Voted one of Time magazine’s Top 100 Great Places on Earth in 2018, Austin’s new main library is the Platonic ideal of a 21st-century center of learning. It’s community oriented, with lots of public and private spaces, and equipped with the latest technology, which is shared for free as much as possible. The huge (200,000-square-foot) open structure was Platinum LEED certified for its sustainability; among other things, it is 80% day-lit and powered by downtown’s largest solar array. Art throughout the building adds to the visual appeal; most striking is “CAW” by Christian Moeller, a 37-foot-tall, bright red sculpture inspired by Austin’s grackle population. Visitors can’t use such features as free laptop checkout, video-conferencing, and 3D printing, but the high-speed Wi-Fi and public computers are available to all, as is the “technology petting zoo,” which lets everyone play with the latest tech devices. There are always free events and lectures open to the general public; check the website. A prime reason to come is the Cookbook Bar & Café, with dishes gleaned from the library’s huge cookbook collection.
Central Library (Austin)
710 W. Cesar Chávez St. , Austin, TX
Our Rating Hours Mon–Thurs 10am–8pm; Fri–Sat 10am–6pm; Sun noon–6pm Phone 512/974-7400 Web site Central Library
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.