Koi pond  covered with lily pads at Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden, located in Zilker Botanical Garden.

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Zilker Botanical Garden


These lush gardens cover 31 acres on the south bank of the Colorado River, with displays including natural grottoes, a Japanese garden and a fragrant herb garden. You'll also find interesting historical artifacts sprinkled about the site – kind of like an outdoor architectural museum – including a 19th-century pioneer cabin, a cupola that once sat atop a local schoolhouse, and a footbridge moved from Congress Ave.

Cash or check only for the entrance fee.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Austin attractions

1. Austin Nature & Science Center


In the northwestern area of Zilker Park, this center has exhibitions of native Texan mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods that have been…

2. Zilker Park

0.35 MILES

This 350-acre park is a slice of green heaven, lined with hiking and biking trails. The park also provides access to the famed Barton Springs natural…

3. UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum

0.59 MILES

If the weather's just too perfect to be inside a climate-controlled building, stroll the open-air UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum, located in the south…

4. Hope Outdoor Gallery

1.26 MILES

For a wild collision of colors and art, make your way to this sprawling collection of graffiti that's been spray-painted across multilevel concrete ruins…

5. SouthPop

1.29 MILES

Pop into this South Austin gallery for rotating exhibits that spotlight Austin's live music and entertainment scenes, from the 1960s to the present. One…

7. Dazed and Confused Mural

1.75 MILES

Alright, alright, alright. Fans of Matthew McConaughey and Dazed and Confused can pay their respects to Wooderson – the unrepentant admirer of high school…

8. Mexic-Arte Museum

1.77 MILES

This wonderful, eclectic downtown museum features works from Mexican and Mexican American artists in exhibitions that change every two months. Many are…