Situated in South-east Texas, Austin is the home of great food, world-renowned live entertainment, a vivacious LGBT community and is considered to be one of the best places to live in the U.S. Austin has plenty to offer tourists of all descriptions and, for those who are somewhat apprehensive with regards to traveling, an FBI report, detailed Austin as the second safest major city in the U.S for 2012, making it a perfect destination for new and experienced travellers alike. Following is a collection of some of the top destinations for tourists visiting Austin as well as a brief outline of each, with the aim to inspire some ideas for places to visit during your travels.
The Capitol Building
Brimming with historical value and a true highlight of the beauty available from the natural resources found in Texas, the Capitol building is a must visit tourist destination. Not only is this destination completely free to visit, but the guided tours are noted as being exceptionally high quality, informative and certainly entertaining enough to warrant a stay during the day. Located on Congress Avenue, visitors are able to experience what was once one of the tallest capitol buildings in the nation and gain an insight into the history of the area. As for parking, whilst sometimes limited, there are spaces available for tourists in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage found at 1201 San Jacinto. For those who want to take a less conventional approach, there are multiple Segway tours available to book online, which typically last 90 – 150 minutes and allow you to cover more of the area than usual. This is also a great option for those traveling with children, who will love the thrill of the Segway experience.
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
The LBJ Presidential library and museum is a fantastic tribute and a chance to gain historical insight into the life of Lyndon Baines Johnson the 36th President of the United States. The museum is located on the campus of the University of Texas, meaning that you can also get an experience to see some of the grounds, though, it can inevitably mean that congestion may be an issue if you’re traveling by car. Do not, however, let that deter you from paying a visit and taking in everything that’s on offer. Typically, visitors will require at least 3 hours to fully appreciate the variety of information available, including a valuable insight into the political facet of LBJ’s life, a perspective into 1960s America and even a replica of the oval office located on the top floor. Additionally, the museum acts as a tribute to Lady Bird Johnson, Lyndon Baines Johnson’s first lady, as visitors will get to hear actual recorded conversations as well as browse the other available exhibits. This is an ideal destination on a particularly hot day, or, generally, for a trip down memory lane into a pivotal point in America’s history. Regardless of your interest, you are guaranteed to find something worth the small $10 admission fee.
Lady Bird Lake ‘Hike and Bike’ Trail
If you’re looking for scenery, you could do far worse than to pay a visit to the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike trail. It is a brilliant opportunity to truly absorb the beauty of downtown Austin and have a great afternoon picnic with the kids, or take a romantic stroll with a loved one during the evenings. Regardless of whether you prefer to traverse on foot, ride your bike or rent one of the available canoes or paddle boards, the views and scenery will make this a highly memorable day out for you and your family. There are also a variety of restaurants in the vicinity, which make for a great stop after a long day hiking, or simply a place to relax whilst you enjoy the facilities. All of the restaurants in a one-mile radius are highly favored amongst reviewers, meaning that whether you decide to opt for the Habanero Mexican café, Torchy’s Tacos or The ABGB you will be well catered for. For those wanting a little structure, there are several tours available for you to choose from, including a bike tour, a “Ghost, and Bat” Segway tour and many others that aim to give you the most encompassing experience of what the area has to show. Whatever you do, make sure to bring a camera!
Bullock Texas State History Museum
Whether you’re an avid museum explorer, wish to experience some of America’s history in an interactive way, or simply looking for a good way to spend a day out, the Bullock Texas State History Museum has something to offer for everyone. The museum is partitioned into 3 major exhibits that explore the history of Texas based on 3 unique themes: Identity, Opportunity, and Land. Additionally, the museum hosts occasional temporary exhibits that delve into other interesting areas, such as video games and the prohibition. The museum also hosts an IMAX theatre, featuring a screen sizing at 5-stories high showing both informational films as well as some of the latest releases. Whilst the admission is by no means exorbitant, if you are looking to save a little money on your ventures, try to book your visit for the first Sunday of the month, when admission is free. As for parking, the museum has a convenient parking area within close proximity for just $10. There are also plenty of options with concerns to restaurants, such as The Clay Pit, offering a variety of Indian food options, and The Carillon, for a more traditional restaurant experience, all of which receiving high commendation on sites such as Trip Advisor.
Barton Springs Pool
This is simply a must-visit for families with children. This naturally formed limestone pool stretches for 1,000 feet and promises as a brilliant way to cool off in the summer heat. Whilst some may warn of “cold water”, it should be appreciated that this is very much a blessing, especially, as Austin is no stranger to very warm weather conditions. A brief browse of any location review website will present a unanimous consensus that this is perhaps one of the most iconic areas in Austin Texas and surely shouldn’t be missed. The water is fed from natural springs and, therefore, is incredibly clean and non-contaminated. Price wise this also makes for a very affordable day out, at around $5 admission for visitors and plenty of space for seemingly thousands of people at any one time. With concerns about parking, you may want to consider finding a separate location, as due to the popularity of the area, it can be difficult to find spaces, especially, during the summer months. The pool is not used exclusively for swimming. You may book cycle tours, fish and even witness beauty pageants and baptisms around the area.