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Best Views in Austin: Iconic Spots You Must See

Austin is one of the top destinations in the USA each year. With views of a dazzling skyline and the chance to explore stunning greenbelts, it’s no surprise that this city has something for everyone. From iconic views to stunning architecture, there’s beauty to be found around just about every corner. Here are some of the best views in Austin from glimmering skylines to shimmering waters and everything in between.

Where To Find the Best Views in Austin

Whether you’re a nature lover or someone who appreciates the architectural beauty of a city skyline, here are the best views in Austin you can’t miss.

1. Texas State Capitol Building

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As they say, everything’s bigger in Texas — and the capitol building is no different. The Texas State Capitol Building is the largest in the nation. It features sprawling gardens and lawns where you can take a stroll and the architecture is sure to keep you engrossed for hours. You can even sign up for a tour of the capitol building to learn more about the structure and what happens behind its walls.

2. University of Texas Tower

The UT Tower itself is a vision to behold, but if you stand in the gardens and face south, you’ll get to take in stunning views of the Austin skyline. Plan your visit on game day to watch the longhorns tackle an opponent and enjoy the shimmering tower — which lights up when the school has a match.

3. Mount Bonnell

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Many people think of Texas as flat with wide-open spaces. While that’s certainly true in many areas, Austin has a few hills to boast about. Located near Austin Hill Country replete with some of the best golfing around, Austin also is home to Mount Bonnell — a mini peak with gorgeous views. Mount Bonnell is the highest point in Austin and features an easy walking path that’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Head here at sunset to get stunning views of the city and the Colorado River as the sun sinks beneath the horizon. It’s a great spot for a romantic picnic or an afternoon hangout with friends.

4. The Oasis on Lake Travis

The Oasis is a multi-story restaurant located on the shores of Lake Travis. Just about every table in the house has stunning views of the water. It’s a laid-back and fun atmosphere and is the perfect way to unwind after paddleboarding on the lake or enjoying a nearby hike. It’s a great spot for sunset

5. See the Bats at Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge

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You wouldn’t think of heading to the heart of a bustling city to catch one of nature’s best events. But you know, Austin likes to keep things weird. From late March through early autumn, you can watch the largest urban population of Mexican free-tailed bats take flight. The show takes place between 7:30 pm to 9:45 pm every night. The bats leave their home under the bridge and head out into the night to feed.  

There are multiple viewpoints and ways to see the bats. Grab a drink at one of the restaurants nearby overlooking the waterway or stand on top of the bridge for a bird’s eye view. You can also kayak or rent a paddleboard and view the sight from below.

5. Lake Austin from Mozart’s Coffee

Mozart’s Coffee, located at 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, is one of the best coffee shops in town. It also has an incredible patio where you can soak up views of Lake Austin. Hang out and work using their free wifi or simply sip a beverage and stare at the water views. Another alternative is Dry Creek Cafe – a vintage coffee shop with a wooden deck and gorgeous views of the water.

6. Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake

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The boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake is a must-see attraction. It’s perfect for walking, biking, and strolling along the water. Here, you’ll find a blend of tourists snapping photos of the downtown Austin skyline and locals walking with their families and friends. There are several places where you can enter the boardwalk trail so you can make the stroll as long or short as you’d like. The boardwalk also features artwork and 36 Western belts engraved with lyrics from some of Texas’s most famous songwriters.

7. South Congress Avenue at Night

South Congress Avenue is an integral part of Austin. From the Austin Hotel, you can take in the vistas of the city’s most famous buildings illuminated at night. You can also hear the sounds of the city as it springs to life with live music and laughter emanating from the businesses along the strip.

8. 360 Pennybacker Bridge

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The Pennybacker Bridge is often cited as one of the best scenic drive spots in texas. The through-arch bridge features weathered steel highlighted by the rolling green hills nearby. The bridge is made of 72 steel cables that support an untied arch suspension design. It is considered an architectural wonder and no part of the bridge touches the water below, helping it to blend into the surroundings. Drive across the bridge or park alongside the highway and hike the rock for a higher view.

9. Downtown Views at Westin Hotel Rooftop Bar

The Westin Hotel Rooftop Bar offers breathtaking views of Austin you truly can’t get anywhere else. Here, you can enjoy a great cocktail and the company of friends as you take in views of the downtown skyline.

11. Austin Skyline from Zilker Park

Zilker Park is the place to go if you want to immerse yourself in nature. Here, you’ll find top attractions like Barton Springs Pool and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden. You’ll get beautiful views of the city limits and the Austin skyline as well. 

12. Barton Creek Greenbelt

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The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a nature-lover’s dream and hidden gem. It features hiking, biking, rock climbing, and swimming opportunities as well as green spaces for lounging. The greenbelt has hundreds of trees, offering shade during the hotter summer months and waterways where you can cool off. There are several places where you can access the greenbelt, though some areas can get pretty busy on weekends and during beautiful weather.

13. Town Lake Park

Town Lake Park features access to a ten-mile hike and bike trail as well as sprawling expanses of grass where you can enjoy a picnic or lounge in the sun. It’s a great place to get outside and soak in nature while also getting a glimpse of the Austin skyline.

Take in the Sights of Austin

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The Austin area is a beautiful palace to visit. After all, the city is so much more than just delicious food and live music. Here, you can find incredible riverside views and admire gorgeous architecture. Hike the hill at Mount Bonnell for a sunset view or lose yourself in miles of forest at the Barton Creek Greenbelt. However you choose to view Austin, it’s sure to be a pretty sight.

Looking for places where you can chow down and enjoy a scenic view of Austin? Check out our guide to the best Austin restaurants. You’ll find tasty options and spots with a great ambiance. Some of our top picks for views include Hula Hut, Lucy’s Fried Chicken, and Oasis Texas Brewing Company.

At ATX Guides, you’ll find everything you need to make a visit to this city a success. Plus, you’ll discover new places to check out, even if you’ve been a local for decades. 

Author
Erika Marty

Erika is an avid traveler who has been to more than 60 countries where she finds food, activities, and hidden locales for touring like a local. When she’s not writing, she enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and planning her next adventure.

Learn more about Erika