Guide to Austin: how to get there and where to stay, what to see and where to go in the evening. The best things to do in Austin: fresh reviews and photos, places to see, branded entertainment and shopping.
According to toppharmacyschools, Austin is the capital city of Texas with a population of under a million people and the second largest state capital in the country. It houses the state’s main university, the political, technological and musical heart of the state. People here like to call the city the “Live Music Capital of the World” and stick bumper stickers with the slogan “Keep Austin Weird”. Finally, there are so many high-tech companies operating here that the city is sometimes referred to as “Silicon Hills”.
The city’s most unconventional museum is the open-air HOPE gallery on the corner of Baylor and 11 streets. In fact, the gallery is just concrete walls without a ceiling, left over from a once-a-whistle attempt to build a condominium here.
How to get to Austin
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is located 10 km southwest of the city center and receives flights from most major carriers on 50 direct routes. You can also get to the city by Amtrak train on the Texas Eagle line from Chicago to San Antonio. Regular buses from many companies travel to the city from San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Mexico.
Entertainment and attractions in Austin
Austin is very big. In order to somehow navigate in the interesting places of the city, it is absolutely necessary to understand in advance which area you are heading to. First of all, you can start with the university part of the city, where tourists will have enough entertainment for the whole day.
The University of Texas and drag occupy a whole separate area, and it is not surprising: the university is one of the five largest in the country in terms of the size of the campus. A large stretch of Gudalupe Street runs along the western edge of the campus and is referred to locally as “drag”. There are many excellent places for shopping and gastronomic adventures.
And on the campus itself, there are enough places for adventures of a different kind. This is the Blanton Art Museum with a large permanent collection of European art, with masterpieces by masters of the Rubens level, as well as exhibits by American and Latin American authors. This is the Harry Ransom Center, which has a collection of restored cultural artifacts, including rare books, manuscripts, photographs, films and art. The Neil Cochran House, built in 1855 in the Greek Revival style, is one of the city’s most important architectural landmarks. These are the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, as well as the Texas Memorial Museum in the Texas Natural History Center Exhibition Hall, which has, among other things, a paleontological laboratory. Finally, this is the University Tower, over 90 meters high, built in 1937.
On the campus of the University of Texas, you can find many street art objects, among which there are real legends. This, for example, is a portrait of Bob Dylan by El Federico; the huge History of Cinema painting, the psychedelic landscape of the city in the Renaissance Market and, of course, the famous alien frog “Hi, how are you” by local cult character Daniel Johnston.
There are also plenty of interesting places in downtown. First of all, this is the Austin Museum of Art, where you can get acquainted with the art of the 20th century. and even more modern. History buffs might like the Bob Bullock Texas State Museum, which is very pretty and has horribly packed displays. For more than 30 years, the Women and Their Work Gallery has been hosting an ever-growing exhibition of contemporary women artists living and working in Texas and beyond.
Well, the most unconventional museum in the city is the HOPE open-air gallery on the corner of Baylor and 11 streets. Actually, the gallery is just concrete walls without a ceiling, left over from a once-tomcat attempt to build a condominium here. The walls are painted up and down with graffiti, and something new is constantly appearing here.
Austin East is home to the Museum of French Rule. The building was built in 1841, after the French King Louis Philippe officially recognized the Republic of Texas as independent and ordered the creation of a self-government body here. The historic building, complete with kitchen and crew garage, is open to the public and hosts group tours (scheduled). And in the beautiful garden area around the building, the French Alliance of Austin organizes seasonal petanque competitions on Sundays.
Another specific attraction in East Austin is the Moonlight Towers. According to legend, these 5 50-meter steel towers were built in 1894 in order to illuminate at night the area that was terrorized by a serial killer.
At the end of the 19th century Austin also received the romantic name of the city of “Purple Crown”. Until now, opinions about where this name came from differ. The most common one associates it with the atmospheric effect that can be observed on the hills during the winter sunset.
Austin South is basically everything south of Lady Bird Lake. The main street here is Riverside, which runs parallel to the Colorado River. Heading east along it at the end of the day, you will see the Austin version of Mexican nightlife: East Riverside is the main rival of the famous Sixth Street party in downtown. And during the daytime, there are many Mexican and Chinese eateries with inexpensive and tasty food. One block north of Riverside is a Mexican flea market (open on weekends).
The famous writer O. Henry lived in Austin for less than two years, from 1893 to 1895. One way or another, in a pretty cottage built in 1886, which the future writer rented with his wife and daughter, a museum has been open since 1934. It contains many historical items, some furniture of the Porter family and personal items. Every year, the house-museum hosts a city competition of pun masters.
3 things to do in Austin:
- Climb to the observation deck of the University Tower, and then go to the Cactus Cafe on campus. The cafe is famous for live music, and indeed very famous.
- See the “Trash Cathedral” in Austin South, an art installation in the backyard of one Vince Hannemann, which was created over 20 years from scrap metal and other rubbish. Today the cathedral has grown to 3 floors.
- Watch the world’s largest urban bat colony. More than 1.5 million mice live under the Ann Richards Bridge (Congress Avenue), but you can see them only in summer: in winter they migrate to Mexico.
The largest music festival “Austin City Limits” takes place annually in Zilker Park and consists of 2 three-day weekends. The festival was first held in 2002, and today groups of various genres, including rock, country, folk, electronica and hip-hop, gather here on 8 stages, and the number of festival guests reaches approximately 75 thousand people daily.
The boat race on Lady Bird Lake has been held in April since 1999. The race is accompanied by many cultural events. Another downtown event is the Old Pecan Street Street Festival, held in May and September on the street that used to bear that name (now East Sixth Street). About 250 outlets open here, and live music plays on several stages.
The Frontera Theater Festival is held in the North Central area in January-February. Around the same time, the area’s Chinatown is celebrating Chinese New Year with Texas flair. This is a two-day festival with free admission, dragons and dances, martial arts performances and so on. And the chocolate festival takes place in the area in March, and not only chocolate, but also bakeries, pastry shops, hotels and all kinds of other establishments take part in it, which offer samples of their chocolate art to guests for testing.