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Best Places to View the Austin Skyline

As the lovechild of nature and city, Austin offers one of the best skylines around. Check out these locations to get a breathtaking view of the city’s iconic structures.

By Hannah Vickers

1. The Lady Bird Lake Running Trail

The running trail offers a different skyline viewing experience depending on the time of day, or night. Photo courtesy of Hannah Vickers

The running trail offers a different skyline viewing experience depending on the time of day, or night. Photo courtesy of Hannah Vickers

As one of Austin’s most popular running and biking destinations, the Lady Bird Lake Trail offers a beautiful view of the skyline, day or night. Parking is available around the corner of W. Riverside Drive and S. First St., but it is first-come, first-served, so expect a packed lot on the weekends. Both of these photos were taken on the Lady Bird Lake trail directly underneath the Hyatt Hotel. Those who stick around into the evening hours can cross the trail underneath the Congress Bridge to see the bats fly around 7:45 p.m.

2. Long Center for the Performing Arts

The top photo depicts the Austin skyline from the lawn of the Long Center. The bottom photo depicts the skyline reflected from the Long Center's walls. Photo courtesy of Hannah Vickers

The top photo depicts the Austin skyline from the lawn of the Long Center. The bottom photo depicts the skyline reflected from the Long Center’s walls. Photo courtesy of Hannah Vickers

The Long Center is located on 701 W. Riverside Drive, and although this location isn’t too far from the running trail, it gives a much different perspective of the skyline. It also offers a shaded area where you can cool down on concrete or grass. Parking is available in the lot listed above, or visitors can try and snag curbside parking. You can also catch a beautiful reflection of the skyline in the building’s mirrored windows.

3. Castle Hill Graffiti Wall

Photo courtesy of Hannah Vickers

Photo courtesy of Hannah Vickers

The infamous graffiti wall, located on 11th St. and Baylor St., offers the best of both worlds: a close-up look at Austin’s creativity and a larger view of the city’s skyline. To get the most of this location, follow the uphill dirt path to the right side of the wall (shoes with a good grip are necessary) and capture the moment with a panoramic photo. Don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the interesting art.

4. Zilker Park

Photo courtesy of Hannah Vickers

Photo courtesy of Hannah Vickers

Zilker Park is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic with friends and a gorgeous view of the skyline. Located on 2201 Barton Springs Road, Zilker is home to ACL, Austin’s iconic annual music festival. Parking can be found in various spots around the area and the park offers free wifi if you want a nice place to study.

5. The Pennybacker Bridge

Photo courtesy of Hannah Vickers

Photo courtesy of Hannah Vickers

If you are on Austin’s East side and are in the mood for some light hiking, head to 5300 N. Capital of Texas Hwy. Parking is available on the right side of the road before crossing the Pennybacker Bridge. Although it is located further from the skyline, the trail’s view offers a removed look at downtown Austin and the 360 bridge.

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