As one of the “foremost university art museums in the country … [with] one of the largest and most comprehensive” permanent collections of art in Central Texas—more than 17,000 works—the Blanton, located near the iconic UT Tower on the Longhorns’ campus, is the spot for museum aficionados in ATX. Expect dazzling interactive installations; European, Latin American, and Contemporary American paintings; rotating temporary exhibitions; and, of course, the massive and immersive “Stacked Waters” piece, a permanent installation by large-scale sculptor Teresita Fernández that encases the museum’s central atrium with an awe-inspiring underwater illusion. With more than 124,000 square feet to explore, the Blanton is one of those museums that one can visit over and over and find more hidden gems to admire and learn from.
Austin’s big for boozing and barbecue, but you do know that some of the best things to do here include the museums, right? They may not be on quite the same scale as culture capitals like Washington DC or New York City, and we’ll even admit that Dallas boasts more heavyweight options, but there are certainly a few museums down here worth a gander. They may even surprise you.
Whether you’re looking to take a deep plunge into Texas’s history at the Bob Bullock museum or you’re keen to embrace the weird ethos of town at the Museum of the Weird, you’re sure to be delighted. And bonus if you brought the little ones: Some of these venues feature fun interactive exhibits that make them among the best things to do in Austin with kids. For art, history, sculpture, and oddities, soak it all up at the best museums in Austin.