While Austin calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World, the entertainment options don’t stop there. Sure, you can see bands every night of the week, and the big acts come to town for festivals. But there’s more.
Austin boasts an eclectic mix of museums sure to please the interests of any tourist or Austinite looking for a little infusion of culture into their lives. If you’ve never been, stop by one of these museums to experience a different facet of Austin.
Bullock Texas State History Museum
It’s hard for Texans to not be overly proud of Texas, but if your Texas pride is ever waning, head over to the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Exhibits cover prehistoric times up to the latest history in the making. It’s amazing how many cool things have happened in Texas.
Austin’s only IMAX theater is located inside the Bullock Museum. It plays newly released Hollywood films and educational documentaries. The museum is also home to Texas Spirit Theater that offers a 4D movie-going experience with wind, rain and rumbling seats. There’s nothing else like it in Austin!
Address: 1800 Congress Ave
Admission: $12 adults, $8 children 4-17 years old (movies at additional charge)
Hours: 9a-5p Mon-Sat, 12p-5p Sun (extended hours for IMAX)
Blanton Museum of Art
With over 17,000 pieces, the Blanton Museum of Art has the area’s most extensive art collection. The museum has a broad range of art on display, but its holdings are particularly strong in modern and contemporary American and Latin American art, 15th-Century to contemporary prints and drawings, and European paintings. Staff view the museum as a “cultural gateway” between the University of Texas and the Austin community.
Address: 200 E. MLK Jr. Blvd
Admission: $9 adults, $5 children 12-21 years old, free on Thursdays
Hours: 10a-5p Tue-Sat, 1p-5p Sun, closed Mon
LBJ Presidential Library and Museum
Lyndon Baines Johnson assumed the United States presidency in a time of great change in America. President Kennedy had just been shot, the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing, and the Vietnam War was raging. In an instant, this tall and bombastic Texan became the leader of the free world. The LBJ Presidential Library and Museum celebrates the lives of President and Lady Bird Johnson and chronicles their history.
Address: 2313 Red River St
Admission: $8 adults, $3 children 13-17 years old, free on certain holidays
Mexic-Arte Museum displays traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino and Latin American art. The museum was founded in 1984 and moved to its current location in 1988. Its founders wanted to share the culture and art of Mexico with a Texas audience. With about 75,000 visitors per year, it looks like they’ve succeeded.
Address: 419 Congress Ave
Admission: $5 adults, $4 students, $1 children 12 and younger, free on Sundays
Hours: 10a-6p Mon-Thu, 10a-5p Fri-Sat, 12p-5p Sun
Thinkery is a children’s playland of learning. Formerly called Austin Children’s Museum, Thinkery engages children with hands-on exhibits that get them excited about science, technology, engineering, art and math. At Thinkery, children don’t just look at exhibits; they experience learning in a fun and interactive environment.
Address: 1830 Simonds Ave
Admission: $10 everyone age 2 and older
Hours: 10a-5p Tue-Fri, 10a-6p Sat-Sun, closed Mon
Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum
Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum showcases bronze and stone sculptures donated to the City of Austin by sculptor Charles Umlauf. While the exhibits aren’t as hands-on as those at Thinkery, the sculptures are washed and waxed to allow for light touching. This is a great benefit to blind and visually impaired guests. Photography is allowed outdoors. Before photographing inside, guest should check with museum staff.
Address: 605 Robert E. Lee Rd
Admission: $5 adults, $1 students w/ ID, children 12 and under free
Hours: 10a-4p Tue-Fri, 12p-4p Sat-Sun, closed Mon
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center
The mission of the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center is to collect, preserve, research and exhibit African-American historical and cultural material. Among other amenities, the large facility houses four galleries, a dance studio, 134-seat theatre, and archival space. Classes and other events keep traditions and skills moving from generation to generation.
Address: 1165 Angelina St
Hours: 10a-6p Mon-Wed, 10a-9p Thur, 10a-5p Fri, 10a-4p Sat, closed Sun
Elisabet Ney Museum
Elisabet Ney Museum honors the work of European portrait sculptress Elisabet Ney who came to Austin in 1892. Once in Austin, the already established artist created Formosa studio out of her residence which now houses the museum. Her studio became a gathering place for influential Texans to discuss politics and other issues of the day.
Address: 304 E. 44th St
Hours: 12p-5p Wed-Sun, closed Mon-Tue
Harry Ransom Center
The Harry Ransom Center illuminates the creative processes of writers and artists through its extensive collections. It seeks to provide visitors with deeper appreciation and understanding of literature, photography, film, art and performing arts. The Center also holds readings, talks, symposia and film screenings.
Address: 300 W. 21st St
Hours: 10a-5p, Mon-Wed & Fri, 10a-7p Thur, 12p-5p Sat-Sun