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Yes absolutely, Austin Texas is a fun place to visit! If you are a music lover, an art-lover, a foodie, an admirer of nature, or anything in between, Austin is where you need to be heading next.
Austin, the state capital city of Texas, is always alive. The 'Live Music Capital of the World' renowned for its country music, blues, and rock, will keep your feet moving. From live music, tacos, barbeque, arts, and crafts to biking and hiking, Austin has a lot to offer for everyone. You will get one of a kind experience in Austin with its vibrant culture. Below we have listed some of the top things to do in Austin during your stay.
Take a stroll down to the State Capitol
Make your way through to the middle of a beautiful 22-acre park, where you get the State Capitol, a legislative building in Austin. The State Capitol is the office of the state Governor and Chambers of the Texas Legislature, and it stands taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.
The pink building you see is made up of sunset pink-granite, and it is truly a masterpiece. Spend some time exploring the stunning exterior and interior of the State Capitol building. You will be amazed to find more delicate and ornate details of this building, including the chandeliers, handrails and door hinges. If you take a closer look at the dome on top from inside, you will see the name 'Texas' around the star sign.
A stroll to the State Capitol is ideal for spending your afternoon in Austin. You could get a guided tour or keep exploring on your own. Don't miss out on appreciating the lush green surroundings of the building, its various monuments along the 'Great Walk,' beautifully landscaped gardens, and learning a bit of the history of Texas. You can collect a free brochure from the Capitol Visitors Center or the Capitol Information and Guide Service room. After all the walking, grab a snack from the shops at Capitol Extension. If you want to be sure to see all of the top spots, check out the affordable private tour by clicking the link below.
There is a lot to discover at Austin's most loved Zilker Metropolitan Park, located towards the south of the Colorado River downtown Austin and is not to be missed during your stay in Austin.
Andrew Jackson Zilker donated this land in 1971, which was later converted into a recreational park. Today, the park hosts the famous 'Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker's Great Lawn.
The 350-acre park is ideal for spending some quality time with your family and relaxing when you don't feel like doing anything. The Zilker park itself is home to many attractions, and you can spend a whole day here from enjoying a picnic, taking a dip in the natural spring pools, taking a nature trail walk and enjoying a live show.
Barton Springs Pool
Nestled at the heart of the Zilker Park, Barton Springs Pool is just what you need to escape the scorching sun. The Barton Springs Pool, also known as the 'Soul of Austin', was once believed to have spiritual healing powers. In addition, history states that the native American tribe Tonkawa used this pool to perform their purification rituals.
Today, the pool spans 3 acres, and the water temperature constantly remains between 68F to 70F degrees. It is a swimmer's paradise, and the cool, crystal clear water tempts you to take a dip in, and you cannot avoid it. The pool is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, but be mindful that Thursday is its cleaning day.
Zilker Hillside Theater
It will take only 2 minutes for you to walk to Zilker Hillside Theater from the Barton Springs Pool. You can enjoy award-winning musical shows here, and your kids will love this venue too. We suggest you take a blanket to sit and watch the performances, so you don't have to worry too much about seating arrangements.
Zilker Botanical Gardens
If you are looking for a picnic spot for relaxation, this is the ideal place to stop by. Known as the 'Jewel in the heart of Austin,' Zilker Botanical Gardens is nestled over 26 acres of land within the Zilker Park.
The Gardens feature themed gardens, including a cactus garden, a rose garden with fragrant blooms, a herb garden, a prehistoric garden with dinosaur statues and tracks, a butterfly garden and a Japanese garden.
You will adore the gardens, and you will find something new everywhere you go in the gardens, especially the Butler Window made out of bricks restored from a house built in 1887 and the many rich retrieved artifacts of Austin. You will also fall in love with the Japanese garden, consisting of koi-filled ponds, bridges and waterfalls. What's unique about this garden is that it was built by a 70-year old Isamu Taniguchi, an immigrant who worked without any payment. You can take food and drinks inside, but glass bottles and alcohol are not allowed. So, make sure you take in the beautiful sights and aromas at the gardens.
Appreciate the various sculptures at Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum
This is yet another extraordinary garden adjacent to Zilker Metropolitan Park, featuring more than 50 serene bronze sculptures exhibiting works of Charles Umlauf, a renowned American sculptor. These sculptures are touchable. Yes, you heard us right; the sculptures are touchable!
You could also visit the museum to get more sculptures and exhibits and learn a bit about Charles Umlauf.
Go on the Anne and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail
This is without a doubt a must-do activity when in Austin. Anne and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, a picturesque 10-mile trail, where you can meander along Lady Bird Lake.
