[Austin, Texas] What are the best things to do in Austin?

Austin Tourism - 2 Day Trip Tips

Austin, Texas is a very famous city, both as the capital of Texas and as the high-tech town of Texas. In recent years, we often hear that high-tech talents have moved to Austin, which is a good place to live with low price and comfortable life. However, no one answered the question of what Austin has to offer. This time, we were serious about our trip, our main destination was Big Bend National Park, and we only had two days Austin itinerary before and after. Austin is located in the center of Texas, and is close to three other Texas cities, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, so if you want to spend more days in Texas, you can also string these places together.

The city of Austin is actually quite small, so it may only take one or two days to go through the main attractions. Most of the sightseeing spots are concentrated in the downtown area, and generally more tourists go to the State Capitol, the museum area north of the State Capitol, South Congress, the bar area near Sixth Street, and Zilker Park. If you live in the city center, you can walk to all places except Zilker Park. If you don't have to go to Zilker Park, you can replace it with the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk, which is also along the Colorado River, and make it a one-day trip. We arranged two days this time, so the first day we did most of the sightseeing in the city center, and the second day we went to Zilker Park and Pennybacker Bridge, which is farther away by car. the detailed itinerary of the two-day itinerary is as follows:

  • Day 1: Mainly walking. In the morning, I went to the State Capitol and joined the free tour, then walked north to the museum area, saw the Bullock Texas State History Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, and I wanted to see the LBJ library but I didn't. After the museum, I walked south on Congress Ave in front of the Capitol and had lunch on the way. After seeing the museums, I went south on Congress Ave in front of the legislature and had lunch on the way. After lunch, I continued to go south, crossed the river via Congress Ave Bridge, and went to South Congress Ave for shopping. After shopping, we walked back to the riverside Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk to see the river view, walked east across the bridge back to the north shore to Rainey Street, ate and drank enough to go to East 6th Street in the evening. This one-day itinerary because the whole walk is actually very full, if you are not strong enough to take a car, you can also split into two days.
  • Day 2: In the morning, we drove to Pennybacker bridge to see the city view, then went to Zilker Park, basically walked along the river and spent most of the day outdoors. In the evening, we went to Rainy Street for beer and then back to the city for dinner.

In fact, Austin is a place more suitable for experiencing from the perspective of life. The city is not big, so if you pick and choose the sightseeing spots, you will feel that you have seen it all, or you will be anxious to go to other places after finishing one day's walk. After staying for two days, I feel that the pace of relaxation is not bad, and I don't feel bored just wandering around the Colorado River. There is always music on the streets of the city, and there are many good restaurants and relaxing bars, so it is indeed a very comfortable city to live in.

Weather-wise, Texas is located in the south, and Austin is very hot in the summer, so we came in the winter and thought the temperature should be milder. However, this time, we had a rare winter heat wave, and even though it was December, the weather was still 87 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scenic Spot Summary

Texas State Capitol

Texas State ConventionIt is a landmark building in Austin. It is very large in scale and probably the most visited place in Austin. We entered from the south, and passed by a visitor center, which introduced a lot of Texas history and culture, and the display was very interesting if you look at it seriously. Texans are very generous, there are free tour guides inside, and they even use a bag that represents Texans, with "Don't mess with Texas" written on it, which is very personalized.

Austin and its neighboring cities have quite a history. Historically, Austin was a Mexican territory during the colonial era, and later Texas gained independence from Mexico to form the Republic of Texas, of which Austin was the capital, before joining the U.S. federal government.

The state capitol building is surrounded by a large green space, and you can spend a lot of time walking around looking at the statues that tell the history of Texas.

The building itself is quite imposing, modeled after the U.S. Capitol, and is said to be a bit larger than the Capitol, showing that Texans are big on everything.

The current building was constructed in 1882. Before that, there was a smaller state capitol building, and then Texas decided to build a more impressive one, and held a national design competition, and chose the Detroit architect Elijab E. Myers to build the current state capitol. This architect is actually very famous, and can be said to be an expert in building state legislatures. In addition to designing the Texas State Capitol, he also designed the state legislatures of Michigan and Colorado.

After going through an easy security checkpoint, you can enter the interior of the museum, where there are free guided tours every day, one at 10:30am and another at 11:00am. If your schedule doesn't work out, you can take the free brochures and take your time, and you can browse for two to three hours.

As soon as you enter from the south entrance, you will see two statues in front of the gate: the one on the left is called Stephen F. Austin, the father of Texas, after whom the city of Austin is named; the one on the right is Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas and the first governor of Texas, from whom another Texas city, Houston, takes its name.

In the middle room, there is the dome above, which is also the most eye-catching place. The height of the dome is 280 feet, and when you look up, you will feel dizzy. On the wall of the room are the past governors of Texas, and every time there is a change of governor, everyone will change their position in order, and the ones on the first floor are the most recent governors.

The six marble circles on the ground are the flags of the six different countries that were once on Texas soil: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and now the United States. If you've ever heard of Six Flags Paradise, six flags means six flags of Texas.

Although the State Capitol building was already very large, as time progressed, there were more and more legislators, and there were not enough offices to go around, so an extension was built. The extension is actually a basement, but in order to make it not too depressing, skylights were used to let in the sunlight.

The north side of the State Capitol provides a spectacular view of this section from the outside as well.

There is also a Texas Governor's mansion across 11th Street on the south side, which looks like a small White House.

Bullock Texas State History Museum

The history of Texas is actually quite interesting, and if you want to learn more about it, you can also take a trip to a museum near the state capitol.Bullock Texas State History MuseumThe Lone Star of Texas is an eye-catching symbol of the state of Texas. Texas is known as the Lone Star State, and the star is a symbol of Texas that can be seen everywhere.

