Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake#6 in Best Things To Do in Austin
A cherished outdoor space in the city, the 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail which encompasses the entire lake, serves as a popular place for runners, walkers and cyclists, for both locals and visitors. Outdoor enthusiasts rave about the peace and quiet beauty the trail affords.
The urban path takes visitors along the water's edge and passes by plenty of places to relax, eat and even picnic. Part of the trail is a 1.1-mile boardwalk which offers amazing downtown views. There are several bathrooms along the path, a dog park and scenic overlooks.
The trail and boardwalk are open daily from 5 a.m. to midnight each day. Both can be accessed at several different points. Street parking is available along South Lakeshore Boulevard between Pleasant Valley Road and Riverside. Access is free. If you want to rent a bike, there are several Austin B-cycle stations near the trail. For more information, visit the City of Austin's website.
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#1 State Capitol
Standing stoically in the heart of central Austin is Texas's legislative center, the State Capitol. Opened in 1888, this pink-granite landmark stands 14 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Much of the capitol, including the 218-foot rotunda, the chamber of the Hall of Representatives and the governor's receiving room, still look the same as they did when the capitol opened.
The structure underwent a large-scale restoration starting in the 1980s, including replacing the zinc statue of the Goddess of Liberty that sits atop the dome with an aluminum one. The restoration also included a 667,000-square-foot underground extension that was completed in 1993 to accommodate how much the state government had grown. Many visitors say it's the most impressive state legislative building they've ever seen, but they also warn it can be crowded at times. If you want to learn a bit of Texas history without having to pay an entrance fee, you can't beat a visit to the capitol building, according to past travelers.
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