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Top Rated Attractions in Austin

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Esther's Follies

One part vaudeville and one part stinging political/social satire, this place has been amusing and delighting its guests, as well as the pedestrians who pass by its front-stage windows and observe its goings-on, since the late 1970s. A troupe of multi-talented performers write, act, sing and dance their way across a broad and constantly updated comedic map that pokes fun at our elected officials, celebrity icons, and regular citizens. It is not all for laughs, though; a magical act comes on a couple of times per show to startle and captivate your senses. This is a true downtown institution.

Continental Club

This venue, south of the river, is a throwback to the 1950s. Roots rock and country reign supreme in this bar, where one can often find men in leather jackets and classic Cadillacs out front. With live music nightly, tributes to Elvis, and celebrations of Hank William's birthday, this place is great for dancing, drinking and kicking back on the high stools. Happy hours feature some of Austin's favorite songwriters. The venue has broadened its range of live music to include occasional indie rock.

Bullock Texas State History Museum

A 35-foot (10.7 meters) bronze Lone Star sculpture greets visitors at the entrance of this epic museum. This place narrates the story of Texas, sharing its rich cultural heritage and traditions. The three floors of the impressive building present interactive exhibits, special effects shows and more. On the first floor, you will find a permanent exhibit called Encounters on the Land, which highlights the first meetings between Native Americans and European explorers. The second and third floors have exhibits that showcase the evolution of Texas from the time of its inception. The museum boasts a total of 17 media installations and over 700 artifacts, not to mention Austin's only IMAX Theater.

Blanton Museum of Art

With a collection of more than 17,000 works of art, this is one of the most visited museums in the city and also the largest University art-space in the country. It is located in the University of Texas campus and houses a large variety of Latin American art, American art and European work. With an atrium that extends 70 feet (21.3 meters) above the stone floors, this museum offers a unique, natural space. Temporary exhibits are constantly changing, with fresh work being showcased regularly. This research-based museum also offers lectures by artists, museum curators and art historians from across the country.

Hyde Park Theatre

As the home of the Frontera Theatre company (which puts on the annual FronteraFest), this stage is the perfect place to catch a performance. Whether you like plays, dance, interpretive readings or even experimental projects, this theater has a show for you. The intimate environment (seats up to 80) is also often used for performances appropriate for children. Located in the middle of Hyde Park, one of Austin's more bohemian neighborhoods, the theater is a wonderful extension of the eclectic Austin way of life.

The Paramount Theatre

A little bit of the Great White Way can be found deep in the heart of Texas. Like the movie studio which shares its name, this theater is grandiose and ambitious with 1250 seats available to host an estimated 160,000 people a year. The calendar features both visiting and local stage productions of musicals and dramatic plays, one-person acts, orchestral performances, children's shows, revivals of great old movies and (because this is Austin) the occasional visiting live-music act. A horn of plenty for theater, music and entertainment fans.

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