Austin Attractions and Sightseeing
(Austin, Texas - TX, USA)
Although Austin, the capital of Texas, is not overloaded with tourist attractions and sightseeing opportunities, the quality attractions it does have are not to be sniffed at. The city of Austin boasts the most striking state capitol building in the country and its natural attractions, such as the gorgeous Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Metropolitan Park. Other notable attractions for tourists visiting Austin include the breathtaking sight of over one million bats scouring the skies every evening from under Congress Avenue Bridge, which is quite unique and simply unmissable.
Austin's affinity with music is also well represented, with scores of bars and clubs featuring live music along the colorful streets. The main highights are listed below.
Barton Springs Pool
Address: 2201 Barton Springs Road, Austin, Texas TX, 78704, USA
Tel: +1 512 867 3080
Barton Springs is the place to be during the height of summer when temperatures soar and the city of Austin bustles. The spring-fed pool lies in the popular Zilker Metropolitan Park in downtown Austin and millions of gallons of cool water flow to the surface to soothe weary tourists and locals alike. The crystal clear pool itself measures an amazing 1,000 feet / 305 meters long and 125 feet / 38 meters wide and remains at a tepidly cool temperature throughout the year, making it a welcome relief from the summer heat. Other attractions at Austin's Barton Springs Pool include a bathhouse on site, and lifeguards who patrol the water during the day.
Open hours: daily - 05:00 to 22:00, closed on Thursdays
Admission: charge, children aged 12 to 17 years discount, children under 11 minimal charge
Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge
Address: Southern Downtown, Austin, Texas TX, USA
Situated near Shoal Beach and the Radisson Hotel south of downtown Austin, the Congress Avenue Bridge is famed for its annual association with the 1.5 million bats that congregate here every year between March and November. The bridge was reconstructed in 1980, which left the structure with nifty crevices that made an unintentionally perfect home for these Mexican free-tail bats, and every night they come out in search for food. Congress Avenue Bridge has become one of Austin's most famous tourist attractions and it is a marvelous spectacle to see such a massive number of creatures all darting and diving in unison.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Address: 4801 La Crosse Avenue, Austin, Texas TX, 78739, USA
Tel: +1 512 232 0100
Located south of downtown Austin, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center will appeal to those with a love for flora and fauna as it boasts a garden with every category of wildflower that is known to grow in Texas. Each category is well labeled with comprehensive information on bloom season and more. Further attractions at the centre include a huge rainwater harvesting network, complete with aqueducts and cistern system, as well as an interesting visitor's centre and observation tower. A nature trail provides additional appeal and there are plenty of hands-on activities for kids, while an interactive database at the centre lets you access wildflower information. The best time of year to visit Austin's National Wildflower Centre is between April and August.
Open hours: Tuesday to Saturday - 09:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 12:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discount for seniors, students and children, children four years old and under are free
The University of Texas at Austin
Address: Visitor Center, 2nd Floor Walter Webb Hall, 405 West 25th Street, Austin, Texas TX, 78705, USA
Tel: +1 512 471 1000
The research facility of the University of Texas is not far from the capitol and houses a couple of important museums, including the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum (LBJ). Austin's Jack South Blanton Museum of Art is another of the university's highlights and features an impressive private collection of old paintings and drawings including many Renaissance and Baroque works from the likes of Poussin and Rubens, as well as 20th- and 21st-century American art. The collection of prints, drawings and contemporary Latin-American art at Austin's University of Texas is also impressive.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 08:00 to 17:00, Saturday - 09:00 to 12:00
Texas State Cemetery
Address: 909 Navasota Street, Austin, Texas TX, 78702, USA
Tel: +1 512 463 0605
Lying just east of downtown Austin is the Texas State Cemetery, which was revamped in the 1990s and now includes a visitor's centre and walkways. Attractions at the cemetery include some of the Austin's most distinguished residents of yesteryear. Among the most well-known are Stephen F. Austin, whom the city was named after; former mayor and Austin street planner, Judge Edwin Waller; several former Texas governors; Barbara Jordan, the South's first black woman elected to the US Congress, as well as many other prominent fighters that featured in the state's battles for independence. Elisabet Ney's sculpture of Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston is the cemetery's most striking monument.
Open hours: grounds, daily - 08:00 to 17:00; visitor's centre, Monday to Friday - 08:00 to 17:00; guided tours available when booked in advance