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Austin

49 expert recommended attractions

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State Capitol

Downtown & University 92 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Dominating Austin's skyline, the Renaissance Revival-style capitol was built in 1888 (Elijah E. Myers) of red granite and limestone. — Michelin Guide

The architecture is great and it had plenty of 'Texas' detailing, from the light fixtures in the main hall...to the door hinges to the flooring. — Afar Magazine

The history of Texas's legislative center is as turbulent and dramatic as that of the state itself. The current capitol, erected in 1888, replaced a limestone statehouse that burned down in 1881. — Frommer's

Built in 1888 from sunset-red granite, this state capitol is the largest in the US, backing up the ubiquitous claim that everything is bigger in Texas. — Lonely Planet

The famous red-granite dome makes for some beautiful photos. Inside, capture yourself in the rotunda or with portraits of Texas governors and presidents of the Republic of Texas. — Travel + Leisure

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Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Austin 89 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Enjoy the native gardens and plants. The center uses solar power, has a green roof, and offers community outreach programs to restore the environment. — Travel + Leisure

Anyone with an interest in Texas' flora and fauna should make the 20-minute drive to the wonderful gardens of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, southwest of downtown Austin. — Lonely Planet

This 43-acre complex, founded in 1982 by Lady Bird Johnson... has extensive plantings of native Texas wildflowers that bloom year-round. — Fodor's

Created by the former First Lady... this facility is the only one in the US dedicated exclusively to conserving and promoting the use of indigenous plants. — Michelin Guide

If you know anything about Lady Bird Johnson, then you've heard that her big cause was the preservation of wildflowers and native plants. — Frommer's

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The Blanton Museum of Art

Downtown & University 88 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Formerly the Huntington Art Gallery, this is among the largest university art museums in the United States. — Fodor's

The Blanton houses the university's art collection, which is ranked among the top university collections in the United States. — Frommer's

The permanent collection of more than 13,000 works here ranges from ancient to contemporary art. — Michelin Guide

The permanent collection includes works by Romare Bearden, Mark Rothko and Thomas Hart Benton. Don’t miss Luis Jimenez’s massive sculpture Progress II (actually, it’s hard to miss). — Travel + Leisure

A big university with a big endowment is bound to have a big art collection, and now, finally, it has a suitable building to show it off properly. — Lonely Planet

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LBJ Presidential Library

Downtown & University 88 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

The 30-plus hours of tape recordings include ruminations on Vietnam, economic inflation, and a New York City transit strike. — Fodor's

A major renovation has brought the museum into the new millennium with interactive exhibits and audiovisual displays. — Lonely Planet

Located on the UT campus, this monumental facility honors the Hill Country's most famous native son. Lyndon Johnson (1908-73) served as US president following John F. Kennedy's assassination. — Michelin Guide

A presidential library may sound like a big yawn, but this one's almost as interesting as the 36th president to whom it's devoted. — Frommer's

Walking around the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum at the University of Texas is a touching experience. — Travel + Leisure

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Mount Bonnell

Austin 84 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Hike up 755 feet of stairs from the bottom of Mount Bonnell and be rewarded with the best view of Austin. — Condé Nast Traveler

For the best views of the city, Lake Austin, and some of the Hill Country stretching out westward, take a drive up to this hilltop park. — Frommer's

Rising to a height of 785 feet, Mount Bonnell offers the best views of Austin. — Fodor's

A municipal park located on the western edge of the city above Town Lake... making it a popular spot for surveying the surrounding area. — Travel + Leisure

On the weekend, you might find yourself tip-toeing around a wedding ceremony at Mount Bonnell, the highest point in the city at 775ft. — Lonely Planet

Bullock Texas State History Museum

Downtown & University 84 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Bob Bullock, Texas's 38th lieutenant governor and a potent political force in his day, lobbied hard to establish a museum of state history in his years of public service. — Fodor's

Named after an illustrious Texas lieutenant governor, this sunset-red expanse of granite, framed by a 35ft-tall bronze star and the six flags of Texas, has three floors of exhibits. — Michelin Guide

This is no dusty old historical museum. Big, glitzy and still relatively new, it shows off the Lone Star State's history. — Lonely Planet

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Congress Avenue Bridge / Austin Bats

Downtown 83 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Home to the largest urban bat colony in North America, estimated at 1.5 million bats.  — Atlas Obscura

