Friday, February 15, 2019

Top sights in Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas is one of the fastest growing cities in the country--and for good reason. There is much to see and do, the weather is generally mild (except August), and the scenery is spectacular.

In this post I'll cover some of the sites that provide historical background of the city. I'll cover more fun and beautiful outdoor venues in a later post.
Texas state Capitol
State Capitol.  The Capitol building of Texas buzzes with politicians, tourists, and students on any given day, and the gallery is a popular visitor spot when the Legislature is in session.  Located at the north end of Congress Avenue, it’s an imposing pink granite structure, 14 feet higher than the Capitol in Washington D. C.  Its grand rotunda, symbolic terrazzo tile floors, and life-size statues of Stephen F. Austin (“Father of Texas”) and famous general and statesman Sam Houston catch your attention immediately.

The nearby Capitol Visitors Center details Texas history through exhibits and videos in the historic General Land Office Building.  Free tours of the Governor’sMansion, 1010 Colorado St., occupied by Texas governors since 1856, are offered most weekday mornings.

Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
Bob Bullock TexasState History Museum.  1800 N. Congress Ave. Named for a long-time Texas politician, the museum is a dynamic tribute to the multi-faceted history of the state.  The “Story of Texas” comes alive through interactive exhibits, rare artifacts, multi-media displays, and a special effects theater--not to mention the huge bronze star on the grounds.

The facility also houses Austin’s only IMAX theater.  From the 35-foot tall bronze star in front to the exquisitely designed interiors and exhibits, the museum is picturesque enough to be a popular wedding location. 
The University of Texas Tower
The University of Texas.   Everything is bigger in Texas, including The University.” Curl your fingers into the “Hook ‘em horns” sign and don something in burnt orange to join legions of avid Longhorn fans.  Become immersed in college-town atmosphere by walking along The Drag, respectfully known as Guadalupe Street, for some of the best people watching anywhere.

Harry Ransom Center
At the educational end of the UT spectrum is the Harry Ransom Center, one of the world’s finest cultural archives at 21st and Guadalupe Streets.  Browse through 30 million literary manuscripts, five million photographs (including the world’s first), a rare Gutenberg Bible, and the infamous Watergate papers.  One of the country’s top university fine arts collections is showcased at the BlantonMuseum of Art.

LBJ's Library and Museum
Lyndon Baines JohnsonLibrary and Museum.  2313 Red River St. (on the UT campus).  Texas Hill Country spawned a political legend in LBJ, so it’s only fitting that Austin would host the nation’s most visited presidential library.  In addition to chronicling the life and times of our 36th President, exhibits are also devoted to the influential Lady Bird. 

Learn more about LBJ at Johnson City, Texas.
For a different perspective about the man beyond politics, tour the LBJ National Historical Park atJohnson City, less than an hour away, west on Hwy. 290, where you’ll learn how Johnson’s beloved central Texas land and family influenced his formative years. 
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier and free sources.



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