Austin Museum Of Art-Laguna Gloria
3809 W. 35th St.
Tues., Wed., Fri, Sat. 10-5, Thurs. 1-5, Sun. 12-5.
Set on a lush Lake Austin peninsula, this 1915 Mediterranean-style villa was once home to Clara Driscoll Servier, the savior of the Alamo. The museum showcases an expanding collection of 20th-century American paintings, sculpture, and photographs and hosts outside exhibits and family-focused art programs. An art school shares the beautiful setting. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Barton Springs Pool
2100 Barton Springs Rd.
Daily 5am-10pm. Lifeguard on duty March-mid-November. Call for hours.
This huge natural spring-fed pool is a favorite summertime attraction. Each day approximately 32 million gallons of water from the underground Edwards aquifer bubble to the surface. At one time the water powered several Austin mills. In the early 1900s when the city dammed Barton Creek, the sides were lined with concrete to form a pool which is more than 1/4 mile long and 125 feet wide. The water is a constant, clear, invigorating 68°F. Part of Zilker Park, it is considered a premier swimming location.
11th St. and Congress Ave., Austin,
Bus: Yellow, orange, Red, Blue 'Dillo lines
Mon-Fri. 7am-10pm; Sat., Sun. 9am-8pm; call for dates and times during legislative sessions.
Austin's downtown is dominated by its Renaissance Revival-style capitol building, constructed in 1888 of Texas pink granite. When the old state capitol building burned in 1881, it cleared the way for a grander structure, reminiscent of the Washington Capitol. Austin's capitol is taller, of course (it's the largest state capitol in the country). A restoration process and refurbishing of the grounds was begun in 1990 and completed in 1997. An underground annex was added, and the wrought iron fence topped with gold Lone stars, restored. The original fence was needed in the 1880's to keep cattle off the grounds.
The underground addition was built by chiseling away 700,000 tons of rock. The entire structure covers 3 acres of ground. The cornerstone alone weighs 16,000 pounds.
Check to see which legislative sessions are open to the public, so that a visit to view this impressive building can be combined with a sample of Texas government in action.
Charles Moore House.
2102 Quarry Rd., Austin
Tours by appointment.
Charles Moore, had a great effect on post-modernism in the architectural field. He designed this one with Arthur Andersson. The house has been favorably compared to such architectural treasures as Monticello and Wright's Taliesin. The house was preserved following Moore's death by the Charles W. Moore Foundation. which arranges with the present owners for tours and fund-raisers. The rooms are alive with vivid colors, and contain folk art from around the world.
604 Brazos St., Austin
Bus: Red and blue 'Dillos
A monument to Richardsonian Romanesque style, this delightful - and some say haunted - grande dame is embellished with stone busts of its original owner, cattle baron Jesse Driskill, and his sons. Two-story porches with Romanesque Revival columns surround the arched entrances. Over the years, countless legislators, lobbyists, and social leaders have held court behind its limestone walls
Tours depart from the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau Visitor Center
200 W. 26th St., Austin
Austin Duck Adventures operates authentic amphibious military landing vehicles, also known as "ducks," that take visitors around the land-based sights, then splash into Lake Austin for a relaxing cruise. You'll see the State Capitol, Governor's Mansion, University of Texas-Austin campus and, of course, Lake Austin from a duck's perspective.
Elisabet Ney Museum
304 E. 44th St
Wed-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-5pm
Bus: nos. 1 or 5
This was the home and studio of German-born sculptor Elisabet Ney in the late 19th century. In the former loft and working area, visitors can view plaster replicas of many of her pieces. Ney created busts of Schopenhauer, Garibaldi, and Bismarck before she was commissioned to make models of Texas heroes Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston for an 1893 Chicago exposition. The studio also contains many of her marble portrait sculptures. William Jennings Bryan, Enrico Caruso, Jan Paderewski, and four Texas governors were among the many visitors to her Austin studio.
French Legation Museum
802 San Marcos
Tours Tues-Sun 1-5pm
Go east on Seventh St., then turn left on San Marcos St.; the parking lot is behind the museum on Embassy and Ninth.
Bus: 4 stops nearby (at San Marcos and 7th.)
Admission charged. 5 and under free
The oldest residence still standing in Austin was built in 1841 for Count Alphonse Dubois de Saligny, France's representative to the newly formed Republic of Texas.
In the back of the house, considered the best example of French colonial-style architecture outside Louisiana, is a re-creation of the only known authentic Creole(early French) kitchen in the United States. A shop focuses on Texas history from the time of the republic to the present.
General Land Office
The only surviving government building from Austin's first 30 years was designed and built in Gothic style by its German-born and -trained architect, Conrad Stremme. This 21/2 story structure of stuccoed stone and brick was opened for business in the spring of 1858 as the first home of the Land Office.
