GALF Austin

Congress Avenue Bridge

Congress Avenue Bridge

The Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, is a timeless monument. This historic bridge spans the Colorado River and serves as an important transit link between downtown Austin and the South Congress neighborhood. It was built in 1910. The Congress Avenue Bridge is home to North America’s largest metropolitan bat colony, and each evening from April through November, thousands of bats emerge from beneath the bridge to feast on insects, providing a stunning sight that draws visitors from all over the world. These are some fascinating facts about Congress Avenue Bridge and the bats that live there:

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The Bridge’s History

  • Congress Avenue Bridge was built in 1910 and was originally a crossing for horse-drawn carriages and pedestrians.
  • In 1980, the bridge was reconstructed to accommodate vehicular traffic, and it became a popular spot for people to watch the sunset over the city skyline.
  • The bat colony was first noticed in 1980, and it has since grown to become one of the largest bat colonies in the world.

How to get to Congress Avenue Bridge

  • Start at the intersection of Riverside Drive and South Congress Avenue.
  • Head north on South Congress Avenue for approximately 0.3 miles.
  • Turn right onto East Cesar Chavez Street and continue for approximately 0.4 miles.
  • Turn left onto South Congress Avenue and continue for approximately 0.2 miles.
  • The Congress Avenue Bridge will be on your left.

The Bat Colony

  • Mexican free-tailed bats are small, fast-flying mammals that weigh less than half an ounce each.
  • The colony that lives under Congress Avenue Bridge can have up to 1.5 million bats during peak season.
  • The bats emerge from under the bridge at dusk in search of insects to eat, and their flight can last up to an hour.
  • The bats play a vital role in the ecosystem by controlling the insect population in the area.

Watching the Bats

The Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, is home to one of the largest metropolitan bat colonies in North America. The Mexican free-followed bats that reside here are a famous tourist attraction and an essential component of Austin’s ecosystem. These bats assume an urgent part in controlling the insect population in the city and contribute to the general prosperity of the nearby environment. As fascinating as they might be, it’s vital to understand the significance of the bat colony and the best ways to observe them without interfering with their living space.

Get the facts

  • Watching the bats emerge from under Congress Avenue Bridge is a popular activity for tourists and locals alike.
  • The best time to see the bats is from late March to early November.
  • The bats usually emerge around sunset, but the exact time can vary depending on the season and weather conditions.
  • There are several viewing areas along the bridge and the surrounding park, including the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, the South Congress Bridge, and the Austin American-Statesman parking lot.
  • It is important to be respectful of the bats and their habitat while viewing them. Visitors should not touch or disturb the bats and should avoid using flash photography.
Congress Avenue Bridge

Other Activities

While there are many other things to do in the area around Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, there are also a few activities that are specific to the bridge itself. Here are some of the top things to do at the bridge:

  • Watch The Sunset

The bridge offers stunning views of the Austin skyline, and it’s a great place to watch the sunset over the city. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the bridge or sit and enjoy the view from one of the benches.

  • Take A Bat Tour

While watching the bats emerge from under the bridge is a popular activity, visitors can also take a guided tour to learn more about the bats and their role in the ecosystem. Several tour companies offer bat tours in the area.

  • Attend A Bat Festival

Each year, Austin hosts the Bat Fest, a festival celebrating the city’s famous bat colony. The festival features live music, food, drinks, and of course, bat-watching.

  • Go Kayaking or Paddleboarding

Lady Bird Lake, which runs underneath Congress Avenue Bridge, is a popular spot for kayaking, paddleboarding, and other water activities. Visitors can rent equipment from several vendors in the area.

  • Take A Bike Tour

Visitors can rent bikes from several vendors in the area and take a guided tour of the city. Many tours include a stop at Congress Avenue Bridge to see the bats.

  • Go On a Ghost Tour – Austin is known for its haunted history, and there are several ghost tours that include a stop at Congress Avenue Bridge. Visitors can learn about the spooky legends and ghostly sightings in the area while taking in the beautiful views of the city at night.

Important Information About Congress Avenue Bridge

  • Address: Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704, United States
  • Working Hours: Monday-Sunday Open 24 hours
  • Website: 
  • Phone Number: +15123640759