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Miranda’s guidebook

Miranda

Miranda’s guidebook

Neighborhood Restaurant Recommendations
The best places to eat in different areas of Austin.
Our neighborhood! Manchaca is a great South Austin neighborhood with a lot of local color. Bordered to the north by Ben White Boulevard, the Manchaca neighborhood is located south of Downtown Austin and there is a lot to be said for this area. It is convenient, it's located just southwest of St. Edwards University, a short drive or Capitol Metro bus ride to downtown or Town Lake, and has easy access to Interstate 35. It's close to rail and bus lines of the Capitol Metro public transportation system and the area is served by the Austin Independent School District. It's also close to South Congress Street, known by the locals as SoCo, and all of the quirky shops and dining options it has to offer. The biggest tourist attraction in this neighborhood is definitely the Cathedral of Junk. Essentially, the Cathedral is a giant, 3-story fort constructed entirely out of junk, scraps and salvage, located in a private backyard. It’s located in a normal residential neighborhood. To visit the Cathedral, you simply call ahead to make an appointment or knock on the front door, and the friendly Junk King (he has his name tattooed on his knuckles), will invite you back to play around inside his creation. Manchaca is also home to Strangebrew Coffee, one of Austin’s only 24 hour coffeeshops, and Live Oak Market—a kind of mom and pop hippie general store where you can find things like paninis, sarsaparilla in glass bottles, and goat milk ice cream. All other restaurant recommendations for Manchaca can be found under Local Neighborhood Food Scene.
Manchaca Road
Our neighborhood! Manchaca is a great South Austin neighborhood with a lot of local color. Bordered to the north by Ben White Boulevard, the Manchaca neighborhood is located south of Downtown Austin and there is a lot to be said for this area. It is convenient, it's located just southwest of St. Edwards University, a short drive or Capitol Metro bus ride to downtown or Town Lake, and has easy access to Interstate 35. It's close to rail and bus lines of the Capitol Metro public transportation system and the area is served by the Austin Independent School District. It's also close to South Congress Street, known by the locals as SoCo, and all of the quirky shops and dining options it has to offer. The biggest tourist attraction in this neighborhood is definitely the Cathedral of Junk. Essentially, the Cathedral is a giant, 3-story fort constructed entirely out of junk, scraps and salvage, located in a private backyard. It’s located in a normal residential neighborhood. To visit the Cathedral, you simply call ahead to make an appointment or knock on the front door, and the friendly Junk King (he has his name tattooed on his knuckles), will invite you back to play around inside his creation. Manchaca is also home to Strangebrew Coffee, one of Austin’s only 24 hour coffeeshops, and Live Oak Market—a kind of mom and pop hippie general store where you can find things like paninis, sarsaparilla in glass bottles, and goat milk ice cream. All other restaurant recommendations for Manchaca can be found under Local Neighborhood Food Scene.
You can find the best mix of sophisticated and straight-up casual dining here. Lenoir impresses with their seasonal fare, Elizabeth Street Cafe has got French-Vietnamese covered, while Sway causes patrons to swoon over their take on modern Thai. If it’s tacos you’re craving, you can choose from Torchy’s Tacos or sit down with a frozen margarita at Polvo’s. If tofu is more your speed, Bouldin Creek is ready for you.
South 1st Street
You can find the best mix of sophisticated and straight-up casual dining here. Lenoir impresses with their seasonal fare, Elizabeth Street Cafe has got French-Vietnamese covered, while Sway causes patrons to swoon over their take on modern Thai. If it’s tacos you’re craving, you can choose from Torchy’s Tacos or sit down with a frozen margarita at Polvo’s. If tofu is more your speed, Bouldin Creek is ready for you.
Tourists and regulars flock to Home Slice for their perfect NY-style pies, while Hotel San Jose's patio is perfect for brunch and drinks. Seafood is the specialty at Perla’s, while Vespaio (and the more casual Enoteca Vespaio) are serving Italian perfect for visiting 'rents. Brunch at South Congress Cafe is a ritual for some, as are drinks and jams at the classic Continental Club.
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South Congress Avenue
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Tourists and regulars flock to Home Slice for their perfect NY-style pies, while Hotel San Jose's patio is perfect for brunch and drinks. Seafood is the specialty at Perla’s, while Vespaio (and the more casual Enoteca Vespaio) are serving Italian perfect for visiting 'rents. Brunch at South Congress Cafe is a ritual for some, as are drinks and jams at the classic Continental Club.
For starters, this area is home to the holy trifecta which is Uchi, Barley Swine, and Odd Duck... do yourself a favor and drop a couple of bills at one of these highly-revered spots. My choice would be Uchi. For drinks, join the after-work crowd at Gibson, or head over the newly renovated Highball for classic cocktails and karaoke. Those with a sweet tooth will appreciate the unique flavors at Lick Ice Creams.
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South Lamar
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For starters, this area is home to the holy trifecta which is Uchi, Barley Swine, and Odd Duck... do yourself a favor and drop a couple of bills at one of these highly-revered spots. My choice would be Uchi. For drinks, join the after-work crowd at Gibson, or head over the newly renovated Highball for classic cocktails and karaoke. Those with a sweet tooth will appreciate the unique flavors at Lick Ice Creams.
What this area lacks in parking spots, it makes up for with diversity. There’s plenty of chef-run dining at Searsucker, Peche, and Second Bar + Kitchen; watch a soccer match at Fado’s; brunch at cool-kid favorite Frank. Dive bars are fun too: there’s MugShot’s and Side Bar. Garage and Pleasant Storage Room are covering the high-concept, craft cocktail category.
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Downtown
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What this area lacks in parking spots, it makes up for with diversity. There’s plenty of chef-run dining at Searsucker, Peche, and Second Bar + Kitchen; watch a soccer match at Fado’s; brunch at cool-kid favorite Frank. Dive bars are fun too: there’s MugShot’s and Side Bar. Garage and Pleasant Storage Room are covering the high-concept, craft cocktail category.
This is where crowds go when they graduate from the dollar shots and bar dancing of "Dirty Sixth". Banger’s and has a killer menu and 100+ beers on tap, and Craft Pride is reppin’ Texas in the best, beer-y way possible (and is also home to a VIA 313 truck!). Treat yourself over at craft cocktail bar Half Step, where they take ice very seriously. G’Raj Mahal has authentic Indian food, now with table service. And Blackheart is taking the win for the bar in Austin with the most impressive whiskey/bourbon selection.
