Austin – Texas

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Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County, with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties.

It is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the 4th-most populous city in Texas. It is also the fastest growing large city in the United States, the second most populous state capital after Phoenix, Arizona, and the southernmost state capital in the contiguous United States. As of the U.S. Census Bureau’s August 1, 2018 estimate, Austin had a population of 967,629 up from 790,491 at the 2010 census. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan statistical area, which had an estimated population of 2,056,405 as of July 1, 2016. Located in Central Texas within the greater Texas Hill Country, it is home to numerous lakes, rivers, and waterways, including Lady Bird Lake and Lake Travis on the Colorado River, Barton Springs, McKinney Falls, and Lake Walter E. Long.

It is the state capital and home to a major university as well as an influential center for politics, technology, music, film and (increasingly) a food scene. Austin’s embrace of alternative cultures is commonly emblazoned about town on T-Shirts and bumper stickers that read: “Keep Austin Weird.” Austin is also marketed as the “Live Music Capital of the World” due to the large number of venues and “Silicon Hills” reflecting the many technology companies.

Districts :

  • Downtown  : The central business district and home to some of the tallest residential towers in the state, it also contains many of the cities most popular live music venues, bars and restaurants.
  • UT and the Drag :  The campus of the University of Texas and the dense student housing of West Campus offer museums, art and inexpensive eats.
    North Central : Historic and affluent residential neighborhoods filled with Arts and Crafts-styled bungalows and small cafes.
  • East Austin :  Diverse neighborhoods with a vibrant, energetic mix of cultures.
    Northwest Austin : Home to much of Austin’s tech businesses and high end shopping.
  • South Austin  : Strolling down South Congress is something every visitor to Austin must do. As you get farther south, neighborhoods become more working class.

Understand : History : Being the capital of Texas has resulted in a rich history for Austin. Established in 1839 by the then recently-formed Republic of Texas, Austin is located on the Colorado River and the edge of the Texas Hill Country. The city was named for Texas founder Stephen F. Austin after Texas President Mirabeau B. Lamar selected the site due to the area’s abundant natural resources, beauty and central location in the state. Because of its unprotected geographical location, Austin’s early years consisted of many raids from Mexican troops and Native Americans unhappy with Texas.

The town was laid out and constructed using temporary buildings in less than one year, as planner Edwin Waller was committed to having the town ready by November 1839 when the Texas Congress convened. Congress and the 856 people who inhabited Austin were certainly impressed, as they elected Waller the first mayor of Austin January 1840.

Darker days arrived for Austin in 1842, as newly elected Texas President Sam Houston, fearing attacks on the Capital, moved the government to Houston, and later Washington-on-the-Brazos, where it remained until 1845. But all was not lost for Austin, as the 1845 constitutional convention approved the annexing of Texas to the United States, and established Austin as the state capital, which it has remained to this day.

The Civil War dominated Austin from 1861 to 1865, with almost 20 percent of the population joining the Confederacy. While Austin, like much of the Confederacy, faced shortages of goods and workers, Union forces did not directly threaten the city.

After the Civil War, Austin’s population grew steadily, including a boom to almost 35,000 people by 1920. However, Austin had previously been the fourth largest city in Texas, and saw itself slip to 10th because of the oil boom and surging industrial development. The 1930s brought the Great Depression, but Austin was hit less than many cities thanks to its base in government and education – the University of Texas at Austin doubled its enrollment during this time. Later, in 1956, UT would become the first major southern University to admit black students as undergraduates.

Austin’s population continued to grow almost 40 percent per decade, with 472,000 residents in 1990 and 656,000 residents in 2000. Austin’s growth came in many forms – government, education, and high technology. In the 1990s, more than 400 high technology companies, including IBM, Texas Instruments, Dell and Motorola, all called Austin home.

Austin has continued to grow, and in the 2000s found itself as the live music capital of Texas. The young demographic of college students and recent graduates helped fuel this growth and Austin now hosts a variety of large music festivals, most notably South by Southwest.

