Sixth Street, Longhorn Football, Bats, Steam Trains and More
Visitors to Austin, Texas need never complain of boredom. Texas’ capitol city is loaded with things to do. Whether you are into music, sports, outdoor recreation, shopping, or cultural activities, you will have a range of choices in Austin.
First Stop, Sixth Street
No trip to Austin would be complete without a tour of Sixth Street. Originally known as Pecan Street, Sixth Street is one happening historical district. Lined with Victorian era houses along with some more recent vintage architecture, a seven block section of the street is the hub of Austin’s live entertainment district. The historic buildings house bars, music clubs, cafes, and art galleries. Ester’s Follies, a unique comedy, magic, and music venue, is located on Sixth Street. The famous Driskill Hotel is also located on Sixth Street.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Sports fans have plenty of teams to cheer in the Austin area. Fans of minor league baseball can enjoy the Round Rock Express, a triple A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
The team’s season runs from April through September, providing many opportunities to watch great baseball in a family-friendly atmosphere.
Beginning in November and continuing through April, basketball fans can root for the Austin Toros, the local NBA D-League team.
Fans of hockey are also in luck. The season of the Texas Stars, an American Hockey League, runs from the end of September until mid-April.
Back to Nature
Lovers of the great outdoors love Austin. Texas’ capitol city abounds with parks, public gardens, lakes, hiking and biking trails, and even an opportunity to observe bats. The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to preserving native plants; the public can enjoy numerous gardens and many educational activities at this now world famous research center.
Zilker Park is just one many delightful Austin parks. It is home to the famous Barton Springs Pool, a rare spring-fed swimming pool. Other parks include Circle C Ranch, Mount Bonnell and Nichols Park. Mount Bonnell is Austin’s highest point and offers a great vantage point over much of the city.
Every spring, bats from Mexico migrate to Austin and make their home under the Congress Avenue Bridge. Crowds gather each evening to watch the huge group of bats take off in search of food.
The Colorado River runs through Austin, Texas. Dams on the river have formed manmade lakes, including the large Ladybird Lake (Town Lake). Canoes, kayaks, and other non-motorized vessels are allowed on the well-stocked lake.
In the tradition of Texas hospitality, the VIP Marina at Lake Travis offers great customer service with perks like free help to load and unload packages on your boat. Many events are held for boat owners during the year.
Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunsfels is just over forty miles away from Austin. Plans for a Schlitterbahn Water Park in Cedar Creek have been delayed several times, but officials are hopeful that the Cedar Creek project will be completed in 2013; the project should bring a 1000 jobs to the Austin area.
You can travel back in time with a relaxing train ride through the beautiful hill country surrounding Austin on an Austin Steam Train. The trains run throughout the year and have various destinations. In April you can climb aboard for an excursion to the Bluebonnet Festival. Throughout the year there are special murder mystery train rides for adults. Children are welcome on all of the regular rides and special children’s rides like A Day with Thomas (the famous cartoon engine) and North Pole Flyer are offered. Snacks are available and box meals are included on some of the special rides. The train can also be chartered for special events.
Culture and History
From historical train rides to modern culture Austin offers something for everyone. The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum is located in beautiful Zilker Park and features the works of local sculptor Charles Umlauf. The visually-handicapped are invited to explore the sculptures by hand. The museum also offers sculpturing workshops.
The Blanton Museum of Art is one of several museums located on the campus of the University of Texas. The museum showcases European art, including Italian Renaissance and Baroque paintings, as well as American, Latin, and contemporary art.
The Harry Ransom Center which features historical books, photos and films is also located on the UT campus. The first known photo and a Gutenberg Bible are among the many treasures on display at the center.
The LBJ Presidential Library and Museum is another museum located on the University of Texas at Austin campus. The library features the documents of the late President Lyndon Baines Johnson as well several exhibits on his life and times.
If you love classic architecture as well as history you won’t want to miss touring Austin’s State Capitol Building. This magnificent building was completed in 1888 and fifteen feet is taller than the National Capitol. It is open to the public for guided and self-guided tours.
You also don’t want to miss the Bob Bullock State History Museum. The home of Austin’s only IMAX theater, the museum tells the story of Texas through exhibits and films.
No matter what your pleasure you are sure to find something fun, as there is no lack of things to do in Austin, Texas.