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Rainey Street
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This is where crowds go when they graduate from the dollar shots and bar dancing of "Dirty Sixth". Banger’s and has a killer menu and 100+ beers on tap, and Craft Pride is reppin’ Texas in the best, beer-y way possible (and is also home to a VIA 313 truck!). Treat yourself over at craft cocktail bar Half Step, where they take ice very seriously. G’Raj Mahal has authentic Indian food, now with table service. And Blackheart is taking the win for the bar in Austin with the most impressive whiskey/bourbon selection.
Let’s face it, the epicenter of cool in Austin is East, and it's not letting up any time soon. Foodie darlings La Barbecue reside here; Bufalina and taco truck Veracruz All Natural are keeping it real (real good); and Cenote has long been a mainstay for the wayfarers-and-coffee crowd. Perfectly executed cocktails at Weather Up and new dive bar Drinks round out the beverage category. And the new spots keep on coming in the form of locavore steakhouse Jacoby’s Mercantile, and mid-century modern diner Sawyer and Co.
East Cesar Chavez
Let’s face it, the epicenter of cool in Austin is East, and it's not letting up any time soon. Foodie darlings La Barbecue reside here; Bufalina and taco truck Veracruz All Natural are keeping it real (real good); and Cenote has long been a mainstay for the wayfarers-and-coffee crowd. Perfectly executed cocktails at Weather Up and new dive bar Drinks round out the beverage category. And the new spots keep on coming in the form of locavore steakhouse Jacoby’s Mercantile, and mid-century modern diner Sawyer and Co.
East Sixth has changed a lot in recent years, and it's now a hopping highbrow-meets-lowbrow mecca. Drinks with a group happen at The Liberty, Violet Crown Social Club, or Yellow Jacket Social Club. You can have your pick of Paul Qui’s award-winning projects here: elevated dining at Qui, southeast Asian street food at East Side King, or "O.G. Thai" at Thai Kun. Have hand-crafted cocktails at East Side Showroom, or a beer in the tap room at Hops & Grain Brewery down the street. Just over a block on 7th, you’ve got the welcoming patio at Takoba, Provencal-inspired French eatery LaV, and casual-yet-elevated The Hightower.
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East 6th Street
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East Sixth has changed a lot in recent years, and it's now a hopping highbrow-meets-lowbrow mecca. Drinks with a group happen at The Liberty, Violet Crown Social Club, or Yellow Jacket Social Club. You can have your pick of Paul Qui’s award-winning projects here: elevated dining at Qui, southeast Asian street food at East Side King, or "O.G. Thai" at Thai Kun. Have hand-crafted cocktails at East Side Showroom, or a beer in the tap room at Hops & Grain Brewery down the street. Just over a block on 7th, you’ve got the welcoming patio at Takoba, Provencal-inspired French eatery LaV, and casual-yet-elevated The Hightower.
This is the area most people think of when going out in Austin. If you’ve never been, you have to go at least once. Amongst the madness of Bourbon Street... err I mean Sixth Street; there are some great spots. Jackalope and Casino El Camino have killer burgers — hey, if it’s good enough for Guy Fieri, it’s good enough for me. Beer garden Easy Tiger is a chill escape from the chaos, Parkside has got Downtown’s best happy hour, and Midnight Cowboy is a unique and impressive speakeasy-style bar.
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Sixth Street Historic District
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This is the area most people think of when going out in Austin. If you’ve never been, you have to go at least once. Amongst the madness of Bourbon Street... err I mean Sixth Street; there are some great spots. Jackalope and Casino El Camino have killer burgers — hey, if it’s good enough for Guy Fieri, it’s good enough for me. Beer garden Easy Tiger is a chill escape from the chaos, Parkside has got Downtown’s best happy hour, and Midnight Cowboy is a unique and impressive speakeasy-style bar.
Local Neighborhood Food Scene
The best eats around our Airbnb.
Authentic, no frills tex mex located less than 5 minutes away. Great option when you want good, cheap food and are looking to get in and out, I personally love the chicken tortilla soup and big red margaritas (yes, you read that right). Pro tip: They also serve awesome breakfast tacos on homemade tortillas- a must have while you’re in Austin!
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Casa Garcia's
1901 W William Cannon Dr
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Authentic, no frills tex mex located less than 5 minutes away. Great option when you want good, cheap food and are looking to get in and out, I personally love the chicken tortilla soup and big red margaritas (yes, you read that right). Pro tip: They also serve awesome breakfast tacos on homemade tortillas- a must have while you’re in Austin!
Another authentic, no frills restaurant less than 5 minutes away, this is some of the best Thai I’ve had in Austin and if you’re feeling particularly lazy they also deliver. Their Tom Kha soup can’t be missed.
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Tuk Tuk Thai Cafe
5517 Manchaca Road
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Another authentic, no frills restaurant less than 5 minutes away, this is some of the best Thai I’ve had in Austin and if you’re feeling particularly lazy they also deliver. Their Tom Kha soup can’t be missed.
Most people don’t think English breakfast in South Austin but that’s what you’ll find here. Complete with eggs, sausage, toast, beans, and tea this is one of my favorite spots when I’m craving a classic breakfast with a twist.
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Full English
2000 Southern Oaks Drive
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Most people don’t think English breakfast in South Austin but that’s what you’ll find here. Complete with eggs, sausage, toast, beans, and tea this is one of my favorite spots when I’m craving a classic breakfast with a twist.
Great option for vegetarians/vegans in the area, be sure to check out their frito pie, its to die for!
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The Vegan Yacht
5212 East Cesar Chavez Street
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Great option for vegetarians/vegans in the area, be sure to check out their frito pie, its to die for!
About a 10 minute drive on Brodie but worth every second of the trip. You can create any poke bowl your heart desires and the ingredients are always so fresh. I love topping mine off with the house spicy sauce for an extra kick.
Poke Austin
5601 Brodie Ln
About a 10 minute drive on Brodie but worth every second of the trip. You can create any poke bowl your heart desires and the ingredients are always so fresh. I love topping mine off with the house spicy sauce for an extra kick.
