Austin, Texas, is a big city. It’s the 11th largest in the whole country, so seeing all of the highlights can be somewhat daunting. When you visit, it’s a good idea to know the natural highlights that you need to check out.
For that reason, we will take a closer look at the top 3 points of interest in Austin, TX. Whether you’re a visitor who wants to see the best of the sights, a new arrival looking to get to know their new city, or just a local who wants to make sure you don’t miss anything, here are a few worth the closer look.
Table of Contents
One of the most impressive state capitols in the whole of the country, the building serves as the home of the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature and is the seat of the Governor of Texas. An architectural marvel, it was built in the Renaissance Revival architectural style in the late 19th-century and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors can take a 30-minute tour of the building or go on a self-guided tour, which introduces you to the history of the site and shows some of the most historic halls. The grounds around the building are gorgeous, too, with 22 acres full of scenic parks, monuments, and other landmark buildings.
Three hundred fifty acres of gorgeous greenery lie right in the middle of Central Austin. One of the top spots amongst locals and visitors alike, Zilker Park offers a whole ton to do. Excellent scenic walks lead through the Zilker Botanical Garden, Umlauf Sculpture Garden, and Austin Nature & Science Center, making for a great educational family stop.
There’s the Zilker Hillside Theater and regular Shakespeare in the Park Performances for those looking for a little more culture. The Zilker Zephyr Miniature Railway offers some of the park’s best views on a relaxing train ride, to boot.
McKinney Falls State Park
Just 13 miles from the state capitol, you can find one of the best places to camp, hike, bike, and picnic in the entire state. Austin is lucky to have such an expansive and scenic spot in its backyard. The Upper Falls is special thanks to its unique rock formations, great views, and excellent opportunities to swim and hike.
There are some great hiking trails, from the Rock Shelter that sees you heading through some pretty impressive rock valleys, the Picnic Trail with its miles of gentle nature, and the homestead trail, which features the remains of several historic buildings.
A quick tour of the top neighborhoods
The cultural and nightlife heart of the city, downtown features some of the best music and restaurants, not to mention arts and cultural stops in the city. These are the top neighborhoods to check out in the area.:
- Rainey Street
- Red River Cultural District
- Sixth Street
- Warehouse District
A green and thriving area within the city, this is where you’re going to find some of the top-rated restaurants in the town, not to mention a thriving brewery sector and great shopping for the whole family::
- The Arboretum
- Domain NORTHSIDE
- Rock Rose
South Austin is one of the more traditionally historic parts of the city but has been seeing new life in the form of an expanding restaurant and nightlight scene, especially in these parts:
- South Congress Avenue
- South First Street
- South Lamar
A diverse spot where different cultures come to intermingle and add to the city’s flavor. Some of the more LGBTQ+ friendly areas of the city can be found here, too:
- East Sixth Street
- East Cesar Chavez
- Cherrywood & Manor Road
A little more laid back than some of the other cultural hubs of the city, record shops, country bars, and college hangouts make the following areas some of Central Austin’s best:
- Te Drag
- Hyde Park
- Anderson Lane
- North Loop
If you’re looking to get out of the city proper but still want plenty to do, these parts of scenic West Austin can give you what you’re looking for:
- West Sixth Street
- Clarksville Historic District
There’s much more to see in Austin, TX, than just the sights mentioned above. However, if you have to narrow it down to three, you should make these three.