The Ultimate Guide to Austin with the 21 Best Photo Spots

Austin is the capital city of Texas, known for its active music scene and counter culture, which has led to the city’s popular slogan, “keep Austin weird.”  It is also home to fantastic food, parks, hiking and water.  We have compiled our own experience with research from Austin locals and well-traveled bloggers and Instagrammers to compile this awesome list of the best photo locations in Austin!

After reading through our list of our photo locations in Austin, share with us some of your experiences at these locations, which one you want to visit most, or some special location we overlooked by joining the conversation in our Facebook group.

If you like this article, be sure to check out some of our other Instagram guides and if you want some gear to make your travel or photography that much better, check out our Recommended Gear.

Austin Mural

The famous Greetings from Austin mural is located at 1702 S. 1st Street.  It is downtown on South 1st Street on the side of a business called Roadhouse Relics.  If you just head downtown and go south on South 1st Street, you will find the mural.

You can see why the mural is so popular in the beautiful image below from Tanya Rasmussen.

Love from Austin

Austin is famous for its murals.  It has impressive ones all over the city.  We are just highlighting a few of our favorites here that we think make for the best Instagram shots.

The Love from Austin mural is a perfect one to share where you’re at and send love.  It is located at Magnolia Coffee on the corner of South Congress and W Johanna.  You can see the mural in the great image below from Austin wedding and portrait photographer Cory Ryan

Lou Neff Point

Lou Neff Point is located along the southern banks of Town Lake in central Austin.  It is at the juncture of Barton Springs with the Colorado River. You sort of have to park in Zilker Park and walk a but to get there, but we think it is well worth it!

You can see the famous veiw from Lou Neff Point in the image below from Emma Patton.

We recommend getting yourself a canoe or kayak and getting the ultimate shot in the water beneath the skyline.  You can see the potential in the image below from Alex Wenckus.

UmLauf Sculpture Park

The Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum is located at 605 Azie Morton Road right next to Zilker Park.  It is a museum and outdoor sculpture garden dominated by the artistic works of American sculptor Charles Umlauf.

The park includes some beautiful nature and peaceful surroundings, as you can see in the image below from Ramya Nada.

Mayfield Park

Mayfield Park is located in West Austin, on a bluff overlooking Lake Austin.  It is a historic cottage, originally built in the 1870s, with gardens and a nature preserve.

You can see the peaceful landscape of Mayfield Park in the image below from Mia Hassan.

Mayfield Park is also famous for its peacocks.  You are sure to spot some peacocks roaming the grounds when you visit so be sure to capture an image posing with them, like Andy Nguyen did in the image below.

You can also get an image of yourself shooting the peacocks (with a camera of course), like the image below of Maria Martello captured by Christina Palmtree.

Franklin BBQ

Franklin BBQ is probably one of the most famous BBQ restaurants in the world.  It is definitely an Austin legend.  It is located at 900 E. 11th on the east side of town.  It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 until they sell out, which is usually between 2:00 and 3:00.

Even with the crazy long lines, I wouldn’t head to Austin without going to Franklin BBQ, and I wouldn’t go there without taking a picture.  The picture below comes from Michelle Foard, who will vouch for how amazing the food is at Franklin BBQ.

Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs Pool is a popular swimming and sunbathing location at Zilker Park.  It is a recreational outdoor swimming pool that is filled with water from the nearby Barton Creek and Main Barton Spring.

Even when sunbathing is not an option, the pool is still popular for swimming, as its temperature usually hovers between 68 °F (20 °C) and 74 °F (23 °C) year round.

In the image below, Daria Erzakova shows off the great area for soaking up the sun near the pool.

South Congress Bridge

The South Congress Bridge is most famous as the place to see the famous bats that appear from under the bridge every day between 5:30PM to 6:30PM.  While that is a fun experience, the bridge is also a great place to take a photo even without the bats.  Just check out the great image below from Kara Endahl.

Zilker Park

Zilker Metropolitan Park is a massive, over 350 acres (142 ha), recreational park in south Austin.  It is located at the juncture of Barton Creek and the Colorado River. The area was developed into a park during the Great Depression in the 1930s, and the park was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on 1997.   The park has a lot of additional attractions, many of which we have highlighted in here on their own, but just the general park area is great for a photo as well.

The park also offers a great view of the skyline beyond the green fields of the park, as you can see in the image below from Taylar Packard.

If you have a dog, there is also a great dog park at Zilker Park with a great view.  You can capture a cute picture with your dog, like the one below from Sarah Fairweather.

Mount Bonnell

Mount Bonnell, which is also known as Covert Park, is one of the most popular viewpoints in Austin.  It is located on a bluff alongside the Lake Austin portion of the Colorado River. Mount Bonnell offers fantastic views of the city of Austin, Lake Austin, and the surrounding hills.  As a popular tourist destination dating back to the 1850s, Mount Bonnell was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1969 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.  I found so many great images from awesome photographers, I included a lot here for you to see.

Obviously, with a location like this, you can’t beat catching it at sunrise or sunset, as you can see in the image below from Paola Gonzales.

Kami Gartner shows off the long line of water in the distance in the great image below from a prominent point at Mount Bonnell.

As you would expect, Mount Bonnell is a popular place for romantic images.  Travel blogger Melea Patton shared an image capturing her engagement below.