Don’t let the outside fool you, it seems like a dingy hole in the wall but there’s a reason there is always a line. This place is some of the best Chinese food in South Austin. Personal favorites are their combo lo mein and soups.
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1st Wok
603 West Stassney Lane
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Don’t let the outside fool you, it seems like a dingy hole in the wall but there’s a reason there is always a line. This place is some of the best Chinese food in South Austin. Personal favorites are their combo lo mein and soups.
This brick and mortar coffee shop was so popular they decided to open a trailer location just down the street from us. Their moon milk is what everyone is so obsessed with and once you have it you’ll understand why. I’d recommend starting off with a half moon.
Summer Moon Coffee Trailer
6711 Manchaca Rd
This brick and mortar coffee shop was so popular they decided to open a trailer location just down the street from us. Their moon milk is what everyone is so obsessed with and once you have it you’ll understand why. I’d recommend starting off with a half moon.
Wonderful juice and smoothie bar for when you need a healthy pick me up or rehydration after a night of partying. They offer daily smoothie specials for a discounted price but my personal favorite is the wundershozen or peachy green. Pro tip: order ahead and use their drive thru
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JuiceLand
4526 West Gate Blvd
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Wonderful juice and smoothie bar for when you need a healthy pick me up or rehydration after a night of partying. They offer daily smoothie specials for a discounted price but my personal favorite is the wundershozen or peachy green. Pro tip: order ahead and use their drive thru
A new addition to our neighborhood serving some of the best tex mex around. Their salsa is spicy and their margaritas are strong! My favorite items on the menu are their enchiladas and queso compuesto. They also serve breakfast tacos on homemade corn tortillas, which I’ve heard are delicious.
Beto's Restaurant and Bar
1940 W William Cannon Dr
A new addition to our neighborhood serving some of the best tex mex around. Their salsa is spicy and their margaritas are strong! My favorite items on the menu are their enchiladas and queso compuesto. They also serve breakfast tacos on homemade corn tortillas, which I’ve heard are delicious.
Local Neighborhood Grocery Stores
The stores are full-service and emphasize organic foods including fresh produce, bulk foods, vitamins and supplements, packaged groceries, meat and seafood, deli, baked goods, dairy products, frozen foods, natural body care and household items. Take a right out of the neighborhood and go straight for about a mile. You’ll come to the light at William Cannon and Sprouts is on the other side of the light on your right.
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Sprouts Farmers Market
6920 Manchaca Road
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The stores are full-service and emphasize organic foods including fresh produce, bulk foods, vitamins and supplements, packaged groceries, meat and seafood, deli, baked goods, dairy products, frozen foods, natural body care and household items. Take a right out of the neighborhood and go straight for about a mile. You’ll come to the light at William Cannon and Sprouts is on the other side of the light on your right.
Central Market is known for its Café on the Run. The chain also carries a line of exclusive organic products called Central Market Organics. The product line includes organic or all-natural items ranging from commodities such as milk and eggs to pasta sauce and cookie dough. Central Market deliberately limits floor space allocated to packaged products, allowing more space for fresh produce, meat and seafood, bulk products, and chef-prepared items. The produce section stocks items such as crab-apples, Meyer lemons, sweet limes, and pink lemons that are hard to find at other stores. The limited space for packaged products is devoted primarily to items that cannot be found at other supermarkets. Other aisles follow the same pattern with an emphasis on local, imported, organic, and gourmet brands rather than standard supermarket products. Central Market also offers a wide variety of sushi which is made in house by sushi chefs.Exit through the backside of the neighborhood onto Westgate and take a right. Drive for about a mile and right before you reach 290 you’ll see a shopping center on the right where Central Market is (bonus: there’s also an Amy’s ice cream in the center as well).
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Central Market
4477 West Gate Boulevard
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Central Market is known for its Café on the Run. The chain also carries a line of exclusive organic products called Central Market Organics. The product line includes organic or all-natural items ranging from commodities such as milk and eggs to pasta sauce and cookie dough. Central Market deliberately limits floor space allocated to packaged products, allowing more space for fresh produce, meat and seafood, bulk products, and chef-prepared items. The produce section stocks items such as crab-apples, Meyer lemons, sweet limes, and pink lemons that are hard to find at other stores. The limited space for packaged products is devoted primarily to items that cannot be found at other supermarkets. Other aisles follow the same pattern with an emphasis on local, imported, organic, and gourmet brands rather than standard supermarket products. Central Market also offers a wide variety of sushi which is made in house by sushi chefs.Exit through the backside of the neighborhood onto Westgate and take a right. Drive for about a mile and right before you reach 290 you’ll see a shopping center on the right where Central Market is (bonus: there’s also an Amy’s ice cream in the center as well).
Most stores include fresh seafood, floral, cosmetic, bakery and film processing departments. Stores have increased their take-out departments to provide fresh made pizzas, pastas and barbecue. Many locations even offer bank branches, ATMs, coffee shops, drive-through pharmacy windows, fueling stations and full-service counters where a customer can purchase lottery or movie tickets, pay utility bills and car license renewals. Take a left out of the neighborhood onto Manchaca road, go straight for about a mile and a half until you’re almost at HWY 290, you’ll go through a light at Redd St. with a church on the left, right after that you’ll see Live Oak Market which is where you turn in to get to Randalls.
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Randalls
2025 West Ben White Boulevard
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Most stores include fresh seafood, floral, cosmetic, bakery and film processing departments. Stores have increased their take-out departments to provide fresh made pizzas, pastas and barbecue. Many locations even offer bank branches, ATMs, coffee shops, drive-through pharmacy windows, fueling stations and full-service counters where a customer can purchase lottery or movie tickets, pay utility bills and car license renewals. Take a left out of the neighborhood onto Manchaca road, go straight for about a mile and a half until you’re almost at HWY 290, you’ll go through a light at Redd St. with a church on the left, right after that you’ll see Live Oak Market which is where you turn in to get to Randalls.
