Being a native Austinite, I have been dragged all around this town from an early age. But when I grew my own appetite for adventure and began to explore the lesser widely known spots, I found quite a number of hidden gems. Not bragging or anything, but I’d say I have a pretty good idea of where to go when looking for a solid place to take a photo.
Here is my top 10 list for all you photogenic beauties (p.s. even if you’re not photogenic, like me, these scenic spots definitely got your back.)
The Famous Austin Murals
#1 “Hi, how are you?”
This cute little guy actually has a name, and it’s Jeremiah The Innocent, which is a mural painted by artist Daniel Johnston and located on the Drag on the corner of Guadalupe & 21st St. This amphibian amigo is one of Austin’s iconic cultural landmarks and anyone in the area should stop by and give him a visit to make their trip complete!
#2 “I love you so much”
Another iconic Austin cultural landmark, this simple tag on the side of Jo’s Coffee located on South Congress Ave. & James St. is the perfect place to visit for anyone. I mean it pretty much explains itself.
#3 “You’re my Butter Half”
This clever little pun painted into a fun and visually appealing mural is located on the corner of MLK & Alamo St. on the side of the United Way for Greater Austin building. Another great spot for couples, friends, and anyone really!
#4 Castle Hill
Otherwise known as Graffiti Park, this abandoned lot on Baylor & 12th St. is a bit of a hidden gem. This masterpiece is a compilation of different styles of artwork overlapping one another and they don’t spare one inch of surface area. I myself have spent hours exploring this lot looking at the details in small spaces, but even if you just want to stop by and snap some quick shots, the bigger pieces alone are worth a visit. My personal favorite- the Grasshopper, you’ll know when you see it.
#5 The Cathedral of Junk
You know the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Well this man took his trash along with many others’ and built it into… well, a Cathedral. If you’re looking for a quirky spot to snap some photos this is definitely the place for you. Another lesser known place in Austin, it is surprisingly smack dab in the middle of downtown near 1st St. & W. St. Elmo off of Lareina Dr. The best way I could describe this place is one big ongoing abstract art project, but you should definitely plan a visit for yourself, it’s quite a creation.
The Classic Shot
#6 The Texas State Capitol
Who wouldn’t want a shot in front of this baby? The largest state capitol building in the U.S. because everything is bigger in Texas, right? Oh, and better. Eh hem, anyways… The capitol is definitely worth a visit whether you go inside or not, even the gardens are pretty. This big hunk of pink granite can be seen all the way from South Congress Ave, which in my opinion is a great shot. I am not, I repeat, AM NOT telling you to go play in traffic, but if you get a chance while walking across South Congress, in a pedestrian cross walk, when the walking sign is on, and happen to get a good angle… you get what I’m saying. Can’t say I haven’t done it before.
#7 The 360 Bridge
This iconic arched bridge crossing over Lake Austin is a well-known Austin Landmark. The best angle you can get is if you pull off and park your car before you cross the bridge and climb up the trail leading to the cliff side overlook. The climb is a bit treacherous, but not for long, and once you get up there the scenic view is very much worth the lack of breath.
#8 The Bat Statue
Austin is known for being associated with bats because of the massive population that dwells under the Congress Bridge alone! What better to represent this than a giant revolving bat statue?? This local landmark can be found on the South end of the bridge and the best time to come is around sunset so you can watch all of the bats fly out from beneath the bridge to protect us from all those nasty mosquitoes (THANK YOU BATS)!
The Nature Shot
#9 Zilker Botanical Gardens
From Rose Gardens, to Japanese Gardens complete with a Coy Pond and a waterfall, to a Prehistoric themed Dinosaur park and much more, this place has got it all! It is perfect for family outings and you can spend as much time exploring the property as you like! I’d suggest taking snacks and maybe some water, there are lots of pleasing spots to take a break and soak it all in!
#10 Barton Springs
Good old Barton Springs. There is really nothing bad you could say about this place, it’s a great spot to relax and swim, the spring itself is beautiful and the big trees on both sides give enough shade to keep you cool on a hot day. Austin is full of natural scenic spots and this is one of my personal favorites. PLUS, it’s right across the street from Zilker Gardens!