The temperatures in Austin, Texas, begin to cool down in September, which means that the city’s array of outdoor activities becomes that much more pleasant to experience. Here’s a guide to some of the most popular attractions for the autumn months.
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Go green at Zilker Botanical Garden
Known as “the jewel in the heart of Austin,” Zilker Botanical Garden is the perfect place to stroll and enjoy rose, herb, succulent and Japanese gardens. As series of streams, waterfalls and koi ponds connect the gardens.
One highlight is an area planted to attract monarch butterflies on their migration, while children will be enthralled by a recreated dinosaur habitat at the Hartman Prehistoric Garden and Pioneer Village, complete with an 1866 schoolhouse, rustic cabin and blacksmith shop.
Sample art in public places
Austin is well-known for its creative scene, in both music and the visual arts. From graffiti to outdoor murals and installations, the city for the past three decades has operated its Art in Public Places program. The latter features local and nationally-known artists, who are commissioned to create cultural landmarks that have become cornerstones of the city.
You can sample Austin’s cache of public art by starting at the free People’s Gallery at City Hall. On the last Friday of each month, the gallery offers “Art After Six,” featuring artist talks and tours from 6 to 8 p.m.
You also can download a tour map of Austin’s public art; the funky neighborhoods of east and south are filled with colorful street murals. One of the best known (and most photographed) sites is the HOPE Outdoor Gallery at Castle Hill, which features elaborate, multi-tiered art walls. This fall, the HOPE Outdoor Gallery is seeking a new location.
With a large German and Central European immigrant heritage, Austin celebrates Oktoberfest in style. The 150-year-old Scholz Garten, considered the oldest operating business in Texas, is home to AustOberfest, a local commemoration of the holiday. On Oct. 22, the historic biergarten and dining hall will open its doors for this annual event celebrating Central Texas’ German heritage with authentic sausage and other dishes, live music, bowling, contests and of course, plenty of beer.
The event is put on by Austin Saengerrunde, established in 1879 as a traditional singing group and that has evolved into an organization that preserves German heritage. AustOberfest also will feature food from popular Austin restaurants, such as Louie Miller, Stiles Switch, La BBQ and Micklethwait Craft Meats.
Lights, camera, action at Austin Film Festival
The Oct. 13-20 Austin Film Festival will present more than 20 world and North American premieres, Q&A sessions with cast members and filmmakers and hot parties you won’t want to miss.
AFF offers a varied program of narrative, animation and documentary features and shorts, and is a great way to enjoy advanced screenings and independent films not available elsewhere. The 2016 lineup is set to include such notables as filmmakers Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “Ghostbusters”) and Nancy Meyers (“The Intern,” “Something’s Gotta Give”), as well as “Friends” and “Grace and Frankie” co-creator Marta Kauffman.
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Sunset views at Lake Travis
With its 270 miles of shoreline set among rolling hills, Lake Travis is situated in the chain of Highland Lakes on the Colorado River, and boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the city. Dominated by water-related recreation, it offers numerous marinas, as well as boat and jet-ski rental companies. At Pace Bend, you can hike and bike along nature trails spread over nine miles of scenic shoreline, amid limestone cliffs and rocky coves. The area also offers several golf courses, including Lago Vista and Lakeway golf clubs.
The perfect place to witness what some call the most spectacular sunset in Texas is at The Oasis, which claims to be the biggest outdoor restaurant in the state. This Austin institution perches on a hillside overlooking Lake Travis, which lies 450 feet below. A bell ringing ritual accompanies the ball of fire sinking into the water each night, and is a great moment to toast to Austin.
To make the most of your trip, be sure to book an IHG® hotel in Austin.