It's not exactly news that Austin is now a year-round tourist attraction, but sometimes its hard to see the city through a visitor's or newcomer's eyes. Where do they go, what do they do, and—most important—what photos do they post on social media?
As 2017 comes to a close, Instagram shared the 10 most geotagged locations in the Austin area this year. The top 10 list includes everything from a now-relocated graffiti park to bars to stadiums, and it varies quite a bit from the 2016 list: The Domain and the airport made their debuts, while Voodoo Doughnuts fell off, for instance. Nevertheless, this year’s list—ranked 10th to first place below—once again indicates that Austin is still very much a music city.
What's your favorite place to snap photos in Austin? Leave a comment below or send it to the tipline.
10. Stubb's Austin
Yes, Stubb's serves barbecue and, yes, it does so out of a very cool old stone building on Red River Street. But we went with this shot of a show (21 Savage) in its amphitheater, because it’s also the site of some of the greatest (live music) shows on earth. It will be interesting to see if the venue continues its geolocation dominance when it changes its name to (deep sigh) Liberty Lunch.
9. Austin360 Amphitheater
What might have seemed at first like an afterthought to Austin’s still relatively new Formula One race track, Circuit of the Americas, the Austin360 Amphitheater has come into its own as a place for big live music acts, even winning Pollstar’s “Best New Major Concert Venue” award in 2013. Every one from Drake to Ballet Folklorico have performed there, and we’re pretty sure Taylor Swift’s concert saved the F1 race one year.
8. The Domain
Originally opened in 2007, the Domain has grown from a shopping mall to a full-blown, master-planned neighborhood with retail, office, restaurant, and residential space, with a lively community and plenty of public events.
7. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
As far as we know, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has never been called one of the most beautiful in the world, but it’s no slouch, either. Architects who designed ABIA include century-old local firm Page Southerland Page (Architect of Record), Gensler (Project Design Architect), and Leigh Fisher Associates. Though often crowded, the terminals are all glass walls, terrazzo floors, and blond wood, so it rarely feels cramped or gloomy. We suspect, however, that what makes it a popular spot to ‘gram is its plethora of local restaurant outlets, live music stage, and the fact that it indicates one is, indeed, in Austin.
6. Graffiti Park (HOPE Outdoor Gallery)
Although HOPE Outdoor Gallery, more colloquially known as the Castle Hill graffiti park, is relocating to Carson Creek next year, for six years the Clarksville plot is where street artists of all kinds were encouraged to cover retaining walls and other concrete debris with their work,—and then do it again.
5. Circuit of the Americas
Also the site of the Austin360 Amphitheater (No. 9, above), the Circuit of the Americas is a racetrack built for international car and motorcycle racing events—and, more specifically, for the Formula One championship races that are held there annually and attract thousands of fans from all over the world.
4. Sixth Street
As far as Instagram is concerned, “Sixth Street” is primarily the location of what we call “Dirty Sixth”: a few blocks of historic buildings running west of I-35 to, approximately, Congress Avenue (although there is some spillover into the Warehouse District west of that) known the world over for its many shot bars, live music venues featuring mostly cover bands, dance clubs, and other places made for mayhem. That rep is only a little exaggerated, but it’s a huge tourist draw where there are frequent celebrity sightings as well as Austin institutions such as the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz theater, the Driskill Hotel, and comedy venue Esther’s Follies.
3. The University of Texas at Austin
The presence of the Forty Acres, as the (much larger now) UT campus is still sometimes called, on this list is not a huge surprise, although last year only the football stadium made it into the top 10. It’s the flagship school of the state university for the second-largest state in the nation, populated with 51,000 students yearly—not to mention faculty, staff, and visitors. Between graduations, major sports events, general campus activity, and varied architecture, decor, and grounds, the photo ops are seemingly endless.
2. Downtown Austin
Oh, Downtown Austin, with your constantly changing skyline, your new tall buildings and your old cool ones, your things to do and places to stay, your people to watch. No wonder there are so many pictures of you.
1. Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL)/Zilker Park
As we know, ACL Fest is technically an event, not a location, but it’s always held in the same place (and is probably a location in many minds the rest of the year). Now taking place on two consecutive weekends every fall, the festival is attended by 450,000 people a year and, with some notable exceptions, manages to hit the sweet spot, weatherwise, and show off Zilker Park in its best light.