The Best Museums in Austin
Austin’s assortment of museums is just as eclectic as the city itself. From visual arts to history to just plain weird, here is our collection of the best museums to visit in town.
The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center
700 Congress Ave.
The ultimate destination for contemporary art in Austin, this museum is found on downtown’s Congress Avenue. Their array of artistic experiences includes expansive exhibitions, educational opportunities and artist-centric projects and collaborations. For those who crave a more natural setting, be sure to also visit the Contemporary’s Laguna Gloria Campus right by Lake Austin.
419 Congress Ave.
An homage to many of the rich cultures that make up Texas, this fine arts museum offers a thorough education and exploration of Mexican, Latino and Latin American art. Exhibits share traditions and talents from these parts of the world, as well as educational programming and cultural events. Look forward to their Viva la Vida festival, a must-see celebration to honor Día de los Muertos.
Blanton Museum of Art
200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
With over 21,000 works, Blanton holds the largest public collection of art in Central Texas. Bask in the gathering of masterpieces from ancient pottery to abstract modern paintings, and everything in between. With stunning architecture, traveling exhibitions year-round and a massive inventory, this museum is an inspired haven for art lovers.
Bullock Texas State History Museum
1800 Congress Ave.
Whether you consider yourself a history buff or not, this museum is a must for anyone in Texas. Imbue yourself with the Texan spirit while gaining a deeper appreciation for the chronicles that made our state what it is today. Young ones can journey through the lives of cowboys, Native Americans, settlers and more with interactive storytelling and the museum’s grand IMAX theater.
UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum
605 Azie Morton Rd.
Where art merges with experience, the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum offers its visitors a beautiful environment for reflection and recreation. The eight-acre location neighbors Zilker Park and showcases the works, studio and family home of sculptor Charles Umlauf, while also offering community-centric activities like artist talks, yoga in the garden and picnics.
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center
1165 Angelina St.
Contrary to what the name may suggest, this museum focuses not on one person, but instead on the contributions of Black people around the world. Positioned in East Austin, the center offers exhibits and social experiences such as book clubs, film screenings and dance performances, all to preserve and commemorate Black culture.
LBJ Presidential Library and Museum
2313 Red River St.
Located on the University of Texas campus, the presidential library tells the history of the United States’ 36th president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, as well as stories of his wife, the beloved Lady Bird Johnson. With millions of historical documents, iconic photographs, telephone tapes and more, guests can learn about these figures who made their mark on our country, and on Texas specifically.
1830 Simond Ave.
The ultimate solution for a child in need of activity, Thinkery offers a stimulating environment that combines fun, education and creative expression into a museum experience. While targeting the age group of 0 to 11, the exhibits are engaging to visitors of all ages and educate on science, technology, engineering, math and the arts.
Harry Ransom Center
300 W. 21st St.
Located on the University of Texas at Austin campus, this humanities research center and art museum is a vast art hub. Satisfy your creative needs by roaming through the huge archive of books, manuscripts, photographs and artwork in a thoughtfully curated center. Visiting exhibitions, attending events and studying are all encouraged in this free admission facility.
Elisabet Ney Museum
304 E. 44th St.
This establishment honors the life and works of Elisabet Ney, a German sculptor who spent the later half of her life in Texas. Stroll through Ney’s home and studio to see her famous lifelike marble statues and enjoy an intimate look at the spaces where she worked. Admission is free.
Museum of the Weird
412 E. 6th St.
This glorious tribute to the aura of Austin stands on East 6th Street. Filled with a random arrangement of trinkets and oddities, look out for bizarre gems like the two-headed chicken. Leave with your own handful of strange goodies from their gift shop.
3809 W. 35th St.
Located on the shores of Lake Austin, this outdoor sculpture museum features local and regional artists and offers art classes for all ages. The historic grounds are perfect for peaceful strolls with your pets and inspiring creativity. After taking in the views, check out the museum shop or the onsite cafe Spread & Co.