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Austin

Photo by Kim Grant

Austin Itineraries

Austin for First Timers

Austin for Music Lovers

A beginner's guide to the state capital of Texas

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Year after year, Austin grows in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. Its laid-back charm and “Keep Austin Weird” zeitgeist make visitors feel welcome no matter where they’re from or what they’re looking for. The town is known for its live music, of course, but its appeal goes much deeper than that. It’s a city where you can just kick back and enjoy the warm weather, pop open a longneck or sip a vegan latte, and embrace the fine art of hanging out.

You could build an entire vacation on eating and drinking alone, with tons of local restaurants that range from food trailers to high-end restaurants and everything in between. (The chain restaurants, which are mostly relegated to interstate off ramps, barely stand a chance.) There’s a heavy emphasis on barbecue and Tex Mex, but no matter what you have a hankering for, you’re not going to go hungry. (Or thirsty, either: frozen margaritas, craft cocktails and dive-bar beers are all well represented here.)

Austin is the state capital and home of the University of Texas, but it’s also known as the Live Music Capital of the World. It’s home to South by Southwest, the wildly popular music, film and interactive festival, as well as the Austin City Limits Music Festival. But there’s no need to brave the crush of fans and exorbitant prices to be part of the scene: you can catch live music every night of the week, all year long, at venues all over town.

Centrally located neighborhoods (before you hit the ‘burbs) still have an authentically Austin feel with all sorts of interesting, locally owned businesses. Whether it’s a funky art gallery, a coffee shop performance space, a vintage clothing shop, or a food trailer that specializes in some obscure menu item, these businesses are indeed keeping Austin weird, even amid its tech boom and rapid expansion.


South Congress

Just south of downtown, South Congress is the epicenter of activity, with a heavy concentration of cool restaurants, bars and shops with a uniquely Austin vibe. It’s a mob scene that gets even mobbier on First Thursdays, when all the stores stay open late and crowds roam up and down the street in search of street food and live music.


Downtown

Downtown you’ll find a handful of interesting museums and the rowdy Sixth Street entertainment district, as well as the Texas State Capitol. The domed building made from sunset-pink granite is taller than the United States Capitol and is one of Austin’s most distinctive landmarks.

Get started with these itineraries, Austin for First Timers and Austin for Music Lovers, with more on the way.


What it Costs

Abstract Pricing at a Glance

Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity, seasonality and deals. We don’t want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.

Price ranges are quoted in $US.

See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
Free
$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11–25 per person
$$$ => Tickets $26 per person

Sleep
$ => Rooms less than $150 for a double
$$ => Rooms $150–$300 for a double
$$$ => Rooms $300 for a double

Eat
$ => Up to $15 for average main at dinner (or lunch/breakfast if no dinner is served)
$$ => $16–22 for average main at dinner (or lunch/breakfast if no dinner is served)
$$$ => $23 for average main at dinner (or lunch/breakfast if no dinner is served)

Shop
N/A => Not applicable

Tours
$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11–25 per person
$$$ => Tickets $26 per person

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