There’s something beautiful about watching the sun dip behind the horizon after a day of adventuring. It’s the cherry on top of a fun-filled day and it’s also the beginning of an evening to remember. The sunset allows us to reflect on special moments and enjoy the present. If you find yourself in Austin — either visiting as a tourist or a lucky local — there are several spots where you can head for a gorgeous sunset. Here are our favorite spots to catch the sunset in Austin.
The Best Spots for a Gorgeous Sunset in Austin
Finding the best spot for a stunning sunset means picking places with views that face west. These can include hotel balconies, hilltops, and restaurants with outdoor patios. Below, you’ll find some of our favorite places to watch the sunset in Austin. They include some famous Austin sites as well as state parks and options further outside the city if you’re looking for something a little quieter.
Mount Bonnell is the highest point in the city of Austin. That means you get to be perched above the city to catch the sunset. It’s a short, easy hike up and you can pack a picnic to enjoy the view with a loved one or friends. It’s a good idea to get here early, especially on weekends and holidays as it can be crowded.
On the Water
Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake, and Lake Travis are all incredible spots to catch a sunset on the water. You can find sunset cruises on sailboats and other small vessels or you hop on a kayak or paddleboard to soak in the last of the sun’s rays. You’ll find rentals at several locations or you can bring your own.
Lady Bird Lake Trail
One of the best bike trails in Austin, the boardwalk is a multi-use trail where you can bike, walk, and blade your way through the heart of the city. The boardwalk goes out over the Colorado River, offering views of the downtown skyline and a great spot to watch the sunset in Austin.
The Oasis on Lake Travis
The Oasis is a stunning restaurant with tiered decks facing the sunset and Lake Travis. It’s often called the “sunset capital of Austin” — that’s how good the sunset views are here. Located in Texas Hill country, you don’t just get great vistas of the lake. The sunset views are also framed by beautiful rolling green hills. The spot also hosts weddings, private events, and live music throughout the week.
One of the best coffee shops in Austin, Mozart’s is a great spot to catch the sun as it sets over the water. Mozart’s is located on the waterfront and offers a delicious array of pastries as well as coffee and other beverages. Make it an adventure by paddling the lake and then capping off the day sitting on Mozart’s patio.
Pennybacker Bridge, also known as 360 Bridge, offers stunning sunset viewing opportunities and some of the best views in Austin. Watch as the sun sets over Austin’s skyline and enjoy the sparkling city as the city lights come on. Parking is a small section just before the bridge and can be limited so get here early. From there, take the short trail to the bridge to soak in the views.
McKinney Falls State Park offers incredible hiking and biking opportunities during the day and pretty sunset opportunities in the evening. As the sun sinks in the sky, the McKinney Falls reflecting pools take on a shimmering effect. Don’t forget to bring your camera and pack a picnic if you plan to hang out with someone special.
South Congress Bridge
South Congress Bridge is famous for bat-watching. It’s home to the largest urban colony of Mexican free-tail bats. Head here just before sunset to watch the bats take flight. Beyond that stunning view, the sun sets beneath the horizon, reflecting on the waters of the Colorado River. It’s a moment that shouldn’t be missed!
Baylor Street Art Wall
Put on a good pair of shoes and climb to the top of the Baylor Street Art Wall. Perched up here, you’ll drink in sunset colors as the dip behind the capitol rotunda and the Austin highrises.
Located in Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock offers a different sunset perspective. Climb the dome to get unparalleled views of Hill Country. The pink granite adds a warmth that pairs perfectly with pink and orange sunset hues. Bring a blanket and cozy up on the rocks with a loved one. It;’s also a great idea to make the trek into a full-day adventure. There’s plenty of hiking and rock climbing in the area so you can spend the day down here before capping off your activities with a sunset session. There are even camping spots so you can do some stargazing before heading home in the morning.
Enjoy the Beauty of Austin
Before heading out to your sunset spot, make sure to check the sunset time. Sites like Time and Date will show times for sunrise sunset today. In addition to sunrise and sunset time, these sites will also show the next equinox, solstice, day length, and give details on the position of the sun. These details can help you plan the perfect sunset outing.
Make sure to also check the moonrise and moonset times if you plan on catching a glimpse of that too. If you’re in town visiting, make sure to adjust your watch to the right time zone and take into account daylight saving time so you don’t miss the views.
From Leander to downtown Austin, there are several spots to take in the sunset in Austin. Austin, Texas offers several ways to get outside and enjoy nature. From stunning sunsets to hiking and watersports, it’s a great city to get active. Check out some of the best hikes near Austin and the best bike trails in the city. Don’t miss the top parks and outdoor spaces where you can have a picnic or relax with friends.