Places to See the Sunset in Austin, Texas

Huge flocks of bats depart from Congress Avenue Bridge every evening as the sun sets in Austin.
Huge flocks of bats depart from Congress Avenue Bridge every evening as the sun sets in Austin. (Image: Aneese/iStock/Getty Images)

Austin, the capital city of The Lone Star State, lies on the banks of the Colorado River, where the flat eastern prairie ends and the Hill Country begins. The lakes and bluffs surrounding the city make for excellent sunset viewing.

The Oasis at Lake Travis

The Oasis at Travis bills itself the "Sunset Capital of Texas." Perched on a hill overlooking Lake Travis, this upscale restaurant is perfectly positioned to capture the light at dusk through its plate glass windows. The four-story facility seats up to 2,500 people and offers several banquet rooms for private events; it also offers live music on weekends. While you're watching the sunset, enjoy the varied menu featuring Tex-Mex favorites such as enchiladas and fajitas along with burgers, steaks and seafood.

Mount Bonnell Viewing Platform

Mount Bonnell, also known as Covert Park, overlooks Lake Austin to the west and is considered the highest point in the city of Austin proper. The park features a viewing platform at the top of a long wooden staircase. Climb the steps and you'll find yourself facing an expansive lake vista perfect for taking in the sunset. You can carry a picnic up to the pavilion, but keep in mind you'll have lots of company who also wish to take in the view.

Congress Street Bridge

Every night at sunset, dense clouds of bats leave their roost beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge and launch themselves into the darkening sky to hunt. The bridge plays host to the largest urban colony of bats in the world -- more than one million total -- and, understandably, they've become a major tourist attraction. Crowds gather each evening along the sidewalks on the bridge to watch the spectacle. The bats are migratory and absent in the winter, so if you want to see their flight across Lady Bird Lake, visit in the summer months.

Lone Star Riverboat

The Austin Chronicle calls the Lone Star Riverboat the "best place to watch the sunset." The boat cruises Lady Bird Lake daily April through October; cruises last about an hour. Lady Bird Lake is adjacent to the Congress Street Bridge and its famous bat colony, affording passengers another view of the winged mammals' nightly flight as the sun sinks into the waters of the lake. Buy your tickets in advance.

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