Austin is rife with opportunities to get outside, exercise and enjoy all the city has to offer. While there are numerous parks, trails and open spaces, you needn't look much further than the downtown area for spectacular views of native wildlife (bats, anyone?), historic buildings (Is the Driskill Hotel really haunted?) and a "lake" that's really a river.
Allen's Boots1 of 18
For a running tour of Austin around five and a half miles, start at the intersection of South Congress Avenue and West Monroe Street. On the west side of the road, you will see Allen's Boots, an Austin staple for high-end western wear. Make a note to come back here for a legit cowboy hat or fancy pair of cowboy boots. Image credit: Allen's Boots.
I Love You So Much2 of 18
Head north on Congress, passing the Hotel San Jose and The Continental Club—two Austin originals. At West James Street, make sure to snap a quick picture at the famous "I love you so much" wall on the side of Jo's Coffee green building.
South Congress3 of 18
Continue north on Congress, while trying to avoid the uniquely enticing boutique shops in the area. Enjoy the slight downhill grade as you pass over East Bouldin Creek and turn right onto East Riverside Drive. Image credit: Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Austin Boardwalk4 of 18
Head east on Riverside for about a quarter mile. When you see the Joe's Crab Shack on the left, it will be time to hop on to the Boardwalk. As long as you're running against traffic heading east, you can't miss the left-hand turn off onto the boardwalk.
Follow the boardwalk to the left and take in the amazing views of the Austin skyline from the newly completed boardwalk. Image credit: Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail (aka Town Lake Trail)5 of 18
Continue west on the boardwalk as it once again finds land and connects with the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail. Locals refer to this trail as the "Town Lake Trail." We recommend doing so as well unless you want to stick out like a tourist. Image credit: Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Lakes, Trails and Abs6 of 18
The Town Lake Trail will lead you alongside the shores of Austin's Town Lake (thus the given trail name), which is also technically the Colorado River that has been dammed off. It can get confusing, don't worry. While you might see the occasional cyclist, Town Lake is a hubbub of runners and walkers, especially super fit ones. Don't be ashamed if your abs don't match the dude who just passed you. It happens in Austin. Image credit: Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Stevie Ray Vaughan7 of 18
Around mile 2.5 you'll see the statue of one-time Austin resident Stevie Ray Vaughan, who is still a local favorite among the Austin music scene. Image credit: Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Footbridge Over Town Lake8 of 18
Take the footbridge over the lake to the right at about 2.75 miles and head east on the Town Lake Trail. If you reach Lamar Boulevard, you've gone too far.
Congress Avenue Bridge Bats9 of 18
Continue east on the Town Lake Trail under Congress Avenue taking in the kayakers, SUP'ers and maybe even a crew competition on the water. If you're there in the summer evenings, don't miss the world's largest urban bat colony as it emerges from under the Congress Bridge. It's not dangerous—it's actually wicked cool. Image credit: Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Austin Convention Center10 of 18
Around 3.75 miles, you'll pass the Austin Rowing Club on the right. Look for a turn off to the left and head up the hill to meet Trinity Street. Continue north on Trinity until you get to Cesar Chavez Street and turn right.
Head east on Cesar Chavez for one block and turn left on to Red River, as you see the Austin Convention Center on the left. This is home of large events such as South by Southwest and The Running Event—a must for the who's who of running retailers. Image source: Wikimedia.
Sixth Street11 of 18
Head north on Red River until you get to Sixth Street, which is well known for the many bars occupying both sides of the street. This is where University of Texas college students and occasionally rowdy bachelor/bachelorette parties get their Saturday night on—but for running, it's just nice and shady.
Driskill Hotel and Littlefield Building12 of 18
Turn left on Sixth Street and head west. You will come to the 129-year old Driskill Hotel, the oldest operating hotel in Austin. Next door is the 105-year old Littlefield Building, one of the most prestigious and opulent structures of its kind at the time of its completion. Little known fact: There is a floor 7 ½ rumored to be the scene of famous tenant Lyndon B. Johnson's private card games.
Sixth and Congress: The Intersection of Love13 of 18
As you pass Congress Avenue, take a look to the right as you catch a glimpse of the Capitol Building. You may feel the love as this intersection is commonly used for engagement pictures.
Governor's Mansion14 of 18
Turn right on Lavaca Street and head north until you see the Governor's Mansion on your right. Image credit: Wikimedia.
Texas State Capitol Building15 of 18
Turn right onto 11th Street and head down the hill to end in front of the Texas State Capitol Building. Bask in the glory that is Texas. And remember, everything is bigger here. And better.
Austin, Texas16 of 18
After snapping some pictures of the amazing architecture on the capitol building and the historic statues around the grounds, grab an Uber or pedi-cab back to your car on south Congress and get your shopping on. Image credit: Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
MapMyRun Austin route17 of 18
Check out the full route on MapMyRun.