Last Updated: 02/04/2020 | February 4th, 2020

Paris has Notre Dame. London has Westminster Abbey. Moscow has St. Basil’s.

And Austin? We have the Cathedral of Junk!

Started in 1988 by Vince Hannemann, the Cathedral of Junk is an ever-evolving passion project involving over 60 tons of junk. Old bikes, appliances, hubcaps, TVs — you name it. They’re all cobbled together to form a massive “cathedral” that spans Vince’s entire back yard.

While he originally had to scavenge for junk to start his project, it wasn’t long before people were donating their old possessions to help him expand his “cathedral” — making it bigger and adding more rooms in the process.

A number of years ago the city of Austin, Texas, tried to shut it down, saying it was too much junk and a safety concern. (In truth, the neighbors thought it was an eyesore and complained to the city) So Vince and an army of volunteers pared down the structure and brought it up to code so the site could stay open.

Eventually, Vince decided enough was enough and started to take parts of the cathedral down. But not long after he changed his mind and the cathedral is now bigger than ever.

In a weird city like Austin, a massive cathedral made of junk located in someone’s suburban backyard seems oddly fitting. I spent most of my visit talking to Vince and asking questions (it doesn’t take long to explore the Cathedral). But I also explored and took in this quirky architectural feat.

During my visit I found out that a lot of people come here with their kids; many were running all over the place and having a merry time playing make-believe. I discovered out that this place is really popular with locals because your kids will stay occupied for an hour or two. If you’re in Austin with your family, come here. Your kids will love it.

And if you are traveling without kids, come here anyway. You’ll still love it. I did.

Visiting the Cathedral of Junk

You can visit the Cathedral of Junk at 4422 Lareina Drive in Austin, Texas. It’s a 15-minute drive from downtown by car. If you want to take the bus, the journey is 30 minutes and you can take the #10.

Admission is free though a $5 donation for adults is encouraged. There are no set hours and he isn’t open every day so it’s best to call ahead before you go. (With a set schedule, the City of Austin would consider him an “official business” and then he would have to follow all sorts of rules)


Is the Cathedral of Junk the greatest attraction in Austin? Probably not, but it’s so weird, so quirky, that you really should make an effort to see it during your visit. It makes for a unique afternoon and is a perfect example of why the slogan for Austin is “Keep Austin Weird.”

Whether you’re traveling solo or with a family, make sure you add this to your itinerary. I promise it will be worth it!


How to Travel the World on $50 a Day

My New York Times best-selling paperback guide to world travel will teach you how to master the art of travel so that you’ll get off the beaten path, save money, and have a deeper travel experience. It’s your A to Z planning guide that the BBC called the “bible for budget travelers.”

Click here to learn more and start reading it today!

Book Your Trip to the United States: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on the United States?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on the United States for even more planning tips!

15.04.2013 / austin / texas
This website uses cookies and other data for providing, improving our services. Get more. Got it