25 Best Places and Things To Do in Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, often referred to as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” is a vibrant and eclectic city that offers a plethora of exciting experiences for visitors. From its thriving music scene and rich cultural heritage to its beautiful parks and delicious cuisine, Austin has something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Austin.

1. Zilker Park

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Zilker Park is a beloved recreational area that spans over 350 acres and provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Take a dip in Barton Springs Pool, a natural spring-fed swimming pool, or have a picnic under the shade of the sprawling oak trees. The park also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, including the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

2. Blanton Museum of Art

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Art enthusiasts will find delight in the Blanton Museum of Art, located on the University of Texas at Austin campus. The museum houses an extensive collection of artworks, ranging from European masterpieces to contemporary pieces. Be sure to check out the iconic “Austin” sculpture, created by Ellsworth Kelly, which stands proudly outside the museum.

3. Mexic-Arte Museum

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Dive into the vibrant Mexican and Latin American art and culture at the Mexic-Arte Museum. Located in downtown Austin, the museum features rotating exhibits, showcasing contemporary and traditional artwork, photography, and folk art. It’s a must-visit for art enthusiasts looking to explore the region’s cultural heritage.

4. Lady Bird Lake Hike-and-Bike Trail

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The trail meanders along the shores of Lady Bird Lake, providing stunning views of the water, downtown skyline, and lush greenery. You’ll be surrounded by a peaceful and serene environment, making it a perfect retreat for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

5. Bullock Texas State History Museum

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The museum boasts a variety of exhibits that showcase the rich history and culture of Texas. From the early Native American tribes to the state’s role in the Civil War, visitors can delve into the captivating stories that have shaped Texas. Interactive displays, artifacts, and multimedia presentations provide an immersive and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

6. McKinney Falls State Park

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McKinney Falls State Park features several trails that wind through diverse landscapes, including woodlands, grasslands, and along the banks of Onion Creek. The Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail offers a scenic route along the creek, while the Homestead Trail takes you to historic structures and past the Upper McKinney Falls. The trails vary in difficulty, catering to both casual walkers and avid hikers.

7. Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue

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The statue is situated on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake, near the intersection of Riverside Drive and South First Street. Its placement offers a stunning view of the downtown Austin skyline as a backdrop.

8. Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum

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The museum celebrates the life and work of Charles Umlauf, a sculptor known for his expressive and emotive creations. Umlauf’s sculptures explore a variety of themes, including human figures, animals, and abstract forms. His works often convey a sense of movement, capturing the essence of his subjects with remarkable skill and precision.

9. Barton Creek Greenbelt

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The greenbelt features miles of trails that wind through scenic landscapes, including dense woodlands, rocky terrain, and meandering creeks. The trails cater to all skill levels, from leisurely walks to challenging hikes. Popular trails include the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail, Hill of Life Trail, and the Gus Fruh Trail. These trails offer opportunities to explore the beauty of the area and witness breathtaking views.

10. Austin Zoo

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The Austin Zoo is home to a variety of animals from around the world. You can observe and learn about a diverse range of species, including big cats like lions and tigers, primates, reptiles, birds, and a host of other mammals. The zoo focuses on rescuing and rehabilitating animals, with many of the animals being rescued from neglect or abusive situations.

11. Elisabet Ney Museum

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The museum showcases a collection of Ney’s sculptures, including portraits of prominent individuals, historical figures, and mythical subjects. Her works often capture the essence and personality of her subjects, displaying a remarkable attention to detail and artistic skill. The museum’s collection offers a comprehensive overview of her artistic achievements.

12. Neill-Cochran House Museum

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The Neill-Cochran House, built in 1855, is a stunning example of Greek Revival architecture. The house features grand columns, a symmetrical fa├žade, and elegant interior details, showcasing the craftsmanship and design of the era. As you explore the rooms, you’ll be transported back in time, gaining insights into the lifestyle of the house’s original inhabitants.