Access : Coordinates: 30.266667, -97.733333 / By plane : Austin Bergstrom International Airport (IATA: AUS), . 6 miles (10km) southeast of the city center, it is served by most major carriers, with non-stop service to 49 destinations. This airport is unique from other large airports in the sense that most of the stores and restaurants inside are locally owned businesses plus there are also live music acts that play inside the airport as well which is a good way to spend time if your flight is ever delayed. There are a selection of buses (including the MetroAirport which is $1.75 USD (exact change) – the route goes through Downtown and ends on the UT campus) , taxis, shuttles and car rentals to get you into town and back. Chauffeured sedans or limos are also available to pick you up or drop you off at the airport but normally require advance reservations. Taxi fare to downtown Austin is approximately $30. You can also schedule a flat rate ride (around $25 to downtown) on the ridesharing app Wingz .

The following airlines serve Austin-Bergstrom International Airport:

Aeromexico
Air Canada
Allegiant Air
Alaska Airlines
American
British Airways
Condor
Delta
Norwegian
JetBlue
Southwest
United
Virgin America
Volaris

By train :  Austin Amtrak station, 250 North Lamar Blvd . Served by the Texas Eagle Line with service from Chicago to San Antonio. By car :  Austin is on one major freeway and several regional highways, and its outskirts are served by several tollways. From San Antonio, head north on IH-35, about one and a half hours. From Dallas, head south on IH-35, about three hours. From Houston, head west on US-290 (or I-10 W to Hwy 71 W if you want to reach South Austin), about three hours.

By bus :  Shofur . Runs express luxury buses from Austin to Houston, San Antonio, Waco and Dallas with free wifi and power outlets for all passengers.
Greyhound Bus Line, (station is on IH-35 near Highland Mall) . Serves Austin daily. Schedules may change. Passengers can catch the number 7 bus to downtown from there.
Vonlane, (stop is at the Hyatt Regency Austin, located on 208 Barton Springs Rd) . Runs first class buses from Austin to both Houston and Dallas equipped with various amenities such as leather seats, electircal outlets, ample leg room, free Wi-Fi, and satellite TV.
Megabus, (stop is located on the west side of Whitis Ave between W 20th St and W 21st St) . Runs daily buses from Austin to both Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Fares from $1 and up.
Autobus Americanos . Mexican trans-border bus line with services to various points in Mexico. Bus stop is located at 1140 Airport Blvd in Austin.
Turimex Internacional . Mexican trans-border bus line with services to various points in Mexico. Bus stop is located at 5012 E. 7th Street in Austin.
Omnibus Mexicanos . Mexican trans-border bus line with services to various points in Mexico. Bus stop is located at 3301 N Interstate 35 in Austin.
Metropolitan Shuttle – Austin Charter buses, 11141 Georgia Ave., Ste. 218, Wheaton, MD 20902 . Austin Charter buses & Rental Services

Get around : On foot :  Most of the areas of Austin of interest to a visitor are pedestrian friendly. The downtown area is especially compact and walkable, with many attractions within a 1-2 mile walk from downtown hotels. In the summer, temperatures that stay in the 90s during the day may make a long walk less appealing. Just break up your wanderings with stops for a cool drink!

The University of Texas area, just north of downtown, is also very pedestrian friendly, and in fact can be a difficult place to get around by car (very hard to find a parking spot).

By bike
Austin is hilly to the west but generally mildly sloping toward the river in the center of town. There are bike lanes on some major streets in addition to some trails. Biking is a great way to get around year round and the weather is usually agreeable from mid-October to mid-April. May to mid-October temperatures may reach the high 90’s and humidity may be a problem.

By Bus
Capital Metro is Austin’s public bus network with a system of inexpensive neighborhood, express and downtown routes. As of 2017, all local routes (including the airport) are $1.25 per trip or $2.50 for a 24-hr pass. MetroRail and MetroExpress, which serve the surburbs, are $3.50 per ride or $7.00 for 24 hours. You can also download the Cap Metro app for your phone to pull up route info, buy tickets by credit card, and see real-time bus arrival info. If you’re not using the app, plan to have exact change to buy your ticket when you board the bus.

Some routes run every 15 minutes on weekdays while others are much more infrequent, so check Google Maps or the Cap Metro app to see what your options are beforehand in case you need to work around the bus schedule. If you want to get around primarily by bus, plan to stay pretty central to have the best options. In general the bus routes going north and south are better than east and west, not sure why.

By Rail
Metrorail is a commuter rail service that goes from Downtown Austin to the Northwestern suburbs of Leander and Cedar Park. Since the service is geared towards commuters, service tends to be spotty at best outside of off peak hours and really isn’t useful for for most visitors.