Our neighborhood HEB is their original and primary format and no two stores are alike. They offer Grocery, Deli/Foodservice, Bakery, Produce, Drugstore, Floral, Meat, and Seafood departments. The products sold and the store layout are tailored to the needs of the customers in each community. Take a right out of the neighborhood and go straight for about a mile. The next big intersection you come to will be William Cannon. Turn right onto William Cannon and follow it straight for a couple of miles. You’ll go through a big intersection at Brodie Ln and HEB will be immediately after that light on your right.
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H-E-B
6900 Brodie Lane
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Our neighborhood HEB is their original and primary format and no two stores are alike. They offer Grocery, Deli/Foodservice, Bakery, Produce, Drugstore, Floral, Meat, and Seafood departments. The products sold and the store layout are tailored to the needs of the customers in each community. Take a right out of the neighborhood and go straight for about a mile. The next big intersection you come to will be William Cannon. Turn right onto William Cannon and follow it straight for a couple of miles. You’ll go through a big intersection at Brodie Ln and HEB will be immediately after that light on your right.
Local Things To Do
Best bowling in the city. Exit out of the back of the neighborhood onto Westgate, turn left, at the next intersection you will see the bowling alley on the right.
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Westgate Lanes
2701 W William Cannon
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Best bowling in the city. Exit out of the back of the neighborhood onto Westgate, turn left, at the next intersection you will see the bowling alley on the right.
Enjoy a movie in this updated theater with leather reclining seats. Exit out of the back of the neighborhood onto Westgate, turn right, drive for about a mile and you will see the theater on your right.
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Regal Westgate
4477 South Lamar Boulevard
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Enjoy a movie in this updated theater with leather reclining seats. Exit out of the back of the neighborhood onto Westgate, turn right, drive for about a mile and you will see the theater on your right.
The Barton Creek Greenbelt, which travels through south Austin, is the go-to destination for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes in the city. You can enjoy hiking, biking, rock-climbing, bouldering, swimming and even lazily passing a day perched in a hammock or sunbathing on a boulder along Barton Creek. Enjoy 12 miles of trails via several access points throughout Austin. For visitors new to the area, this quick guide outlines the various access points from east to west, along with trail descriptions at each point. TRAIL’S HEAD (AT ZILKER PARK) 2201 Barton Springs Rd. The first section of the Barton Creek Greenbelt begins near Barton Springs Pool at Zilker Park. You’ll find paid parking lots here, although they tend to fill up quickly on nice days. Being the closest access point to downtown, this is a busy section of trail, with the first 1.2 miles being wide and flat with little shade, unlike much of the Greenbelt that’s covered by forest. Because of the trail width, you’ll find many cyclists using this part of the trail. While busy, it’s a leisurely portion of the trail with no real incline, so it’s an easy access point for a short walk. CAMPBELL’S HOLE Accessed Via Spyglass Drive From the West & 2010 Homedale Dr. from the East There are two access points to the Campbell’s Hole section of the Greenbelt in South Austin, which is a swimming hole that is often less trafficked than some of Barton Creek’s more popular swimming spots. This is partly because Campbell’s Hole is accessed through a residential neighborhood with limited parking—unless, of course, you hike to the picturesque swimming hole by way of Trail’s Head from the east or Gus Fruh from the west. GUS FRUH 2642 Barton Hills Dr. Direct access to Gus Fruh is also within a residential neighborhood, making for limited parking. However, it’s only a 1.4-mile hike from the Main Access Point along Capital of Texas Highway. Gus Fruh offers visitors a sometimes deep swimming hole and a famous limestone rock wall known as Urban Assault that is frequented by climbers. After a good rain, the pool here can be quite deep, making it a favorite for those who like to pair their hiking with a good swim. MAIN ACCESS POINT 3755-B Capital of Texas Highway The Main Access Point to the Greenbelt can’t be missed: right along Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360), you’ll find ample parking at the trailhead. Many people use this entry point to hike to Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls, which are a few miles to the west. This is a highly trafficked section of trail that’s almost always busy on a nice day, frequented by mountain bikers, rock climbers, hikers and those seeking out the falls for a good swim. With dramatic changes in topography, you’ll find rocky trails, steep cliffs, giant shade trees and aqua swimming holes along the way. TWIN FALLS 3918 S. MOPAC Expy. With parking along the highway, the Twin Falls access point is another popular trailhead. From here, you’ll hike downhill along Barton Creek, past steep rock walls, and through lush forest. Twin Falls is a short hike from the trailhead, with Sculpture Falls about 1.25 miles farther away. Barton Creek, once bone dry, is once again full of water, making for picturesque falls and a good swim. TRAIL’S END 710 Camp Craft Rd. Fittingly at the end of the Barton Creek Greenbelt is the Trail’s End access point, home of the infamous Hill of Life—a steep uphill or downhill section of trail (depending on which way you’re coming from) that mountain bikers and trail runners love to conquer. With a 300-foot ascent or descent in a half mile, it’s the steepest section of the Greenbelt. Sculpture Falls is also easily accessed from the Trail’s End entry point, for those who are taking on the Greenbelt from west to east, rather than from the Twin Falls entry point, which accesses the second set of falls east to west. Whether accessing Sculpture Falls from the east or west, be sure to visit, particularly if you’ve taken on the Hill of Life. You’ll have earned it. VIOLET CROWN TRAIL Zilker, 360 and 290 Trailheads One of Austin’s newest additions, the Violet Crown Trail follows the Barton Creek Greenbelt from Zilker to the 360 access point before entering into the Gaines Creek Greenbelt just southwest of the Twin Falls trailhead. The Violet Crown Trail is a work in progress, and once complete, will add 30 miles to Austin’s trail system. For now, the trail extends southwest through the Gaines Creek Area, leading all the way to Sunset Valley and the southernmost trailhead at Highway 290. Currently under construction, the trail will eventually go beyond the Highway 290 trailhead, leading all the way to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
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Barton Creek Greenbelt
3755 South Capital of Texas Highway
