Everything is bigger in Texas, as the saying goes. Austin, Texas, is no exception to this, seeing as the city has the fastest growing population in the US—with so many young people flocking to live near its scenic views and culturally diverse activities. Let this be your guide to everything the Texas capitol has to offer.
As the capitol of Texas, Austin is home to many iconic and historic monuments, buildings, and landmarks that are almost always free to explore.
Take a free 30-minute tour offered daily between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or pick up a pamphlet for a self-guided tour to see the beautiful architecture, history, and 22 acres of gardens and monuments.
Step into a day in the life of President Lyndon B. Johnson at one of the 14 recognized presidential libraries in the country. Located on The University of Texas at Austin campus, the 30-acre collection of exhibits and archives, complete with an oval office replica, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission prices range from $3–10, and there is a list of days that offer free admission.
Add in the Bullock Texas State History Museum to your itinerary to experience the rich, interesting history of Texas through exhibits and films. Families should consider adding this educational stop as there are story times, hands–on activities, and workshops catered to children’s needs. Admission prices vary from $9–13, with hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Jourdan-Bauchmann pioneer farms
Live like a Texan pioneer for the day at this unique farm located just outside Austin. With DIY workshops and guided farm tours, you’ll understand by the end of the trip just how much hard work the early Texans put in.
The Austin art scene is vibrant and continues to grow outside the limits of a traditional canvas. The city is alive with art everywhere if you know where to look.
Showcasing Austin’s iconic street art, graffiti park is a walkthrough of the talent who is spray painting city walls and buildings.
Austin’s biggest art collection is housed in the Blanton Museum of Art. There are constantly new traveling exhibits visiting the museum in a wide array of artistic styles. From ancient Greek pottery to contemporary abstract expressionism, there is something for everyone in your group to enjoy.
There are iconic murals cover the city beautifully fit for any Instagram feed, and the AIPP is an organization that helps protect these pieces that are now an integrated part of Austin’s identity.
With Texas being in such proximity to Mexico, Mexican culture is a large subset of Austin culture. The Mexic-Arte Museum displays works of art from people of Mexican and Latin cultures to promote responsible dialogue about the blend between two nations’ cultures.
Alongside art, music is a major part of the Austin experience. There are tons of local artists putting on shows constantly. Between these lists of live music festivals and concert venues, you’ll be singing and dancing your way through the city.
You can’t go to Texas without experiencing amazing BBQ and Tex-Mex. Don’t worry vegetarians and vegans—there are plenty of other options available. Here are some of the spots to check out for a delicious trip.
As the population of Austin grows, so do the height of the buildings. Check out this list of pretty rooftop bars that will give you the scenic cityscape views with your drink.
Tacos, burritos, and warm queso are staple Austin cuisines. Get your fix of authentic Tex-Mex foods at these restaurants.
Burgers and fries
Austin takes their burgers and fries seriously. These aren’t your typical fast food joints, because these places craft gourmet burgers and fries.
Food trucks galore
Don’t be discouraged from ordering off a food truck on the street. These food trucks parked all over Austin offer amazing cuisines on the go.
Visit the highest point in Austin, standing tall at 775 feet, Mount Bonnell has the best hiking around. If you make it to the top, the views are unreal.
Go camping, fishing, swimming, hiking, and biking at McKinney falls state park. With two large waterfalls only 13 miles from the capitol building, it’s a no brainer to stop by to get your nature fix within the city limits.
With the tagline “the best ziplining in Texas,” Zip Lost Pines is a 1.5-hour to 3-hour zipline tour through the Texas woods. Try out their nighttime zip for an unforgettable zip under the stars of the Lonestar state.
If you’re a fan of succulents and cacti, look no further. As the “jewel in the heart of Austin” you can look at their collection of flowering plants spread across 26 acres.
Westcave outdoor discovery center
Take a guided tour of Westcave complete with a 40-foot waterfall, emerald green pool grotto, and caves. Open to the public for free, experience the educational center located on the property geared toward learning about geological energy.
A favorite amongst locals, this massive 3-acre manmade algae pool has a small 5-dollar day entrance fee. If you’re an early bird or night owl and get there before the lifeguards at 8 a.m. or after they leave at 9 p.m., you swim for free!
When the hot Texas sun sets, you’ll want to hit the town to see what fun activities the city has. Try out these locations for the best entertainment, bars, and clubs.
Colloquially known as “SoCo,” South Congress Avenue is an area teeming with dive bars, boutiques, and music.
Arcades, movie theaters, and comedy clubs are common sightings along the “Dirty 6th” Dtreet of Austin. Split into four parts: East, West, Old, and Red River, there is a lot of bustle on any given day of the week.
Beer fanatics need to stop by the tucked away Rainey Street, known for bars that have Texas-only taps and greasy foods.
Now that you’re up to speed on the Austin scene, your next trip to this vibrant city will be a breeze.
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