The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria

#20 in Best Things To Do in Austin
The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria picture
Alexandra Velten/Wikimedia Commons

Key Info

3809 W 35th St


Museums, Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
  • 3.5Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The first thing to realize when planning a visit to The Contemporary Austin is that two separate sites, Laguna Gloria and the Jones Center, divide the museum. The Laguna Gloria site doubles as an art school and is the more popular of the locations. In addition to students, Laguna Gloria houses the picturesque Driscoll Villa, the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park and the Gatehouse Gallery. While many of the exhibits at The Contemporary Austin rotate, fans of modern art will appreciate whatever Laguna Gloria happens to be showcasing during their visit.

The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria’s combined role as an art school and museum enchanted past visitors. Travelers enjoyed perusing the interesting sculptures that make up the sculpture park, as well as simply taking in Laguna Gloria’s beautiful grounds. They recommend spending a couple of hours at this serene escape from bustling Austin.

The museum’s location about 5 miles northwest of downtown Austin, near the Mayfield Park and Preserve, means that it is not easily accessible via public transit. Parking is available at the museum, though, as well as on the street nearby. The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday, while its surrounding grounds are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Access to the museum costs $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and is free for visitors younger than 18 years old. (Laguna Gloria is also free for all visitors on Tuesday.) Visit The Contemporary Austin’s website to learn more about its Laguna Gloria location, as well as details regarding the museum’s additional site near Austin’s Sixth Street.

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Time to Spend
#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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