Top 10 Things to See and Do in Austin, Texas

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Top 10 fun and interesting things to do in Austin, Texas

Spend a day or a week in Austin and the surrounding day trip areas:

There are tons of fun things to see and do in Austin, Texas! Spending the night at the Driskiill Hotel (the most haunted hotel in town) is an adventure in photography. Try doing the active 1.5 hour walking tour with Austin Ghost Tours. There will be much to see and plan to take lots of vacation photos.

The following is my list of top 10 things to do in Bat City, but it is not the complete list. I will be adding future pages as new events and tourist attractions come up. Be sure to bookmark this page and come back often for updates!

1. The Bob Bullock Texas History Museum - Three floors of meticulous and interactive exhibits of Texas History. Also the home of the Imax and Texas Spirit Theaters. Also the home of the 35 foot tall bronze Lone Star. There is a cafe and museum store to enjoy as well.

2. The Texas State Capitol Building - Everyone loves the capitol building even though kids might think it a bit stodgy. The architecture is stunning and there is a large rotunda for children to run around in. Adults will admire the dome and Lady Liberty on top of the dome.

3. Austin Zoo - Great fun for families and nature lovers. The zoo is an animal sanctuary with more than 300 animals.

4. The LBJ Library - Lynden B. Johnson's presidential library with free admission and free parking make this memorial one of the best activities in Austin. If you have never visited a presidential library, you will be pleasantly surprised at how interesting it all is.

5. Longhorn Cavern State Park - Although it's a fairly long ride from the city to get to Longhorn Cavern, the trip is worth it. See the Texas Hill Country along the drive, then spend a few hours at one of the best caves in Texas. Eat lunch or dinner at Marble Falls.

6. Austin Children's Museum - With over 12,500 square feet of gallery, exhibit and program space, there is plenty to learn, explore and play. The kids will love it!

7. Austin Steam Train - Take a ride out to the hill country on an old steam train and have lunch near an old west gunfight!

8. Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center - The best month to visit would be April, but this wildflower center has something to offer the dedicated gardener all year long. See all of the native plants of Texas and learn how to care for them.

9. Barton Springs Pool - If you are visiting Texas during the summer, you will be happy to find Barton Springs Pool right in the heart of Austin. The water is always 68 degrees and just perfect for a hot summer day.

10. Congress Avenue Bats - No one can deny that watching close to two million bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge isn't fun! It's a wonderfully fun way to spend an evening out of doors. Bring a blanket and spread it out and enjoy the free show! It's crazy, it's batty, it's Austin!

Lake fun around Austin:

If you love water sports and boating, don't forget about the five Highland Lakes and Lady Bird Lake that flows through central Austin:

  • Lake Buchanan - The big one near Burnett and Llano
  • Inks Lake - Great camping spots!
  • Lake Marble Falls - Speedboat racing and good restaurants in Marble Falls, Tx
  • Lake Travis - Houseboats, boating, camping, swimming, scuba diving
  • Lake Austin - Canoeing, Kayaking, paddle boards, great restaurants
  • Lady Bird Lake - Scenic walking trails, dog park, near Barton Springs pool

Two fun places to eat in Austin:

The Moonshine Restaurant Patio Bar and Grill Rated 3 out of 5 Diamonds

Reportedly haunted, but not for lack of great food!

We went to the Moonshine to catch a walking tour, but being hungry, we signed up for the 1.5 hour wait to be seated line figuring that a line that long meant really good food. Actually, the line was so long because of a big Marathon race that day and it was also Mardi Gras weekend.

The food is quite good here! We had the calamari and flat iron steak (cooked perfectly), and the roasted garlic and green chili macaroni with chicken (superb!).

The atmosphere at the Moonshine is comfortable, relaxed and easy going. I don't recommend going during crowded peak hours. It was noisy and cramped. There are, however, very comfortable rocking chairs outside on the street for waiting and smoking. Parking is pretty much valet only as there is no place to park nearby.

The County Line Barbeque Restaurant on the Lake

There is hardly ever a waiting line at this fun and yummy restaurant! It's huge with lots of tables and plenty of wait staff. The smell of great food hits you the minute you walk in the door.

There is the smell of homemade white and wheat bread with honey butter. The rich aroma of slow cooked and smoked meats fill the room. This is Texas barbecue done right! Go for the perfect brisket (chopped or sliced), savory sausage, awesome ribs and even the best smoked prime rib in the world, be sure to stop in and check this place out!

Do not leave without trying the most incredible Jack Daniels Bread Pudding ever! There is probably no better dessert in the world (according to me)!

If you are in need of a place to stay while in Capitol City, here are two of the top notch Inns:

The Driskill Hotel and 1886 Cafe and Bakery

The Driskill Hotel is on the corner of 6th St. and 604 Brazos Street, Austin, Texas 78701. The hotel was built by a rich Texas cattle baron in 1886. He turned the hotel into an Austin landmark of luxury.

The lobby greets you with marble floors and tall columns attached to the incredible stained glass dome ceiling. This is classic old Texas decadence at its best. The 1886 Cafe and Bakery exudes the smells of fresh pastries and great breakfasts. I recommend the 'Hippie Hollow' breakfast named for the local clothing optional beach (on Lake Travis). It consists of scrambled eggs with spinach, goat cheese on top and placed over a bed of roasted tomatoes and country potatoes.

The Driskill supports superior night life and is near all of the major downtown attractions such as the Capitol Dome, The Texas History Museum and fabulous Old Pecan Street (6th street) where you can get anything from tattoos to gourmet dining and The Live Music Capitol of the World which is just outside your hotel door.

The Driskill hotel is reputed to be haunted and one of the photos I took during my stay there does show what is called a ghost orb. Could they be the ghost of a little girl that fell down the stairway to her death? Try taking your own photos of the stairway and maybe you will catch a ghost or two.

The Inn at Pearl Street

Another very interesting and fun place to stay in Austin is the Inn at Pearl Street. This group of bed and breakfast buildings is richly decorated and reminds one of country mansions or the homes of very important people such as famous politicians, a prominent Judge (1914 - 1917) or later, cattle barons.

There are four guest buildings with 10 guest rooms around the outdoor stone deck and rooms are available in each of the buildings. The breakfast area is located in the Victoria House. The entire B&B sits atop "Judge's Hill" near the downtown area and the University of Texas. The Tonkawa Indians of Central Texas once camped here on the hill near Shoal Creek park.

The room we stayed in was called the Texas Hideaway located in the Burton House. It's on the 3rd floor and only accessible by a narrow circular staircase! Imagine hauling all your luggage up those stairs if you are planning to stay a while!

The room is very beautiful and filled with interesting antiques selected by the owners when the Bickfords completely refurbished the Inn at Pearl Street. The restoration took two years and although new plumbing, wiring and wood was installed, the buildings still retain their 100 year old turn of the century look. The oak trees on the site are about 150 years old.

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