By car
Driving is not too difficult if you’re used to living in a large city. Traffic is bad from 7-9AM and 3:30-7PM weekdays, though IH-35 through town can be jammed at other times as well.

There are two major north-south Expressways: I-35 (nonstandarly called “IH-35”) and Loop 1 (also called the MoPac Expressway for former owner of the railroad which runs along it, Missouri-Pacific – or “Slo-Pac” for anyone who has experienced it at rush hour). There is only one true major east-west freeway in Austin located south of the city center, known as Ben White or US 290 West/Texas highway 71. The freeway section of 290 West/Ben White currently runs from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to just east of Oak Hill. Freeway extensions are currently being constructed east on 71 past the airport, and the beginning stages of construction are taking place west towards and past Oak Hill. Hwy 183 runs from the southeast corner of the city near the airport to the northwest suburbs, bridging Mopac and I-35 in North Austin.

Oak Hill is the point at which TX 71 and US 290 split apart and go in separate directions, and in case this isn’t confusing enough, some people make the distinction between 290 West and 290 East because at I-35, 290 East actually heads up the interstate, and then continues on to the east in North Austin. There is a second freeway that runs from the Northwest side of the city down to the Southeast side of the city past the airport. This freeway is called US 183, and in North Austin it may also be referred to as Research Boulevard. Most of it is freeway now, however there are still several major intersections which are currently being constructed and turned into freeway.

I-35 has no loop that circumnavigates the city, so watch out for aggressive, confused drivers. Also, keep your eyes open for the upper deck/lower deck split between Airport Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard; it’s confusing, and accidents occur there frequently. Drivers going through Austin without stopping, or those who wish to avoid the chaos of the lower deck, should use the right two lanes as the deck split approaches, in contrast to other cities where through traffic uses the left lane. On the northbound side, traffic entering I-35 at Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard goes directly to the upper deck.

Out-of-towners be warned: on-ramps on I-35, especially the lower deck, are very short.

Austin has a mostly completed network of toll roads, see Central Texas Turnpike System and Central Texas Regional Mobile Authority. These include SH 130, an Austin bypass east of town; SH 45, an east-west artery in North Austin; the North MoPac extension; the US 183A bypass of Cedar Park and Leander; and SH 45SE in far south Austin. TxTag accounts are available for commuters. There has been significant opposition and accommodations have been made in some areas. Both US 183A and MoPac are rather deceptive — if you keep going north on either 183 or MoPac, the freeway seamlessly transitions into a toll road and the signing is rather poor. To avoid the toll, you must keep a sharp eye out and get off the main lanes. Even worse, all tolls on 183A are “TxTag Only” meaning that you cannot pay cash. This trend will likely extend to all Austin tollways in the near future.

Rental car offices may try to add on a “toll road package”. Be sure you understand exactly which roads require tolls before signing on for this. The fee is exorbitant, a pure cash cow for the agency.

car2go & ZipCar are car shares active in Austin and are both great for quick trips around town. Become a member then go online or use their mobile app to find an available car parked nearby. Just hop in the car and drive to your destination and then leave it there for the next user. An hourly rate covers all gas and insurance.

Parts of the city are subject to flooding at times during the year; however, it is not too common as Austin does not usually get an excessive amount of rain. The year 2007 saw several flood episodes with the worst effects in Marble Falls, northwest of the city. See City of Austin Flood History  for historic flooding.

For those of you unfamiliar with proper treatment of flooded areas, NEVER drive through flooded low water crossings. You will lose your car and possibly your life. As little as a few inches of running water can and does wash a car away and each year there are some deaths due to this. “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”

Parking
While driving is not too bad, parking in the city center can be difficult; look for municipal parking garages as officers will ticket you in the blink of an eye (check meters, though, because many are free in the evenings, on weekends, and on major holidays). Worse yet, vehicles illegally parked in private parking areas are very quickly towed, so make sure that you don’t park in spots marked no parking.

Parking is free in the Texas State History Museum garage near UT after hours and on weekends. As of 2005 under SB 1533, state employees may park in state garages during non-business hours for free.

By rideshare app
Lyft and Uber recently returned to Austin (2017) and can be used for rides 24-hours a day.

Austin Tx Ride Share Visitor Guide They provide rideshare. Usually a free ride code is attached to each company. If you need delivery, they have local options to use.