13. Texas Memorial Museum

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The museum features a wide range of exhibits that showcase the natural history of Texas. From the prehistoric era to modern times, visitors can delve into the geological wonders, flora, fauna, and cultural history of the state. The exhibits highlight various topics, including dinosaur fossils, native wildlife, Native American artifacts, gems and minerals, and much more.

14. O. Henry Home & Museum

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The museum is housed in the former residence of O. Henry, which he lived in from 1893 to 1895. The Queen Anne-style house is beautifully preserved and showcases the architectural style of the late 19th century. Walking through the rooms of the house gives visitors a sense of the author’s life and the era in which he lived.

15. Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake

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The Boardwalk provides stunning views of Lady Bird Lake, a reservoir formed by the Colorado River. As you stroll along the boardwalk, you’ll be treated to picturesque vistas of the water, surrounding greenery, and the Austin skyline. It’s an ideal spot to capture memorable photos or simply relax and enjoy the natural beauty.

16. Texas Toy Museum

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The Texas Toy Museum collection primarily features toys and figurines from the golden age of the ’80s and is comprised of over 20,000 pieces. The toys range all the way back to the early 1900s. The museum houses many rare and unique items including prototypes of action figures acquired directly from some of the people who used to work in these great toy companies. Exhibits include action figures, dolls, merchandise, arcade games, comic books and over 50 video game systems all the way back to the first home console unit.

17. Pease Park

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Pease Park is known for its lush greenery, towering oak trees, and scenic views. The park’s natural landscape provides a serene setting for outdoor activities, picnics, and leisurely walks. It’s a great place to unwind, connect with nature, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance.

18. Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park

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The park features several well-maintained trails that wind through its natural landscape, providing opportunities for hiking, trail running, and nature walks. The trails offer varying levels of difficulty, allowing visitors to choose a route that suits their preferences and fitness levels. As you explore the trails, you’ll encounter native vegetation, wildlife, and peaceful surroundings.

19. Bull Creek District Park

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Bull Creek District Park is a beautiful outdoor oasis located in northwest Austin, Texas. Spanning over 48 acres, the park offers a serene and natural environment for visitors to enjoy. Here’s what you can expect when visiting Bull Creek District Park:

20. Mueller Lake Park

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The park centers around a picturesque lake, known as Mueller Lake. The lake serves as a focal point and provides a tranquil setting for relaxation and enjoyment. You can stroll along the paved promenade that encircles the lake, taking in the serene views and enjoying the fresh air.

21. Red Bud Isle Park

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Red Bud Isle Park is known for its natural beauty and serene surroundings. The park features lush greenery, rocky shorelines, and stunning views of the Colorado River. It provides a peaceful escape from the city, allowing visitors to connect with nature and enjoy a tranquil atmosphere.

22. Emma Long Metropolitan Park

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The park features a designated swimming area along the shoreline of Lake Austin. Visitors can take a refreshing swim in the clear waters or relax on the sandy beach. It’s important to note that swimming is only allowed in designated areas and is subject to safety conditions and lifeguard availability.

23. Mansfield Dam Park

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Mansfield Dam Park provides ample opportunities for water-based activities on Lake Travis. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing on the sandy beach areas along the lake’s shoreline. The park also has boat ramps, allowing boaters to launch their watercraft and explore the expansive lake. You can go fishing, water skiing, wakeboarding, or rent kayaks and paddleboards to explore the scenic waters.

24. Texas African American History Memorial

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The memorial was unveiled in 2016 and stands as the first state-funded African American history memorial on the Capitol grounds. It serves to recognize and honor the many contributions and struggles of African Americans throughout Texas history. The monument stands as a symbol of remembrance, education, and reflection on the African American experience in the state.

25. Waterloo Park

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Waterloo Park is situated in the heart of downtown Austin, making it easily accessible to both residents and visitors. Its central location allows for convenient access by foot, bicycle, or public transportation. The park covers a significant area, spanning 11 acres, providing ample space for various activities.

These are just a few of the many fantastic places to visit and things to do in Austin, Texas. With its unique blend of culture, music, nature, and cuisine, Austin offers a memorable experience for visitors of all interests.