By Sarah Beckham
November 06, 2014
ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy

Austin's art scene may not be as well-known as its music, film, and food offerings, but the city does boast a respectable showing. An art event, the East Austin Studio Tour, is taking its place among the city's favorite happenings. Two of the city's major art museums recently merged to form a revitalized brand, the Contemporary Austin. And the University of Texas' at Austin's Blanton Museum continues to deliver inventive exhibitions and community events. You can shop at galleries like Yard Dog to take home an artistic souvenir of your time in Austin, and art can be found in tucked-away places like the Umlauf Sculpture Garden when you need a serene break from the excitement of Austin's live music scene and buzzing nightspots. So when you look through Austin's concert schedules and restaurant reviews, don't forget to peruse the museum and gallery listings, too. You'll discover something new about this multifaceted city.

East Austin Studio Tour

East-Central Austin is a haven of artistic activity. For two weekends in November, the artists and artisans there open the doors for the East Austin Studio Tour to show and sell their work and talk about their process. It's a festive atmosphere, and a fun way to knock out your holiday shopping.

The Contemporary Austin

In 2011, the Austin Museum of Art and Arthouse at the Jones Center merged to become The Contemporary Austin. The Contemporary has two distinctive venues: the modern Jones Center downtown (check out the rooftop film series there) and Laguna Gloria, an Italianate-style former estate on Lake Austin, to host exhibitions.

The Blanton Museum of Art

If you're around UT for the day, stop in for a visit to the Blanton, especially if it's a Thursday (when there's free admission). Memorable exhibitions have featured art of the American West and the museum's collection of prints and drawings. The permanent collection includes works by Romare Bearden, Mark Rothko and Thomas Hart Benton.

Yard Dog Folk Art

Fittingly for a gallery in the Live Music Capital of the World, Yard Dog showcases work from musician/artists like Jon Langford and Ian McLagan, along with an array of folk, outsider and other contemporary artists. Yard Dog is also known for its parties each year during the South by Southwest Music Festival.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum

Near Zilker Park and the restaurants of Barton Springs Road, you'll find a quiet, beautiful garden that's home to works by the 20th century American sculptor Charles Umlauf, who taught for many years at UT. You can take yoga class among the Umlauf's works, and every first Sunday brings special activities for Family Day.