LBJ Presidential Library#10 in Best Things To Do in Austin
While the thought of visiting a presidential library may sound like a bore, this one is an exception. Dedicated to the 36th president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson's library houses all the expected artifacts – including presidential papers – as well as several quirkier exhibits that are just as interesting as the president himself. From presidential holiday cards to photographs chronicling the civil rights era and an LBJ robot, this museum uses all types of mediums to narrate the president's life and political career.
According to recent visitors, the library provides an interesting view of American history during President Johnson's tenure, describing the exhibits as "inspiring and sobering." Reviewers also give high marks to the museum staff.
Located near the University of Texas at Austin, the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum is open every day (except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $3 for college students and youths ages 13 to 18; free for kids 12 and younger. Parking for the library is free in the designated parking lot No. 38. You can also access the library via public transportation; bus routes 7 and 10 stop within walking distance of the library. For more information, check out the LBJ Presidential Library 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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