|Country||USA (United States of America)|
|Total Area||297.9 sq miles|
|Lat Long Coordinates||30.2669° N, 97.7428° W|
|Time Zone||CST (UTC−06:00)|
|Major Religion||Catholic, Christian|
|Museums||Blanton Museum of Art,The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum,AMOA-Arthouse|
|Universities||St. Edward's University,Huston-Tillotson University,The University of Texas|
Beauty may be skin deep, but Texas is to the bone. And, its state capital Austin is akin to a fine wine distilled in sunshine; a city where collision of cultures and religions goes well beyond friendly ballgames and family barbecues. Be it for the legendary live music or the burgeoning culinary scene, there's never a bad time to saddle up, giddy up, and head on straight to Austin.
What they say is true; Texas's answer to Silicon Valley, it is a tech town with a hippie heart. With more than 250 music venues, it is nicknamed “Live Music Capital of the World.” Founded in 1839, it was named after the "Father of Texas” – Stephen F. Austin – and is home to the University of Texas.
How to Reach? (Getting in and Around)
The state capital is located along the Balcones Fault in Central Texas in the United States. The city lies about 145 miles northwest of Houston, 190 miles south of Dallas, and 80 miles north of San Antonio.
Best Time to Visit
- By Air – Austin–Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), about five miles south of downtown, serves the Greater Austin metropolitan area. It is connected by more than 15 airlines include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Express.
- By Train – The Texas Eagle that runs between Chicago and Los Angeles via San Antonio stops at Austin Amtrak Station.
- By Road – Get behind the wheel on Interstate 35, U.S. Highway 183, and State Highway 71 that traverse the city. Capital Metro provides public transportation, primarily by bus, in the city. Greyhound, Vonlane, and Megabus ply buses to nearby cities in the state. It is also the most bike-friendly city in Texas.
The shoulder seasons fall (September to November) and spring (March to May) are the ideal time (also the busiest) to visit. Especially in spring, weather is idyllic, the flowers blossom, and activities abound.
Places to Visit in Austin
- Texas State Capitol – The grandiose red-granite façade of this 19th-century Capitol strikes out from the distance. Covering 22 acres, this 94-m-tall building is famous for Italian Neo-Renaissance architecture, a grand rotunda, and a 'whispering gallery.' Its first-rate visitor center provides information related to history and tours of the building.
- Austin's Park N Pizza – A popular hangout for birthday parties and day-out with family, this indoor and outdoor amusement park/entertainment center lies 20 minutes north of downtown. Feel the heart-racing adrenaline on roller coasters, let your kids go berserk with Rookie Karts, put on your vest to battle it out with your friends and family at Laser Adventure. Other attractions include bumper boats, mini golf, batting cages, bowling lanes, and unlimited buffet.
- Museums – With an astounding collection of 18,000 works of Renaissance to modern American and European paintings, Latin American art, Greek and Roman sculptures, the Blanton Museum of Art is like a full-course meal for culture vultures. Take a peek into the state's history at Bullock Texas State History Museum and admire the works of local artists at The Contemporary Austin. LBJ Presidential Library and Mexic-Arte Museum are other notable places to extend an artsy afternoon.
- Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Headquartered in Austin and a delight for every cinephile, such is the aura of this theater chain that even Tarantino swears by it. It is known for giving a life to old films and adhering to strict etiquette: you can't expect to play with gadgets during movie screenings. So, glue your tush to seats by attending Quentin Tarantino Film Festival or annual Butt-numb-a-thon.
- Zilker Metropolitan Park – This popular green space of 350 acres, located at the juncture of Barton Creek and the Colorado River, houses an outdoor theater with lawn setting and exquisitely-themed botanical gardens. Admire the floral display of Japanese Garden, rose garden, and herb garden, chase the ancient dinosaur footprints in Hartman Prehistoric Garden, and take a stroll among the erotic sculptures in Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum.
- Mount Bonnell – Either for a panoramic view of Lake Austin and downtown skyline or for a romantic rendezvous, whatever is the reason, be sure to hike up to its summit. Its long staircase is certainly worth a climb.
Things to Do in Austin
Whether you’re a loyal resident or a passer-by during SXSW festival in this neck of the woods, the city prides itself by giving all comers a warm Howdy welcome. With round-the-clock entertainment, southern culture and cuisine, and stunning outdoor settings, the city bops to a soundtrack of its own. Let's shed a light on activities, experiences, and more importantly, quirky bumper stickers that “Keep Austin Weird.”
Austin Bats –
It's a phenomenon right out of Gotham when one sees the 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed Bats emerge from the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk. The silhouettes of these winged mammals against the backdrop of fading twilight is a rare sight in a urban sprawl. Travelers usually book boat tours to see this bat Fest from underneath the bridge.
Live Music and Nightlife –
To rock or to roll; that's the dilemma with Austin's buzzing music scene. While The Broken Spoke features great country acts in a honky-tonkin' setting and offers Texas Two-Step lessons, The Continental Club showcases blues, rock, and folk music. Antone's – home of the blues – is where Stevie Ray Vaughan and other music legends cut their teeth.
Catch a local act or a box-office bonanza at the Paramount Theatre or be nostalgic about vintage pinball machines and arcade games at the Pinballz Arcade.
Parks and Recreations –
Enjoy the offerings of abundant parks and lakes by hiking, biking, swimming, canoeing, and indulging in other outdoor pursuits. Take a rejuvenating dip in spring-fed Barton Springs (largest natural swimming pool in Texas) and man-made Deep Eddy Pool (Texas's oldest swimming pool), try rock climbing at Barton Creek, do a whole loop of Lady Bird Lake Hike-and-Bike Trail, rent a kayak or jet ski to explore Lake Austin, get on the roller blades on three-mile-long The Veloway, and then, slip out of your clothes at Hippie Hollow Park – a popular lair of the nudists.
Downtown shopping district sells everything from local hot sauce to indie music records, and folk art. The eclectic South Congress Avenue, or SoCo, is packed with art galleries, haute-couture clothing stores, antique stores, and food trucks. With over 300 vendor booths and live music venues, Austin Country Flea Market is among the oldest flea markets in Central Texas. For those who like to dig through stacks of souvenirs and wonders, Austin City Wide Garage Sale is the place to shop.
Here are some must-attend events and festivals in the city: South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival, Rodeo Austin, Trail of Lights, Austin Marathon, Austin Film Festival, and Fun Fun Fun Fest.
Last Updated on: March 21, 2017