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Key Info

3800 Mount Bonnell Rd.

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Free, Parks and Gardens, Hiking, Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 2.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

For great views, head to Mount Bonnell at Covert Park, which provides sweeping views of the city, Lake Austin and the surrounding hills. The 5.1-acre historic linear park is home to a 775-foot-high outcrop, considered the highest spot in the area. Mount Bonnell is designated a Texas Historic Landmark and is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The point is located alongside the Lake Austin portion of the Colorado River and has proven to be an enduring tourist destination since the 1850s.

Recent visitors said it offers great views, best enjoyed on clear days. The peak of the overlook, which takes 102 steps to get to, is a craggy limestone outcropping and is surrounded by a forested area of live oak, ash juniper, persimmon and mountain laurel. Past travelers described the walk as "scenic and easy."

You'll need to drive to get to the park, which is free to visit, where you'll find free parking on Mount Bonnell Road. A few of the best Austin tours make stops here as part of daylong sightseeing tours through the city. More information can be found on the City of Austin's website.

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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. The building is also a featured stop on many of the best tours in Austin.

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