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The Barton Creek Greenbelt, which travels through south Austin, is the go-to destination for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes in the city. You can enjoy hiking, biking, rock-climbing, bouldering, swimming and even lazily passing a day perched in a hammock or sunbathing on a boulder along Barton Creek. Enjoy 12 miles of trails via several access points throughout Austin. For visitors new to the area, this quick guide outlines the various access points from east to west, along with trail descriptions at each point. TRAIL’S HEAD (AT ZILKER PARK) 2201 Barton Springs Rd. The first section of the Barton Creek Greenbelt begins near Barton Springs Pool at Zilker Park. You’ll find paid parking lots here, although they tend to fill up quickly on nice days. Being the closest access point to downtown, this is a busy section of trail, with the first 1.2 miles being wide and flat with little shade, unlike much of the Greenbelt that’s covered by forest. Because of the trail width, you’ll find many cyclists using this part of the trail. While busy, it’s a leisurely portion of the trail with no real incline, so it’s an easy access point for a short walk. CAMPBELL’S HOLE Accessed Via Spyglass Drive From the West & 2010 Homedale Dr. from the East There are two access points to the Campbell’s Hole section of the Greenbelt in South Austin, which is a swimming hole that is often less trafficked than some of Barton Creek’s more popular swimming spots. This is partly because Campbell’s Hole is accessed through a residential neighborhood with limited parking—unless, of course, you hike to the picturesque swimming hole by way of Trail’s Head from the east or Gus Fruh from the west. GUS FRUH 2642 Barton Hills Dr. Direct access to Gus Fruh is also within a residential neighborhood, making for limited parking. However, it’s only a 1.4-mile hike from the Main Access Point along Capital of Texas Highway. Gus Fruh offers visitors a sometimes deep swimming hole and a famous limestone rock wall known as Urban Assault that is frequented by climbers. After a good rain, the pool here can be quite deep, making it a favorite for those who like to pair their hiking with a good swim. MAIN ACCESS POINT 3755-B Capital of Texas Highway The Main Access Point to the Greenbelt can’t be missed: right along Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360), you’ll find ample parking at the trailhead. Many people use this entry point to hike to Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls, which are a few miles to the west. This is a highly trafficked section of trail that’s almost always busy on a nice day, frequented by mountain bikers, rock climbers, hikers and those seeking out the falls for a good swim. With dramatic changes in topography, you’ll find rocky trails, steep cliffs, giant shade trees and aqua swimming holes along the way. TWIN FALLS 3918 S. MOPAC Expy. With parking along the highway, the Twin Falls access point is another popular trailhead. From here, you’ll hike downhill along Barton Creek, past steep rock walls, and through lush forest. Twin Falls is a short hike from the trailhead, with Sculpture Falls about 1.25 miles farther away. Barton Creek, once bone dry, is once again full of water, making for picturesque falls and a good swim. TRAIL’S END 710 Camp Craft Rd. Fittingly at the end of the Barton Creek Greenbelt is the Trail’s End access point, home of the infamous Hill of Life—a steep uphill or downhill section of trail (depending on which way you’re coming from) that mountain bikers and trail runners love to conquer. With a 300-foot ascent or descent in a half mile, it’s the steepest section of the Greenbelt. Sculpture Falls is also easily accessed from the Trail’s End entry point, for those who are taking on the Greenbelt from west to east, rather than from the Twin Falls entry point, which accesses the second set of falls east to west. Whether accessing Sculpture Falls from the east or west, be sure to visit, particularly if you’ve taken on the Hill of Life. You’ll have earned it. VIOLET CROWN TRAIL Zilker, 360 and 290 Trailheads One of Austin’s newest additions, the Violet Crown Trail follows the Barton Creek Greenbelt from Zilker to the 360 access point before entering into the Gaines Creek Greenbelt just southwest of the Twin Falls trailhead. The Violet Crown Trail is a work in progress, and once complete, will add 30 miles to Austin’s trail system. For now, the trail extends southwest through the Gaines Creek Area, leading all the way to Sunset Valley and the southernmost trailhead at Highway 290. Currently under construction, the trail will eventually go beyond the Highway 290 trailhead, leading all the way to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
In addition to general-purpose lawns, sports fields, cross country courses, historical markers, concession stands and picnic areas, the park includes numerous public attractions. The Zilker Botanical Garden features several independently maintained gardens located near the center of the park and hosts the Zilker Gardens Festival every spring. The Austin Nature & Science Center offers ecological exhibits, nature hike trails, and children's educational programming. The Umlauf Sculpture Garden adjoins the southeast end of the park, displaying sculptural works by artist Charles Umlauf and others. The Zilker Hillside Theater hosts regular performances by local theatre companies, including free "Shakespeare in the Park" every May and an annual summer musical. Barton Springs Pool adjoins the park on the east, offering public swimming; other water activities are available in Barton Creek. The Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center by Barton Springs Pool offers exhibits about the natural history of the Edwards Aquifer that feeds Barton Springs. Every winter the 155-foot (47 m) Zilker Holiday Tree is illuminated, along with a Trail of Lights display. The Zilker Zephyr 12 in (305 mm) gauge miniature railway carries passengers on a tour around the park. The park's amenities and wide open spaces allow it to host a variety of large events each year. Most notably, the Austin City Limits Music Festival fills the park for two weekends each fall with numerous live musical performances by prominent artists.
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Zilker Metropolitan Park
2100 Barton Springs Road
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In addition to general-purpose lawns, sports fields, cross country courses, historical markers, concession stands and picnic areas, the park includes numerous public attractions. The Zilker Botanical Garden features several independently maintained gardens located near the center of the park and hosts the Zilker Gardens Festival every spring. The Austin Nature & Science Center offers ecological exhibits, nature hike trails, and children's educational programming. The Umlauf Sculpture Garden adjoins the southeast end of the park, displaying sculptural works by artist Charles Umlauf and others. The Zilker Hillside Theater hosts regular performances by local theatre companies, including free "Shakespeare in the Park" every May and an annual summer musical. Barton Springs Pool adjoins the park on the east, offering public swimming; other water activities are available in Barton Creek. The Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center by Barton Springs Pool offers exhibits about the natural history of the Edwards Aquifer that feeds Barton Springs. Every winter the 155-foot (47 m) Zilker Holiday Tree is illuminated, along with a Trail of Lights display. The Zilker Zephyr 12 in (305 mm) gauge miniature railway carries passengers on a tour around the park. The park's amenities and wide open spaces allow it to host a variety of large events each year. Most notably, the Austin City Limits Music Festival fills the park for two weekends each fall with numerous live musical performances by prominent artists.
