A famous slogan states that everything is bigger in Texas, and if one views its capitol building, the age-old phrase rings true. Standing a stately 309 feet (94 meters) and modeled after the United States Capitol in Washington D.C., the Texas State Capitol owns the distinction of being the nation's tallest capitol building. Designed by architect Elijah E. Myers and constructed using lustrous red granite, the capitol took more than seven years to complete. It was finished in the year 1888 at a total cost of more than three million dollars, an extravagant price even by today's standards. The perfectly landscaped grounds reflect the languid pace of life under the central Texan sun, inviting passers-by for a quiet stroll or a lazy day under a tree.
Patrons will enjoy a huge variety of activities at Zilker Park. You can check out the hike and bike trails, picnic facilities, Zilker Botanical Garden, canoe rentals, soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, riverboat rides on Town Lake, concerts, festivals and even a miniature train. The wide-open stretches of grass in this park are just minutes from the downtown area. There is plenty of room and various diversions for the kids, so you can get a suntan, take long walks by the river or just curl up with a book down by the river.
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.
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.
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.
Using only Texas grown grapes, Duchman Family Winery crafts smooth fine wines. Visit this beautiful winery that looks like a Tuscan villa. Visit the tasting room to sample some of the wines and maybe even discover a new favorite. Sip on a Pinot Grigio at a picnic table under an oak tree or stay inside and relax on a wine barrel as you savor your drink. If you're curious about the wine making process walk along the winery's windowed hallway that let's you peek into the barrel room, the tank fermentation area, and even the production area.
Founded in 1883, The University of Texas at Austin is one of Texas' largest educational institutions. The original campus covered only 40 acres (16.18 hectares), but today the university has expanded to much more. The University of Texas at Austin has earned numerous honors for both academics and athletics and offers a wide range of fields to study. Undergraduate and graduate programs are offered from areas including Business, Education, Communication, Natural Sciences, Pharmacy, Engineering, Architecture, and Law. The Norman Hackerman Building, the Harlan J.Smith Telescope, the Battle Hall, the Lyndon B Johnson Presidential Library and the UT Architecture Library are just a few of the university's most notable buildings. Famous alumni of the university include Oscar winner Mathew McConaughey, former first lady Laura Bush and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens.
Located in a business park in Austin, Independence Brewing is a local beer brewery that has tours, tastings and a variety of their unique blended ales. For a small fee of USD10, you can avail of a 4 beer tasting paddle and an optional tour of the brewery. Drop in with friends on a sunny Saturday and enjoy the live band performance. It is suggested that you bring along your own food, lawn chairs and sun-shade so you can relish your beer out in the open garden. Strike up a conversation with the friendly bartenders or play a board game with some friends and locals, either way this is a great place to unwind. Visit the website for more details on upcoming events.