Every year up to 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats make their home upon a platform beneath the Congress Ave Bridge, forming the largest urban bat colony in North America. — Lonely Planet

The largest urban bat colony in North America, Austin's Congress Avenue Bridge is the home to hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tail bats from mid-March to mid-October. — Afar Magazine

While you’re waiting for the bats, make sure not to miss the view to the West as the sun drops below the jagged skyline of the Texas Hill Country. — Fodor's

1.5 million bats swarm nightly- sunset March-October. — Not For Tourists

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Elisabet Ney Museum

North Austin 83 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

The German portrait sculptor Elisabet Ney made Austin her home in 1892. The studio and home became a museum after her death. — Condé Nast Traveler

Life's work of sculptor Elisabet Ney remains preserved in her last studio.  — Atlas Obscura

Elisabet Ney lived in Austin in the early 1880s, and her former studio is now one of the oldest museums in Texas. — Lonely Planet

The 19th century lives on at this delightfully eccentric museum, where German Romanticism meets the Texas frontier. — Fodor's

Full-size plaster studies, many of which she had shipped from Germany, some that she created in Texas, including the ones for Austin and Houston. — Frommer's

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Zilker Metropolitan Park

Boulder Creek, Zilker & Travis Heights 82 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Pack your picnic baskets and head out to Zilker Park for an evening of live, local music. — Afar Magazine

Home of Austin City Limits festival and massive family park. — Not For Tourists

This 350-acre park is a slice of green heaven, lined with hiking and biking trails. — Lonely Planet

When it isn’t hosting concerts such as the Austin City Limits Music Festival, a three-day event held each October, Zilker Park is a popular spot for locals to enjoy the outdoors. — Travel + Leisure

Austin's favorite public playground. Its centerpiece is Barton Springs Pool. — Frommer's

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Texas State Cemetery

East Austin 82 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Today it’s the final resting place of some of the state's most important figures. — Fodor's

The lovely, tree-lined Texas State Cemetery is the final resting place for political figures such as U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan and Texas Govs. John Connally and Ann Richards. — Travel + Leisure

The city's namesake, Stephen F. Austin, is the best-known resident of this East Side cemetery, established by the state in 1851. — Frommer's

Many of the late politicians of Texas are buried the Texas State Cemetery, just a stone’s throw from the Capitol. — Condé Nast Traveler

The state's official cemetery, Texas State Cemetery, is the final resting place of key figures from Texan history. — Lonely Planet

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The Contemporary Austin - Laguna Gloria

North Austin 82 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Check out the Austin Museum of Art’s original home at Laguna Gloria out on Lake Austin. — Lonely Planet

The Contemporary Austin’s northwestern sister site is the Laguna Gloria. The site includes a sculpture park, gallery space, and historic villa. — Condé Nast Traveler

The villa sits on 13 wooded acres bordering Lake Austin. There is a small well-tended, attractive garden. — Frommer's

An Art Deco house set on 12 waterfront acres, featuring a rotating collection. — Travel + Leisure

Set on a lush Lake Austin peninsula, this 1915 Mediterranean-style villa was once home to Clara Driscoll Sevier, who led the fight to save the Alamo from demolition in the early 20th century. — Fodor's

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University of Texas at Austin

Downtown & University 82 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

The student union building of the University of Texas at Austin serves as a hub of activity for the more than 50,000 students enrolled in the school. — Travel + Leisure

Whatever you do, don't call it 'Texas University' – them's fightin' words, usually used derisively by Texas A&M students to take their rivals down a notch. — Lonely Planet

In 1883, the 221 students and eight teachers who made up the newly established University of Texas in Austin had to meet in makeshift classrooms in the town's temporary capitol. — Frommer's

A collection of 100 brains preserved in jars on the UT campus.  — Atlas Obscura

The 350-acre campus breeds Texas Longhorns, as passionate about football (and other sports) as they are about academics (it has one of the country's top research libraries). — Fodor's

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Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum

Boulder Creek, Zilker & Travis Heights 82 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

You'll find a quiet, beautiful garden that's home to works by the 20th century American sculptor Charles Umlauf, who taught for many years at UT. — Travel + Leisure

A sculptor at the University of Texas for 40 years, Charles Umlauf donated his home, studio, and... artwork to the city of Austin. — Frommer's

Head to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, located off of Barton Springs in central Austin, where you'll be close enough to hear music in the distance, but far enough to take a breather from the crowds. — Condé Nast Traveler

