Five attractions to see while you’re at UT Austin for ISOJ 2023

For those joining us in person for the 24th International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ), we want to welcome you to the 40 Acres!

That’s the nickname for the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. You can read more about how that became the moniker, but essentially, it was the original size of the university campus, referred to as “College Hill.”

While you’re at the home of the Texas Longhorns, we hope you’ll take some time to traverse the 431 acres that now make up our beautiful main campus.

There’s a lot to see, but we put together a list of five of the most interesting spots.

We know campus is big, so we’ve also linked a digital map to help you get around.

And if you have any questions or want to add something to the list, drop us a line at And make sure to follow and our accounts on Twitter and Facebook for more information about ISOJ 2023.

  1. Gutenberg Bible and Frida Kahlo self-portrait at the Harry Ransom Center 

This humanities research center is home to 1 million books, more than 42 million manuscripts, 5 million photographs and 100,000 works of art, according to the Harry Ransom Center website. It has one of only 20 complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible and Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait with thorn necklace and hummingbird. Best of all, it’s free!

Find the Ransom Center at 300 West 21st Street.

Gutenberg Bible at UT Austin
The Gutenberg Bible at the Harry Ransom Center (Photo: Jasmine Palacios)
  1. Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art

Austin is American artist Ellsworth Kelly’s “most monumental work,” according to the Blanton Museum of Art, where this permanent collection sits. It is a “2,715-square-foot stone building with luminous colored glass windows, a totemic wood sculpture, and fourteen black-and-white stone panels in marble.” While you check out Austin, make sure to visit the museum itself. It is temporarily under construction, but still open and is home to Ancient Greek, Roman and Near Eastern Art; art of the Spanish Americas; Latin American art; U.S. art; contemporary art, and more. And if you’re looking for more art on campus, check out Landmarks, the university’s public art program. It will show you public art works around UT Austin.

Find the Blanton Museum of Art at 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Ellsworth Kelly's Austin
The inside of Austin, a work by Ellsworth Kelly, located at the Blanton Museum of Art. (Photo: Teresa Mioli)
  1. Turtle Pond

Located in the shadow of the UT Tower since 1939, the Turtle Pond is the habitat for a few dozen turtles, according to the College of Natural Sciences. On any given day, you can see them bathing on rocks or seemingly attempting to flee to their home.

Find the Turtle Pond on the north side of the UT Tower.

A pond with turtles
This pond at UT Austin is home to a few dozen turtles (Photo: Teresa Mioli)
  1. Texas Union Underground

Looking to get a game of bowling in between panels? Check out the 12-lane bowling alley located in the basement of the Texas Union. The Texas Union is a central spot on campus for students to eat, study and hang out. While you’re there, also visit the Cactus Café & Bar and grab a drink and maybe some music.

Find the Texas Union Underground in the bottom level of the Texas Union at Guadalupe and 24th Street.

Bowling alley
The Union Underground features a 12-lane bowling alley. (Photo: Lola Moreno)
  1. Life Science Library

Located in the UT Tower, the Life Science Library features intricate woodwork and painting and was the author of this post’s favorite place to study. It is located in the space that served as the university’s original library until 1977, according to the UT libraries website. It is just one of more than two dozen libraries on UT Austin’s main campus. If you’re up for a bit of a hike, the author recommends two other phenomenal libraries: the Benson Latin American Collection and the LBJ Presidential Library.

Find the Life Science Library on level 2 in the UT Tower at 2400 Inner Campus Drive.

The Life Science Library is located inside the UT Tower. (Photo: Jasmine Palacios)