Destination ATX: 3 Incredible Spots to Visit in Austin

Austin is a great place to be for residents and tourists alike–and a lot of people agree with me.

The capital of Texas has an estimated population of about 961,855 according to the 2020 census. That’s about 85% more than its population in the year 2000. Obviously, this city is growing rapidly. In fact, Austin is now the eleventh most populous city in the United States.

There are plenty of things to do and countless people to meet. There is also a plethora of open spaces and private natural getaways that offer opportunities for the city dwellers to get a breath of fresh air.

“The Live Music Capital of the World” is home to thousands of aspiring musicians, as well as college students, tech innovators, digital marketers, and blue-collar workers. Austin is also experiencing a boom in its comedy scene now that Joe Rogan has moved his podcast and comedy operations to the city.

There are also plenty of job opportunities for those who wish to work at a Fortune 500 company. Such businesses with headquarters or offices in Austin include Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Texas Instruments, Whole Foods Market, Dell, 3M, Amazon, and Tesla.

Planning a trip to Austin, TX? Check out these three great spots that are worth a visit when you go.

The Barton Creek Greenbelt

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Limestone cliffs, gorgeous green foliage, and magnificent pools of swimming water are waiting for you at the Barton Creek Greenbelt, a 7.25-mile stretch of public land.

The humid subtropical climate of Austin means hot summers and mild winters: essentially, a year-long pool season. When the city experiences heavy rainfall, the swimming holes fill up with water that allows for kayaking, paddleboarding, and tubing. These swim spots include Gus Fruh Pool, Campbell’s Hole, Twin Falls, Sculpture Falls, the Deep Eddy Pool, and the Barton Springs Pool.

Adventurous folks can also rock climb and cliff dive among the gorgeous scenery. Mountain biking is also an extremely popular activity in this area. If you prefer to relax rather than sweat, though, tying your hammock to a couple of trees and laying down with a book is also a great option here.

But that’s not all; this is also a great destination for caving (AKA spelunking), the pastime of exploring wild cave systems. The Airmen’s Cave in the Barton Creek Greenbelt is two miles long, and while it used to be open to any cavers, it is now only operating for guided exploration.

Last but not least, there are plenty of trails throughout the Greenbelt that are perfect for avid runners, joggers, or power-walkers.

The Vulcan Gas Company

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A Show at the Vulcan Gas Company in 2021 / YouTube / Kill Tony

The original Vulcan Gas Company was a popular club located on Congress St. in downtown Austin. Established in 1967, it was the first successful psychedelic music venue in Austin. They offered a stage for unconventional bands of all types of genres. Sadly, the experiment was short-lived, but the idea lives on in a new location.

Now, the Vulcan Gas Company is located on Sixth Street. The new establishment boasts a Funktion-One sound system, a gorgeous stage, and a unique industrial interior.

While the venue still offers concerts in a variety of genres, the Austin comedy boom is especially thriving in this location. Joe Rogan, Duncan Trussell, Adam Ray, Brian Holtzman, Fahim Anwar, and Andrew Dice Clay are just a few acts who have recently performed on Vulcan’s stage. Up-and-coming comics are also finding opportunities to perform in front of the fantastic crowds at this venue.

Zilker Park

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Barton Creek’s got nature, Vulcan’s got music and comedy, but Zilker Park has all three. Anyone can visit the 350 acres park, a recreational area sitting at the juncture of Barton Creek and the Colorado River.

The land for this park was donated by Andrew Jackson Zilker in 1917. In the 1930s, the park was developed as the Great Depression befell the country. Years later, it’s a bustling park where you can enjoy beautiful nature while also seeing the gorgeous Austin skyline beyond the trees.

Austinites and visitors can hike or bike the trails surrounding Lady Bird Lake. Or, anyone can grab tickets to the famous Austin City Limits Music Festival, which takes place at Zilker. If you don’t want to pay ACL ticket prices, you might enjoy attending the Zilker Park Kite Festival instead!

The point is, there’s no shortage of things to do at Zilker. Musicians and comics can set up mini-stages to provide free entertainment for crowds and free exposure for artists. Recreational sports teams can get together for a day of volleyball or soccer, and nature lovers can take a walk through the gorgeous Zilker Botanical Garden.

Whatever you choose to do in Austin, you’re sure to have a fantastic time. Just double-check that you packed your sunscreen, your hat, and some bug spray because you’re going to need it!

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