Things to Do in Austin

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Things to Do in Austin

Austin Texas

Austin Texas is the capital of  Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas, Austin is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the fourth-most populous city in Texas. It is the fastest growing of the largest 50 US cities.  Austin is also the second largest state capital in the United States.  

In the 1830s, pioneers began to settle the area in central Austin along the Colorado River. After Republic of Texas Vice President Mirabeau B. Lamar visited the area during a buffalo-hunting expedition between 1837 and 1838, he proposed that the republic’s capital, then located in Houston, be relocated to the area situated on the north bank of the Colorado River near the present-day Congress Avenue Bridge. In 1839, the site was officially chosen as the republic’s new capital (the republic’s seventh and final location) and was incorporated under the name Waterloo. Shortly thereafter, the name was changed to Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas” and the republic’s first secretary of state

Things to Do in Austin For Kids and Families

Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge… From March through October visitors converge at sunset to watch the bats’ mass exodus from underneath the bridge.  This bridge is home to one of the largest urban bat colonies in the nation.  Located at Barton Springs Road and Congress Avenue.

Austin Duck Adventures…Tour historic sites and scenic streets of Austin and then, in the same vehicle, splash into Lake Austin for a leisurely cruise.  Tours depart from the Austin Visitor Center.  Located at 209 E. Sixth St.  Admission Charge.

Austin Nature and Science Center… Educational exhibits feature science, natural science, botany, and native Texas animals.  A Dino Pitt offers visitors a chance to unearth replicas of fossils found in Texas.  The adjoining preserve offers hiking and nature trails.  Located a 301 Nature Center Drive.  Free.

Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary… This rescue and sanctuary zoo in southwest Travis County offers hands on encounters with a variety of animals.  It includes pony and train rides and a picnic area.  Located at 10807 Rawhide Trail.

The Thinkery… An interactive museum for children with exhibits to touch, play and learn.  Located at 1830 Simon Avenue.  Admission Charge.

Things to Do in Austin For Adults

Austin City Limits Tour… PBS’s longest running program, Austin City Limits, was first broadcast fro the KLRU studio on the University of Texas at Austin Campus in 1976.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame designated the original show and studio as historic rock and roll sit.  Tours are available of this original site at 2054 Whitis, Unit B.  Visitors can also obtain tickets for current taping schedule at their current location at 310 W. Second St., Willie Nelson Blvd.  Free.

Austin Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria…Visitors can stroll the 12 acre grounds overlooking Lake Austin and take in the scenic sculpture and historic gardens.  Located at 3809 W. 35thSt.  Admission Charge.

Circuit of the Americas (COTA)… The world’s newest home for high performance motorsports racing.  The track is the only purpose-built facility in the country designed for Formula 1 racing and is the host circuit for the United State Grand Prix through 2021.  Track also host V8 Supercars World Championships and Moto GP.  Open year round as an entertainment venue.

East Sixth Street (Old Pecan Street).. This area features restaurants, clubs and shops the Victorian and native stone buildings in the famous entertainment district that draws large crowds for nightlife.  Located between I-35 and Congress Avenue.

Elisabet Ney Museum…This National historic site and studio of the famed German sculptress who immigrated to Texas in the 1870’s.  Her woks stand in European palaces, the Texas and US. capitols and the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art.  Located at 304 E. 44th St.

French Legation…Built in 1840 by Comte Alphonse de Saligny, a French charge d’affaires  at the Republic of Texas  It is a gem of Creole architecture with a superb collection of period furnishings  Located at 820 San Marcos Street. Admission Charge

Neill-Cochran House… This house is home to the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Texas.  It features Greek Revival architecture circa 1835, antique furnishing and historic documents  Located at 2310 San Gabriel St.  Admission Charge.

South Congress… Also called SoCo. this stretch of Congress Avenue is lined with quirky shops, trendy dining spots, unique accommodations, art galleries and music venues.  each month, on ” First Thursday” shops remain open until 10PM and host an array of events, activities and music.  Located south of Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden… One of the world’s few exhibits devoted to a single sculptor, this museum displays  works by Charles Umlauf, nationally acclaimed sculptor.   This museum hosts indoor exhibits as well as  outdoor pieces along tree shaded paths.  Located at 605 Robert E. Lee Road.  Admission Charge.

