Howdy y’all and welcome to Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World! As an avid runner and new visitor to Austin, it’s likely that you’ll be looking to explore this vibrant city during your brief stay. From historic landmarks and cultural institutions to unbeatable outdoor experiences and delicious eats – there’s a lot of excitement awaiting here in Texas’ beloved capital. All of these places are great options to add to your explore list if you are coming to town for the Austin Marathon, yes even Barton Springs! Read more about this awesome spring-fed pool that you can visit year-round.
To narrow down some great places worth checking out, let us share our top 10 list of must-visit attractions sure to make your first trip to Austin unique and memorable.
1. Lady Bird Lake or as we locals call it “Town Lake” – Town Lake is a prized gem in the city, and home of runner’s favorite Town Lake Trail, a 10-mile loop that is perfect for getting in some warm-up miles while seeing some of Austin. There are other activities to enjoy such as cycling, kayaking tours, and paddleboarding activities. For stunning views of the skyline and the surrounding countryside, jump aboard the city’s iconic riverboat, the Lone Star Riverboat. There is also a 10-mile hike and bike trail that goes around it that is perfect for shakeout runs or a walk with the family.
2. Texas State Capitol – The Texas State Capitol is an iconic landmark in downtown Austin and is home to the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature. Not only is it a beautiful building, but its grounds are full of stunning gardens and monuments that pay tribute to some of the great individuals. It is also the backdrop to the Austin Marathon & Half Marathon finish line!
3. Sixth Street – Known for its nightlife, Sixth Street is a vibrant entertainment district in downtown Austin with a variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues. Might save this one for some post-race celebrations.
4. Barton Springs Pool – Barton Springs Pool is a natural spring-fed pool located in Zilker Park and is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. Since it is spring fed the water is the same temperature year round so you can hop in even in February!
5. South Congress Avenue – South Congress Avenue is a trendy shopping and dining district in Austin with a variety of unique boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. This is also part of the course so you can enjoy it while doing your course preview. Don’t forget to stop for a “Turbo” at Jo’s and take a picture in front of the “i love you” mural!
6. Zilker Park – Zilker Park is a large urban park in central Austin and is home to a variety of outdoor activities and events, including hiking trails, playgrounds, and the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Perfect for a picnic or just stopping by while out for a run on the trail.
7. The University of Texas at Austin – The University of Texas at Austin is a prestigious research university located in the heart of the city and is home to iconic landmarks such as the Tower and the LBJ Presidential Library. Full marathoners will get this view after they split from the half to head onto the second part of the Austin Marathon course.
8. LBJ Presidential Library – The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library is located on the University of Texas at Austin campus and is home to a collection of artifacts and exhibits related to President Johnson’s life and legacy.
9. Mount Bonnell – Mount Bonnell is a scenic overlook located in the Austin Hills and offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding landscape.
10. Bullock Texas State History Museum – The Bullock Texas State History Museum is a museum in downtown Austin that showcases the rich history and culture of Texas, from its early Native American inhabitants to modern times.
We hope this list of top 10 must-visit attractions in Austin will help you plan the perfect visit for your upcoming trip. With so much to do and see, it’s no wonder why people come from all over to experience the unique culture that is Austin. Whether you’re running the full, half marathon, or 5K at the Austin Marathon, we wish you a great time exploring all that our city has to offer! Have fun and enjoy every second of your stay here in beautiful Austin!