Top tourist attractions in Austin, TX
If you plan to visit Austin, Texas, you’ll be happy to know there are many things to do. You’ll find something you love, whether you’re into art, music, or even outdoor recreation.
The Austin Museum of Art is one of the most famous places to visit in Austin. This world-class museum features art from all over the world.
It has an auditorium, cafe, and gift shop. You can also make reservations to see the art.
You’ll need to go online to book your reservation. Another must-visit attraction in Austin is the LBJ Presidential Museum. You’ll find historical documents, art, photos, and even an authentic presidential limousine.
The Texas State Capitol Building is another historic landmark in Austin. This imposing building is almost 15 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol.
There are several parks in Austin. Mount Bonnell is a popular site for both sightseeing and hiking. Hiking here provides panoramic views of the city.
Barton Springs Pool is a favorite for swimming. It’s ideal for Austin’s warm weather. In addition to the pool, the city is home to many natural springs.
A must-visit spot for families is the Thinkery. The children’s museum features fun activities and learning crafts. Plus, there’s a gift shop where you can pick up souvenirs from your trip to Austin.
Top 15 things to do in Austin, Texas
- Circuit of the Americas
- Austin Aquarium
- Bullock Texas State History Museum
- Barton Springs Pool
- Barton Creek Greenbelt
- McKinney Falls State Park
- Mueller Lake Park
- Austin Zoo
- Zilker Botanical Garden
- Texas State Capitol
- Auditorium Shores at Town Lake Metropolitan Park
- Congress Avenue Bridge
- Lake Travis Zipline Adventures
- Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park
Circuit of the Americas Austin
Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is a purpose-built, state-of-the-art motorsports facility outside Austin, Texas. It opened in October 2012. The circuit has twenty turns and a track that stretches 3.426 miles.
The main grandstand at turn one features in-seat food service. This section of the track has an excellent view of downtown Austin.
The circuit’s track is built in a European style. It is a wide track that has several overtaking lines. However, it is a bit more challenging to learn than other tracks.
The circuit offers luxury suites and trackside suites for the ultimate VIP experience. Some exclusive options are Trackside Suites, Founders Suites, Owners Club, and Legacy Suites.
There are also many different concessions available. Many large national brands are featured at the venue, and the restaurant selection is excellent. In addition to the standard fare, various vegan and vegetarian meals are available.
The Austin Aquarium is an indoor petting zoo with several animal exhibits. Visitors can feed stingrays, touch marine animals, and participate in daily animal talks and animal shows. This aquarium is great for kids and adults and fun for family outings.
Austin Aquarium is a fun, family-friendly destination. It has many aquatic animals, such as sting rays, cold-water fish, iguanas, parrots, and kangaroos. There are also lots of educational programs to help you learn about the marine world.
The aquarium offers plenty of photo opportunities. It also has an extensive gift shop. This is a perfect place to take the kids on a rainy day.
There is a good chance you will find yourself talking to an animal while at the aquarium.
The best part is that if you don’t mind getting up close and personal with a shark, a seal, or even a rat, you will likely leave the facility with a better understanding of the world.
Bullock Texas State History Museum
The Bullock Texas State History Museum is located in downtown Austin. This historical museum is dedicated to telling the story of Texas as a state and country. It also includes an IMAX theater and features three floors of interactive exhibits.
The first floor of the Bullock Texas State History Museum is dedicated to the La Belle, the French ship that sank in Matagorda Bay in 1686.
This wreck was excavated by archeologists in 1995 and has been reconstructed inside the museum.
On the second floor, visitors will find details about the Texas Revolution and early pioneer life. Also, the museum has a special exhibit hall, which displays three or four unique exhibits each year.
Other highlights include the IMAX theatre, which plays short films about Texas. In addition, there are a few temporary exhibits. These include art, science, local topics, and pop culture.
Barton Springs Pool
Barton Springs Pool in Austin, Texas, is a popular tourist destination. It is fed by four springs, creating a beautiful, clean, cold swimming hole.
This is the perfect place to cool off on a hot day. The pool is open all year round and is an excellent spot for families to spend the day.
