A Few Things To Do In Austin, Texas
1. Watch the Sunset at the Oasis
The Oasis is an Austin institution, but one with a recent history of misfortune. The Oasis is known for its beautiful views of Lake Travis. It sits high on a bluff overlooking the lake, with an extensive network of hundreds of decks where you can sit, eat and drink, and watch the sun set over the lake.. Every year, thousands from all over the United States visit the Oasis for this one thing.
On June 1, 2005, the Oasis was hit by lightning. This ignited a fire that destroyed much of the outdoor deck areas around the restaurant. This was a dark day for Austin, as the Oasis is such a popular part of the city. Well since then, the Oasis has remodeled the damaged area and is better than ever.
2. Get Out on the Lake
The Colorado River flows through Austin, forming a series of lakes that cover more than 100 miles. But it’s not the Colorado River that first comes to mind (of Grand Canyon fame). It’s the other Colorado River… you know, the one in Texas. Where the river slows and widens through downtown Austin, it is called Town Lake. But further west, where the river widens into an even bigger lake as the result of damming, it is called Lake Travis. This is the lake that the Oasis restaurant overlooks (see Oasis listed above).
To be more accurate, Lake Travis was created by the impounding of the Colorado River by the construction of Mansfield Dam in 1937- 41. At 63 miles long and a max width of 4.5 miles, Lake Travis can accommodate a wide variety of activities, from boating to fishing to skiing. If you’re into these types of activities, a day on Lake Travis should be on your list of things to do in Austin most definately.
3. See the Bats.
Austin has the largest urban bat colony in the United States. In 1980, when the Congress Avenue bridge was being reconstructed, engineers built expansion joints into the bridge (a series of narrow crevices underneath the bridge). Little did they know that 1.5 million Mexican freetail bats would eventually call those crevices “home away from home.”
Each year, the Mexican freetail bats migrate back here from Mexico, first arriving around mid-March. This makes the summer and fall prime bat-viewing time. If you go down to Congress Avenue bridge at dusk on any summer night, you’ll be among hundreds (possibly thousands) of people who have lined up to see Austin’s bats take to the sky like clockwork. Watching the bats take flight is one of the most popular things to do in Austin, Texas (view photos), especially for people who have never seen it before.
4. Visit the Texas State Capitol
Continuing in our list of a few things to do in Austin, we travel down Congress Avenue to the Texas State Capitol. The expression “things are bigger in Texas” holds true here, for the Texas State Capitol is even taller than the U.S. Capitol building. But that’s just one reason to visit this architectural wonder.
You’ll also enjoy surprisingly free access to the Capitol building, if you’d like to look around. Austin takes pride in the accessibility of its State Capitol. Though you’ll pass plenty of law enforcement on the way in, you’ll still be able to walk around most areas of the building unfettered. You can stand in the middle of the bottom floor and peer up into the ornately decorated dome high above you. The quick trip to the Capitol is a must for things to do in Austin.
5. Hang Out in Downtown Austin
The city’s unofficial motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” which is symbolic of Austin’s easygoing nature, eclectic mix of people, and cultural uniqueness. Yes, we really do worship spam every year (the kind you eat, not the kind in your inbox). It’s called Spamarama, and it warrants an article all its own!
The best way to take in Austin’s unique personality is to spend half a day (or better yet, an evening) walking around downtown Austin. You’ll have plenty to see and do, and the people watching can’t be beat. Have lunch, go shopping on South Congress, visit the State Capitol (mentioned above)… just get out there and see the real Austin. It’s a city like no other. Don’t forget to come back at night on 6th. Street. Just saying the name 6th. Street, and people all over the country know you’ll be talking about Austin.
6. Take In Some Live Music
Austin is referred to as the “Live Music Capital of the World”. The city got this nickname after research found that Austin had more live music venues than other big music cities, like Nashville and New York. Visit downtown Austin any night of the week, and you’ll see this firsthand. You can find country, rock, jazz, bluegrass, blues… you name it.
The city is also home to Austin City Limits (the show and the festival), and the South by Southwest music festival. So no matter what time of year you visit Austin, you can put live music on your list of things to do in Austin.
This is just a small preview of things to do in Austin. Visit http://www.seekaustin.com to see a full list of over a hundred Austin Attractions and “Things to do” in the City of Austin. If your new to Austin, or plan on visiting, you won’t be disappointed with your trip. Our Austin City Guide, has everything you can think of to keep you informed about our city. Whether it’s the latest news, weather, sports, movies, entertainment or a full directory of Austin Area Businesses, you can find it in our Austin City Guide.
About the Author
Juan J. Fernandez is the manager of SeekAustin.com | Austin City Guide
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