Austin, the capital of Texas State in the U.S. has a unique fact that the majority of Americans are unaware of. Musicians constitute a large percentage of Austin’s population. As a matter of fact, Austin’s official slogan is, “The Live Music Capital of the world”.
Another aspect of Austin is its extremely colorful lights that light the city that earned its name as the “City of the Violet Crown”.
Another valid reason for the name is the presence of a huge church named “Violet Crown City Church”.
14 Best Things to Do in Austin:
The Austin tourists’ itinerary ranks this church as number one.
Violet Crown City Church
Among the things to do in Austin, a visit to the Violet Crown City Church is the foremost. O. Henry, one of the celebrated English literary writers coined this name in his novel titled:” The Garden of the Gods”.
I too am a big fan of him and a voracious reader of his short stories that always end with a twist in the tale.
The church’s dome wears an aura of strikingly violet color during the sunrise and sunset.
Isn’t this building that serves as Government headquarters, magnificent?
The architectural design is very attractive. The Texas Capitol stands firm even though its age is 137 years!
This is the second most attractive place to see in Austin.
The Austinite are very proud of their Capitol because it is taller than the Capitol building in Washington D.C.
Lady Bird Lake
It is actually a reservoir that is fed by the River Colorado (yes, there is a Colorado River in Texas also).
While Austin’s Colorado River empties its water in the Gulf of Mexico, the longer Colorado River (2300+ km) meets its end in the Gulf of California.
The majority of the Austinites go for a brisk walk along the lake’s shore. It is both walking as well as a biking trail.
The locals take their visiting guests for a paddle-boat ride in Lady Bird lake. Paddle boating is one of the favorite things to do in Austin.
Fishing is allowed but you should obtain a license. You can rent a kayak to test your arm’s strength.
What a lovely scene! Do you notice the Texas Capitol as a backdrop?
One of the most liked things to do in Austin is taking a long stroll or cruise through downtown Austin. In fact, every American or Canadian city’s downtown area is the most visited place because it is where you do the shopping and eat on pavement restaurants and bars.
Austin’s downtown is located on the other side of Lady Bird Lake.
Strangely, all the high-rise buildings that house the Government departs and corporate are located downtown instead of in the center of Austin city.
The Austin’s Museum of Art and the Paramount Theater are the two prominent buildings in downtown Austin. Congress Avenue is the most important street in the downtown area.
Austin Bat Watching Tour
The onlookers wait on the Congress Avenue Bridge. There are people waiting on the lawn below the bridge on the banks of Lady Bird Lake. Some curious visitors wait on the boats.
This section of the crowd on the water is part of the Austin Bat Tours. You have to pay to watch the large colony of bats living under the bridge. You can actually leave their departure with a good view.
Search for “sunset bat watching tours’ to book your seat in the paddle boat.
Everyone is focusing their mobile phone camera under the bridge because that is where more than a million bats are hanging upside down.
Just after duck, they leave and go in search of their prey.
These flying foxes are actually migratory. They arrive from Mexico in March. They breed, nest, and give birth to their young ones. And then, they stay in Austin until November and then, fly across the Gulf of Mexico.
Austin bat watching is certainly one of the exciting things to do in Austin.
Among more than 20 places to see in Austin, the Barton Springs and the resultant Barton Swimming Pool are very popular. Long before I remember reading that these local tourist landmarks in Austin are more visited by the tourist than the locals who are no more interested. I think this happens in every city in the world.
There are 4 springs that are attributed to the natural phenomenon called “Edwards Aquifer”. The natural springs’ outflow is quite large measuring up to more than 30 million gallons a day.
Barton Springs Pool
As mentioned earlier, the swimming pool is fed natural spring water that is considered ultra-pure. Austin’s climate is generally hot. The Barton Springs Pool acts as a great escape from the sweltering heat. Thus, you can also see people swimming and playing in the pool.
Deep Eddy Pool
Another best thing to do in Austin is this ‘cooling point’. Fed by the two deep wells that are in turn fed by the Colorado River, Deep Eddy Pool is the oldest swimming pool by the Texans in 1920. Here also, similar to the Barton Springs, the water is pure and clear.
Zilker Parks comprises a large area measuring 350 acres near Lady Bird Lake’s southern shore. This means the recreational park is located within Austin City and not downtown.
As one of the highly visited places in Austin, the park hosts several events and festivals because it can accommodate a real big crowd of spectators.
The park’s main children’s attraction is its lovely botanical garden.
Another popular attraction for the kids is a toy train that takes everyone for a joy ride around Zilker Park.
In addition, the flora attracts not only humans but also butterflies. There is an exclusive butterfly trail to spot the multi-colored, winged creatures.
The Barton Springs and Pool are part of the Zilker Park.
The Ghost Tour of Austin
I don’t know whether the spirits and vampires really exist. However, there are several local tour operators in Austin that offer a ghost-walking tour. The tour takes you to some of the haunted places in Austin that include old bungalows, deserted roads, and even restaurants!
Encountering the vampires-is it one of the fun things to do in Austin or is it a spooky adventure?
McKinney Falls State Park
A charming, little waterfall that is fed a tributary of the Colorado River known as ‘Onion Creek’.
Visiting McKinney Falls and the state park is one of the fun things to do in Austin. The state park is host to numerous birds that include the Red Cardinal, Blue Jay, and the Roadrunner.
Moreover, you can spot a strange-looking mammal that is classified as ‘armadillo’.
It’s scary looking. Yes, it is a kind of anteater. To eat just the ants and termites, it surely possesses a large body with threatening claws and a scaly body.
Cathedral of junk
It is a privately owned junkyard that is strangely called a ‘cathedral’. The junk has been piling up since 1988, in the backyard of an individual’s house who is maintaining it just for fun. The junk contains-well junk that is nothing special.
Somehow, it got added to the list of places to see in Austin. If I ever visit Austin, I will ignore this.
Mount Bonnell, Austin
This is more of an observation platform, a viewpoint that gives you an aerial view of the city of Austin.
Oddly, it has another name ‘Covert Park’. In spite of being a prominent tourist landmark in Austin and that too has been in existence since 1850!
A stroll on the Sixth Street
After all the places to see in Austin, we finally have come to the end of things to do in Austin. It is time to relax, do some shopping and drinking.
The sixth street in Austin is a shopping district as well as for eating and drinking.
Let us say goodbye to Austin and hop on to Houston next week.