Aside from its beautiful green surroundings and natural springs, the pool also boasts a variety of wildlife. This includes the endangered Austin Blind Salamander.
Native American tribes first used Barton Springs Pool before the Spanish colonization of Austin. The springs were a spiritual oasis for indigenous people.
Before the City of Austin acquired the property in 1918, Barton Springs was owned by different powerful men. Then, in the 1920s, the city started constructing a larger swimming pool.
Barton Creek Greenbelt
The Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin is a beautiful spot to spend time outdoors. It’s a great place to hike, rock climb, swim, and enjoy the scenery.
Barton Creek is a tributary of the Colorado River that passes through beautiful areas southwest of downtown Austin.
Several access points are throughout the Greenbelt, including the Barton Springs Pool and the Zilker Park.
Barton Creek is a famous swimming hole great for cooling off in the hot summer. In addition, the Greenbelt is full of hiking trails, waterfalls, and other fun features.
One of the best climbing spots in the area is the Seismic Wall. This 90-foot limestone wall has some excellent routes for beginners but is also an intimidating climb. A good rule of thumb is to bring climbing gear and be prepared for a hot, sweaty climb.
McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls State Park is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a day trip near Austin, Texas.
This park is located on the city’s outskirts and has plenty of activities for all ages. The park offers swimming, hiking, and other outdoor recreation.
You’ll also find a variety of wildlife, from cottontail rabbits to fox squirrels. Birds include painted buntings, snowy egrets, and red-eared sliders. One of the most exciting features of the park is a 300-year-old rock shelter.
During the summer months, the park is popular among locals. Many visitors flock here to swim, but it is also an excellent place for hiking and fishing.
The park’s best features are the limestone ledges, pools, and waterfalls. The park is located in the Texas Hill Country and is an oasis of natural beauty.
Mueller Lake Park
The Mueller Lake Park in Austin, Texas, is an excellent place for outdoor fun. It features an interactive playground, an amphitheater, a stage, and a 6.5-acre lake. This park also has a variety of public art installations.
Another popular activity in the Mueller area is biking. You can ride on a 10-foot-wide biking trail that passes through the park. And there are plenty of other parks around to get some good exercise.
Getting around in the area is a breeze. Parking is available in the neighborhood. Several parking lots are located near the playground. In addition to free parking, there is paid parking nearby.
Mueller has many open spaces as part of its mission to be a sustainable, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood.
Among them is the French Legation Museum, the oldest museum in Central East Austin. Also, the area is home to the Austin Children’s Museum, which houses science exhibits, workshops, and summer camps.
The Austin Zoo is a beautiful place to visit, especially for families. This zoo is home to hundreds of animals from over 100 different species.
It’s a great place to see exotic animals, learn about their habitats, and experience animal interaction healthily.
The Austin Zoo is located on the southwest edge of Austin, TX. Visitors can get to the zoo by driving or taking the train. When visiting the zoo, be sure to wear closed-toed shoes.
The zoo has a variety of animals, from giraffes to ostriches. Many animals are rescued from abuse or natural disasters, but the zoo is also committed to assisting needy animals.
One of the best aspects of the zoo is its train ride. You can buy tickets for the train at the zoo’s gift shop or from the station. A zoo train ride is a great way to enjoy the Texas Hill Country.
Zilker Botanical Garden
The Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin, Texas, is the city’s premier cultural center. This oasis in the middle of the town features several unique gardens and theme parks. It is an ideal place to visit if you’re looking for a relaxing day out.
This garden is open to the public most days of the year but requires reservations. You can either pay for your admission online or at the door. There are also free events that you can attend.
Visitors can explore the prehistoric area, full of dinosaur statues and a life-size replica of a Cretaceous dinosaur habitat. These areas of the garden are a great way to learn about how life on Earth developed. In addition, the park offers a tranquil retreat from the bustle of the city.
Texas State Capitol
The Texas State Capitol in Austin, TX, is a must-see landmark. This building serves as the state’s legislative and ceremonial center. It is built in the Renaissance Revival style, combining two Greek orders.