This trail got its name from the former Austin Mayor and his wife and is also popularly known as the 'Lady Bird Lake Trail' or 'Town Lake Trail.' Along the way, admire the scenic parks with lush greenery skyscrapers of Austin city, and you will be able to feel the vibe and the heartbeat of Austin.
As part of the 10-mile trail, you also get a 1.1-mile boardwalk, so it is entirely up to you to decide whether to bike, hike, or do both. We suggest you start the trail from Lamar Boulevard and end at South Congress Avenue. The trail is open from 5 a.m. to midnight every day, and you will have ample time to explore the surroundings and snap a few photographs along the way. Also, don't forget to snap a selfie with the memorial statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Austin's music legend, at Auditorium Shores.
Go on an adventure to Barton Creek Greenbelt
If you are an adrenaline junkie or someone looking for a little bit of an adventure, this is a trail that you cannot miss. This trail is much more adventurous than the Anne and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, as you get quite a lot of things to do along the way, from hiking, biking, rock climbing, bouldering to swimming and waterfall hunting.
So if you are in for a rocky trail, we suggest you take the Loop 360 access point along 3755-B Capital of Texas Highway. You will also come across swimming holes and steep cliffs, and you can get to Twin Falls and Sculpture falls using the same access point.
But if you feel like taking a shorter trail, we suggest you start from Barton Springs Pool at Zilker Metropolitan Park, which would eventually lead to a more relaxed trail than other routes. Remember to wear proper shoes as the routes can be rocky and uneven.
Kayaking, Canoeing and Paddle Boarding on Lady Bird Lake
Get into the calm waters of Lady Bird Lake and enjoy different water sports. Lady Bird Lake is a reservoir on the Colorado River, which flows through downtown Austin.
It is free to enter the Lady Bird Lake, except for the rental fees you have to pay if you get a kayak, a canoe or a stand-up paddleboard for rent from the local businesses. Motorized boats are not allowed so that you can enjoy the calm and quiet atmosphere around you. Also, while on a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard, admire Austin's skyline and surroundings.
Watching the sunset at Mount Bonnell is something that you will thoroughly enjoy, and this is an excellent way to get a feel of Austin's surrounding hills. Mount Bonnell, named after George Bonnell, a Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the Texas Republic, is 781 feet high, one of the highest points in Austin.
To get to Mount Bonnell, you can take 35th Street west over MoPac past Camp Mabry. Take a left at the fork onto old Bull Creek Road and then take a right on Mount Bonnell Road and move uphill to the parking lot.
Depending on the weather, the trail will take approximately 30 minutes, and it is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. It is a 102-stair climb, and you will reach the top via a gravel trail, so be extra careful and watch your step. Treat yourself to spectacular views at the very top, but above all, enjoy the sunset! Do not forget to snap a few photographs too.
Watch the Bat colony takeoff at Congress Avenue Bridge
It's a dramatic scene to watch about 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats take off to the night sky across Lady Bird Lake to feed themselves.
Congress Avenue Bridge is the ideal place to witness these mammals take off and the perfect time to see them is at dusk. Expect the bats to fly around 7.30 p.m. to 9.45 p.m. The show will last as long as 45 minutes for all the bats to exit the bridge. So, try to get a spot in the front rows, as the bridge can get crowded. Also, make sure to face the east, as the bats will fly in that direction.
You could enjoy the same view along the Anne and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail or on a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, or canoe from the water. You won't believe there are bat tours arranged in cruises and riverboats on Lady Bird Lake, exclusively for you to witness this stunning view.
If you are an art-lover, this is a must-see place for you. Blanton Museum of Art is one of the oldest and largest university art museums located in the University of Texas at Austin. You will be amazed by the contemporary American and Latin works of art, Baroque and Italian Renaissance paintings displayed at the museum.
If you get a chance to visit the museum, you cannot miss Ellsworth Kelly's Austin and the stone chapel with black and white marble panels and colored windows. The museum is situated at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Congress Avenue, and admission to the museum on Thursday is free of charge.
Learn a little bit of history at the Bullock Texas State History Museum
A 2-minute walk from the Blanton Museum of Art will get you to the Bullock Texas State History Museum. You could learn a bit of the 'Lone Star State's history and explore the various exhibits in the museum. You can spot the original Goddess of Liberty Statue, which once resided at the top of the State Capitol in Austin and many more artifacts. Also among the exhibits is the spacesuit of Edgar Mitchell used in the Apollo 14 mission to the moon!
The beautiful city of Austin will never disappoint you in any way. The 'Live Music Capital of the World' with its unique vibe, eclectic live music, barbeque, enthusiastic outdoor adventures will keep you occupied and satisfied at the same time without a doubt. So, pack your bags and get ready for an experience of a lifetime in Austin! We hope you've enjoyed this article, and feel free to share it with your friends.