Austin/UT and the Drag

The University of Texas and the Drag form a district of Austin. This article also covers the "West Campus" and "North University" neighborhoods.


The University of Texas (UT) has one of the top five largest campuses in the US, and offers many attractions for students and non-students alike, with aesthetically pleasing grounds and many museums and cultural centers open to the public. A long section of Guadalupe Street (pronounced GWAHD-uh-loop by the locals), known as "the drag", runs alongside the western boundary of the UT campus, providing the area with unique shopping and culinary attractions. Some of the side streets to the west of the drag have some hidden gems as well.

UT is one of the largest universities in the country. With a history going back into the 1800s when 40 acres was set aside for a university, UT has grown into a world class institution. A walk around the campus will reveal everything from Ivy League architecture to modern sculpture. Places to visit are the Harry Ransom Center, the home of one of the original Gutenberg Bibles, the West Mall, UT's answer to London's Hyde Park corner, where students solve the world's problems, and the Littlefield fountain, designed by Italian artist Pompeo Coppini in 1933. The UT tower, the centerpiece of the campus upon its completion and for long since, periodically has tours that let visitors ascend to the observation deck at the top for a panoramic view of the campus and Austin.

If you're up for a walk (the campus is not small), don't forget to visit the LBJ Presidential library on the East side. If you're a football fan, Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium, home of the 2005 National Champion Texas Longhorns, is a must see. If you're around in the summer, a baseball ticket can be had for Texas baseball (a regular contender for NCAA champion The stadium is across I-35, though. For a rest, and if you can find it, discover the secret peaceful oasis of the lily pond near the biology building. Finally, there is the Cactus Cafe. A cool club on campus in the Austin tradition, the Cactus is known for great live acoustic music. A visit to the University would not be complete without stopping at the Cactus.

The Drag is also worth a visit. It's an urban oasis with a line of interesting stores, joints, restaurants and the usual mix of national chains. The UT Co-op has everything a Texas Longhorn fan could ever desire. Don't forget to visit the Renaissance Market, a small open space across from the university where one can purchase tye-dye shirts, home made jewelry and original art.

At one point, Austin would have been little else than UT and downtown. Today, UT stands as one of Austin's best monuments. If you're older, a visit will remind you what it feels like to be young again. If you're younger, it may excite you about what you can be. UT mottoes include "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" and "What begins here changes the world."




In addition to bookstores and other shops which cater to the needs of masses of UT students, the Drag has traditionally been filled with quirky eclectic shops, from bead shops to used records to tattoo parlors. There are still many of these shops around, though in recent years a number of more upscale shops have appeared as well, with unique fashion clothing and home decor items.





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