By Anna Blair

If you ever find yourself deep in the heart of Texas, you won’t want to miss visiting Austin. The state’s capital city has made a name for itself as a quirky, energetic place where the people are welcoming and the barbeque is mouth-watering. Whether you’re staying for a week or just passing through, these are some of the must-dos for the whole family in Austin, Texas.

Texas State Capitol

Just like the old saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas— and the Texas State Capitol is no exception. Any Texan can tell you the iconic pink granite building is taller than the U.S. Capitol, and it’s a spectacular experience seeing it up close. Inside, hop on a free guided tour to learn more about the history of building and the inner workings of state-level government.

Bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge

Bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge
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You wouldn’t imagine watching bats as being a jaw-dropping experience, but seeing the world’s largest urban colony of them fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge is exactly that. From March to October, you can witness nature at its finest as nearly 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats fly out into the city just prior to sundown.

Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs Pool Austin Texas
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Popular among residents and visitors alike, the spring-fed pool at Barton Springs is the perfect way to beat the heat during the hot summer months. You’ll find just as many people outside of the pool as in it, lounging on the grassy areas around the water’s edge. Barton Springs has more to offer than just your regular ol’ city pool and tops the lists for Austin activities for teens and kids, but everyone in the family is sure to enjoy an outing here.

Zilker Park

Zilker Park
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Right across the street from Barton Springs Pool sits the sprawling Zilker Park. When it’s not the site of free summer concerts and family events, it serves as a tranquil city park perfect for picnicking, reading, and soaking up some sun. If you have little ones, take a ride on the Zilker Zephyr, a miniature train that encompasses the park. The area is home to several other attractions, including the beautiful Zilker Botanical Garden.

Bullock Texas State History Museum

Bullock Texas State History Museum
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History buffs and casual museum-goers alike will enjoy their time at the Bullock Museum. With three floors of engaging exhibits, you and your family will come away with oodles of interesting facts and history knowledge. If museums aren’t your thing, catch a movie at the IMAX theater located inside.

Blanton Museum of Art

Blanton Museum of Art
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Situated on the campus of the University of Texas is the Blanton Museum of Art. Here you’ll find exhibits and works from artists all around the world. The museum has some notable permanent pieces, including Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, a stunning stone building with vibrant colored glass windows. And while you’re there, you’ll want to take a stroll around the University of Texas, which is listed among the most beautiful college campuses in the state.

South Congress Avenue

South Congress Avenue
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If you’re in the mood for some walking and shopping, South Congress is the place to go. This bustling stretch of road is lined with quirky stores, cute boutiques, and classic Austin eateries. At night, live music can be heard on nearly every corner coming from various clubs and venues. South Congress is home to murals like the iconic “I Love You So Much” wall that make for great photographs to remember your time in Austin by!