Top Attractions in Austin
Collected by Matthew Odam, AFAR Local Expert
Spring-fed pools, art museums, trendsetting movie houses, thriving bookshops and record stores: Austin offers diversions, natural and man-made, that extend beyond its reputation for barbecue, craft beer, and country music.
300 W 21st St, Austin, TX 78712, USA
The University of Texas is one of the country’s great institutions of learning. And the education doesn’t stop with the registered students. The Ransom Center is one of several arms of the university that extend to the public. Visiting...
200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78712, USA
Austin is known as a music, outdoors, and food town, so the visual arts can sometimes get short shrift, especially when compared to Texas towns like Fort Worth and Houston. Located on the University of Texas campus, the Blanton makes the case...
1800 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, USA
You’ll find landmarks and historical buildings in states around the country named after presidents, historic figures, and governors, but finding one named after a lieutenant governor is pretty rare. But Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock was a...
2247 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78712, USA
Along with the Texas State Capitol, the University of Texas Tower is probably one of the most distinguishing (and visible) landmarks in the city. The 307-foot tower was erected in 1937. Though unfortunately infamous as the...
404 Krause Spring Rd, Spicewood, TX 78669, USA
Central Texas is revered for natural swimming holes like the one at Krause Springs, about 30 miles west of Austin. The swimming hole and campgrounds have been privately owned by the Krause family since 1955, and the site is listed on the...
3809 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703, USA
The Laguna Gloria campus of the Contemporary art museum, on the shores of Lake Austin, offers a wonderful blend of nature and human achievement (the museum has another location downtown). The Italianate villa was built following the...
1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704, USA
When husband-and-wife team Tim and Karrie League opened the Alamo Drafthouse in 1997, the idea of serving beer and food inside a movie theater felt revolutionary. You can now find locations of the Drafthouse from California to New York....
13187 Fitzhugh Rd, Austin, TX 78736, USA
The independent beer scene in Austin has exploded. Jester King Brewery, a 20-mile drive from downtown, takes advantage of the ample space and a pastoral setting at the edge of the Hill Country. The farmhouse brewery provides ample...
1423 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, USA
Want to look like the hippest, sharpest, coolest dude in town? Whether you’re going for pretty-boy appeal or a sexy lumberjack look, this South Congress spot has you covered. In addition to high-end denim, retro bathing suits, Pacific...
1400 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, USA
Celebrated Austin restaurateur Larry McGuire (Jeffrey’s, Perla’s) turned his passion for style and design into a second career when he purchased this retail brand. With locations on hip South Congress and near the Whole Foods flagship,...
1625 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704, USA
Austin’s unofficial slogan, Keep Austin Weird, started as a rallying cry for small, locally owned business, and this de facto mission statement is exemplified at JuiceLand, an organic juice and natural smoothie bar. The music...
4803 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751, USA
A comedian once said that comedy is when you "put the ha ha where the ouchie is." That line sums up the backstory of this theater. The founders evacuated to Austin from New Orleans in the face of Hurricane Katrina in...
600 River St, Austin, TX 78701, USA
From music to dance to cuisine, the influence of Mexico is strong in the culture of Texas and Austin. This center—dedicated to the preservation, creation, presentation, and promotion of the cultural arts of Mexican Americans...
2313 Red River St, Austin, TX 78712, USA
This impressive modernist building, designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft, houses the legacy of the 36th president of the United States of America. Central Texas native Lyndon Baines Johnson was one of the most colorful and powerful men in the...
1100 S Lamar Blvd #1135, Austin, TX 78704, USA
Want to get that small-town-ice-cream-shop feeling in a big city? Head to Lick for fresh and unique seasonal ice cream. With each lick of your cone, a new complexity of flavor is revealed. Ice cream here is made with only wholesome...
603 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703, USA
Leading the charge for independent bookstores since it opened in 1970, Book People is legendary for creativity and a strong calendar of events. The store holds frequent author signings—and we're talking big authors—and book...
600 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703, USA
In this modern age of Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora, record stores often seem sad and bitter places. Not so Waterloo, where music lovers—both staff and customers—celebrate the art. Bands playing Austin come in for in-store performances...
434 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701, USA
In the heart of the Second Street District, Violet Crown Cinema makes dinner and a movie an experience worth checking out, with four screens devoted to independent, documentary, and foreign films, great food and cocktails, and...
2131 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746, USA
Texas summers are hot! When the heat hits, the people of Austin flock to the Barton Springs Pool to cool off and chill out. The $8 summer entrance fee (for nonresidents) buys you a whole day of fun. Get your hand stamped for reentry if...
201 Lee Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78704, USA
When the only serious requirement for play is that golfers have a putter and at least one other club, you know a course is more about fun than rules. Butler Park Pitch and Putt has been a pleasant destination since it opened in 1949, giving Austin...
24300 Hamilton Pool Rd, Dripping Springs, TX 78620, USA
The Hamilton Pool, this beautiful collapsed grotto, is a perfect place to go when needing to chill in some cold water. Linger in the pool and enjoy the clouds gliding across the sky and the cooling sight of water trickling down from the trees...
1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, USA
Since everything seems bigger in Texas, it's no surprise that the Texas State Capitol holds the title for largest state capitol building in the union (360,000 square feet of floor space in the main building!). The building is also quite...
16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624, USA
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is truly a mystical place, filled with Native American folklore. The Tonkawa people who inhabited the area in the 16th century thought it was special because they thought they saw ghost fires flickering at the top...
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