Writer O. Henry worked as a draftsman here and used the building as the setting for two of his short stories. In 1989 the legislature approved a $4.5 million renovation project to restore the building to its 1890s appearance. The structure now houses a permanent exhibit on the history of the Capitol and has space on the second floor for traveling exhibits. E. 11th and Brazos Sts., Austin.
George Washington Carver Museum
1165 Angelina St
Tues-Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri-Sat noon-5pm
Bus: 2 and 120
The many contributions of Austin's African-American community are highlighted at this museum, the first one in Texas to be devoted to black history. Rotating exhibits of contemporary artwork share the space with photographs, videos, oral histories, and other artifacts from the community's past. Cultural events are often held here, too. The museum's collection is housed in the city's first public library building, opened in 1926 and moved to this site in 1933. The newer George Washington Carver branch of the public library is next door.
In an 1856 letter to his wife, the mansion's first resident, Governor Elisha M. Pease, described the view from the balcony, writing that all he saw were the recently constructed Capitol (which later burned), the Baptist church, open prairie all the way to the Colorado River, and a few head of cattle grazing on Congress Avenue. Every sitting governor since then has lived on the second floor, witnesses to the ever-changing views. The beautiful mansion is in the Greek Revival style, with keyhole molding and fluted Ionic columns in front. Free public tours are given every 20 minutes, 10-11:40 AM, weekdays, except state and federal holidays. 1010 Colorado St., 512/463-5516. Free. Weekdays 10-5.
Guadalupe Street. Known locally as "the Drag," this bustling area bordering the west side of the University of Texas campus is lined with record stores, trendy boutiques, and restaurants. It's a great place for window-shopping or people-watching.
Jack S. Blanton Museum Of Art.
A fragment of this museum's stellar collection is housed in two campus locations. The original Huntington space houses more than 12,000 drawings, etchings, and engravings, a mere fraction of which are displayed on the attic-like second floor. The main downstairs gallery features rotating exhibits of large sculptures, canvases and installations. The rest of the museum, in the August Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, showcases a world-class collection of Latin American art and antiquities as well as Renaissance and Baroque paintings and sculptures. The Old Masters collection includes works from Ricci, Passeri, and del Piombo; the 20th Century collection includes works from Thomas Hart Benton, Franz Kline, and Marsden Hartley. 23rd and San Jacinto Sts., 512/471-7324. free. Mon., Tues, Wed., Fri. 9-5, Thurs. 9-9, weekends 1-5.
Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library And Museum
The largest presidential library in the nation is on the grounds of The University of Texas. The building is the repository for all 45 million documents produced during the LBJ administration and contains many exhibits on Johnson's life, family, and presidential years, as well as information on the assassination of JFK. There's also an art gallery with changing exhibitions. 2313 Red River Rd., 512/916-5136. free. Daily 9-5.
419 Congress Ave
Mon-Sat 10am-6pm; Sat 10am-5pm
Bus: Red 'Dillo
The first organization in Austin to promote multicultural contemporary art when it was formed in 1983, MEXIC-ARTE has a small permanent collection of 20th-century Mexican art, including photographs from the Mexican revolution and a fascinating array of masks from the state of Guerrero. It's supplemented by visiting shows, including some from Mexico, such as a major retrospective of muralist Diego Rivera. The museum also programs an average of two music, theater, and performing arts events each month and runs mural tours to Mexico.
Neill-Cochran Museum House
2310 San Gabriel St.
Wed-Sun 2-5pm; free 20-min. tours given
Bus: Yellow 'Dillo, UT shuttle
Admission charged., children under 10 free
Abner Cook, the architect-contractor responsible for the governor's mansion and many of Austin's other gracious Greek revival mansions, built this home in 1855. It bears his trademark portico with six Doric columns and a balustrade designed with crossed sheaves of wheat. Almost all its doors, windows, shutters, and hinges are original:which is rather astonishing when you consider that the house was used as the city's first Blind Institute in 1856 and then as a hospital for Union prisoners near the end of the Civil War. The beautifully maintained 18th- and 19th-century furnishings are interesting, but many people come just to see the painting of bluebonnets that helped convince legislators to designate these native blooms the state flower.
Old Bakery and Emporium
1006 Congress Ave
Mon-Fri 9am-4pm; first 3 Sat in Dec 10am-2pm
Bus: Red 'Dillo
On the National Register of Historic Landmarks, the Old Bakery was built in 1876 by Charles Lundberg, a Swedish master baker, and continuously operated until 1936. You can still see the giant oven and wooden baker's spade inside. Rescued from demolition by the Austin Heritage Society, and now owned and operated by Austin's Parks and Recreation Department, the brick-and-limestone building is one of the few unaltered structures on Congress Avenue. It houses a gift shop, selling crafts handmade by seniors, a reasonably priced lunchroom, and a hospitality desk with visitors' brochures.