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Feature : Austin Museums and Attractions

What Not to Miss When in Austin, Texas From famous bats and junk art to museums and performing arts, this popular city offers an eclectic mix of sightseeing adventures. Feature

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codexterity The Long Center hosts a variety of events, including ballet, opera and classical music performances.


by LEILA KALMBACH Published Fri Mar 20 00:00:00 EDT 2009  Featured destination in this article: Austin | Plan a Trip

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Tags: Art and Museums, Family Travel, Arts and Entertainment, Museums, Sightseeing

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ustin has a vibrant culture and is alive with energy. Considered one of the best cities in the country to be single, an Austin vacation is rife with opportunities to get out, see new things and meet new people. It’s not just a city for singles, though—there are plenty of things to do in Austin for couples with or without kids to do as well. Following are some of the premier Austin attractions.

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Mexic-Arte Museum Local History & Culture, Other, Gener...

Austin Art Museums

Congress Avenue

The Blanton Museum of Art is home to more than 17,000 works of art and contains everything from modern American art to centuries-old European paintings by the masters. You could spend hours wandering this museum alone, and now that it has a top-notch café on-site, there may be no reason not to. The museum is closed Mondays, and offers free admission on Thursdays (the third Thursday of the month, the museum stays open until 9 p.m.). The first Friday of the month, the museum is open from 6 to 11 p.m., and offers special events and activities such as live music, drinks, yoga and readings (schedule varies; tickets available online or at the museum). 200 E. Martin Luther King Blvd., tel. 512-471-7324. Admission: $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for students and youths, free for children 12 and under. Hours: Mon. closed, Tue. through Fri. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun. 1 to 5 p.m.

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Arthouse At The Jones Center Contemporary Art

Arthouse At The Jones Center

For contemporary art, the Austin Museum of Art offers rotating exhibitions. The downtown location on Congress Avenue offers tours and hands-on activities, while the Laguna Gloria location is better known for its historic and beautiful 12-acre grounds dotted with sculptures. Another great site for sculptures is the Umlauf Sculpture Garden near Zilker Park.

Contemporary Art

Aces Lounge Contemporary

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AMOA-Downtown, 823 Congress Ave., tel. 512-495-9224. Admission: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and students, free for children 12 and under. Hours: Mon. closed, Tue. and Wed. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thu. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun. 12 to 5 p.m. AMOA-Laguna Gloria, 3809 35th St., tel. 512-458-8191. Admission: $3 suggested donation. Villa Hours: Mon. closed, Tue. and Wed. 12 to 4 p.m., Thu. through Sun. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Grounds Hours: Mon. through Sat. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Austin Music & Culture

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Also in This Issue Weird and Wonderful Austin

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This creative Texas capital lets the good times roll with its dazzling arts community, famous live music scene, Tex-Mex cuisine

Any Austin vacation should include music and a taste of some of the attractions that “Keep Austin Weird,” as the city is known for its live music and freespiritedness. Read our Austin Nightlife article for where to catch some of the city’s best musical acts.

and celebrity bat residents.

Austin Eats From Tex-Mex to Trailer Treats

For a more curated taste of local atmosphere, head to the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture. This museum holds pop culture art—mostly posters for music shows—from the 1960s through today. Or check out the Texas Music Museum, a showcase for artifacts, photographs, documents and other items related to Texas music.

Spend the day wandering through the Blanton Museum’s modern art collection. Nathan Russell

Sate your cravings for sweet or spice at these eclectic restaurants and venues, from Tex-Mex and BBQ to sustainable restaurants, as well as Austin’s competitive Airstream trailer treats and cupcake joints.

Outdoor Adventures in Austin The Texas capital is teeming with city and nearby state parks, with plenty of trails and rivers to please hikers, bikers, kayakers and

South Austin Museum of Popular Culture, 1516 B S. Lamar Blvd., tel. 512-440-8318. Admission: donations suggested. Hours: Thu. through Sun. 1 to 6 p.m. Texas Music Museum, 1009 E. 11th St., tel. 512-472-8891. Admission: free. Hours: Mon. through Fri. 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

swimmers alike.

Top Austin Nightlife and Music See what makes Austin the live music capital of the world by experiencing the

Around sunset, head over to the Congress Avenue Bridge, poised over Ladybird Lake, home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. At dusk, the 1.5 million bats living under the bridge wake up and begin their search for food. The bats follow the river hunting for insects and appear like a black ribbon in the sky. Choose to watch the bats from above along the bridge, or down below on the river bank. If you watch from below, be aware that you may feel like it’s sprinkling lightly as the bats pass by. It isn’t.

city’s famed nightlife scene.

Article Sections Bat-viewing is best during the summer months. The bridge is located in downtown Austin near 200 S. Congress Ave. An information kiosk is on the north bank of Ladybird Lake, east of the bridge.

After a busy day in town and before or after an evening barhopping on Sixth Street, check out one of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas. This fun movietheater chain takes the concept of “dinner and a movie” and combines it into a single event—a full menu and drinks are served in the theater. The company has four locations in Austin, some of which primarily show new releases, while others focus on obscure older films, locally produced films, or shorts and special events. The downtown Sixth Street location, the Ritz, takes entertainment a step further and frequently offers “Mystery Science Theater 3000”style events, singalongs and “best of” holiday clip shows.

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Map Watch everything from new releases to comedic classics at the Alamo Drafthouse.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Alamo Ritz), 320 E. Sixth St., tel. 512-476-1320. Admission: $8.50 for adults, $6.50 for students, seniors and children 6 to 11. All shows before 6 p.m. are $6.50.


For an off-the-beaten-path take on Austin’s funky culture, check out the aptly named Cathedral of Junk. The Cathedral is yard art at its finest: more than 60 tons of junk wired together into towers, spires and sculptures in a South Austin man’s backyard. Hours vary, as this is a private residence, but typically the Cathedral of Junk is open for exploration on weekends. (Call ahead to make sure the owner is around.)

4422 Lareina Drive, tel. 512-299-7413. Admission: free, donations accepted. Hours: Tue. through Sun. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.       Next: History and Performing Arts  

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A blend of recycling and art, the Cathedral of Junk continues to grow. Tom Chambers

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What not to miss when in Austin, Texas  
What not to miss when in Austin, Texas  

From famous bats and junk art to museums and performing arts, this popular city offers an eclectic mix of sightseeing adventures. Published...