For those who want a brief respite from a busy workday, but can’t commit to a midday swim in Hamilton Pool, there are still plenty of places around Austin that offer a mental and physical break from city life. Here, a few of our favorites.
In 1985, sculptor Charles Umlauf and his wife Angeline donated 168 handmade pieces to the city of Austin, and in true Southern hospitality, the city put them on display. In fact, the city purchased a plot of land just for this purpose, transforming the area into a beautiful sculpture garden for anyone to peruse at their leisure. What’s more is that Zilker Botanical Garden is right across the street if you want to make a day of it. 605 Robert E. Lee Rd., 512-445-5582
Those seeking solace and a bit of nature can thank the University of Texas at Austin for running a wildflower center, which stretches across a 279-acre piece of land open to the public. Visitors can weave across the landscape amidst bushels of blossoming wildflowers that feature over 700 species native to Texas. To make the experience even more pleasant, check out the center's walking trails, visual art exhibits, cafe, and more. 4801 La Crosse Ave., 512-232-0100
Situated in Butler Park and on the edge of the Colorado River is a bronze statue honoring iconic musician Stevie Ray Vaughan. While tourists like to stop by for photo opps, its secluded location on the water makes this an easy way to break free from the hustle and bustle of the city. Pay your respects to the musician, while enjoy front row seats to both the river and cityscape from afar. Lady Bird Lake Trail, 512-474-5171
Boasting a beautiful Italian-style villa, pristine lawns, and a sculpture garden, The Contemporary Austin’s Laguna Gloria is a sight to behold. Wander out of the city limits, and onto its grounds to spend the day walking among palm trees and soe of the most intriguing sculptures you'll see in the area. 3809 W 35th St., 512-458-8191
From its lush landscape to the magical hideaways dotting the premises, it’s easy to see why many call Zilker Botanical Garden, "the jewel in the heart of Austin." Still, it's easy to forget that it’s not just one garden: it's a cluster of many gardens in one. Housed on 26 acres of greenery is a cactus and Japanese garden, among many others. You'll instantly feel at ease, though you're likely to stay much longer than just a few hours here given what’s offered. 2220 Barton Springs Rd., 512-477-8672