The only evolving shows to grace the city of Austin's streets and a good reason to visit Austin's famous 6th street, Esther's Follies offers an amazing Broadway like show that features current political skits, impersonations, magic and more. They tease both sides of the political wheel, but if you're really rigid about your politics, this may be more than you can handle. We consider it an annual must see show worthy of every guest that comes to town.
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Esther's Follies
525 East 6th Street
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The only evolving shows to grace the city of Austin's streets and a good reason to visit Austin's famous 6th street, Esther's Follies offers an amazing Broadway like show that features current political skits, impersonations, magic and more. They tease both sides of the political wheel, but if you're really rigid about your politics, this may be more than you can handle. We consider it an annual must see show worthy of every guest that comes to town.
The Little Longhorn Saloon aka Ginny’s is a live music institution and one of Austin’s oldest and most historic bars, its tiny stage hosting decades of musicians who helped shape our city’s culture. On Sundays, crowds gather for cold beer and the anomaly known as Chicken Shit Bingo which is exactly what it sounds like--chickens shitting on bingo squares with a lucky winner claiming their prize each round. Try your luck every Sunday from 4pm-8pm; tickets are $2 but cheering for shitting chickens is priceless.
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The Little Longhorn Saloon
5434 Burnet Road
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The Little Longhorn Saloon aka Ginny’s is a live music institution and one of Austin’s oldest and most historic bars, its tiny stage hosting decades of musicians who helped shape our city’s culture. On Sundays, crowds gather for cold beer and the anomaly known as Chicken Shit Bingo which is exactly what it sounds like--chickens shitting on bingo squares with a lucky winner claiming their prize each round. Try your luck every Sunday from 4pm-8pm; tickets are $2 but cheering for shitting chickens is priceless.
Sightseeing
Completed in 1888, the State Capitol and its 22 acres of grounds and monuments are home to the office of the State Governor and the Chambers of the Texas Legislature. Protected as a National Historic Landmark, the building impresses with its dimensions; at 308 feet tall, it ranks as the sixth tallest state capitol, taller even than the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Visitors can stroll the park via the tree-lined path called the Great Walk and admire the numerous monuments, including the Texas African American History Memorial, the Vietnam War monument, a bronze statue of a Texas Ranger, and even a miniature Statue of Liberty that was presented in 1951 by the Boy Scouts of America. The Visitors Center is located on the grounds and features exhibits about the history of Austin and the state of Texas. Free tours of the Capitol Building are given daily, except holidays. Also of interest is the recently restored Texas Governor's Mansion, accessible via free guided tours (reservations required).
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Texas Capitol
1100 Congress Avenue
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Completed in 1888, the State Capitol and its 22 acres of grounds and monuments are home to the office of the State Governor and the Chambers of the Texas Legislature. Protected as a National Historic Landmark, the building impresses with its dimensions; at 308 feet tall, it ranks as the sixth tallest state capitol, taller even than the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Visitors can stroll the park via the tree-lined path called the Great Walk and admire the numerous monuments, including the Texas African American History Memorial, the Vietnam War monument, a bronze statue of a Texas Ranger, and even a miniature Statue of Liberty that was presented in 1951 by the Boy Scouts of America. The Visitors Center is located on the grounds and features exhibits about the history of Austin and the state of Texas. Free tours of the Capitol Building are given daily, except holidays. Also of interest is the recently restored Texas Governor's Mansion, accessible via free guided tours (reservations required).
Named after the wife of President Lyndon Johnson, Lady Bird Lake is actually a section of the Colorado River that covers 416 acres and has become one of the city's top recreational areas. Although lined with hotels and residential complexes, the majority of its shoreline is open to the public, with miles of excellent trails for pedestrians and cyclists, including the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail and Pedestrian Bridge, which crosses the river and connects downtown Austin with the southern shore. The paths connect many of the city's parks, including Zilker Metropolitan Park, the Town Lake Metropolitan Park's Vic Mathias Shores, Lamar Beach, Butler Shores, Waller Beach, and Eilers Neighborhood Park. These trails also lead to popular tourist sites near the river, like the Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue, Congress Avenue Bridge, the Long Center of Performing Arts, and the Barton Springs Municipal Pool. Motorized boats are prohibited, however on the north shore, the Texas Rowing Center provides kayak and canoe rentals and lessons, and on the lake's south shore in Zilker Park, the Rowing Dock offers rentals and instruction for paddle-boards, kayaks, and paddle-boats. Canoe and kayak rentals are also available for use on Barton Creek, which is within the park.
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Lady Bird Lake
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Named after the wife of President Lyndon Johnson, Lady Bird Lake is actually a section of the Colorado River that covers 416 acres and has become one of the city's top recreational areas. Although lined with hotels and residential complexes, the majority of its shoreline is open to the public, with miles of excellent trails for pedestrians and cyclists, including the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail and Pedestrian Bridge, which crosses the river and connects downtown Austin with the southern shore. The paths connect many of the city's parks, including Zilker Metropolitan Park, the Town Lake Metropolitan Park's Vic Mathias Shores, Lamar Beach, Butler Shores, Waller Beach, and Eilers Neighborhood Park. These trails also lead to popular tourist sites near the river, like the Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue, Congress Avenue Bridge, the Long Center of Performing Arts, and the Barton Springs Municipal Pool. Motorized boats are prohibited, however on the north shore, the Texas Rowing Center provides kayak and canoe rentals and lessons, and on the lake's south shore in Zilker Park, the Rowing Dock offers rentals and instruction for paddle-boards, kayaks, and paddle-boats. Canoe and kayak rentals are also available for use on Barton Creek, which is within the park.
One of Austin's most unique things to do is enjoy the evening flight of the Mexican free-tailed bats that have made the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge their home. The world's largest urban bat colony, up to one-and-a-half million of these insect-devouring critters take to the sky at dusk each evening from March through November. The result is a stunning display as they fly from beneath the bridge and up to heights of two miles in massive formations so they can dine on mosquitoes, moths, grasshoppers, and other flying pests. It can take up to 45 minutes just for the fuzzy mammals to all exit their home, and once the pups (babies) are old enough, they accompany their mothers on the evening flight. There are many vantage points from which you can enjoy the sight, with the area surrounding the bridge the most popular. Others enjoy watching from boats on Lady Bird Lake or from the Statesman Bat Observation Center, which sits at the southern end of the bridge. In conjunction with Bat Conservation International, the center is an eco-tourism destination, striving to increase awareness of bats and educate the public on their importance.
