Austin Travel Guide
- Laid-back culture, laid-back fashion, laid-back people
- Mild, sunny winters averaging in the mid-60s to 70s November through April
- Tex-Mex restaurants with dishes like chili con carne, fajitas, and corn and chicken chowder
- Outdoor-oriented, with nature activities like walking and biking trails, as well as numerous city parks
- Youthful, creative, friendly, and down-to-earth residents
- Active nightlife, especially on Sixth Street, chock-full of karaoke bars, comedy clubs, and comfy lounges
- "Live Music Capital of the World," with hundreds of venues featuring live music
- Bike-friendly, and perhaps more importantly, bike-rack-friendly, with racks dotting most streets
- Limited direct flights to/from Austin (Houston or Dallas the next closest airports)
- Terrible traffic for a city Austin's size
- Over 3 hours from both Dallas and Houston
- Most cultural sites tied to the University
- Extremely hot during summer months
- Poor public transit
What It's Like
A rapidly evolving yet mellowed-out metropolis, Austin draws a diverse crowd -- from inked artists to chic urban entrepreneurs. Even though Austin is a bit far from Texas' mega-cities -- Houston and Dallas -- Texas' capital offers plenty on the activities and attractions front. It has also emerged as one of the top city's in the country for young professionals, with low unemployment rates and high quality of life.
Austin was founded in 1839, and the University of Texas -- founded about 50 years later -- contributes significantly to the city's unique culture. Today, flags, banners, and window decals displaying a set of cattle horns (which belong to Bevo, UT's Texas Longhorn mascot) pop up in nearly every corner of town.
With its recent revitalization and growth, Austin gives visitors a little bit of everything: political hot spots like the Governor's Mansion and the State Capitol; over 193 miles of scenic walking trails; nightlife, restaurants, and coffee pubs, especially on the sizzling Sixth Street.
Oh, and no need to bring your fancy pants. Austinites sport a laid-back, jeans-and-T-shirt mentality. Less is more in this city -- a relaxed locale with a youthful, funky twist.
Where To Stay
Younger crowds looking to bar hop may want to stay near Downtown's Sixth Street, the lifeblood of Austin's nightlife. North Central Austin, a few blocks north of the UT campus, may be better for families. This low-key area houses Hyde Park and the Texas Memorial Museum. Shoppers should check out the suburban northwest Austin, which is close to mega shopping malls like The Gateway and The Arboretum. Business travelers can choose from multiple chain hotels near the Austin Convention Center and the State Capitol.