Austin Photo Spots You Don’t Want To Miss On Your Visit
One of my favorite things to do in Austin as a local is finding the best photo spots. Not only do I love scoping out the top instagrammable places around this town, but I also enjoy it a lot when I happen to run into a great underrated photo opportunity.
The capital city of Texas, Austin, is one of the most picturesque cities we have been to and that's one of the top aspects that drew us to become residents of this town. We love living somewhere that offers so much beauty as soon as we step out of our door. Whether you enjoy a stunning cityscape or prefer the beauty of nature, Austin has a spot for you to take your pictures!
Here are some of our favorite picture-perfect places to take Photos around Austin:
We'll start our photo tour with a few very famous murals that are pretty iconic to Austin. The "Butter Half" mural above is located across the street from a great local coffee shop, Bennu Coffee. So, you can get your fun photo and then enjoy a perfect cup of coffee at a local hotspot. Take your better half of go alone, it's a colorful background for a picture with anyone you want!
"I love you so much"
Another mural that gives you an opportunity to have a delicious cup of coffee is the "I love you so much" that is painted on the side of Jo's Coffee on South Congress avenue.
This street is the southern section of the one that starts at the Capitol building in Downtown. On this part of the street, you'll find some great restaurants and bars as well as boutique shops, so you can easily spend a few hours walking around this area. You will certainly find other places along the way for a great photo (we'll show you more below).
"Greetings From Austin"
How can you visit Austin without taking a quick stap in front of the "postcard" mural? Taking a photo with this mural gives you a chance to send a virtual postcard to all your friends and family back home. By the way, there's a funky little store attached to where this mural is painted that is also worth checking out!
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South Congress Ave - AKA SoCo
As we mentioned above, South Congress Avenue is a popular tourist and local hangout area in Austin. There is a very cool view of the Capitol Building from the top of the street. Additionally, you are sure to find loads of other places to capture an authentic Austin photo.
Texas State Capital
Right in the heart of downtown, you'll find the State Capitol. It's a wonderful place to check out on your visit to Austin. Make sure to walk all around the gardens and find your perfect photo opportunity, but don't forget to go inside, too! The interior of this 1800's structure houses the chambers of the legislation and governor and is worth a look. You'll definitely want to snap a shot of the rotunda from the ground floor!
Congress Ave. Bridge Bats
There's a reason Austin is also known as the "Bat City." Every year, usually between March and October, around a million and a half bats take flight from under the Congress Avenue Bridge at sunset. This is a spectacular event to see, let alone take some photos of. We suggest visiting around April or September in order to have a bit of brighter sky to make your shot better!
Another pro-tip is to move around to different locations under and on the bridge to get different angles. Moreover, walking east down the trail path about 20 minutes from the bridge will give you the ability to photograph the swarm of bats moving in unison above Ladybird Lake.
Lou Neff Point on Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail
Speaking of Ladybird Lake (AKA the Colorado River), the hike and bike trail has some phenomenal views of downtown Austin from various viewpoints. One of the best locations for a gorgeous shot is at Lou Neff Point located on the south bank of the river between Lamar Avenue Bridge and the MOPAC.
Pennybacker AKA 360 Bridge Viewpoint
The Pennybacker Bridge is another Austin icon and should definitely be on your list of places to take a beautiful photo. While you can't stop on the bridge itself, you can go to the overlook located just north across the bridge. It's a little bit of a hike to get up, but it doesn't take more than about 15 minutes to reach. I was able to do the hike at seven months pregnant, so you know it's not that bad! There are so many different views from the overlook that you'll enjoy taking photos at, so walk around and explore a bit to find your best shot!
Another viewpoint that offers lots of instagrammable opportunities is the one atop Mount Bonnell. This is another place that requires a bit of a hike, but again it's really not that difficult. What's nice about this place is that even on a busy day, it's easy to find a spot to take a picture without any other people in it. You can even see the Pennybacker Bridge in the distance from up here!
One way to ensure you're going to get A LOT of different photos of Austin is to take a river cruise. There are a few options of riverboats you can get tickets for and enjoy some time on the river. Sunset cruises usually go around the lake and back as well as show you the bats if it's the right time of year to see them. You really get a lot of bang for your buck if you book one of these. Some offer snacks and drinks while others have dinner available. Whichever you choose to go on (We took the Bat Boat), you'll be able to capture some amazing photographs with the benefit of changing light!
Top Of Hyatt Garage
Now, I have to say this one with a caveat: The Hyatt parking garage is not a public place so you might not want to go unless you are a guest or have permission. Having said that, we used to live across the street, so one day I just took the elevator to the top and got a few pictures (like the one above).
By the way, I think I should mention that there is a great resort outside the city for those looking to get away a bit. The Omni Barton Creek Resort And Spa is a perfect staycation in Austin and has some amazing views of Hill Country and pool views that also make for fantastic photo spots.
Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge
The pedestrian bridge is one of our favorite places to go on our walks along the Hike and Bike Trail. There are usually a ton of people taking pictures al along this bridge. We've seen people taking engagement photos here and along the trail as well. So, if professional photographers are bringing their clients here for pictures, you know it's a good spot!
Tip: Try capturing the bridge from below as well. The design is photo-worthy!
Possibly the best park in Austin, Zilker Metropolitan Park is not only a cool place to go and have a picnic, but it's also the location for ACL and the Trail of Lights as well as the Kite Festival. With an epic backdrop like that, who doesn't want to go there and snap some pics?
Mayfield park is host to some beautiful tenants: peacocks! This historic estate that is now a nature preserve overlooks Lake Austin, has a peaceful pond, and is full of colorful flowers and plants. Walk around and take in the zen while getting some pictures with the flora and fauna!
Hamilton Pool Reserve
About forty five minutes from the city, you'll find an oasis that one would not think could exists in Texas. Hamilton Pool Preserve possesses a grotto and waterfall that looks like something from an exotic location (a bit like the cenotes, for those who have experienced this activity in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico) . Even though it's a bit of a drive to get here, it's well worth it for the pictures you'll get. You may even want to enjoy a quick dip if you visit in the summer!
Oasis Restaurant - Lake Travis
The Oasis on Lake Travis is less than half an hour from Downtown Austin and to say that the sunsets there are epic is an understatement. Get ready to be blown away by the scenic panoramic views of Lake Travis from several levels at this restaurant!
Where will you take your pictures in Austin?
Now that you are armed with some spectacular locations in Austin, where will you shoot? How about all of them! The above locations provide beautiful backdrops for your solo or family photos as well as couples (fun and romantic) pictures.
Not only are they are pretty instagrammable places in Austin, but they are perfect for engagement or announcement photos, too! If you don't use your pictures for anything, they will certainly be great memories to capture on your visit to Austin.
Another great place to take photos: Go on a South Padre Island vacation! It's not too far of a drive from Austin and offers loads of nature and beautiful scenery for taking more amazing pictures in Texas!
Our other favorite travel locations around the U.S include New Orleans (for it's architecture and unique history) and San Francisco (for the city's beautiful views). Make sure to check out those articles for more inspiration!
About the Author
Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!