the Zilker Park. Native American settlers once believed the springs possessed spiritual healing powers, and many people still refer to Barton Springs as the soul of Austin. Citizens and tourists both come here to enjoy the waters, especially during hot summers.
8. Esther’s Follies
Esther’s Follies is a modern-day vaudeville theatre which offers comedic shows for those who want to have a bit of fun. The acts here incorporate magic, juggling, singing, dancing, and sketches on current events. If you want to see an out of the ordinary performance, then definitely see a show here.
9. Blanton Museum of Art
The Blanton Museum of Art is a large museum focusing on modern and contemporary art, Latin American art, Old Master paintings, and prints and drawings from Europe, the United States, and Latin America. It has a collection of around 18 thousand works, including ones from famous artists like Rubens and Raphael.
10. Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum
While it may sound boring to some at first, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum is actually quite interesting. It’s dedicated to the 36th president of the United States and narrates his career and life. Presidential holiday cards, photographs chronicling the Civil Rights era and an LBJ robot are just a few of the interesting artifacts displayed there, and the library full if historical papers is just as wonderful.
11. Bullock Texas State History Museum
The Bullock Texas State History Museum holds numerous artifacts and objects related to the history of the state of Texas. Among these are such famous objects as the original Goddess of Liberty statue that resided at the top of the State Capitol’s dome, the space suit of Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, used in the Apollo 14 mission to the moon, and many more. If you want to learn more about the history of Texas, then coming here is one of the best things to do in Austin for you.
12. The Bats of Austin
According to experts, Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America, with approximately 1.5 million bats. These bats migrate north from Mexico and use the Congress Avenue Bridge as their home. During summer swarms of bats can be seen coming out of the bridge during dusk to hunt for their food. It’s a wonderful spectacle, to say the least.
13. Mexic-Arte Museum
If you are interested in Mexican and Latin American art, then the Mexic-Arte Museum is the place for you. It houses countless pieces of art from both old and modern times, including photographs from the Mexican Revolution, traditional ritual masks, contemporary works from local artists and even theatrical and musical performances.
14. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a large research center for native plant studies, with mora than 650 species of flora from Texas, including bluebonnets and evening primrose. It also serves as a botanical garden that aims to educate people about the environmental benefits of planting and nurturing certain types of plants. The garden of the center is not only beautiful, but very informative as well.
15. Mueller SunFlowers
The Mueller SunFlowers are colossal man-made flowers that collect the sun’s rays to power the installation’s complex series of blue LED lights which come to life at night. The excess electricity is also returned to the power grid of the city. These are worth seeing during the day as well, but they are especially beautiful during the night, when they shine in a blue color.
16. HOPE Outdoor Gallery
Graffiti artists from all over the city flock to this half-abandoned contruction area and lay down pieces on the slabs of blank cement left there. The owner doesn’t approve of this, and threatened to take action against it, but nothing happened yet. It is worth checking the numerous wonderful works of art before it closes down sooner or later. The artists nicknamed the place as the HOPE Outdoor Gallery.
17. Cathedral of Junk
The Cathedral of Junk is just what it sounds like, a cathedral made out of junk, including bicycles and such, around 60 tonnes together. The man who built it lets everyone in for free, and even allows people to rent it for parties and such. Some couples even had their weddings held here. Neighbours wanted the place demolished, but it is structurally safe and sound, with no actual errors found by engineers, so the cathedral won’t go away for a while at least.
18. Sparky Park
Speaking of junk, the Sparky Park is another example of junk art. Sparky Park was originally an electrical substation which was overhauled and some of the machines were put outside. Since these were a bit of an eyesore, to hide the substation, a local artist with help from neighbors built walls of karst stones, aggregates, mirror balls, slag glass, broken antique glass dishes, ammonites and other shells, painted stucco, petrified wood, molded cement frieze, marbles and so on, making it a weird but inviting park.
19. Uncommon Objects
The Uncommon Objects is antique and oddity store where 24 different vendors sell their wares. The shop has every imaginable type of random curiosities, including cases of costume jewelry, wall-mounted antlers, rustic furniture, boxes of old photographs, old signs, pinball machines, and so on.
20. Elisabet Ney Museum
The Elisabet Ney Museum was the studio of sculptor Elisabet Ney and is dedicated to showcasing her life and works. The permanent collection of her portrait busts and personal memorabilia are available here, which are well worth a visit.