It doesn’t have to be all about the view though, as you can see in the great portrait below painting the subject in a great light standing out from the green background.  The image of Kat Nemetsky was taken by photographer Christopher Lozada.  You can see more of Christopher’s portrait work at Ceelo Creative.

You likely won’t be alone up at Mount Bonnell, but don’t let that stop you from taking a great image, like the one below from Fernando Lomeli.

I know I have included a ton of pictures from Mount Bonnell, but I wanted to add this one more because I thought it was such a great photo from Emmy Davis of Martial Arts.

instagram guide to austin texas

Pfluger Pedestrian bridge

The James D. Pfluger Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge is abridge for pedestrians and cyclists spanning Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. The bridge opened in 2001 to connect the north and south sides of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. The bridge runs parallel to the Lamar Boulevard Bridge and a train bridge.

As you can see in the below image from Emma Patton, the bridge features a great view of the skyline.

The bridge is also famous for the view it offers of the grafitti on train bridge. If you stop down your aperture a bit, you can get the skyline and bridge in sharp focus, like the image below from Leah Woss.

Hope Outdoor Gallery

Hope Outdoor Gallery is what remains of a failed building attempt from the eighties on the Baylor Street hillside.  After the left over slabs of blank cement became home to work from tons of graffiti artists, the nonprofit company HOPE got permission from the property owners to clean up the space and make it a public space for mural painting. As of 2019, plans were in place to move the gallery by Carson Creek Ranch near the airport.

You can see some of the great murals and fun compositions in the image below from Sarah Teng.

The bold colors and fun designs make a great backdrop for any portrait.  Just check out this wall that Heather Nichole is posing in front of.

The Driskill Hotel

The iconic Driskill Hotel is famous for its crazy luxury.  It was built in 1886 to show off the money of a local cattle baron.  It is located on Sixth Street in the heart of downtown Austin.  The hotel is now a Hyatt property and is surprisingly affordable.

You can see some of the impressive interior in the image below from from.vibs.eyes.

University of Texas

Home to 51,000 students, the University of Texas is also the home of the Longhorns.  Posing in front of the main building is a classic shot, as seen below in the image from Pranav Juturi.

Texas State Capitol

The Texas State Capitol is located in downtown Austin.  The 302.64 foot (92.24 m) tall building was built form 1882 to 1888.  It is home to the Texas Legislature and of the Governor of Texas. The Capitol Building was named to the list of Historic Places in 1970 and recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

You can see the majesty of this giant building in the below image from Travis Magicmen.

Hamilton Pool

The Hamilton Pool Preserve isn’t actually in Austin, but it is so cool, we had to include it here.  The preserve is actually 23 miles west of Austin off Highway 71, which is about a 30-40 minute drive.

The Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural pool created by the collapsing roof of an underground river thousands of years ago.  The Pool features a 45 foot waterfall that falls into beautiful turquoise water.

You can see the beautiful pool in the image below form Ngoc Mai.

In another image from Ngoc Mai, you can see the beautiful area that also surrounds the pool.

Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park is another location just outside of Austin.  It is located about 30-45 minutes west of Austin, taking Highway 290.  The Park is worth a visit due to all the hiking opportunities and the many boulders and rock formations in and around the Pedernales River, which runs through the park.  These rock formations also make for great photography compositions, as you can see in the image below from Paige Gibbs.

ATX Sculpture on Fifth and Lamar

The  ATX sculpture located on Fifth and Lamar is a cool piece of art that makes for a fun photo spot with lots of creative options.  The piece was done by local art company, Ion Art.  You can see the sculpture in the image below from Angel Quintero.

Bull Creek Greenbelt

The Bull Creek Greenbelt is a popular area, especially among dog owners, just north of Austin.  The network of trails is a great place to get out in nature, play in the water and spot some wildlife.  An example of the beautiful scenery you can find there is round in the image below from photographer A. Eli Cohen.

Texas State History Museum

The Bullock Texas State History Museum has a stated mission to tell “the Story of Texas.”  It is located at 1800 North Congress Avenue in Austin, near the Texas State Capitol, which is also on this list.

The museum is separate into 3 floors, with the theme of the first floor being “land,” the second floor being “identity,” and the third floor being “opportunity.” 

One of the best photo opportunities at the museum is the giant Texas star in front of the museum, as you can see in the image below from Zaria Brown.

Barton Creek Greenbelt

If you hear someone in Austin reference “the Greenbelt,” Barton Creek is the place they are talking about.  Located in south-central austin, this place is really popular, and for good reason.  It is a beautiful network of trails that offers great hiking, bicycling, swimming, rock climbing and bird watching.

The beautiful scenery is on display in the  beautiful portrait below from Jacquot Photography.

Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue

Stevie Ray Vaughan is considered one of the most iconic American Blues musicians in history. He moved to Austin after dropping out of high school and gained a following with local gigs before blowing up big.

The statue dedicated to him was installed in 1994 on Auditorium Shores at Lady Bird Lake. You can see it in the image below from Fransien Buysrogge.

8 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Austin with the 21 Best Photo Spots

  1. I lived outside Houston for 5 years and traveled to Austin many times, it was weird. 5th ave was particularly weird after the sun went down

  2. Pingback: Photography and Instagram Guides – Photography & Travel

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