One of the most visited presidential libraries in the nation, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum is supplied with information regarding one of the most controversial times in United States history. Peeking inside the life of the 36th President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the LBJ tapes provide listeners the opportunity to learn about former president John F. Kennedy's assassination and the Vietnam War. Along with the famous tapes, visitors can see a to-scale replica of the Oval Office, political memorabilia and more than 39 million pages of historical notes. Plan on a full day at this library and museum, but if you are a real history buff, you will barely scratch the surface of what this fantastic archive has to offer.
As part of the Pedernales River and Hamilton Creek, this old-fashioned swimming hole is perfect for the nature lover in all of us. A shaded walk through the canyon opens to the limestone outcroppings that create a 50-foot waterfall landing in the pool. A picnic on the banks of the pool, a swim in the cool water or a quick hike through the canyon will wash away city-accumulated stress. The trail to the pool is fairly short (1/4 of a mile) but does include a series of rock steps. Good hiking shoes are recommended. Visitors with physical disabilities should call ahead to pre-arrange assistance. Parking is limited, and the pool is very popular so go early.
This museum has grown into one of the most fabulous experiences for children in Austin. Find out about the development of children from birth to adolescence, climb a "time tower," and learn about everything from dinosaurs to computers. Special programs for children and their parents are regular parts of the museum's curriculum. Take tiny tots to the 2-and-under special explore time, or learn about multimedia with your teen. With excellent specialty programs and wonderful exhibits, this is a museum the whole family can enjoy.
The amazing Zilker Botanical Garden overlooks the Zilker Park fields bordering Barton Springs Road. The garden is actually comprised of several different gardens, including the Cactus and Succulent, Xeriscape, Herb and Fragrance, Rose, Azalea, Butterfly and Taniguchi Gardens. Taniguchi is a beautiful Japanese landscape with a waterfall, running stream, lily ponds and wooden bridges. The lush, peaceful grounds are commonly perused by artists and writers searching for inspiration, and by others just looking for solitude amid the city.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center was established by Lady Bird Johnson, First Lady of the United States from 1963-1969. This fabulous garden bearing her name brims with native Texas plants in courtyards, terraces, arbors and meadows. Along with a fantastic children's center, visitors can explore a visitor's gallery, observation tower, cafe, gift store and nature trails. Enjoy award-winning architecture and fabulous scenery in this wonderful garden spot.
Charles Umlauf (1911-1994), one of the more famous Austin artists, was a prolific sculptor. This museum displays many of his works in a fantastic garden spot located close to Zilker Park and just minutes from downtown. His sculptures range from realism to abstraction and include families, religious figures, animals and mythological characters.
As one of the galleries of the Texas Fine Arts Association, The Contemporary's Jones Center focuses on nurturing fine art in Central Texas. This gallery brings together artists, curators, art writers, collectors and the general public to appreciate exquisite Texan artwork. TFAA is dedicated to contributing to the growth of art and art education in the state; it offers exhibitions of modern artists, seminars and panel discussions in order to achieve this goal. It can accommodate educational visits of school students and teachers. It also offers art classes for children and adults on topics such as mosaics, photography, collage, watercolor and glass painting, metal art, jewelry design, pottery and digital art.
The Hideout Theatre & Coffeehouse is a perfect mix of Austin quirk and Texas charm. With two tiny stages and an accompanying coffee shop, Hideout offers patrons a fun-filled evening of improvisational comedy, rich baked goods, aromatic coffee, and wine by the glass. This Congress Avenue locale sits in the heart of Austin and offers hour-long elimination-style improv comedy troupe performances and poetry slam events. Try their sugared cinnamon roll with a scoop of Amy's vanilla ice cream and a glass of Chardonnay. If you need some help in the humor department, Hideout offers weekly improv classes at moderate prices. Disabled access in coffeehouse and downstairs theater only. Check their website for weekly show times.
Centrally located in downtown Austin, this museum features works that have a connection to Mexico and Latin America. Exhibits range from art to theater. The permanent collection includes artifacts and photographs relating to Mexican-American culture. Recent exhibits include photographs from the 1910 Mexican Revolution and other works by Mexican artists. Guest artists and performers tackle contemporary issues such as ethnicity, religion and politics. A small gift shop carrying books, artwork and handmade imports is located near the entrance.
Not only is this an art gallery, it is also a community-based organization, which seeks to promote and provide exposure to all forms of Latino artistic expression, including poetry, music and visual arts. The gallery markets and exhibits captivating paintings and prints, and also sponsors music performances, a literary workshop and several special exhibits, including "Through Children's Eyes," an annual exhibit of photo essays by East Austin children. Endowed by state and national arts commissions, private foundations and individual donations, the gallery holds frequent fund raisers for the arts community.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema-Ritz is the downtown branch of the highly successful Alama Drafhouse Cinema chain. The 2-screen venue takes film-viewing to an all new level combining it with excellent dining facilities. In an otherwise traditional theater seating, rows of narrow tables are spread out for the audience to feast on quality food and drinks. The theater screens the latest Hollywood flicks, besides being host to a multitude of live performers. The cozy private balconies offer a great view of the screen and is a hit with audiences. It is is not just movies; it's a wholesome entertainment experience! Call for more information.
This bar provides multi-level entertainment. The ground floor offers live cover-band music; passers-by can look in and see people dancing to the hits. If dancing is not your thing, sneak next door for a beer in the adjoining beer hall, or head upstairs to the more-than-ample patio overlooking the Sixth Street crowd, which may include a celebrity or two. Maggie's is famous in Austin for their motto T-shirt: "Beer. It's not just for breakfast anymore."