Famed the world over for its music events, Austin offers much more to its visitors. From ballet to motorsports, its entertainment districts to the breathtaking hill country, Austin has sights and activities to suit all tastes and age ranges. Here, we explore Texas’s capital city, including some of its finest tourist attractions.
Golf in Austin
Thanks to the temperate climate, Austin attracts golfers year-round. Indeed, Austin received The Best Golf City in America Award from GOLF Magazine. Austin’s golf courses cater to all abilities, from novice to professional standard.
Wolfdancer Golf Club’s scenic Lost Pines location makes for a picturesque backdrop as well as some extremely challenging terrain. Similarly, River Place Country Club offers perfectly manicured greens and dramatic slopes to challenge even the most experienced golfer.
Featuring thousands of species of sea life, Austin Aquarium houses an impressive array of cold water and tropical creatures. Animals on display include sharks, luminescent jellyfish, beautiful corals, and stingrays.
The facility also houses a number of land- and air-based exhibits. Examples include a rainforest habitat featuring hundreds of reptiles, ring-tail lemurs, and parakeets.
Museums in Austin
Austin is home to an impressive array of museums and galleries that will appeal to both historic and contemporary tastes. The city has everything from mainstream galleries to attractions that are more offbeat.
The Mondo Gallery is associated with the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, which is cited by many as the “coolest movie theatre in America.” Located adjacent to Hyde Park, Mondo Gallery has no signage beyond its distinctive serpentine insignia. Mondo Gallery is a celebration of all things pop art for genre movie lovers.
The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum houses a more traditional collection. This museum takes its visitors on a trip back in time to the very roots of the South. The child-friendly establishment covers the basics of early life in the South. It provides information on everything from Native American Indians to cattle hustling to oil barons.
The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum has an almost secret-garden-like quality that features the work of 20th century Austin sculptor Charles Umlauf. The sculpture garden is a fusion of art and nature, with Umlauf’s famous bronze statues awash in a sea of lush green vegetation. Visitors can wander around the gardens at their leisure, join a guided tour, or even take part in a morning yoga class in these tranquil surroundings.
Motorsports in Austin
Austin’s new Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is the first purpose built US Grand Prix facility. Its 3.4-mile, state-of-the-art circuit track hosts some of the most prestigious motorsports events in the world, including: Formula 1 United States Grand Prix; Lone Star Le Mans; Red Bull MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas; and the Pirelli World Challenge.
Designed for all racing classes, COTA provides stunning views of downtown Austin. The 1,000-acre site, located in southeast Austin, is a two-mile drive from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. It has the capacity for 120,000 spectators.
Austin’s Entertainment Districts
Downtown Austin is composed of eight separate neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive personality and style: The Arts District/Uptown Austin; Congress Avenue Historic District; Market District; Warehouse District; 2nd Street District; Red River District; Entertainment District; and Rainey Street District.
The Arts District, or Uptown Austin, is a quieter pocket flanked by the University of Texas to the North and Texas State Capitol to the east. It is home to the Supreme Court of Texas, the Texas Governor’s Mansion, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum.
Known for its jazz clubs and fine dining, Congress Avenue Historic District reaches from Texas State Capitol to Lady Bird Lake. It lies at the heart of the Central Business District.
Market District is known for its luxury apartments, restaurants, and bars. Lance Armstrong and Sandra Bullock, both of whom call Austin home, own cafes in Austin’s Market District.
Known for its music and art, the Red River District is home to numerous nightclubs and cultural venues. The Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater is a popular fixture for outdoor music and theatre, luring visitors and locals alike with its barbecue food and live music.
Hiking in Austin
From the rugged beauty of McKinney Falls State Park to the wildflower pastures of Violet Crown Trail, Austin attracts hikers from all over the county and beyond. Visitors can fish, camp, kayak, mountain bike, swim, and climb in its many areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Highlights include Barton Creek Green Belt, which boasts some of the best hikes in Texas. Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is celebrated for its impressive views and rare wildlife.
Austin’s Music Scene
Renowned for its festivals, Austin’s year-round catalogue of musical events attracts visitors from all over the world. Visitors can enjoy everything from the flamboyant costumes of the Carnaval Brasileiro, a celebration of Brazilian samba music, to the Old Settler’s Music Festival, with its roots rock and bluegrass. In fact, many believe no visit to Austin would be complete without taking in at least one of the city’s world-famous music events.