From historic landmarks to natural wonders, Austin offers tons of attractions that cater to every interest—whether you're a history buff, nature enthusiast or art lover.

Sunrise aerial view of the Texas State Capitol grounds.
Credit to David Aguilar.

1. Texas State Capitol

The Texas State Capitol stands as a majestic symbol of Texas history and government. Completed in 1888, this stunning building features beautiful architecture, including a dome taller than the United States Capitol (everything’s bigger in Texas, right?). Visitors can take guided tours to explore the Capitol's rich history and learn about Texas government.

2. Zilker Botanical Gardens

Nestled within Zilker Metropolitan Park, the Zilker Botanical Gardens offer a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Visitors can stroll through themed gardens showcasing native plants, waterfalls, and ponds. Highlights include the Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, and the tranquil Prehistoric Garden.

View from north side of Congress Avenue Bridge of crowd along gathering to watch the Austin bats.
Credit to Bento Box Photos.

3. Congress Avenue Bridge Bats

Home to the world-famous bat colony, the Congress Avenue Bridge is a sight to behold, especially during spring through fall. At dusk up to 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats take to the sky in search of food. Bat-watching is a unique experience that draws crowds of spectators during these seasons.

4. The Driskill Hotel

A historic landmark and luxury hotel, The Driskill Hotel exudes old-world charm and elegance. Built in 1886, this iconic hotel boasts ornate architecture, opulent furnishings, and a rich history that includes famous guests and ghost stories. Even if you're not staying overnight, a visit to The Driskill is a must for its grandeur or a slice of the famous chocolate cake at the onsite 1886 Cafe & Bakery.

Two children in aprons pressing their hands on a glass pane with water falling down.Thinkery. Credit Michael Gail Photography.

5. Thinkery

Perfect for families and curious minds alike, Thinkery is Austin's premier children's museum, offering interactive STEAM exhibits and hands-on learning experiences. From science and technology to arts and engineering, Thinkery inspires creativity and exploration in visitors of all ages.

6. LBJ Presidential Library

Dive into the legacy of President Lyndon B. Johnson at the LBJ Presidential Library, where exhibits and archives chronicle his life, achievements, and the tumultuous era of the 1960s. Explore interactive displays, presidential artifacts, and the replica of the Oval Office.

Woman standing in front of giant pile of recycled material in the shape of a fort.Cathedral of Junk. Credit Jessica Serna, My Curly Adventures.

7. Cathedral of Junk

A quirky and unconventional attraction, the Cathedral of Junk is a fascinating art installation created by Vince Hannemann in his own backyard. Comprising thousands of recycled materials and found objects, this towering structure is a testament to creativity and resourcefulness. Though this is a must-visit attraction, it is not open to the public without reservations as the installation is located on private residential property. 

8. Austin Nature & Science Center

Located in Zilker Park, the Austin Nature & Science Center offers hands-on educational experiences in natural history, wildlife conservation, and environmental science. Visitors can explore hiking trails, encounter rescued animals, and participate in interactive exhibits.

Image of a boy looking into a glass display case with his parents standing behind him.
Courtesy of Bullock Texas State History Museum.

9. Bullock Texas State History Museum

Immerse yourself in Texas history at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, where interactive exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia presentations bring the state's past to life. From the iconic cowboy culture to the struggles for independence, the museum offers a comprehensive exploration of Texas heritage.

10. Texas Governor's Mansion

Built-in 1856, the Texas Governor's Mansion is a historic landmark and the oldest continuously occupied executive residence west of the Mississippi River. Guided tours provide insight into the mansion's architectural significance and its role in Texas politics and culture. Tour reservations must be made at least one week in advance, and they are subject to availability.

Whether you're a first-time visitor or a longtime resident, these top 10 attractions offer memorable experiences that capture the spirit of Austin. Explore everything Austin has to offer and plan your next adventure today!