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Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge
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One of Austin's most unique things to do is enjoy the evening flight of the Mexican free-tailed bats that have made the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge their home. The world's largest urban bat colony, up to one-and-a-half million of these insect-devouring critters take to the sky at dusk each evening from March through November. The result is a stunning display as they fly from beneath the bridge and up to heights of two miles in massive formations so they can dine on mosquitoes, moths, grasshoppers, and other flying pests. It can take up to 45 minutes just for the fuzzy mammals to all exit their home, and once the pups (babies) are old enough, they accompany their mothers on the evening flight. There are many vantage points from which you can enjoy the sight, with the area surrounding the bridge the most popular. Others enjoy watching from boats on Lady Bird Lake or from the Statesman Bat Observation Center, which sits at the southern end of the bridge. In conjunction with Bat Conservation International, the center is an eco-tourism destination, striving to increase awareness of bats and educate the public on their importance.
In addition to being the first of the Texas University System campuses, the University of Texas at Austin is home to several top tourist attractions. The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art has a permanent collection of 17,000 pieces of European, American, and Latin American art. The museum also hosts numerous temporary exhibits. Also on campus is the Harry Ransom Center, which houses a permanent collection of rare literature and printed materials and also has numerous temporary exhibits and collections on display. Among the museum's most prized pieces are a Gutenberg Bible from the mid-fifteenth century and the First Photograph, a heliograph developed on a pewter plate that was created in 1827 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. The Texas Memorial Museum is part of the Natural Science Center at the University of Texas and features a huge collection of items representing the natural and cultural history of the Lone Star State. Highlights include numerous dinosaur displays, fossils, gems, and minerals, as well as the famous Wichita County meteorite, a large space rock regarded as a medicine stone by Comanche Indians. Another impressive tourist site at the university is the landmark UT Tower, infamous for the tragic shooting in 1966. With a height of 307 feet, the tower provides beautiful 360-degree views of the city of Austin; tours are self-guided and include information on the architecture and history of the structure.
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University of Texas at Austin
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In addition to being the first of the Texas University System campuses, the University of Texas at Austin is home to several top tourist attractions. The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art has a permanent collection of 17,000 pieces of European, American, and Latin American art. The museum also hosts numerous temporary exhibits. Also on campus is the Harry Ransom Center, which houses a permanent collection of rare literature and printed materials and also has numerous temporary exhibits and collections on display. Among the museum's most prized pieces are a Gutenberg Bible from the mid-fifteenth century and the First Photograph, a heliograph developed on a pewter plate that was created in 1827 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. The Texas Memorial Museum is part of the Natural Science Center at the University of Texas and features a huge collection of items representing the natural and cultural history of the Lone Star State. Highlights include numerous dinosaur displays, fossils, gems, and minerals, as well as the famous Wichita County meteorite, a large space rock regarded as a medicine stone by Comanche Indians. Another impressive tourist site at the university is the landmark UT Tower, infamous for the tragic shooting in 1966. With a height of 307 feet, the tower provides beautiful 360-degree views of the city of Austin; tours are self-guided and include information on the architecture and history of the structure.
Although swimming in Lady Bird lake is prohibited, nearby Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park is Austin's favorite place to cool off. A spring-fed pool along Barton Creek, it covers an area of three acres and has an average temperature of 70 degrees year-round. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the grassy tree-lined perimeter and perfect water that reaches up to 18 feet deep. The area is also considered a protected habitat for the endangered Barton Springs Salamander, which is only found in this specific aquifer. Because of the delicate balance between recreation and nature, the pool is closed for most of the day once a week for a specialized cleaning that protects the wildlife form harsh chemicals while keeping swimmers safe. The pool is open to non-residents for a fee; hours vary by season.
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Barton Springs Municipal Pool
2131 William Barton Drive
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Although swimming in Lady Bird lake is prohibited, nearby Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park is Austin's favorite place to cool off. A spring-fed pool along Barton Creek, it covers an area of three acres and has an average temperature of 70 degrees year-round. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the grassy tree-lined perimeter and perfect water that reaches up to 18 feet deep. The area is also considered a protected habitat for the endangered Barton Springs Salamander, which is only found in this specific aquifer. Because of the delicate balance between recreation and nature, the pool is closed for most of the day once a week for a specialized cleaning that protects the wildlife form harsh chemicals while keeping swimmers safe. The pool is open to non-residents for a fee; hours vary by season.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum tells the state's story through a variety of interesting interactive exhibits, along with audio-visual displays and film. The museum's IMAX theater shows educational and popular new-release films. The permanent Story of Texas exhibit is home to artifacts and displays that feature defining events in the state's history, like the preserved hull of the 17th-century La Belle, which was shipwrecked at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Other exhibits and presentations include the fall of the Alamo, Tejano culture, and the history of the Texas oil industry. The museum also hosts many special events throughout the year, including children's activities and public presentations.
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Bullock Texas State History Museum
1800 Congress Avenue
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The Bullock Texas State History Museum tells the state's story through a variety of interesting interactive exhibits, along with audio-visual displays and film. The museum's IMAX theater shows educational and popular new-release films. The permanent Story of Texas exhibit is home to artifacts and displays that feature defining events in the state's history, like the preserved hull of the 17th-century La Belle, which was shipwrecked at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Other exhibits and presentations include the fall of the Alamo, Tejano culture, and the history of the Texas oil industry. The museum also hosts many special events throughout the year, including children's activities and public presentations.
One of the most visited attractions in Austin, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum boasts more than 45 million pages of historical documents and papers from President LBJ's lengthy career. The museum, dedicated in 1971 and refurbished in 2013, contains exhibits relating to the president's time in office, as well as important issues of the day, including the rise of the civil rights movement. Also of interest is an impressive scale replica of the Oval Office as it would have been during Johnson's presidency, and many temporary exhibits related to American history are hosted throughout the year.
