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TOP AUSTIN AREA ATTRACTIONS
Frank Erwin Center
The Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Special Events Center - usually just The Erwin Center in common usage - is a multi-purpose arena on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin . It is also sometimes referred to as "The Drum" or "The Superdrum", owing to its drum-like appearance from outside. The facility is primarily the home court for the University of Texas Longhorns men's and women's basketball programs, and is also home to the Austin Wranglers of the Arena Football League .
Texas Memorial Stadium
Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, located in Austin, Texas , is home to the University of Texas Longhorn football team. The current official stadium capacity is 85,123, the largest football venue in the state of Texas, the largest in the Big 12 Conference, and the tenth largest on-campus stadium in the NCAA .
Texas State Capitol Complex
Every Texan should try to visit the State Capitol at least once in their lifetime which puts it at the top of our mostly free things to do list. And if you haven't visited since the restoration of the 1980s, visit again. Taller than the US Capitol, the Texas State Capitol and Capitol Grounds are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and a favorite spot for the locals as well. Inside and out, it's simply impressive, beautiful, and one of our state treasures. Free.
Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
Saying that it's as big as Texas is no exaggeration. This mammoth museum is large enough to hold the original Goddess of Liberty from the top of the State Capitol (replaced during renovation), a 1/3 scale model of the Lunar module, a full-size windmill, and a circa 1940 AT-6 "Texan" airplane. But don't miss the smaller exhibits including historic documents, artifacts, photos, diaramas, and talking displays and videos. It's not free, but well worth the admission.
University of Texas Campus / UT Tower
The University of Texas (UT) is almost its own city. You don't have to be planning to attend to enjoy its sculptures, fountains, the Tower, and the many museums including the Ransom Center, home of an original Gutenberg Bible among other treasures, the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, and the Texas Memorial Museum. The LBJ Presidential Library and Museum is also on the UT campus. Free (to visit).
Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum
The nation's largest, most-visited Presidential library is filled with memorabilia and important papers from LBJ's term in office and those turbulent times that included the Vietnam War. There are exhibits for young and young-at-heart throughout the museum. Free.
6th Street
Perhaps the city's best known street outside of Texas, a few blocks south of the Capitol you'll find the E. 6th Street and Red River Entertainment District. Even if the restaurants, bars, and live music don't appeal to you, a stroll down 6th Street can be visually stimulating experience. From the beautiful architecture and historic facades to the eccentric appearance of some 6th Street regulars, a visit to 6th Street is sure to intrigue. Free (to stroll).
Congress Avenue Bats
Depending on the time of year, a visit to the Congress Avenue bridge provides an awesome sight. Each evening, especially in the late summer and early fall, up to 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge like a black cloud from the crevices of the bridge that they call home for around 8 months of the year. Free.
Town Lake
In the shadow of downtown is one of Austin's treasures - Town Lake. This spot along the Colorado River is a popular site for walking, biking, picnics, concerts, bat-watching, and peddle boats, canoes, riverboat rides, and much more. When you need to unwind from a day of sightseeing or business meetings, take a break on Town Lake. Mostly free although some activities have fees (boats, some concerts on the lake, for example).
Governor's Mansion
Home to every Texas Governor since Governor Pease in 1856, the Governor's Mansion is a lovely Greek Revival style building just southwest of the Capitol. You just might catch a glimpse of the Governor when you stop by (I have). Free. Advance tour reservations required or just stroll by for a look.
Driskill Hotel
A popular location for fairy tale weddings, the Driskill Hotel at 6th and Brazos is also a luxurious place to relax in the splendor of a bygone era. In 1934, Lyndon Baines Johnson and his future wife, Lady Bird, had their first date in the Driskill Hotel dining room. Even if you're staying in a motel on the highway, a walk past and through the Driskill is an eye-pleasing stop while visiting 6th Street. Free (to look).
The 'Dillo
These cute historic reproductions of trolley cars will take you to, from, and through downtown Austin, the Capitol Complex, University of Texas campus, and other parts of downtown. The 'Dillo is a great way to get to the downtown Austin things to do and see in this list in air conditioned comfort. And best of all, the 'Dillos are free, the 'Dillos are free!
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