As Austin’s  premier site for 20th century and contemporary art, the Austin Museum of Art (823 Congress Ave., 512/495-9224, www.amoa.org , 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Thurs., noon–5 p.m. Sun., $5 adults, $4 seniors and students, children under 12 free) hosts permanent and traveling exhibits from internationally acclaimed artists with much of the space devoted to local and regional works. The museum also offers lectures, films, classes, and performances.
The bad news: A major downtown facility has been in the works for nearly 20 years, yet plans are still on hold, so in the meantime, the museum’s digs are in a bland ground-level floor of a nondescript office building. The good news? AMOA has a smaller branch called Laguna Gloria (3809 W. 35th St., 512/458-8191), a gorgeous villa on Lake Austin featuring a 1916 Italianate mansion and lush grounds containing art exhibits and outdoor sculptures in a serene setting.