RideFinder.io Not a ridesharing app, but allows you to compare fare estimates across different platforms so you can choose the best option for your trip.
Fare
Fasten
GetMe
InstaRyde
RideAustin nonprofit rideshare service
Wingz $15 minimum, need to book 2 hours in advance
By taxi
If you need a cab you’ll need to call, because outside of the rare downtown cab stand, taxis can’t be hailed on the street.

Yellow Cab . website includes fare estimator and online booking.
Austin Cab Company
Marriton Limousine , For airport transfers or those who just demand a bit more luxury you can rent a chauffeured sedan, limousine or minibus.
Chauffeured, private charter transportation
There are many options for private charter vehicles in Austin: Luxury sedans, SUVs, private motor coaches, mini buses, party buses and limousines, etc. The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Site maintains a list of licensed and permitted transportation options.

Bachelor Party Austin., Private limos and party buses available for rent. Also offers packages, such as BBQ tours to Lockhart, local brewery tours, golf outings and similar trips. Great for bachelor parties and other large group outings.

Highlights :

  • Visitors are initially drawn to Austin for hip culture, live music, great food and late nights. But there are plenty of attractions to fill up the hot Texas days waiting for the nightlife to pop off. Visitors can see great historic Texas landmarks, wander neighborhoods committed to the city slogan of ‘’Keep Austin Weird’’, visit great museums filled with art and history and picnic in lush parks.
  • Landmarks
    Many of the landmarks and historic places in Austin aren’t statues or cross streets. The city’s history takes place in bars, diners and dance halls. The State Capitol building in Downtown is a traditional landmark and noteworthy part of the city’s skyline. The current pink granite building is a source of pride for residents who won’t hesitate to inform visitors that it’s taller than the United States Capitol building.
  • A must see in the 2nd Street District are the bats that fly out from the ‘’’Congress Street Bridge’’’. March through November the ‘’Mexican free-tailed bats’’ are the most active around dusk, leaving in a great swarm from beneath the bridge. Visitors can catch them either from the banks of the Colorado River or on a boat tour.
  • Neighborhoods

Downtown is the heart of the city, where it’s non-stop activity day and night. Cultural attractions fill visitors’ days, and nightlife, shows and concerts keep them busy all night. The main district contains within its borders smaller neighborhoods for shopping, nightlife, eateries and galleries.

  • South Austin across the Colorado River is historically the more diverse section of the city. South Congress Avenue was in decline during the second half of the 20th century, but local independent businesses revitalized the area. The avenue is now packed with restaurants and cafes, great retailers and boutique hotels.
  • West Austin is the historic area of the city. The ‘’’Balcones Uplift’’’ creates gorgeous panoramic views of the city. It is the go-to district for fine dining.
  • East Austin is quickly filling with recent Austin transplants. Great tex-mex, hip new restaurants, casual bars and upscale mixology joints mix in with artists’ studios, galleries and reclaimed warehouses and strip malls.
  • Museums
    Many of the city’s museums are on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, between Downtown and Central Austin. The beautiful campus is great for strolling between art and science museums and taking in the many outdoor public art pieces. The music and theater departments are also well-regarded and have performances going on throughout the year. Congress Avenue cuts through the center of the city and is also the go-to spot for eclectic art galleries, museums and Texas pride.
  • Mexic-Arte Museum’ Mexic-Arte Museum moved into its current home at 419 Congress Avenue in 1988. This ideal location placed the museum in the heart of Austin’s vibrant downtown – Central Texas’ epicenter of commerce, culture, arts and tourism. As one of the precious few Mexican art museums in the United States, Mexic-Arte Museum strives to improve the quality of life in Texas through innovative exhibitions and educational programming. A total of 75,000 visitors, ranging from enthusiastic children to art connoisseurs, tour the museum each year.
  • Parks
    Barton Creek Greenbelt is home to the best hiking and nature just minutes from downtown. You have to know how to find the trailheads, though, so do some research before heading out: Austin Greenbelt Guide.
    Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metropolitan Park is over 360 acres, with a disc golf course, baseball and softball fields and a trail leading to the Colorado river.
    Zilker Park is on the south bank of the Colorado River and west side of the city and contains endless trails, picnic spots, botanical gardens and Barton Springs. Home of ACL.
  • Other
    The University of Texas at Austin,  is a beautiful stroll. While there you might want to visit the Blanton Museum of Art , the Harry Ransom Center , Texas Memorial Museum of Science and History , or view the public art around campus . The famous UT tower has reopened and is worth a look for the breathtaking views and history lesson. It is a tour though so you need to make reservations . The theater and music departments are both well regarded and have performances throughout the school year. If you visit during football season, you can see the 2005 National Champion Texas Longhorn football team play at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium.
    LBJ Presidential Library,  always seems to have something interesting on display. They change their exhibits fairly frequently.
    The Texas State Capitol,  is a must-see for new visitors to Austin. A large source of pride for the city and the state, the State Capitol is a beautiful building wrapped in Texas pink granite. Independent-minded Texans take pride in the fact that the State Capitol is actually 14 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Unlike many other state capitols in America, Texas’ is as welcoming as the state’s people, and is completely open to the public seven days a week. It’s interesting to stroll through the halls, look at the paintings and sculptures, and peek into the legislative chambers. And it’s free!
    Austin Bats. Yes, that’s right, bats. Austin’s Congress Avenue bridge is home to about 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats. This is the largest urban bat colony in the world and one of the largest Mexican free-tailed bat colonies in North America. The bats are generally active at dusk every evening between March and November. In years when there has been a drought, the bats leave early (when there is still light), and can be a quite impressive sight. In years when there has been plenty of rain, they leave so late it is difficult to see much. Best place to see them is near the Austin American Statesman’s parking lot, or you can pay for boat tours to see them from underneath the bridge.

