A reservoir in the Colorado River, Lake Austin is an ideal recreation spot. When the Tom Miller Dam was constructed in 1939, this reservoir was created. Though it serves a practical purpose like generation of electricity and flood control, it is also a popular attraction in the city. You will find many restaurants nearby, and the park along its banks offers fun activities such as canoeing. Lake Austin works for those who just feel like taking a walk, those who are looking to get their exercise for the day, those who feel like chatting with others, or just those who want a bit of peace.
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.
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.
Set along the eastern banks of the restful Colorado River, Mount Bonnell's verdant headlands dominate Austin's western topography. Also known as Covert Park, the location is a stunning progression of luxuriant grasslands, scenic waterfronts, peaceful picnic spots and breathtaking vista points. Inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in the year 2015, the lands are home to Mount Bonnell's Indian Trail, one of the cornerstones of the American War of Independence. Legend has it that the final 99 steps to the mount's top hold enchanting qualities; if a couple climbs the mount once, they fall in love, twice, they become engaged, and three times, they are destined to be married.
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.
Mayfield Park Cottage and Gardens is open to the public but is a favorite among the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department facilities rental division. The historic 1870s cottage is perfect for a small group or families visiting the town. The cottage holds 65 people, while the grounds hold up to 200. Explore the walking trails in the park to enjoy the landscaped gardens, lily ponds, peacocks, and palms in this picturesque environment. Pack up the family or reserve it for your event and enjoy this sprawling estate in central Austin.
Located east of the State Capitol, this archival library is a great place to begin researching the history of your family origin in Texas. It contains a plethora of genealogical research resources and government documents dating back to the 18th century. Visitors also enjoy the giant mural titled "Texas Moves Toward Statehood", depicting 400 years of Texas history. English artist Peter Rogers and his Western father-in-law Peter Hurd created this piece, which spreads out 55 feet long and 18 feet high.
General Land Office Building is over 150 years old, is dedicated to balancing economic development with preservation of the state's natural resources. Established in 1836 after Texas gained its independence from Mexico, its duties have evolved from keeping archives and issuing land titles to managing state lands and mineral properties totaling 20.3 million acres. Other responsibilities include the Recycling, Adopt-A-Beach, Coastal, and Oil Spill Prevention and Response Programs. The Archives and Records division houses original Spanish, Mexican and Republic of Texas land grants and related documents.
The Debra and Kevin Rollins Studio Theatre is located within the Long Center. Boasting of brown tiled walls, excellent acoustics and a seating capacity of 229 guests, it is a very versatile space. It can be converted into an auditorium or theater for plays and film screenings, complete with projectors, various styles of theater seating, stage and stage curtains as required. It can be turned into a banquet hall by adding round tables on occasions, corporate functions and family gatherings. It can also be hired as a venue for carabet performances.
Ginko Studios is a space meant for art and various kinds of art work. Established by two well renowned artists, this place holds many events in the cultural, art and creative fields. On display here are lovely pottery works, paintings, porcelain art and art on tiles. Besides this, it is also a venue for the Handmade Austin Women, an annual market that gives scope for women artisans to display their talents. This initiative was the brainchild of some local women artists who felt the need to encourage art in women. The event includes exhibitions in sculpture, photography, handicrafts, paintings, mosaic work and so on. Other events held here are small music shows by women bands, performances and so on.
The studio and home of artist James Edward Talbot is known as Casa Neverlandia, as everything from its exterior to the art displayed inside represents something out of this world. Once you're done exploring the house, take the plank bridge to the tree house in the back yard, then take the firefighter pole back down to ground level. The museum is open by appointment only, and is definitely worth the planning ahead. The entire house is "green", as in solar panels and the like, so it is definitely a treat for the eco-friendly! Check out his website to know more about Talbot and call to book your visit!
Blue Rock Studio is a modern concert venue that doubles up as a recording studio. Designed by architect Lou Kimball and Michael Cronin, an acoustic designer, this space meets the sound and technical specifications requisite of a concert hall. The live performances are staged in the events room and the likes of Chris Smither, Iris Dement, John Gorka, Willy Porter, Ellis Paul and David Wilcox have performed here in the past. And, if you do not wish to drive home after a late-night concert, Blue Rock offers comfortable accommodations complete with a kitchen, pool, fireplace and an enviable DVD collection. For more details, check website or call ahead.