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Lyndon B. Johnson Library
2313 Red River St
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One of the most visited attractions in Austin, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum boasts more than 45 million pages of historical documents and papers from President LBJ's lengthy career. The museum, dedicated in 1971 and refurbished in 2013, contains exhibits relating to the president's time in office, as well as important issues of the day, including the rise of the civil rights movement. Also of interest is an impressive scale replica of the Oval Office as it would have been during Johnson's presidency, and many temporary exhibits related to American history are hosted throughout the year.
Representing one of the city's largest cultural influences and populations, the Mexic-Arte Museum showcases traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art and culture. Founded in 1983, the museum features rotating exhibits, many of which are thought-provoking statements about current issues, like immigration, border control, and acceptance of Mexican culture in Texas. There are numerous installations and topic-focused galleries that include the artwork or sculptures of one or more artists, and several that are collections of photography, painting, and multimedia work that represent populations within the culture. The museum also hosts free "family days" several times a year, when the public can participate in hands-on activities that help visitors get a deeper understanding of the artists' work.
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Mexic-Arte Museum
419 Congress Avenue
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Representing one of the city's largest cultural influences and populations, the Mexic-Arte Museum showcases traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art and culture. Founded in 1983, the museum features rotating exhibits, many of which are thought-provoking statements about current issues, like immigration, border control, and acceptance of Mexican culture in Texas. There are numerous installations and topic-focused galleries that include the artwork or sculptures of one or more artists, and several that are collections of photography, painting, and multimedia work that represent populations within the culture. The museum also hosts free "family days" several times a year, when the public can participate in hands-on activities that help visitors get a deeper understanding of the artists' work.
Dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of American sculpture, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum features a number of works by 20th-century sculptor Charles Umlauf. Located in the Zilker Metropolitan Park, the outdoor sculptures are on display among the trees, gardens, and ponds that surround the museum. Inside, visitors can see more of Umlauf's work in addition to exhibits about the artist's life and displays of personal artifacts and mementos. The museum also features temporary exhibits of other artists' work and hosts events such as concerts, workshops, and even yoga classes among the sculptures outside. Guided tours are available.
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Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum
605 Robert E Lee Road
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Dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of American sculpture, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum features a number of works by 20th-century sculptor Charles Umlauf. Located in the Zilker Metropolitan Park, the outdoor sculptures are on display among the trees, gardens, and ponds that surround the museum. Inside, visitors can see more of Umlauf's work in addition to exhibits about the artist's life and displays of personal artifacts and mementos. The museum also features temporary exhibits of other artists' work and hosts events such as concerts, workshops, and even yoga classes among the sculptures outside. Guided tours are available.
Of the many things to do outdoors in Austin, Mount Bonnell is one of the most popular with tourists because of its numerous photo-ops and proximity to the city center. The highest point in the city, it reaches 775 feet and provides views of downtown Austin and the 360 Bridge. It also looks out across the Colorado River and is the perfect place to take photos of Austin's skyline. Although the lookout deck and pavilion are at the top of 102-stairs, it is not a steep or strenuous climb. Pets are welcome on the path and on the observation deck, and many enjoy picnicking while admiring the view.
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Mount Bonnell
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Of the many things to do outdoors in Austin, Mount Bonnell is one of the most popular with tourists because of its numerous photo-ops and proximity to the city center. The highest point in the city, it reaches 775 feet and provides views of downtown Austin and the 360 Bridge. It also looks out across the Colorado River and is the perfect place to take photos of Austin's skyline. Although the lookout deck and pavilion are at the top of 102-stairs, it is not a steep or strenuous climb. Pets are welcome on the path and on the observation deck, and many enjoy picnicking while admiring the view.
Located about 25 north of Austin lies Inner Space Caverns. You and your friends, family, or crew can tour below the ground and explore a natural cavern formed millions of years ago beneath one of Texas' busiest interstate highways. Inner Space Cavern is filled with history, mystery and chemistry! This all season activity caters to large groups and offers one of the most engaging afternoon activities in Texas.
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Inner Space Cavern
4200 Interstate 35
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Located about 25 north of Austin lies Inner Space Caverns. You and your friends, family, or crew can tour below the ground and explore a natural cavern formed millions of years ago beneath one of Texas' busiest interstate highways. Inner Space Cavern is filled with history, mystery and chemistry! This all season activity caters to large groups and offers one of the most engaging afternoon activities in Texas.
Probably the least known outdoorsy area in the Austin city limits, McKinney Falls is hidden between IH35 and the Austin Airport on the Southeast side of town. We like to go here because it's less crowded than the Barton Creek and offers some great views, moderate hiking, and a nice swimming hole. It's a state park so expect to pay $5 to enter.
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McKinney Falls State Park
5808 McKinney Falls Parkway
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Probably the least known outdoorsy area in the Austin city limits, McKinney Falls is hidden between IH35 and the Austin Airport on the Southeast side of town. We like to go here because it's less crowded than the Barton Creek and offers some great views, moderate hiking, and a nice swimming hole. It's a state park so expect to pay $5 to enter.
Named for its co-founder, Claudia Alta Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson (wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson), this center is a great place for nature lovers looking to kill time. The former first lady co-founded the center to educate fellow botanists about the benefits of planting and nurturing certain types of plants, a project that has revolutionized gardening habits in central Texas. Today, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the United States' largest research library for native plant studies. Visitors flock from all over the country to enjoy more than 970 species of Texan flora – including bluebonnets and evening primrose – which flourishes on more than 284 acres of gardens and along more than 2 miles of hiking trails. The center also features an observation tower, a cafe and a gift shop. Visitors say it's pretty year-round, but the spring and summer provide the best chance to see the most flowers in bloom (and to avoid disappointment if you only want to see flowers).
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Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
4801 La Crosse Avenue
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Named for its co-founder, Claudia Alta Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson (wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson), this center is a great place for nature lovers looking to kill time. The former first lady co-founded the center to educate fellow botanists about the benefits of planting and nurturing certain types of plants, a project that has revolutionized gardening habits in central Texas. Today, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the United States' largest research library for native plant studies. Visitors flock from all over the country to enjoy more than 970 species of Texan flora – including bluebonnets and evening primrose – which flourishes on more than 284 acres of gardens and along more than 2 miles of hiking trails. The center also features an observation tower, a cafe and a gift shop. Visitors say it's pretty year-round, but the spring and summer provide the best chance to see the most flowers in bloom (and to avoid disappointment if you only want to see flowers).