Blanton Museum of Art

Blanton Museum of ArtIt is the art museum of University of Texas, Austin, the essence of which is the rainbow church Ellsworth Kelly's Austin outside the museum, in fact, it is not a church, but the building looks a little like a church only. From the inside, the windows on three sides capture the changing light and shadow beautifully, and it is a favorite spot for netizens to visit.

It's not a big museum, so you can probably see it for an hour or two, but it's still worth seeing. If you come on a Thursday, you can visit for free.

Congress Ave

Congress Ave, as the name suggests, is the avenue that runs north and south from the entrance to the State Capitol. From the State Capitol, you can walk all the way south to the bustling South Congress Ave for shopping. Of course, the whole Congress Ave is quite a long walk, but I think you can at least walk for a while to enjoy the artistic street, which is quite different from the bustling atmosphere of South Congress Ave. There are a lot of restaurants and stores nearby, so after watching the state legislature, you can come here to have a meal and maybe do some more shopping!Mexic-Arte Museum.

Congress Ave Bridge

As you walk south, you will come to Congress Ave Bridge, why is this bridge famous? Because it is home to a large colony of bats, about 1.5 million bats live underneath the bridge, and every summer at dusk, they will fly out to forage for food, which is a very spectacular sight. This is a must-see trip in summer. However, the bats come out from March to October, and in winter they go south to Mexico, so you can only look at the view from the bridge at this time.

South Congress Ave

South Congress Ave is also a great place to eat and shop, filled with quirky and artistic stores. Even though it's a weekday and off-season, the street is still very crowded. A few of the stores are particularly famous, such as Allen's boots, which specializes in cowboy boots and hats. The store is very big and sells all kinds of long and short cowboy boots.

There is also Jo's Coffee, which has many branches, but the "I love you so much" in front of the store attracts a lot of people to take photos.

There are many interesting restaurants and stores, all of which are quite unique. Many of the restaurants have street performers, so you will be very happy to go shopping with live music.

Colorado river

The long trail along the Colorado River can be described as the concept of a riverfront park. If you look at the map, you will understand that the Colorado River runs through Austin, and there are trails and parks all along the river, so you can really walk along the river for a very, very long time. Two days time we walk around the river quite a lot of time, the Internet introduces a lot of attractions, if it is called famous attractions to go, may be longer transportation time, I think if you stay in Austin for a shorter period of time, look good at their own want to go to the attractions, close to the river park, and then walk along the river along the trail experience is better.

Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk

The map of Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk shows the location east of Congress Ave. If you are going to Congress Ave, Rainey Street and other places to play, it is just right to come to this section of the boardwalk. If you are going to Congress Ave, Rainey Street and other places to play, this is the right place to come. There are some places under the park bridge on the north bank of the river with free parking, so it is very convenient for you to park your car here and walk to Rainey Stree. In December, the trees in Austin still look like autumn, and the scenery is very beautiful. I saw turtles sunbathing along the river from time to time.

Zilker Park

On our last day, we went to Zilker Park, Barton Springs Municipal Pool, and then walked along the Lady Bird Trail, which is a huge green space along the Colorado River and is the site of many outdoor events. If you want to go farther, you can actually ride a bike, there are bike paths on both sides of the river. Overall, it's a great place to enjoy the outdoors.

We walked all the way to Lou Neff Point, which is right where the tributaries meet and where many people enjoy boating and the outdoors. Maybe this is the pace of life in Austin.

Along the river, there are many bridges leading to the other side of the river. There was a musical performance at the Pfluger Pedestrain Bridge on that day, so we stopped for a while to enjoy the relaxing time on the bridge, and the view of the river was beautiful under the sunny weather.

Pennybacker Bridge

Also on the Colorado River, this bridge is a bit farther northwest of downtown Austin and is only a short drive away, but a great location overlooking Austin. This overlook is a bit hard to find, I didn't see any signage. After crossing the bridge, you will see some people parking on the left side of the road, follow them to find a place to park and then climb up a steep slope from the side road. The road is very steep, so if you are traveling with old people or kids, it may not be suitable for you to climb up here.

6th St

6th St is Austin's famous nightlife street, there are a lot of bars along the street, if you want to have a drink, you can come here at night. There is a lot of live music on 6th St, and there are a lot of bars. The nightlife starts after nightfall.

This neighborhood has a lot of history, includingThe DriskillThis inn is one of Austin's landmarks. Built in 1886, the hotel itself is one of the oldest structures in Texas. When Colonel Driskill built the Inn, he wanted to create a top-class hotel that would demonstrate Austin's financial strength. The spacious marble hall inside is still gilded today, and every inauguration of a Texas governor is held here for a ball. The Driskill Bar in the inn is also a well-known bar on Sixth Street.

Rainy street

Rainy street is also a bar street, but compared to 6th St, most of the bars here are residential, which makes it feel more relaxed, and less like 6th St with its red lights and green atmosphere. It was originally a residential area, but now all the houses have become bars, each with their own characteristics, and there are also many food trucks around.

The bars are bustling with people lining up everywhere, and live music is everywhere. The relaxed atmosphere with food and drinks attracts a lot of young people who just want to get together with their friends and relax a little.

Austin Accommodations | Hyatt House

I am very satisfied with the hotel we stayed at this time, so I would like to introduce it to you. It is a Hyatt house located in Austin Downtown, the room is big and clean, and it is not too far away from the sightseeing spots though it is not the closest one. The room rate is cheap during Christmas vacation, only $100. Our flight was arriving at 6am, so we checked in at 6am to have a good rest before going to play, and we stayed for one and a half days.

Hyatt House Reservation Link

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Further reading

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