Finding new and exciting things to do in South Congress is far from difficult. Known for its young, hip, and artsy culture, the city of Austin is home to numerous museums and art galleries, with some of the most unique and eclectic venues lying south of the Colorado River. The list provided below highlights a few, but far from all, of the city’s offerings.
The Popular Culture Center
To truly understand any work of art, one must first understand the historical, emotional, and political contexts under which that work was created. So if you’re living in Austin for the first time and yearn to understand as much as you possibly can about the local art scene, The South Austin Popular Culture Center is a great place to start. Located on South Lamar Boulevard, this colorful museum and non-profit has been steadily documenting the area art scene since the 1960s. Featuring an extremely distinctive permanent collection, the museum also hosts rotating exhibits, such as an Austin-area graffiti exhibit, and provides commentary on the inspiration for each work.
Umlauf Sculptural Garden and Museum
The Umlauf Sculptural Garden and Museum can be found less than a mile west of the Popular Culture Center. Featuring lush landscapes, beautiful gardens, and ponderous sculptures, this botanical masterpiece is perfect for a sunny day of contemplation and reflection, a fact that is highlighted through the many visitors one can spot wandering the grounds on any given day. With the exception of Mondays, the park is open all week long and general admission is only $5. As an added bonus, the garden is located within the larger Zilker Park, a 351 acre public recreational area.
Due to its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as its history as a Mexican territory, the state of Texas is home to a large population of Mexican and Latin American immigrants as well as citizens with Mexican and Latin American heritage. In celebration and commemoration of this heritage, a collection of artists founded downtown Austin’s Mexic-Arte Museum in 1984. Now more than thirty years old, this incredible exhibition of local and historical art, murals, and traditional masks welcomes more than 75,000 visitors annually. Although it is open all week long, a free Sunday admission program makes the Mexic-Arte Museum a very popular destination on the weekends.
Museum of the Weird
If you’re looking for something that blends the lines between arts and entertainment, then look no further than the Museum of the Weird on 6th Street. Although some would argue that this kitschy tourist attraction does not belong on the same list as the other locations above, the overall uniqueness of this Austin landmark certainly warrants some recognition. Sure, most of the attractions and oddities on display are entirely fake and of questionable quality, but the talented and welcoming staff ensures that your overall experience is enjoyable. And for $10 a ticket, it’s a steal.
Living in South Congress
While exploring the many museums near South Congress is an amazing way to spend a weekend, this hip and lively neighborhood has much more to offer to new residents. For more information about dining and nightlife, entertainment options, and other things to do, please remember to visit the other pages of our site.