If you’re planning a trip to Texas, make sure to include Austin in your itinerary. The state capital is known for its vibrant culture, thriving music scene, and delicious cuisine. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan your visit, from the city’s history to its top attractions, food and drinks, shopping, accommodation, and transportation options.
History and Culture
Austin is a city that prides itself on its diverse history and rich culture. From its early days as a frontier town to its current status as a hub of technology and innovation, Austin has always been a place of progress and creativity.
One of the most unique aspects of Austin’s culture is its deep connection to music. Known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin is home to hundreds of live music venues and festivals that showcase local and international talent. The South by Southwest festival, which takes place every March, is one of the most well-known events in the city and attracts thousands of people from all over the world.
Austin is also a city that values education and intellectual curiosity. The University of Texas at Austin, which was founded in 1883, is one of the largest and most respected universities in the country. Its faculty and alumni have made significant contributions to a wide range of fields, including science, technology, business, and the arts.
In addition to its thriving arts and education scenes, Austin is also a city that values sustainability and environmentalism. The city has implemented a number of initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices, including a comprehensive recycling program and an emphasis on public transportation and bike lanes.
Austin is a city full of unique and exciting attractions that are sure to delight visitors of all ages. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant and dynamic city.
One of the most iconic attractions in Austin is the Texas State Capitol. Completed in 1888, the Capitol building is a stunning example of 19th-century architecture and is home to the offices of the Governor and the State Legislature. Visitors can take a guided tour of the Capitol and learn about the history and culture of Texas.
For those who love the great outdoors, Austin is home to several parks and natural areas, including the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. This 10-mile trail offers stunning views of the city skyline and is a popular destination for hiking, biking, and jogging. Visitors can also rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards and explore the lake on their own.
Another popular attraction in Austin is the Bullock Texas State History Museum. This museum features exhibits and artifacts that showcase the rich history and culture of Texas, from the early days of the frontier to the present day. Visitors can see artifacts from the Battle of the Alamo, learn about the history of the Texas Rangers, and explore the culture and traditions of the state’s many different communities.
If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, be sure to check out the Congress Avenue Bridge Bat Colony. From March to November, thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats roost under the bridge, and every evening at sunset, they take flight in search of insects. Visitors can watch this stunning display of nature from the bridge or from one of the nearby parks.
Food and Drinks
Austin is a city that is known for its vibrant food and drinks scene. From barbecue to tacos to craft beer, Austin has something to offer every palate.
One of the most iconic dishes in Austin is barbecue, and there’s no shortage of amazing BBQ joints in the city. Franklin Barbecue is a local favorite, known for its melt-in-your-mouth brisket and ribs. Be prepared to wait in line, though, as this popular spot often has long queues of hungry customers.
If you’re in the mood for tacos, Austin has plenty of options to choose from. Torchy’s Tacos is a local chain that serves up creative and delicious tacos, such as the “Trailer Park” (fried chicken, green chilies, and queso) and the “Brushfire” (Jamaican jerk chicken, grilled jalapeños, and mango). For a more traditional taco experience, head to Veracruz All Natural, which serves up authentic and fresh Mexican street tacos.
Craft beer is also a big part of the Austin food and drinks scene. Jester King Brewery is a local favorite, known for its sour beers and rustic farm setting. For a more urban vibe, check out Hops and Grain Brewery, which offers a variety of hoppy IPAs and seasonal brews.
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, don’t miss out on the Gourdough’s food truck. This beloved spot serves up creative and decadent donuts, such as the “Mama’s Cake” (yellow cake batter, cinnamon sugar, and cream cheese icing) and the “Flying Pig” (bacon strips and maple syrup).
As for drinks, you can’t visit Austin without trying some local beer. Jester King Brewery is a popular spot that specializes in farmhouse ales, while Stubb’s BBQ is known for its live music and cold drinks.
Austin is a city that is full of unique and eclectic shops, offering everything from handmade crafts to vintage clothing to one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
For a truly unique shopping experience, head to South Congress Avenue. This vibrant street is lined with shops selling everything from quirky gifts to vintage clothing to handmade jewelry. Be sure to check out Allens Boots, which offers a wide selection of cowboy boots and Western wear, and Uncommon Objects, a vintage shop that is packed with unusual and interesting finds.
If you’re looking for something more upscale, head to The Domain, a sprawling outdoor shopping center that offers high-end retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Louis Vuitton. This outdoor shopping center also features a variety of restaurants and cafes, making it the perfect spot to spend an entire day.
For a taste of local flavor, check out one of Austin’s many farmers markets. The Texas Farmers Market at Mueller offers a wide selection of fresh produce, artisanal bread, and handmade crafts. The HOPE Farmers Market is another great option, offering live music and a variety of local food vendors.
If you’re looking for a unique souvenir to take home, be sure to visit Austin Rocks, a local gift shop that offers a wide selection of Austin-themed gifts and souvenirs, including t-shirts, hats, and jewelry.
Austin offers a wide variety of accommodations, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels. No matter what your budget or preference, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay in this vibrant city.
For a unique and affordable experience, check out Hostelling International Austin, a hostel that offers both private and shared rooms in a beautiful, historic building. The hostel also features a communal kitchen and lounge area, making it the perfect spot for budget-conscious travelers to meet new people and make new friends.
If you’re looking for something more upscale, check out Hotel Saint Cecilia, a boutique hotel that offers luxurious rooms and suites in a stunning setting. The hotel also features a beautiful outdoor pool and bar area, perfect for relaxing and taking in the Austin vibe.
For a truly unique experience, consider staying at The Native Hostel, a hostel that also offers private rooms and suites in a beautifully renovated 1930s building. The hostel features a rooftop bar and lounge area, as well as a variety of cultural events and activities.
If you’re looking for something more traditional, there are plenty of hotels to choose from in Austin as well. The Driskill, a historic hotel that dates back to 1886, offers luxurious rooms and suites in the heart of downtown Austin. The hotel also features a spa and fitness center, as well as a variety of dining options.
Getting around Austin is easy and convenient, thanks to a variety of transportation options that are available throughout the city.
One of the best ways to get around Austin is by bicycle. The city offers a wide variety of bike lanes and trails, making it easy and safe to explore the city on two wheels. There are also several bike rental companies throughout the city, including Austin Bike Tours and Rentals and Barton Springs Bike Rental.
Another great option is to use public transportation. The city’s Capital Metro system offers bus and rail service throughout the city, with affordable fares and convenient schedules. You can purchase tickets and passes at kiosks located throughout the city or through the CapMetro App.
If you prefer to get around by car, there are plenty of rental car companies located throughout Austin, including Enterprise, Hertz, and Avis. You can also use ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.
For a unique and fun way to explore the city, consider using electric scooters. Companies such as Lime and Bird offer electric scooters that you can rent by the minute, making it easy to zip around the city and explore all that Austin has to offer.
In conclusion, Austin truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, a shopaholic, or just looking for a fun and unique vacation destination, Austin has it all. From the rich history and culture of the city to the top attractions, delicious food and drinks, unique shopping experiences, and a variety of accommodations to suit any budget, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Austin. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Austin adventure today!
READ MORE HERE: Things to Do in Austin, TX | Attractions & Live Music