Zilker Metropolitan Park#3 in Best Things To Do in Austin
Sitting across the river from downtown Austin, this beloved 351-acre park buoys Austin's reputation as one of the Best Places to Live. Zilker Metropolitan Park shelters some of the city's most popular attractions – from art museums to swimming holes – as well as several athletic fields and plenty of open space for strolling. Whether you choose to swim, canoe or dig for fossils at the Austin Nature and Science Center's Dino Pit, you'll find a range of options – a particular point of praise for recent visitors.
Give yourself a day or two to explore everything Zilker Metropolitan Park has to offer. Art aficionados can peruse the works housed within the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum while nature enthusiasts can stroll among the brightly colored flowers in the Zilker Botanical Garden. And after a day spent strolling the park, cool down with a dip in Barton Springs Pool, a popular swimming hole. The park is also home to several popular city-wide events, including the Austin City Limits Musical Festival and the ABC Kite Fest.
The park is open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., and admission is free. Many recent visitors recommend stopping by during the week when there's free parking and fewer crowds. The park is accessible via several public transport options, including the No. 803 bus. For more information, check out the City of Austin website.
More Best Things To Do in Austin
#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.
Explore More of Austin
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.
Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019
Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019
Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019
Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019
Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019
Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019
Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019
Lyn MettlerOctober 28, 2019
Gwen PratesiOctober 15, 2019