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Lauren Ormsbee

The Real Deal TM

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Best Places to Visit in Austin, Texas

With its unofficial slogan of "Keep Austin Weird" and its lively music scene, Texas's capital city has no shortage of unique attractions for visitors to enjoy.

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With its funky vibe, great music scene, and amazing food, Austin is one of the coolest cities in Texas. If you're planning a trip to the Lone Star State's capital, here are some of the top spots you won't want to miss. One of the first places you should check out is the Texas State Capitol building. This impressive structure was completed in 1888 and stands 308 feet tall. Free tours are available where you can learn about Texas history and architecture while viewing the grand rooms and rotunda. The grounds are also lovely with monuments, statues and lush landscaping. For some of the best views of the Austin skyline and cityscape, head to Mount Bonnell. This lovely park is located along the Colorado River and the short hike to the top rewards you with panoramic vistas. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grassy hillsides after you've snapped plenty of photos.

To experience Austin's weird and wonderful side, browse the assortment of shops and restaurants along South Congress Avenue. This vibrant street is known for its colorful murals, retro stores and kitschy cafes. Be sure to stop for a snack at a food truck pod or check out the eclectic items at Allen's Boots. For nightlife, make your way to Sixth Street where you'll find all types of bars, from shot bars to piano bars, teeming with live music. The sounds of jazz, blues, rock and country spill out into the streets from venues like Esther's Follies and The Blind Pig.

Outdoors lovers will want to spend time strolling or cycling around Lady Bird Lake which sits right in the heart of the city. Here you'll find hike and bike trails, kayak rentals and green space perfect for picnicking. Don't miss seeing the Congress Avenue Bridge bats emerge at dusk when over a million Mexican free-tailed bats fly out each night. And no trip to Austin is complete without sampling the delicious local barbecue. Head to Franklin Barbecue for melt-in-your-mouth brisket but be prepared for a line. Other popular spots include La Barbecue, Kerlin BBQ and Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ which adds a unique twist with tacos and enchiladas. With so much to see, do and eat, Austin offers visitors a diverse selection of attractions. From historic sites and outdoor adventures to live music venues and funky eateries, you're sure to find plenty to fill your itinerary and experience the best of weird and wonderful Austin.


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