Things to Do in Austin for All Ages

Austin Overtures Sightseeing…”Austin in 90 Minutes” is a narrated van tour of more than 30 historical and cultural attractions on a 30 mile route.  Tour passes by historic downtown, State Capitol, the UT Campus and East Austin, plus provides a scenic drive to the edge of the Hill Country.  Daily tours from the Austin Visitor Center  Located at 209 E. Sixth St.  Admission Charge.

Bullock Texas State History Museum… “The Story of Texas” This state of the art museum traces Texas history from before European exploration to the early 1970’s.  An IMAX Theater’s “Star of Destiny” includes 3-D images, special effects and shaking seats.  Located at 1800 N. Congress Ave.  Free for kids under 5.

Double Decker Austin… This double decker bus offers the city’s only hop on/hop off, guided sightseeing tour.  Venue encourages self exploration of the city.   Admission Charge.

George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center…This museum is dedicated to African American history and culture.  It features galleries, a theater and a library.  Located at 1165 E. Angelina St.

Governor’s Mansion… This historic home has served as the official residence of Texas governors and their families since 1856.  In 2008 it was severely damaged by arson but has been fully restored.  Located at 1010 Colorado St.  Free tours by reservation.

LBJ Presidential Library… This museum/library features archives and exhibits related to LBJ and the office of the presidency, plus highlights of political campaigns.  exhibits include gift from foreign heads of state, a moon rock, and an Oval Office replica.  Located at 2313 Red River St.

Mex-Arte Museum… This museum features exhibits including Mexican masks and photographs, works by Latin American artists…  Located at 419 Congress Ave  Admission Charge.

O. Henry Museum… This museum was the residence of William Sydney Porter, eminent short story writer who signed his works, “O. Henry”.   Porter lived in Austin 1885-95.  View his desk, writing materials and other furnishings of the period.    Located at 409 e. Fifth St.  Donations accepted.

Oakwood Cemetery… founded in 1839, this is the oldest cemetery in Austin.  It features a Gothic Revival; chapel.  It is the final resting place for many prominent families, as well as Governors Pease, Hamilton, Roberts, Hogg and Colquitt. A walking tour brochure is available at the cemetery chapel. Located at 1601 Navasota.

State Capitol Complex… The Capitol constructed of Texas pink granite, dominates the 46 acre park like area.  State Office Building surround the Capitol.  Free

  • The Capitol Visitors Center is housed in the renovated 1857 General Land Office, the oldest state office building.  Exhibits include a pictorial history of the Capitol’s renovation and a 23 minute informational video, plus the history of Texas General Land Office.

Texas Military Forces Museum… This  museum features an extensive collection of Texas’ military history, from the Alamo to deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Armor Row and Artillery Park have more than 30 military tanks and artillery pieces used from World War II to the present. Visitors must enter through the main security gates of Camp Mabry.  Photo ID required  Located at 3100 W. 35 st. St.

Texas State Cemetery… This cemetery is home to the burials sites of patriots, and heroes of Texas including Stephen F. Austin and Gen. Albert Sidney Johnson  A World Trade Center memorial honors Texas victims of 9/11.  A self guided tour is available.  Located at east Seventh and Navasota Streets.

Texas State Library… Documents and books dealing with all phases of Texas history.  Located at 1201 Brazos St.

The University of Texas.  This campus consisting of 357 area and 120 buildings is home to several museums and attractions:

  • Blanton Museum of Art… Among the country’s top university art collections, this museum’s galleries feature contemporary Latin American, Renaissance and Western Art.  Located at 200 W. Martin Luther Kind Jr. Blvd.  Admission Charge but free on Thursdays.
  • Harry Ransom Center…One of the world’s finest cultural archives, the center has a rare 1455 Gutenberg Bible, plus 30 million literary manuscripts, 1 million rare books, 5 million photographs and more than 100,000 works of art   Located at 300 W. 21 st. St.
  • Texas Memorial Museum… This facility explores the natural history of Texas.  It includes fossil remains of Pierosaur, the largest flying creature ever found with a wingspan of more than 40 feet  Other exhibitions include gems, minerals, fossils and meteorites.  Located at 2400 Trinity St.
  • UT Tower… Visitors enjoy the spectacular view from atop the University of Texas’s most famous landmark,.  Tours are available with advance reservations.

The above are just some of the attractions in Austin.  There are also any parks, lakes and outdoor venues along with tours and sporting events that visitors enjoy.  Stop and Visit Austin on your next vacation and discover all that Texas’ State Capitol has to offer.


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Prairies and Lakes March Events

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