Aside from the grand entrance, the capitol building also includes several other noteworthy features. These include the rotunda, which has portraits of past Texas governors. Also, the atrium has subtle details, including a light fixture over the Senate and House floors.
Although it is a complex structure, the Capitol is still easy to navigate. There are free tours available every half hour. You can also visit the Capitol’s museum and gift shop. In addition to its impressive size, the building is also relatively clean.
The most prominent aspect of the Texas State Capitol is its majestic dome. The circular structure holds 188,000 cubic feet of “Texas pink” granite, supplied from a quarry 50 miles away.
Auditorium Shores at Town Lake Metropolitan Park
Auditorium Shores, formerly known as Town Lake Metropolitan Park, has been an Austin favorite for decades. It’s a prime location for outdoor concerts and open space. In addition, the park is home to a popular off-leash dog area by the water. Auditorium Shores offers a scenic view of Lady Bird Lake in the heart of downtown Austin.
The Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for managing and maintaining the park. This includes oversight of the Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail, traversing the park’s northern half. The trails feature a decomposed granite trail with rest points.
A major attraction in the park is the Alliance Children’s Garden. A $3.5 million private donation largely funded the playspace. However, this donation was cut back after the Council rejected a bond covenant that would have redirected some money to the operations and maintenance shortfall.
Thinkery in Austin is a place for children to learn about the world around them. The museum provides fun, hands-on experiences encouraging critical thinking, creativity, and imagination. With a focus on STEAM education, Thinkery helps children learn about the “how” and “why” of science.
Since the opening of its new facility in December 2013, Thinkery has served more than 46,000 visitors annually. It is located less than three miles east of the LBJ Presidential Library and offers a variety of programs for families to enjoy.
Thinkery Austin is a fun, innovative learning experience for kids and adults alike. It is located in a mixed-use urban village near Mueller Development and features eight indoor exhibit galleries and an outdoor playground.
There are also special workshops. In addition, kids and adults can participate in projects combining STEM and other subjects.
Congress Avenue Bridge
Congress Avenue Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges in Austin, Texas. It’s a place where you can take shelter from the elements while enjoying the views of the city. The bridge has also become a popular tourist attraction.
Congress Avenue is also home to a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats. These bats seek dark, warm roosts. They have been a part of the Austin community for decades. Since the early 1980s, they started roosting under the Congress Avenue Bridge.
To view the bats, you need to arrive early. But, if you do, you can watch the bats as they flit across Lady Bird Lake. Hundreds of people lined up along the railings to watch the bats fly.
Bats are considered a vital part of the city’s ecosystem. They eat more than 30,000 pounds of pest insects each night.
Lake Travis Zipline Adventures
Located on the beautiful Hill Country shores of Lake Travis, the Lake Travis Zipline Adventures is a unique outdoor activity in Austin. This locally owned company creates a safe and exciting experience for families.
During the day, you can ride five pulse-pounding zip lines on 88 acres of scenic Hill Country property. These zip lines range from 250 feet to over 2,800 feet. You will be accompanied by friendly guides that are knowledgeable and entertaining.
The company also rents out private cabins with fire pits and lake access. Their packages include a day pass to their lakefront park and a short boat ride. In addition, a private beach with hammock seats is available for post-tour relaxation.
Several of the company’s nifty-looking cabins are equipped with a dazzling front porches. They are located on the lake and offer great views of the water and canyons.
Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park
Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park is a popular destination for a range of activities. This park in Austin, Texas, features overhanging trees, beautiful natural landscapes, and a variety of trails.
Whether you want to play a baseball game, take a walk, or go for a swim, you’ll find plenty of things to do here. You can also try your hand at mountain biking. These trails offer a challenging ride, but they aren’t very technical.
If you’re looking for a place to relax, the park has plenty of places to sit. It’s especially great for a picnic. There are several softball fields, barbecue pits, and picnic tables.
If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, the Walnut Creek Trail is an easy walk or run. This route is a two-way trail that stretches along the creek and passes by Duncan Park.