Blanton Museum of Art#4 in Best Things To Do in Austin
Sheltered on the University of Texas at Austin campus, the Blanton Museum of Art is a must-see for any art enthusiast. Considered as one of the largest university art museums in the country and home to more than 18,000 works of art – ranging from Renaissance and baroque pieces by renowned artists such as Rubens and Poussin to a sizeable collection of contemporary Latin American art.
Recent visitors said the museum was small, but worth stopping by for a few hours, especially on days when you need to beat the heat with some air conditioning. Reviewers said the collection was unique and eclectic, with many most impressed by the Latin American artists on display.
Sitting across the street from the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until 9 p.m. every third Thursday), Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and during university holidays, so check the school calendar before heading over. If you're looking for a bargain, visit this museum on Thursdays when it's free. Admission costs $12 for adults (free for children 12 and younger). Paid parking is available in the Brazos Garage on Brazos Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, located one block east of the museum. You can also access the museum via public transportation; the museum is served by regular bus routes Nos. 1, 3 and 7, and is accessible from the Museum Station stop on the Metro Rapid 801 route. For more information, visit the museum'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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