Austin, Texas Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Eat, and More

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Austin likes to call itself the “Live Music Capital of the World,” and the city of Texas is doing its best to live up to that moniker. On a summer weekend, you might find over 100 artists performing in venues across town, with styles of indy rock, funk, folk, blues, bluegrass, tejano, zydeco and a myriad of other sounds filling the parched skies of south-central Texas. Of course, Austin is more than music. Food trucks, barbecue grills, microbreweries, arts festivals, spring-fed pools and a sizable bat population all help draw travelers to one of Lone State’s most beloved towns. Star.

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Where to stay

The lively shopping and dining district of the South Congress Quarter makes an excellent base for sightseeing. You will also find some gems in downtown as well as in East Austin.

Best SoCo Stay: Austin Motel

First opened in 1938, this South Congress Avenue bunk was best known for its phallic sign and aging rooms before design expert Liz Lambert gave the place a spectacular makeover a few years ago. a few years. Today, the 41-room motel is bursting with color and whimsy – like retro lamps and radios, brightly hued wallpaper, and a kidney-shaped pool that hosts nightly poolside parties. There’s a good all-day Tex-Mex restaurant on-site, and there are plenty of great dining and drinking options a short walk away.

  • Nearest airport: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
  • Duration: 12 minutes by car
  • Distance: 9 miles

Best digs in the city center: the Driskill

Austin’s oldest operating hotel is housed in a large, downtown neo-Romanesque building that dates back to the 1880s. The Lobby Bar is a chic hangout, albeit an abomination for vegans: think cowhide bar stools, oversized leather sofas and Texas longhorn wall heads staring at you as you sip a glass of local Sisterdale whiskey. Rooms aim for a look of classic timelessness, and the best have stylish balconies with skyline views.

  • Nearest airport: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
  • Time: 13 minutes by car
  • Distance: 10 miles

Best luxury hideaway: Sainte-Cécile

Named after the patron saint of music and poetry, Saint Cecilia acts as a muse for anyone lucky enough to spend the night in this elegant beauty of the Travis Heights neighborhood. The secluded property has lush grounds with a 24-hour heated 15-meter swimming pool, and the individually designed accommodations (five suites, six bungalows, and three studios) offer plenty of style. The rooms are equipped with Rega turntables and Geneva sound systems and you can borrow vinyl records (as well as anthologies of poetry) to listen quietly whenever you feel like it, such as when ordering an in-room spa treatment by example. You can also take a bike for a quick ride to South Congress Ave., just down the road.

  • Nearest airport: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
  • Time: 11 minutes by car
  • Distance: 9 miles

Where to eat

Austin’s food scene is more vibrant than ever, with creative ethnic restaurants, a legendary barbecue, and neo-Texan stars showcasing all that is locally sourced.

Best Food Trailers: The Picnic

Just one block from the entrance to Zilker Park, the picnic is Valhalla for food truck enthusiasts. You’ll find nine big names in the mobile cooking game, including Cannone Cucina Italiana (and its twin truck serving up heavenly ice cream), Coat & Thai with its fiery curries, and the Mighty Cone, famous for its delicious breaded chicken, prawns, and avocado snacks served in a tortilla cone.

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Best Breast: Franklin Barbecue

Serving up some of the best brisket on the planet, Franklin Barbecue has a pretty sizable following (NY Times restaurant critic Pete Wells is a fan). In other words, the line is absurdly long – some diners in line might have to wait up to four hours before they munch on this smoky perfection. BBQ enthusiasts say it’s worth the wait (just brace yourself, bring a chair, coffee and / or beer, shade for the scorching sun, and snacks!). There is also a way to avoid the long wait. You can pre-order up to six weeks in advance; Just show up in that 30 minute window, grab your food, and go. The catch: There’s a three-pound minimum and you can’t eat there, so bring a serious appetite, some hungry friends, and picnic plans (Lott Pocket Park is a short walk from the restaurant).

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Best Tex-Mex: Güero’s Taco Bar

A South Austin classic, Güero’s makes the best tacos in town, all the more flavorful in the rustic oak-shaded garden. It’s located in a former feed and seed store from the 1800s, which provides a nice backdrop for the live music that takes place Wednesday through Sunday. The bar is also a good place for quality margaritas at any time of the day.

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What to do

Downtown Austin

The city center grid streets have a mix of high rise office buildings as well as abundant entertainment (live music bars and clubs) along 6th St. You can also discover America’s largest state capital, a striking red granite building where you can admire the interior on a guided tour. Nearby, you can immerse yourself in Lone Star traditions at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, which covers everything from Neolithic peoples and early Native American settlements to civil rights and the space program. You can also admire excellent works of art at the juggernaut Blanton Museum of Art. Don’t miss Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin”, a kaleidoscope of a building that opened with great success in 2018.

South Austin

Cross the Colorado River to reach the painfully hip neighborhood of SoCo, short for South Congress, as most locals call it. Much of the action takes place along the eponymous avenue, which is lined with trendy boutiques, avant-garde art galleries, outdoor cafes and bars, and quirky hotels, as well as restaurants seemingly unlimited. West of South Congress is leafy Zilker Park, home to Barton Springs Pool, a huge swimming place fed by an icy spring. It is a popular destination in hot weather. You can also relax in the forest-lined springs just outside the pool.

Winged Wonders

To get a glimpse of Austin’s wildlife, set up a spot south of the Congress Avenue Bridge just before dusk. Every night from spring to fall, a large swarm of Mexican free-tailed bats soars into the sky. Their number can reach more than 1.5 million by the end of the season.

Festivals

Austin has a busy festival calendar, with South by Southwest (SXSW) in March among the city’s most well-known events. The first two weekends of October, the Austin City Limits festival offers an exceptional musical program. This year you can see Billie Eilish, Erykah Badu, Rüfüs du Sol, Miley Cyrus, Jon Batiste and dozens of other artists. The festival sold out quickly, although you can still get resale tickets on the website.

How to Save Money on Your Trip to Austin, Texas

Experiences

Although he is popularly known for his music, Austin, Texas can offer much more than that. From exceptional museums and top-notch ballet performances to numerous restaurants and a unique shopping experience, it’s hard to do it all in a day or two, especially with limited time and budget. It is therefore preferable to prepare your itinerary and your accommodation in advance (but if you want to be spontaneous, why not?). Fortunately, there are several apps and websites to help you maximize your stay and stay on budget while traveling. Airbnb.com offers a wide variety of hotel rental and accommodation options, depending on whether you want to be near good restaurants or a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.

Hotels

It doesn’t hurt to feel like an Austin local whether you’re just visiting for the weekend or planning to come for an event. With the rise of the hospitality industry, it’s now more convenient to experience the city firsthand, even from the comfort of your own rental location. From retro to Romanesque revival, each hotel has a lot to offer while showcasing what the city is known for: the arts and music. If you still don’t know where to stay, check out Hotel tonight, Airbnb.com, and Kayak.com because they provide just about the right place for you to stay in Austin, TX without breaking the bank.

Vehicles rental

Sure, there are accessible taxis in Austin, Texas, but isn’t it fun to walk around the city without the hustle and bustle of public transportation? There are many places to visit in Austin that having a car to get from one place to another will be handy in maximizing your stay and saving money. Kayak.com is the best way to research some of the best car rental deals.

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