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Austin Travel Guide

About Austin

A creative university city and techie hub, Austin boasts phenomenal festivals and a wanna-have outdoor lifestyle thanks to balmy temperatures and 300 days of annual sunshine. It’s no wonder Americans are moving here in droves.

Whether you’re a cowboy, tech wunderkind, musician or retiree, the booming state capital of Texas seems to be every American’s dream city. This is the place to launch a start-up, kick-start a musical career or unleash your inner artist.

Music is king in Austin, the self-proclaimed ‘Live music capital of the world’. Arrive on a weekday afternoon, and you’re welcomed with live music before you’ve even left the airport. Then there are the 250 or so venues across town, staging a smorgasbord of rock, jazz, honky tonk and everything in between. Don your Stetson and cowboy boots and giddy up to the Broken Spoke dance hall for country jamming or listen to good ole American tunes at The Continental Club, entertaining fans for half a century.

Austin’s festivals are epic. Biggies SXSW and Austin City Limits Music Festival draw the crowds and big-name artists from across the globe, while movie stars converge on the city for the Austin Film Festival. Comedy, kites, fashion and bats all get their moment in the spotlight too.

When it comes to shopping, Austin embraces its ‘go local’ motto. The South Congress Avenue shopping strip, a straight shot south from the State Capitol, features Austin’s most beloved independent clothing boutiques and antique stores. Head into the arty district of East Austin, which is crammed with galleries, cocktail bars, food trucks and taquerias.

Want to grab a slice of the outdoors? Pedal or jog the 16km (10-mile) Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake, which includes a 2.2km (1.4-mile) stretch of boardwalk across the water where you can spot kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders. Cool off in Barton Springs Pool, a spring-fed swimming spot spanning 1.2 hectares (3 acres) in Zilker Park.

Don’t be alarmed if you hear chants of ‘Hook ‘em Longhorns!’. Just join the University of Texas’ 50,000 students in cheering on their college football team, the Texas Longhorns.

Key facts

Population:
842592

Featured Hotels

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Hotel San Jose

Once a flophouse in the middle of what used to be a downtrodden neighbourhood, Hotel San Jose is now one of the premiere boutique hotels in all of Austin. Featuring hacienda-style rooms with access to a romantic courtyard with drink service and pool, Hotel San Jose is not only loved by guests, but by locals who enjoy sipping on cocktails in the warm atmosphere.

Hotel Saint Cecilia

Owned by the same proprietors as Hotel San Jose, this quaint boutique hotel located in a gorgeous Travis Heights estate was named after the patron saint of music and poetry. Hotel Saint Cecilia offers 14 impeccable guest suites and a photo-worthy pool with a neon sign illuminating it. Favoured by celebrities.

Heywood Hotel

Arguably East Austin's first modern boutique hotel, this seven-room converted home features coffee service, Wi-Fi, bicycles, parking and an internet jukebox. For travellers who enjoy simple and sleek designs or to be in walking distance to the hot spots of East Austin and Downtown, the Heywood Hotel is a perfecting resting place.

Holiday Inn - Town Lake

Located on Lady Bird Lake (formerly called Town Lake) and I-35, this chain hotel is in a prime location for accessibility to Austin. It's easy to jump on the Hike and Bike Trail where you can head down to Congress Avenue Bridge to see the bats or South Congress to go souvenir shopping. Nearby the hotel, it's easy to rent a kayak or bike to enjoy on the lake. This hotel offers beautiful views of the area as well.

Doubletree Suites

This chain hotel is located in the heart of Downtown, within walking distance to some of the city's main central attractions and the UT campus. Though not as charming as the boutique hotels listed here, it offers nice amenities and polished rooms perfect for families and business people.

The Driskill

Built in 1886 and still standing as one of Austin's oldest buildings, this stately, and allegedly haunted, hotel sits in the epicenter of Downtown at Sixth Street near Congress Avenue. Enjoy staying in the ornate and classic rooms, grab a bite at the restaurant, 1886 Cafe and Bakery, and a drink at the Driskill Bar.