Mount Bonnell Park
3800 MT Bonnell RD
Austin Texas 78731
Below is a list of ten popular Austin Texas Attractions for visitors and locals alike.
For more ideas of what to do in Austin, be sure to check out these additional resource pages:
Housing both the Texas State Legislature as well as the Governor’s Office, the Capitol Building underwent a major underground expansion in the early 1990s to accommodate the need for additional administrative support without threatening the historical integrity of the building.
Visiting the Capitol is free – as are brochures and maps (in multiple languages) for self-guided tours. Visitor resources are available at the Capitol Visitors Center.
The impressive three story building features interactive exhibits with a separate theme for each floor: Land, Identity, and Opportunity. Group and reserved tours are available as well as limited free walk-in tours. The museum has two theaters – the multimedia and special effects Texas Spirit Theater as well as Austin’s only IMAX Theater.
Located just a few blocks north of the Capitol, the museum offers underground parking for a flat $8/day.
Boasting one of the top athletic programs in the country, the Texas Longhorns are almost always ranked in the Top 20 in football (four national championships), baseball (six national championships), and basketball. The Lady Longhorns basketball team has one national championship.
Notable establishments include The Parish, B.D. Riley's Irish Pub, Maggie Mae’s, Pete's Piano Bar, Esther's Follies, and the Iron Cactus Restaurant.
Best times to visit 6th Street if you really love large crowds and a festive atmosphere are Halloween, Mardi Gras, and during South by Southwest (SXSW).
Gone are the 24 hour adult movie theater, the trolling prostitutes (especially when the Legislature was in session), and the landmark Austin Motel has been transformed from seedy motel to Austin treasure. With the added polish comes the criticism by some locals that more than just the seediness has been lost.
But much of the quirkiness and laid back charm remain, and if you've ever been to a town or place where time stood still, you'll understand how necessary change can be. So enjoy the old and the new - from Austin musical landmark The Continental Club and the popular First Thursday street side revelry to, yes, even the sight of Starbucks and all those new condos in the area.
Other Austin favorites include: The Continental Club, the Saxon Pub, and the Broken Spoke in South Austin; the small and intimate singer-songwriter Cactus Cafe as well as the big act touring venue Frank Erwin Center, both on the UT campus; and Threadgill's at both north and south restaurant locations.
And then there are the major music festivals held each year in Austin, including: South by Southwest (SXSW), the Austin City Limits Festival (ACL Fest), the Austin Reggae Festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Texas RockFest, the Pachanga Latino Music Festival, the Urban Music Festival, the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Lone Star State Jam, and the Old Settler's Music Festival.
Zilker-specific Austin attractions include the beloved Barton Springs Pool, the Zilker Botanical Gardens, the Austin Nature and Science Center, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum, and the Beverly Sheffield Hillside Theater offering free outdoor drama and musical performances during the summer.
The park also hosts numerous annual events and festivals including the annual Holiday Trail of Lights and the city’s longest running festival, the Austin Kite Festival.
Access to this city-maintained park is relatively easy and there are two pedestrian choices for the climb – a shorter but steeper stair route from the south or a longer but more gradual rock and dirt path from the north.
Take a camera and, if it’s in the heat of summer, definitely take some water (you won't find any on site).
And every evening at the same time, tourists and locals line up atop the bridge, congregate on nearby hotel grounds, gather along both shores of Lady Bird Lake, or take to local cruise ships to watch them pour en masse from beneath the bridge and into the sunset reddened sky.