Austin is the capital and one of the major political, educational, and cultural centers of the state of Texas. The city was founded in 1839 and is today the fastest growing metropolis in the US. For a tourist, there is a lot to enjoy in Austin. There are plenty of museums, parks, restaurants, cafes, and a major university in the city. Austinites love to keep their city clean. It is nicknamed ‘clean-air-city’ for its strict implementation of no-smoking ordinances in public places. Austin is also known as the Live Music Capital of the World. Here is our pick of some top attractions that the Texan capital has to offer to the visitors.
- Bullock Texas State History Museum
The Bullock Texas State History Museum is a prominent city attraction that is located a few blocks from the State Capitol Austin building. This history museum was established in 2001. It is named after Bob Bullock, the brainchild behind this museum. The Bullock Texas State History Museum has the mission to ‘tell the story of Texas,’ so it is good place to start if you want to know more about the history, development, and culture of this southern US state. The museum has 3 floors of various displays and audio-visual exhibits associated with the state of Texas.
- Lady Bird Lake
The Lady Bird Lake is a man-made reservoir located on the Colorado River. It was made in 1960 to play the role of a cooling pond for the power plant of the city. Today, the 416 acres lake is a popular recreation spot of Austin. The lake is named after Lady Bird Johnson, wife and First Lady of former President Lyndon B Johnson. The Lady Bird Lake is actually the easternmost of a series of man-made reservoirs on the Colorado River. You can try canoeing or kayaking in the lake waters. If you want to stay dry, then take a stroll along the Austin Hike and Bike Trail along the shoreline. If you visit the bridge near the lake during sundown, you will get to see the flight of the largest urban bat colony in the world!
- Texas Memorial Museum
The Texas Memorial Museum is located inside the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. It was opened to the public in 1939 and is a prominent museum on natural history in Texas. Different areas of natural history that are covered by this museum include paleontology, herpetology, entomology, geology, biology, and ichthyology. It is housed in a beautiful building which was designed in an Art Deco style of architecture. The museum is presently open 5 days a week and charges for admission.
- Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum
The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum is a part of the Zilker Park in Austin. It is an open-air sculpture park and gallery that features art works of Charles Umlauf, a renowned 20th-century artist. Umlauf and his wife donated their home, studio, and 168 of his sculptures to the City of Austin in 1985. This museum was established with private funding in 1991 to showcase those artworks of Umlauf. The background of the serene garden adds to the charm of these sculptures. Temporary exhibits by other artists are also shown in this museum.
- The French Legation Museum
The French Legation Museum is a historic legation building that is located on San Marcos Street in Austin. It was built in 1841 to represent the government from of France in the Republic of Texas, a sovereign country that existed for less than a decade between 1836 and 1846. The building is presently the oldest extant frame structure in Austin. It has been restored in its original décor complete with the period furniture. It serves as a museum and as a venue for community events. The surrounding garden adds to the ambiance of this site which is protected as a US Historic Landmark.
- Blanton Museum of Art
The Jack S Blanton Museum of Art, often simply called Blanton, is one of the largest university art museums in the country. It is a part of the University of Texas at Austin. This museum, with a floor space of 189,340 square feet, was established in 1963. There are almost 18,000 works in the permanent collection of this museum. Blanton is known for its holdings of Latin American Art, Old Master paintings, and contemporary and modern art.
- Driskill Hotel
The Driskill Hotel is the oldest operating hotel in Austin. But it is not just its age that it has made it to our list. Driskill is housed in a magnificent Romanesque Revival-styled building which is an attraction in itself. The hotel was completed in 1886 and was dubbed the ‘finest hotel south of St. Louis.’ It occupied almost half a block and had 60 rooms. Attached baths, marble washstands, electric bell systems, and steam heating made it one of the luxurious hotels of the region. Even if you are not planning to stay at the Driskill, you can visit its restaurant, which was featured in the Hollywood movie Miss Congeniality.
- Zilker Metropolitan Park
The Zilker Metropolitan Park is a large urban park located on the Colorado River bank, right in the heart of the city of Austin. The northern extension of the park is the Zilker Botanical Garden. This whole green space is a favorite picnic and hangout spot for locals and tourists alike. There are several attractions within the Zilker Metropolitan Park. Some of the most notable are the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum, Zilker Hillside Theater, and the Town Lake. The botanical gardens are also ideal for a casual stroll with its several landscaped gardens like the Hartman Prehistoric Garden, the herb garden, and the rose garden.
- Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
Also known as the LBJ Presidential Library, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is a major attraction in the city of Austin dedicated to the political life of the 36th US President. The museum boasts about 45 million pages of documents linked with President Johnson and his associates. The museum was dedicated in 1971 but its present look comes from the extensive restorations of 2013. One of the popular exhibits in the museum is the replica of the Oval Office during the tenure of President Johnson.
- State Capitol Austin
The State Capitol Austin is a grand architectural landmark located in downtown Austin. It was completed in 1888, making it the 3rd State Capitol building on the site. It is influenced by the design of the US State Capitol building, but at 302.64 feet is taller than its Washington D.C. counterpart. The building has an Italian Renaissance Revival style of architecture. It rests in a complex spanning 2.25 acres and has a floor space of 360,000 square feet, more than any other US State Capitol building. Tours are offered to visitors. Details and bookings of these tours can be arranged at the Visitors Center of this State Capitol.
Originally posted 2017-06-28 10:38:01.