Whether it’s raining or 100 degrees, a museum is always a good idea when you need to get indoors. Austin may not have quite as many museums as Houston has, but there is still something to see and learn at each one. Here are eight museums to visit in Austin.
The Blanton Museum of Art
UT’s art museum is one of the largest university art museums in the world, with a huge space dedicated to its permanent collection, including Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, and a rotation of exhibits. The Blanton also recently underwent huge updates to its grounds, which are worth a look.
Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Cost: $15 for adults, $8 for children, free for UT ID holders; free admission for all on Tuesdays
LBJ Presidential Library
The LBJ Presidential Library is one of 15 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It is dedicated to the life and presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as his wife, the beloved Lady Bird Johnson. See recreations of the Oval Office and Lady Bird’s office, the presidential limousine, and an exhibit dedicated to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination when LBJ suddenly took office.
Hours: Monday–Sunday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Cost: $12 for adults, $4 for children 13–18, free for UT ID holders or if your first, middle, or last name is Lyndon
Harry Ransom Center
The Ransom Center is a renowned humanities research center on UT’s campus, where several incredible artifacts have passed through or now call the Center home. The collection includes Robert DeNiro’s personal archive, Jack Kerouac’s notebook he kept while writing On the Road, original works by Frida Kahlo, and a complete Gutenberg Bible (one of only 20 in the world). Exhibits rotate throughout the year.
Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, noon–5 p.m.
For curious kids, head to the Thinkery, a children’s museum where anyone can participate in hands-on play and learning both indoors and outdoors. Need a summer activity for the kids? Thinkery offers camps for children in pre-K to fifth grade.
Hours: Tuesday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.; Friday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Cost: $14 for those aged 2 and up; free during community hours on Tuesdays and Sundays
Located in downtown Austin, the Mexic-Arte Museum was founded in 1984 by artists Sylvia Orozco, Sam Coronado, and Pio Pulido to showcase and create a space for traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art and culture. For example, an exhibit beginning in September celebrates Día de los Muertos with ofrendas and works by Jose Guadalupe Posada and more.
Hours: Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Friday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday, 12–5 p.m.
Cost: $7 for adults, $4 for students, $1 for children 12 and under
Bullock Texas State History Museum
More than 9 million people visit the Bullock Museum each year to learn the story of Texas, which covers the Lone Star State’s history from thousands of years before it was even a state through the 20th century.
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Cost: $13 for adults, $7 for children 17 and under
With two locations, the Contemporary highlights modern and contemporary art. The Jones Center downtown includes an indoor space for rotating exhibitions and a rooftop area, while Laguna Gloria operates on the museum’s original home on the Clara Driscoll estate and showcases contemporary sculpture and art installations on 14 acres.
Hours: Check website for Jones Center and Laguna Gloria
Cost: $10 for adults, free for children 18 and under; free on Thursdays for all at both locations
The Elisabet Ney Museum
The Elisabet Ney Museum is the historic home and studio of German sculptor Elisabet Ney, who moved to Austin in 1882. The museum exhibits Ney’s work from the 1850s through her death in 1907, as well as other contemporary artists.
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday, noon.–5 p.m.