Proudly proclaiming the slogan, “Keep Austin Weird,” this vibrant city boasts endless culture and activity deep in the heart of Texas. Known as the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin has long been a home for free spirits and creatives. In recent years, this metropolis has experienced a boom, growing exponentially and becoming a hub for entrepreneurship. Despite these changes, Austin has maintained its character and become one of the best destinations in the U.S. for arts and culture.
Looking for things to do in Austin? Here’s a round-up of our favorites!
Zilker Metropolitan Park
Known as “Austin’s most loved park,” this 351-acre metropolitan paradise is filled with activities and recreation. Zilker Botanical Garden and the Austin Nature and Science Center offer plenty of hands-on opportunities to learn about native plant and wildlife. Once you’ve brushed up on your knowledge, you can walk through the nature preserve or check out the Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail. Volleyball courts, picnic sites, and a disc golf course provide fun for the whole family.
The highlight of Zilker Park is Barton Springs Pool, a three-acre man-made reservoir that’s fed by underground springs and maintains an average temperature of 70 degrees. The sparkling waters are ideal for swimming, and Barton Springs also serves as the sole home of the endangered Barton Springs Salamander. Keep an eye out, you may just spot this rare creature during your swim!
Texas State Capitol
The phrase, “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” certainly applies to the State Capitol building. Previously the tallest in the nation, this architectural monument features Texas limestone throughout its magnificent structure. Free guided tours are offered every day of the week and generally last 30 minutes. Self-guided tours are allowed and the Capitol conducts specialty tours throughout the week, such as a Women in Texas History tour on weekdays at 11:15 a.m.
LBJ Presidential Library
Though the outside is often compared to a fortress, the inside of the LBJ Presidential Library is a treasure trove of history. Innovative exhibits tell the story of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson. Permanent exhibits look at topics like civil rights and social justice, while a variety of rotating exhibits touch on other areas that LBJ influenced, such as National Public Radio (NPR). If you lived through the presidency of LBJ, or are simply a history buff, this is a must-see attraction.
Aptly named for its South Congress Avenue location, Austin’s SoCo District is a hub of small businesses. Here you’ll find food trucks, record shops, boutique clothing stores, eccentric thrift markets, and more restaurants than you could dream of trying. Live music can be heard every night and this unique neighborhood contains the best of Austin’s creative culture.
Bats of Congress Avenue Bridge
The world’s largest urban bat population lives in the nooks and crannies of Congress Avenue Bridge. Roughly 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats reside here during the summer months before heading south of the border in winter. In April and May, the female bats emerge right around sunset, but peak season arrives in late July and early August, when the full population of mothers and babies rise out from under the bridge as the sun goes down. These winged creatures of the night consume between 10,000 and 20,000 pounds of insects each night, ensuring that there aren’t too many of those pesky mosquitoes around during your visit!
Pace Bend Park
Head outside of Austin to experience the stunning natural beauty of the Lone Star State. Pace Bend Park is the highlight of Texas Hill Country and holds more than nine miles of shoreline along scenic Lake Travis. High, limestone cliffs and scattered rocky coves offer stunning views, while boaters will enjoy the calm waters of Lake Travis. A road loops around the park, but the interior portions are managed as a wildlife preserve, accessible only by hiking, biking, or horseback riding. Whether you’re enjoying the views or taking a dip in the waters of Lake Travis, this park offers adventure and relaxation!
Austin Art Museums
In a town known for creativity, there’s plenty to look at when it comes to art. While public art lines the streets, Austin is also home to institutions like the Blanton Museum of Art, a leading university art museum that offers contemporary American art, as well as a host of Italian Renaissance and Baroque paintings. Further progressive art can be found at The Contemporary Austin, as well as at Perry Park, where the museum has partnered with artists to create an outdoor sculpture park. Classics like a rare Gutenberg Bible are held at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
Nearby Resorts in the Austin area:
Sun RV Resorts offers a fantastic selection of resorts in a number of other very popular vacation destinations as well. Make sure to keep checking The Scenic Route for more locations in our Destination Discover series!
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