12 Austin Iconic Landmarks for Lovers
Explore some of the most romantic destinations across the city
Discover the enchanting allure of Austin’s romantic ambiance as you explore its hidden gems and cherished locales. Whether you’re strolling hand in hand through charming parks, savoring delectable meals in intimate settings, or enjoying breathtaking views, Austin offers a myriad of enchanting experiences for couples.
I Love You So Much mural
On the bright corner of South Congress and West James Street is a sweet, simple, life-sized love note. I love you so much, it reads, scrawled in red paint over a green wall. In June of 2023, Amy Cook told the Austin American Statesman that she wrote it herself, in 2010, for her then-girlfriend Liz Lambert to find. Grab a coffee from Jo’s while you wait your turn for a photo, or just mill around and soak up the love.
First Light Books
Where would any bookstore be without love stories, to say nothing of the stories without limerence and devotion? Romance is literally spelled out at First Light Books, pinned to shelves in a section dedicated to the genre. For sapiophiles who warm up most to the bookish, the new Hyde Park bookseller is a gorgeous place to share a cozy cup of coffee against a stained glass window, or cuddle on the bench near books on artists like Hilma af Klint.
Fonda San Miguel
An indoor garden of lush tropical foliage and verdant greenhouse feel, the atrium at the Fonda San Miguel is a bright escape to a Mexican courtyard in Austin. Amongst hanging lanterns and long beaded chandeliers, vivid tile, and other authentic touches like stone quatrefoil and imposing wooden doors, the colonial hacienda comes to life. The atrium is reserved for walk-ins. In other words, take your chances. The chances are good.
You’re My Butter Half mural
Lay it on thick at a bread and butter mural across the street from Bennu Coffee and just a block away from Sour Duck, Daily Press, and JuiceLand. The You’re My Butter Half mural on East Martin Luther King Jr Blvd does encourage exploration with proximity to so many fantastic food trailers, restaurants, and bars in the area, but despite this feature – and its ubiquity on Austin souvenirs – this area draws much less foot traffic and crowds.
Lutie’s Garden Restaurant at Commodore Perry
This head-turning, manicured mansion at the corner of Red River and East 41st Street hints at the luxury and elegance behind its white walls with the verdure of its terraced hills and English garden visible from the street. At Lutie’s Garden Restaurant, a miniature Eden topples from the ceiling in hanging plants. It grows from the checkered tile floor in rich green fabrics. The gleaming chandeliers and crystal only enhance the Gatsby-like love affair.
Tree House at Pease Park
Stroll past the playscapes and picnic tables near the Kingsbury Street entrance to Pease Park and you’ll find a magical, towering orb. For the fearless, a central net strung across the tree house, halfway up the 40-foot sphere, is a trampoline. A walkway around the perimeter gives solid ground to the bashful, and limestone rocks add another perspective beneath. Built by Mell Lawrence Architects, the globe was designed to visually dissolve into the canopy as the foliage grows. A thrilling piece of architecture in the heart of Austin.
That flamboyant swagger? It’s called peacocking for a reason. The courtship ritual gets its name from the stunning plumage displays by controversial birds found at home right here in Austin. Visit Mayfield Park to find them roaming the grounds, perched in trees, and – when the time is right – flaring their iridescent trains. Picnic on a garden bench or the lawn, admire the koi pond, hike the surrounding trails, or wander near the birds, studying the strut.
360 Bridge/Mount Bonnell
Two popular overlooks, both alike in nature, on the fair Balcones Escarpment where we lay our scene. Both north of the Colorado River with sweeping panoramic views of the land below, the 360 Bridge and Mount Bonnell illustrate Earth’s dramatic geological shifts. Pennybacker Bridge Overlook presents a daring summit on a steep hillside with no rail or guard to gaze above the bridge at Highway 360. Mount Bonnell presents a stairway, railing, historical plaques, limestone plaza, and fenced ledge. Choose wisely.
Next to Mayfield Park, a manicured sculpture garden featuring romantic, fairytale-like pieces alongside sometimes daring and unexpected contemporary installations sits on the grounds near the three-story Italian-style villa in an area dubbed the Laguna Gloria, or “Heavenly Lagoon.” Built for Texas scion Clara Driscoll, the art center features winding paths, including one Driscoll herself called “Lover’s Lane,” which leads to the “Temple of Love.” New onsite cafe Spread & Co., of Rosedale, earns raves for delicious nosh.
Sekrit Theater greenhouse
A seemingly abandoned greenhouse being overtaken by nature peeping in through the white and rusty window frames, Sekrit Theater’s greenhouse has become a magnet for young couples. Often booked back to back for weekend engagement photography sessions, the East Austin venue’s rustic brick base and checkered floor make a dazzling setting for your loving glances and garden weddings.
McKinney Falls State Park
Culminating with Barton Springs, the Barton Creek Greenbelt is the city’s best-loved spring for summer soaks and polar plunges, but it’s far from the only enchanting natural pool. At McKinney Falls State Park, visitors frequently indulge in the larger upper falls, so move to the lower falls and you might just find the quiet intimacy so elusive at more popular haunts.
Congress Avenue bat bridge
For the gothic romantics among us, a bat-blackened sky thick with ominous clouds of speeding Mexican free-tailed bats is the perfect date. The colony of hungry hunters roosts in dark chambers beneath the Congress Avenue bridge by day and emerges by night, most noticeably in hot, dry weather from spring through fall. Perch on the bridge’s south wall for the best views, or watch from Lady Bird Lake, but never in winter, we implore, for the bats will have flown south.