Austin Travel Guide

You’re gonna love Austin. Austin is one of America’s true cultural capitals. It is ideal for music, film, comedy, theater, puppet shows, jazz and dance fans. In fact, if you love almost any form of culture, Austin is your destination. Visit the South by Southwest Festival and discover established or new artists from around the world. Plus, in the fall you can enjoy the top bands at the Austin City Limits Festival or watch the world’s leading comedy acts at the Out Out Festival.

Austin

In addition, you can enjoy this quiet and bohemian city at any time of year, especially between March and May.

Top 5 reasons to visit Austin

Live music

LIVE MUSIC

Austin is one of the most important live music capitals in the U.S. It hosts the South By Southwest indie festival every March and offers blues and rock shows every week at bars like Mohawk, Sahara Lounge and White Horse.

Stunning nature

Zilker Botanical Garden

The Texas landscape is even more impressive in Austin. This city is full of natural attractions, such as the 10 acres of Zilker Botanical Garden and the waterfalls at McKinney State Park, which are easily accessible.

Tex-Mex Food

Tex-Mex cuisine includes delicious dishes such as grilled meat fajitas, nachos with cheese and chiles con carne. Try all these dishes and many more at restaurants like Trudy’s Texas Star and Habaneros.

Shows to laugh at

Hideout Theatre

Austin with an extraordinary group of comedy clubs, including Hideout Theatre, Velveeta Room and Capitol City.

The Circuit of America

Circuit of America

South of Austin is the Circuit of America, home of the U.S. Grand Prix, which attracts 240,000 fans a year. If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, don’t miss out on the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.

What to do in Austin

Get to know the Texas State Capitol

Texas State Capitol

The official offices of the Governor of the State of Texas and the Parliament are located in this imposing building in the heart of Austin. This vaulted masterpiece has an impressive structure. Stroll through its lush outdoor gardens to find more historic landmarks.

Observe the natural beauty of the Zilker Botanical Garden

Zilker Botanical Garden

This Colorado River oasis has a spectacular variety of gardens. Divided into sections, visitors comfortably stroll through the themed areas. Want to spend the day? Visit ZBG on your way to Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail and hike to the river.

Discover the Bullock Texas State History Museum

Bullock Museum

The second largest state in America, Texas, has a strong, proud and individual character. Discover the origins of this southern giant with the Bullock Museum’s comprehensive exhibitions. Next, stop by the splendid Blanton Museum of Art across the street.

Enjoy Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird

As the Colorado River flows through Austin, it turns into a picturesque lake called Lady Bird. Kayaking, canoeing and rowing in these tranquil waters is a favorite activity of locals and tourists alike. In addition, lush parks surround the shimmering waters of the lake. Between Zilker and Roy Guerrero Colorado River parks there are all kinds of sports facilities, from golf to softball. And for relaxed walking, there’s nothing better than the boardwalk and its panoramic views.

Tour the Lyndon Baines Library-Museum

Lyndon B. Johnson was John F. Kennedy’s first vice president and then served as president of the Civil Rights Movement until the Vietnam War, during a turbulent time. In this library-museum, details of the 1960s make sense through authentic documents and artifacts.

Top tours in Austin:

When To Visit Austin

Spring is the best time to visit Austin: although summer can be uncomfortably hot, the weather is perfect between March and May. It’s also the cultural season of the year thanks to the great SXSW music festival and a great time to enjoy the outdoors. Autumn is almost as attractive, with equally pleasant temperatures, and it’s the time when the Austin City Limits festival is held, bringing together great international music figures such as The Cure and Kings of Leon.

How to get to Austin

By plane

Flying to Austin Bergstrom International Airport is the most common way to get to Austin. To get to the city after landing, take the MetroAirport bus for $1.75. Taxis are a good alternative, but the fare to downtown is about $30.

Airports near Austin:
AUS Austin-Bergstrom
SAT San Antonio
GRK Killeen Fort Hood Regional

By train

The Amtrak station is located on Boulevard 250 North Lamar. It operates the Texas Eagle Line, which connects it to Chicago and stops in cities like Dallas and St. Louis.

By Car

If you drive to Austin from other American enclaves, you’ll probably be driving along I-35, which connects to Dallas and San Antonio. US-290 also links Austin to Houston and other eastern destinations.

By Bus

Greyhound is the main bus operator to Austin and its main stop is just outside Highland Mall. It provides direct connections to major Texas cities, as well as indirect services to almost any U.S. destination.

Where to stay in Austin

W Hotel Austin

The best accommodation options are in the city centre, although there are also good alternatives in almost all the neighbourhoods. The W Hotel Austin is the best downtown luxury hotel. In Downtown you can find cheaper options, such as the Radisson Hotel and the Firehouse Hostel. If you want to stay in a more traditional environment, the huge Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa, near McKinney Falls, is perfect. And close to the University of Texas, the Drifter Jack’s Hostel is great value.

Interesting neighborhoods in Austin

  1. Downtown, the center of Austin’s business life, is full of bars, music venues and restaurants. It also includes museums such as the Austin Museum of Art, and local favorites include the Violet Crown Cinema.
  2. The Drag is one of Austin’s liveliest shopping and dining areas. It is located near the University of Texas, where you can visit the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library-Museum and the Texas Memorial Museum.
  3. East Austin is a diverse and creative area with some of the best dance, music and theatre venues in the city. Be sure to enjoy the avant-garde theater at Vortex, the puppet shows at Salvage Vanguard and the musical events at the Off Center.

Getting Around in Austin

Public Transport

The Capital Metro municipal bus company connects the main tourist districts and downtown Austin. Each bus trip costs $1.25, but the daytime ticket is better: $2.50. There are also convenient night buses and an efficient MetroRail network. If you like to pedal, rent a bike from the Yellow Bike Project for only $5 a day.

Taxi

The flag drop for taxis in Austin is $2.50. Uber is cheaper, as his basic fare is $1 and, in addition, he charges an additional $1 for every six hundred miles driven.

Car

Traffic in Austin is smooth and comfortable, so renting a car is a good option, which will cost you about $20 a day. Generally, parking is not a problem either, even in downtown, where you will find parking meters for $1 per hour.

Car Rental Agencies in Austin

Enterprise
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How Expensive is Austin?

Shopping streets

The great attraction of Austin for shoppers is the wide variety of strange and unconventional boutiques. It is a bohemian place with a large community of music fans, so record stores like Waterloo Records or End of a Ear are worth a visit. You’ll find exclusive vintage toys at Hogwild and many clothing stores on South Congress Street, including Blackmail and Parts & Labor. There are also conventional shopping malls.

Groceries and others

Austin has a lower cost of living than most other U.S. cities of its size, thanks in part to lower state food taxes. A beer costs between $4 and $6.

Where to Eat in Austin

If you love Tex-Mex food, Austin is full of great places to eat. Don’t miss the fajitas rancheras at Habanero Café, the fajitas de carne at Pappasito’s, or the tacos de camarones at Matt’s El Rancho.

There are also authentic Italian restaurants like La Traviata, traditional southern food pubs like Roaring Fork and Japanese restaurants like Uchi. Relax at the sausages at Best Wurst or the burgers at Casino el Camino. Expect to pay $15-20 for a mid-range meal and over $40 at the cheaper restaurants.

Other USA Destinations:
Chicago Travel Guide
Miami Travel Guide
New York Travel Guide
Orlando Travel Guide
Seattle Travel Guide
San Diego Travel Guide