Yeehaw! My husband and I are brand spankin’ new Texans and are rarin’ to take in all the local sites. Unfortunately, relocating from Chicago to Austin put a hurt on us financially, so I’ve been scoping out budget friendly activities and Austin is full of them!
Here are 10 awesome Austin attractions that are on our to-do lits for under $10 per person!
- Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum – Learn “The Story of Texas” with three themed exhibits: Land, Identity, and Opportunity. The Texas Spirit Theater takes audiences on an epic journey through the history of Texas while the IMAX shows educational films and the latest releases. Museum admission ranges from $4 to $7. Texas Spirit admission ranges from $4 to $5. IMAX admission ranges from $5 to $7.
- Barton Springs Pool – At 68 degrees year-round, this natural spring covers three acres and is over 18 feet deep at it’s deepest. It’s known for drawing locals, visitors, and quite a few characters on hot Austin afternoons. This is one of our favorite places to float, relax, and people watch. Admission ranges from $1 to $3. Parking is $3 on weekends.
- Congress Avenue Bat Bridge – Over 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats live under the Congress Avenue Bridge in the heart of downtown Austin. Locals and tourists gather at dusk to watch the bats make their grand exit in search of food. Peak bat season is mid-August and you can call the Bat Hotline at 512-416-5700 x 3636 for estimated flight times. Since the weather has been so warm, there’s plenty of bat-watching left to do this summer and admission is FREE!
- The Blanton Museum of Art – With the largest collection of art in Central Texas, The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas features over 17,000 works of art in it’s permanent collection. The new complex opened in October of 2003 and houses gallery space, a cafe, museum shop, classrooms, and an auditorium. Admission ranges from $5 to $9.
- Texas State Capital – Widely acknowledged as one of the most distinguished state capitals, The Texas Capital is located smack dab in the middle of downtown Austin. It is the largest, state capital building at 667,000 square feet and is situated on 22 acres with numerous monuments to explore. Self guided tours are permitted during business hours and guided tours are available throughout the week. Admission is FREE!
- The Zilker Zephyr – Zilker Metropolitan Park is considered the prize jewel of Austin parks and is home to the beloved Zilker Zephyr. This miniature train takes passengers on a leisurely 25-minute ride through the park and past Barton Creek and Town Lake, and Rides are $2.75 for adults and $1.75 for kids. Parking is $3 on weekends.
- The Umlauf Sculpture Garden – Located near Zilker Park, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden features over 130 sculptures by 20th century American sculpture, Charles Umlauf. Umlauf and his wife spent much of their life in Austin where he taught at the University of Texas at Austin. His work is displayed in museums across the country, including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC and the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. Admission ranges from $1 to $3.50.
- Zilker Botanical Gardens – Over 300,000 people a year visit the Zilker Botanical Gardens to enjoy and appreciate the Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden, Mabel Davis Rose Garden, Doug Blachly Butterfly Trail, and many other beautiful examples of horticultural beauty. Keep an eye out for weekend plant sales where you can purchase some amazing items for your own garden. Admission is FREE! Parking is $3 on weekends.
- LBJ Library & Museum – Dedicated to Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1971, the LBJ Library is one of only thirteen presidential libraries, housing 45 million pages of historical documents, including those from LBJ’s entire public career. The library hosts a slue of prominent speakers throughout the year while the museum features permanent White House and First Lady exhibit as well as hosting temporary, traveling exhibits. Admission is FREE!
- University of Texas at Austin – Who doesn’t love to relive their college days and spend an afternoon on campus? With the University Coop, an impressive selection of restaurants, and the UT Tower, there is lots to see and do. Tower Admission is $6.
Have you visited Austin? Do you live in Austin? What are some other must-see Austin attractions?
John E says
Hi Corrin! Very nice post about Austin!
Another great place near Austin to visit is Hamilton Pool. It’s about 30 miles west of Austin on FM 3238. It’s a county park, so it will cost about $10 to get in, but it is really beautiful out there. The swimming hole is great in the summer – not so much in the winter 😉 but you can also go hiking and picnicking there any time.