Activities :

Austin is a city of doers. Residents get out to enjoy every single one of the 300 days of sunshine each year. From running and cycling on the miles of gorgeous city trails, to yoga in the parks, a weekend game of disc golf or a leisurely afternoon of tubing, Austin gets outside. Festivals, walking tours and outdoor equipment rental all welcome visitors to an authentic Austin experience alongside locals.

Swim. There’s nothing like a dip in a spring fed pool to refresh and invigorate, the most famous of which is Barton Springs pool in South Austin. Other spring fed options are Big Stacy Pool also located south or Deep Eddy downtown. Just west of Austin, popular swimming spots include Hamilton Pool, Emma Long Park and the clothing optional Hippie Hollow.
Float. Downtown and South Austin offer multiple shops that rent stand-up paddle boards, kayaks and canoes. Head west for jet ski rentals on Lake Austin and Lake Travis. A more passive float may be enjoyed on summer inner tube rentals in nearby San Marcos or New Braunfels.
Rock Climbing. The cliffs overlooking Barton Creek in South Austin are a popular rock climbing spot. There are several businesses that will provide the needed equipment and training. edit
Bike. Mountain biking is popular in Austin and every district has its trails. Downtown is home to the busy 9th street BMX track, while South Austin is home to the 3.1 mile veloway used exclusively by bikes and rollerbladers (motorized and foot traffic is banned).
Festivals

Sixth street during SXSW Austin
Austin is famous for its monster festivals that get the whole city out partying in the streets. All of the neighborhoods have smaller festivals and block parties year round, but occasionally the whole city shuts down to accommodate visitors from around the country and world. When traveling to Austin for festivals, booking hotels and making restaurant reservations early in advance is essential.

