Austin Means Nature, History and Music
Overview of Austin Attractions
Austin is the capital of Texas, a city in the central part of the state known above all for its beauty, history and live music venues.
It's a college town, home to the sprawling University of Texas. And the beautiful State Capitol Building is a must-see for all Austin visitors.
There's a lot to do in Austin, and here's a brief look at just some of it.
The city bills itself as the "Live Music Capital of the World." The South by Southwest Music Festival is one of the largest every year in the spring, with up-and-coming artists packing venues all around town.
Sixth Street, in downtown Austin not too far from the Capitol, is a favorite for partying college kids and anyone else interested in the live music scene. It's not recommended that you take your kids here at night, however.
The State Capitol, with the Governor's Mansion across the street, is located Downtown and sits on 46 acres. Constructed from Texas pink granite, it's an impressive and beautiful domed building that is open daily for tours.
Many more sites of interest to history buffs can be found in Downtown Austin. The Bob Bullock Texas History Museum is very popular, and comes complete with an IMAX theater showing "The Story of Texas."
The Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum features exhibits on LBJ and the presidency in general. It also has a moon rock on display.
The Texas State Cemetery - the "Arlington of Texas" - is located near the Governor's Mansion and State Capitol and is the final resting place of more than 2,000 Texas patriots and statesmen. Included among them is Stephen F. Austin, after whom Austin is named.
The Texas State Library is next door to the Capitol Building and includes a treasure trove of historical books and documents.
The University of Texas takes up a good chunk of midtown Austin, abutting Downtown, and there are many sites open to the public. The Texas Memorial Museum and the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art are two worth a visit. Also, the Harry Ransom Center, a photography and theater arts museum that also displays a 1455 Gutenberg Bible.
Austin is a city full of parks, walking and biking trails. Zilker Park in southwest Austin is the location of free shows under the stars every June and August, and of the city's botanical gardens and "prehistoric park." It's also home to the very popular Barton Springs, a natural springs swimming pool that every Austinite visits regularly during childhood (and beyond). Be warned: The water is cold! Making it a great place for a dip on a hot Austin summer day.
The Austin Nature and Science Center is a scenic natural area right in the middle of the city. Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural swimming hole with a 60-foot waterfall about 16 miles outside Austin. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, in southwest Austin, is a must-see in the spring with blooms aplenty.
Town Lake (actually, the impounded Colorado River) winds through Austin and is a popular spot kayaking, its banks popular with joggers and walkers. Mount Bonnell, on the city's western side, is the highest point in the city and provides great views of Lake Austin. Unfortunately, the view more and more becomes one of the rooftops of expensive homes in the valley below; still, it's a fun (but taxing) trek to the top.
Austin golf courses include many fine public tracks, including the Austin municipals Jimmy Clay Golf Course and Roy Kizer Golf Course, side-by-side in South Austin.
For sports enthusiasts, the University of Texas football team is a tough ticket, and UT basketball and baseball are also popular. The Round Rock Express play in Round Rock, just north of Austin, and are a Triple-A baseball franchise.
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