From brilliant brunch spots to snazzy cocktail bars, Austin is renowned for its good grub and boozy watering holes, but the city also has loads to offer when it comes to culture, too. In fact, there are a great deal of fabulous museums in Austin hosting spectacular exhibitions that are just waiting to be enjoyed. As world-class institutions dedicated to history, science, art and everything else imaginable, Austin’s unbeatable museums promise to pique your interest one way or another.
If you ask us, making a day out of visiting a museum is completely underrated. You can learn something new, feel inspired and even finish the day off with a coffee and a cake at the on-site cafe. Come to think of it, even if only for a few hours, these marvelous museums also provide a bit of escapism that we could all do with now and again. So, whether you’re looking to pass the time on a rainy day or just hoping to get a quick pic to look all cultured for Instagram, these museums in Austin promise to feed your curiosity and do something that doesn’t involve a cocktail or brunch (for once).
1. Museum of the Weird, Downtown
Museum of the Weird is exactly what it says on the tin – weird. With all sorts of oddities on display, this place sometimes feels more like a house of horror than a museum. It’s one of the last surviving dime museums in the country and exhibits loads of weird and wonderful artifacts and peculiarities including an eyebrow-raising collection of creepy wax figures and cryptids. Describing this museum as quirky is a bit of an understatement, and it’s a great spot to head down to if your curiosity gets the better of you. Adults can enter for $12.99 and admission for kids under 8 is $8.99. Family day out, anyone?
📍412 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
2. The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Museum District
The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum is the go-to place to learn all there is to know about the state’s history. With over 700 original artifacts, you can expect a lot of educational exhibitions here. The first floor is home to the Becoming Texas exhibition which takes visitors on an eye-opening journey through the state’s past. From facts about Texas’ first inhabitants to shocking stories about the arrival of European colonizers, this exhibit is sure to teach you something new about the beloved Southern state. If you journey on up to the other floors of the museum, you’ll also find sculptures and artwork that depict some of Texas’ most significant historic events. It goes without saying that history buffs will love this museum.
📍1800 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701
3. Blanton Museum of Art, Museum District
With first-rate art exhibitions and centuries-old sculptures, Blanton Museum of Art is a must-visit for the creative souls among us. In fact, this place holds the largest public collection of art in Central Texas with more than 21,000 objects on display. From contemporary American and Latin American artwork to Baroque and Italian Renaissance paintings, the exhibitions here boast a broad range of art from various periods in history. A standard adult ticket will cost you $15, but if you’re looking to save a few bucks, admission is free on Tuesdays, so you can pay the museum a visit without worrying about splashing out on a ticket.
📍200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78712
4. Thinkery, Mueller
Thinkery is definitely one for the kids, but adults who are still young at heart are welcome, too. This museum provides the young’uns with a hands-on learning experience thanks to its interactive science-steeped exhibits. With a focus on technology, engineering, math and art, the activities on offer here are a sure-fire way to keep the little ones engaged and having fun for hours on end. Water activity stations, dazzling light labs and an outdoor playground are examples of the fabulous exhibitions that have been designed to support the children’s learning. The farmer’s market is also a great way to introduce kids to healthier food options and prep them for their future weekly shops (after all, it’s good to start them young).
📍1830 Simond Ave, Austin, TX 78723
5. UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum, Zilker
Although Austin is a bustling metropolitan city, it also has its fair share of lush green spaces, too. One of the best examples of this is the magnificent UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum. This museum’s pièce de résistance is the four acres of beautiful parkland that surrounds it. Visitors are encouraged to take a stroll through these lush gardens and get up close and personal with the local wildlife that live in the park’s ponds, trees and foliage.
Rotating exhibitions in its indoor museum space, a collection of bronze and stone sculptures and the serenity of the outdoors make this museum a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of downtown Austin. And as an added bonus, there are few other museums in the city where you could take a well-deserved nap without receiving any funny looks from passersby.
📍605 Azie Morton Rd, Austin, TX 78704