South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival. MARCH. Beginning before and overlapping the SXSW Music Festival. SXSW Film is a significant industry conference, but also hosts many film showings.
South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival. MARCH. One of the biggest music festival in the United States, with more than 1,400 performers playing dozens of venues around Austin for four days. The wrist bands are loved by college students here, but be warned that you’ll be turned away at the door at many of the venues even with one. You can still get into some of the larger venues without a wristband if you’d simply like to sample a band or two and check out the atmosphere; you can usually pick one “official” venue where you think you’ll like all the bands, and then go early and pay the cover. Hardcore music fans usually make a week long calendar and plan to arrive at different venues for different acts.
Texas Relays MARCH. What began as a large high school and college track and field competition at the University of Texas has grown into a premiere social event. In addition to the sporting events, several African-American networking and developmental workshops are held each year along with an Urban Music festival and special events around town.
Eeyore’s Birthday Party. APRIL. A day-long festival that typically occurs on the last Saturday of April in Austin’s Pease District Park. It includes live music, food and drink vending which benefit local non-profit organizations, attendees in colorful costumes, and very large drum circles.
Chaos in Tejas. MAY. Four day punk festival occurring annually since 2005.
Republic of Texas Biker Rally JUNE. What did you say? … I can’t hear you over the 200,000 earsplitting motorcycles all over town … what? … 54 sq. blocks downtown closed for a biker’s street party … motorcycle parade … wild parties in east Austin … what?
Out of Bounds Comedy Festival SEPTEMBER. A comedy festival that takes place on Labor Day weekend that also showcases some of the best in improv, sketch, and stand-up comedy from all over the country and across the globe.
Austin Pride SEPTEMBER. Austin’s single largest LGBT event includes a festival at Fiesta Gardens and a parade that goes through the Warehouse District.
Austin City Limits Festival. OCTOBER. An annual three day outdoor music festival. It brings together more than 130 bands on eight stages, including rock, country, folk, indie, Americana, hip-hop, reggae, and bluegrass, and attracts a crowd of about 65,000 music-lovers each day. A great mix of big names as well as local acts, but be prepared to deal with the heat.
Austin Film Festival. OCTOBER. Conference and film showings.
Fun Fun Fun Fest. NOVEMBER. An annual music and comedy festival featuring stages that focus specifically on hip-hop/electronica, indie rock, punk/metal, and comedy.
Viva La Vida Festival and Parade. OCTOBER, Mexic-Arte Museum’s Viva La Vida Fest is Austin’s largest and longest-running Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. The festival features a Grand Procession, the Education Pavilion with hands-on art activities and artist demos, and a celebration with traditional foods, local artist and retail booths, a low-rider exhibition, live music and performances throughout the day. This year’s festival will honor Frida Kahlo in conjunction with the autumn exhibit Diego & Frida: A Smile in the Middle of the Way.

Enjoying the Outdoors :

Austin has a reputation for being one of the fittest cities in the country. Year-round warm weather encourages people to get outside and get active. Lake Travis is just 40 minutes to the west of the city and offers jet skis, motorboats, ziplines and other adrenaline fueled activities. Lake Austin on the way to Lake Travis has boat tours and jet skis as well.

Barton Springs Pool
Zilker Park . Undoubtedly Austin’s favorite park. Amazing location on the banks of Town Lake with several miles of hiking and biking trails.
Barton Springs Pool  is one of Austin’s most unique (and a refreshing 68 degrees year-round!) attractions: a beautiful spring-fed pool over 3 times longer than a football field, nestled in the heart of the city at Zilker Park. $3 entrance fee for the whole day. If you are short of cash or have a dog, head downstream just on the other side of the fence and find more clear beautiful water.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center  showcases flowers and plant life of the area. The center is a bit southwest of downtown and worth the drive, especially during spring.
Lady Bird Lake Boat Rental Rent a canoe or kayak and enjoy the natural world in the heart of the city.
Austin Rowing Dock , 2418 Stratford Drive . From $10 to $25/hr.
Zilker Park boat rentals . In the park. $10/hr, $40 per day.
Tubing the San Marcos River 170 Bobcat Dr. San Marcos, 25 miles south of town on I-35. There is no more quintessentially Central Texan thing than enjoying a summer afternoon lazily floating down the river. The Lion’s club of San Marcos rents tubes at around $4/person or canoes at $10/each. They take you to the river and pick you up.
McKinney Falls State Park . A 744 acre state park located in southeast Austin is rich in local history.
Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. A big loop around Lady Bird Lake, beautiful scenery while getting a good workout. Recent beautification has cleaned up parts, and is making it nicer for all. Runs alongside Zilker park. A good place for biking, running, walking, or taking the dog out for a nice run. Relatively easy hike.
Other parks in and around Austin. There are numerous parks all over the city and in the surrounding suburbs that are very popular with the residents of Austin. A significant number of these parks are pet friendly. AustinExplorer is a popular website to learn more about local parks and trails  and .
Mt. Bonnell, 3800 Mt. Bonnell Dr. (west of Mopac on 2222, left on Mt. Bonnell Rd.) The third-highest point in Austin city limits at 780 feet. Several trails make for pleasant short hikes and points to experience incredible views of Town Lake and the city. The area has a history of romance and is sometimes called Antoinette’s Leap, after a woman who supposedly leapt to her death to escape Indians who killed her lover.
Lake Travis Zipline Adventures  14529 Pocahontas Trail Leander, TX Northwest of Austin on Lake Travis is the world’s 9th longest zipline where you can check out Austin’s scenery from a bird’s eye view.

Go next : The Salt Lick, 3801 N Capital of Texas Hwy / Georgetown / San Marcos / New Braunfels / Dallas 

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