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What to See and Do in Austin - a guide to notable sights and attractions

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Austin is the gleefully eccentric and free-spirited counter-cultural hub of Texas. It's surrounded by dense parks and creeks, while the urban center itself is a magnet for culture-vultures and anyone looking for a good time. The streets reverberate with the sound of jazz and country music, while bohemian musicians, artists, and students enact the local pledge to ‘keep Austin weird’. You'll soon see why it's such a popular destination for oddballs and ordinary folk alike.
Mexic-Arte Museum



If you’re in the mood for some cool contemporary artwork, head to the Mexic-Arte Museum in Downtown Austin. Devoted to showcasing the best in Mexican and Latino art and culture, the museum has a large exhibition space, where you’ll discover mind-expanding works of other-worldly beauty, like delicately crafted screen-prints and works with a political thrust such as abstract street-art. Mexic-Arte also provides annual exhibition space for emerging talent, and a back room devoted to community and school art projects.


Zilker Park



On a warm sunny Austin day, why not take a walk from Downtown, stroll across a bridge over the mighty Colorado River, and head west along hiking trails, river walks, and the increasingly lush greenery of Zilker Park, home to botanical gardens and vast tranquil stretches of green grass. If you’re working up a sweat, all the better, because soon you’ll arrive at Barton Springs Pool. This family-friendly outdoor swimming pool is continuously filled by naturally balmy water from ancient underground springs. This rejuvenating spot provides the perfect way to refresh yourself - particularly after a long walk from the center.


The Bullock Museum



The Bullock Texas State History Museum is set in a distinctively domed building just south of the University. The typically Texas-sized star statue – a proud homage to the Lone Star state – crowns the entrance and prepares you for an unforgettably grand museum experience. You'll marvel at the intricate marble mural which tells of Texas’ history in pictures, and ambling around the floors of ever-changing exhibits will give you a whole new take on Texas – expect to see swords used in the Texas Revolution, implements used by slaves, and much else besides.


Austin Bats



No trip to Austin would be complete without at least trying to catch a glimpse of the city’s legendary phenomena, the fabled Austin bats. Beneath the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, which drives directly into the city’s heart, hide the world’s largest urban bat colony. Tourists gather at night to see the legions of Mexican free-tailed bats fly out from the bridge in a huge group, flying across the river and circling around the city, taking great dives, twists, and turns in unison to create an unforgettably graceful and almost surreal show.