Whether you are an amateur photographer or a seasoned pro, here is a selection of Austin’s most interesting photo opportunities.
1. James D. Pfluger Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge
Open to pedestrians and cyclists, the Pfluger Bridge crosses Lady Bird Lake, connecting downtown Austin to Auditorium Shores.
Work on the bridge began May 2000, and it opened June 2001. Officials named the bridge in honor of James D. Pfluger, the eminent Austin architect who designed Town Lake’s trail system.
The spot offers impressive views of downtown Austin as well as Lady Bird Lake.
2. Bull Creek Greenbelt
Bull Creek is an 11-mile-long waterway north of downtown Austin. Locals believe the creek gained its name from the Longhorn cattle and wild bison that roamed the area in days gone by.
Popular with swimmers, hikers, mountain bikers, and anglers, the area is accessible via multiple entrances along Bull Creek.
Ferns cascade from limestone overhangs dotted around the creek, providing shady cool spots and interesting focal points for photographs.
3. Lamar Boulevard Bridge
Also spanning Lady Bird Lake, Lamar Boulevard Bridge runs parallel to Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge in downtown Austin.
Opened in 1942, the bridge carries thousands of vehicles across Lady Bird Lake every day.
Lamar Boulevard Bridge is one of the last remaining Art Deco-inspired open-spandrel arch bridges in Texas. Featuring six concrete arches and spanning 659 feet, it attracts photographers from across the county and beyond as one of the most iconic landmarks in Austin.
4. Texas State Capitol
Widely recognized as one of the most distinguished state capitols in the United States, Texas State Capitol was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, and it received official designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
The first Capitol Building was constructed in 1839. A large log cabin, it contained halls and meeting rooms and was surrounded by an 8-foot stockade fence to protect officials from raids.
Work commenced on today’s Capitol Building in 1882. The building’s granite exterior gives it a distinctive sunset red color, while the Rotunda inside features portraits of Texas governors, past and present, and Republic of Texas presidents.
The Capitol’s dome is perhaps the most impressive element of the building, featuring a star at the center with “Texas” spelled out around it, surrounding by symmetrically laid tiles.
5. McKinney Falls State Park
This national park is a nature lover’s paradise, featuring a variety of rare, regional wildlife. Onion Creek adds to the park’s rugged beauty, flowing over limestone ledges and creating freshwater pools. Trails wind through the hill country forests, where visitors can explore the remains of a very old rock shelter, as well as an early Texas homestead.
Majestic bald cypress trees tower above red Turk’s caps and other rare wildflowers. The area is home to numerous animal species, including raccoons, squirrels, and armadillos, as well as many rare bird species, such as the painted bunting.
6. Pennybacker Bridge
Also known as the 360 Bridge, Pennybacker Bridge is a steel-arched bridge that crosses Lake Austin, joining the North and South sections of the Loop 360 Highway.
Pennybacker Bridge is surrounded by miles upon miles of beautiful Texas hill country. Considered one of the most scenic drives in all of Austin, the area is famous for its sunsets. From this vantage point, visitors are able to take in the vast expanse of sky in every direction.
7. Mount Bonnell
Mount Bonnell is one of the highest points in Austin, making it an excellent spot to look down across the city and enjoy spectacular views in every direction.
Visitors reach the summit via 102 steps, which are fairly easy to traverse. It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the top of Mount Bonnell walking at a relaxed pace.
The views are impressive all year round. The spot is the perfect vantage point to watch Austin’s Fourth of July firework displays. In spring and early summer, the scenery is lush and green, though the high pollen count can be challenging for visitors with allergies.
8. Zilker Botanical Garden
Known as the “jewel in the heart of Austin,” Zilker Botanical Garden features 26 acres of themed gardens, including herb, rose, and Japanese gardens, interconnected with streams, koi-filled ponds, and waterfalls.
Zilker Botanical Garden’s website features a ‘What’s Blooming’ page, to keep the public up-to-date with current attractions.
9. Pedernales Falls State Park
Lying 30 miles outside of Austin, the state park features a wealth of endemic flora and fauna, as well as a butterfly garden and bird blind.
Trails traverse Wolf and Tobacco Mountains, winding along small canyons created by creeks. The limestone river bed dates back around 300 million years. Its layers form stair steps and waterfalls descending more than 3,000 feet.
The area is rich in wildlife, with rabbits, armadillos, raccoons, opossums, white-tailed deer, skunks, and coyotes frequently spotted.