Stroll the open-air Umlauf Sculpture Garden... there are more than 130 works by 20th-century American sculptor Charles Umlauf. — Lonely Planet

This pleasant space at the south end of Zilker Park houses more than 130 works of sculptor Charles Umlauf in the house where he lived and worked. — Fodor's

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Barton Springs Pool

Boulder Creek, Zilker & Travis Heights 81 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

If the University of Texas is the seat of Austin's intellect, and the state capitol is its political pulse, Barton Springs is the city's soul. — Frommer's

Zilker Park’s three-acre pool, created from natural freshwater springs, is a favorite local hangout. Free swim, from 9 to 10 p.m., is particularly fun. — Travel + Leisure

This spring-fed public pool, framed by sunbather-friendly green spaces and the canopies of ancient pecan trees, is idyllic on a sunny summer day. — Concierge

Texas summers are hot to say the least! And when the heat hits, the people of Austin flock to the Barton Springs Pool to cool off and chill out. — Afar Magazine

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Austin Nature & Science Center

Boulder Creek, Zilker & Travis Heights 81 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

This complex has an 80-acre preserve trail, interactive exhibits in the Discovery Lab that teach about the ecology of the Austin area. — Fodor's

The Austin Nature & Science Center, located in Zilker Park, has a range of family friendly activities and hands-on exhibits. — Travel + Leisure

Bats, bees, and crystal caverns are among the subjects of the Discovery Lab at this museum in the 80-acre Nature Center, which features lots of interactive exhibits. — Frommer's

In the northwestern area of Zilker Park, this center has exhibitions of native Texan mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods that have been injured and nursed back to health here. — Lonely Planet

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Harry Ransom Center

Downtown & University 81 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

I've seen some fascinating exhibits here, covering everything from the Beat generation to the American '20s, to the technology of the written word. — Frommer's

The Harry Ransom Center, on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, has an enormous collection of literary manuscripts. — Travel + Leisure

Part of the University of Texas, this is one of the world's greatest collectors and exhibitors of important literary papers and other artifacts related to the arts and humanities. — Fodor's

The fascinating Ransom Center is a major repository of historic manuscripts, photography, books, film, TV, music and more. — Lonely Planet

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Mexic-Arte Museum

Downtown & University 80 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Art from South of the Border includes several José Clemente Orozcos and Rufino Tamayos. — Travel + Leisure

It has a small permanent collection of 20th-century Mexican art, photographs from the Mexican revolution, and a fascinating array of masks from the state of Guerrero. — Frommer's

Founded in 1984, this museum is a beguiling, moderate-size museum devoted to traditional and contemporary Mexican and Latino art. — Fodor's

This wonderful, eclectic downtown museum features works from Mexican and Mexican American artists in exhibitions that rotate every two months. — Lonely Planet

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Zilker Botanical Garden

Boulder Creek, Zilker & Travis Heights 80 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

No matter what time of year you visit, you'll find this a soothing outdoor oasis in which to spend some time. — Frommer's

Nature, organized. Japanese garden and roses are must-sees. — Not For Tourists

These lush gardens cover 31 acres on the south bank of the Colorado River, with displays including natural grottoes, a Japanese garden and a fragrant herb garden. — Lonely Planet

Across from Zilker Park, this botanical garden has more than 26 acres of horticultural delights, including butterfly trails and Xeriscape gardens with native plants that thrive in an arid southwestern climate. — Fodor's

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Texas Memorial Museum

Austin 79 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

On the floor below the lobby is the main paleontology exhibit, with several more impressive skeletons. It's designed to help you conceptualize the vastness of time... — Frommer's

We all know how kids feel about dinosaurs, and this natural history museum is the perfect place for them to indulge their fascination. — Lonely Planet

Among the popular draws at the museum are the dinosaur models and the life-size dioramas, which depict buffalo, roadrunners, cougars, mountain lions, and flying squirrels. — Fodor's

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O. Henry Home & Museum

Downtown 78 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

The museum occupies a modest Victorian cottage where O. Henry resided with his wife and daughter from 1893 to 1895. — Frommer's

Writer William Sydney Porter, better known as O. Henry, rented this modest cottage from 1893 to 1895. — Fodor's

Home of the annual Pun-Off. — Not For Tourists

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  • Museums
    16 museums and galleries
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    8 parks, gardens and outdoor attractions
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