Last updated: 8. January 2022
Austin, the capital of Texas, is full of music venues, bars, galleries, museums, theaters, historical sites, recreational activities, and parks. It has been named the ‘Best Outside Town’ by Outside Magazine because of the beautiful Texas Hill Country landscape, perfect for a number of different activities, ranging from hiking and biking to kayaking, swimming, and tubing.
The city was named ‘America’s best place to live’ by The Business Times and was the ‘No. 1 Place to Live in America’ by Money Magazine. It also ranked No. 3 on Forbes list of America’s hippest cities, based on the music scenes, restaurants/bars, and nightlife.
The eclectic mix of people, culture, and events make Austin a unique destination for travelers. Whether you’re looking to enjoy the local food or immerse yourself in local customs, Austin is the perfect destination for you.
The city of Austin is an easily-accessible travel destination that is affordable for all types of travelers thanks to the many options available for lodging, dining, and activities. The moderate temperatures, including an average high of 68°F in June and an average low of 49°F in January, make it the perfect year-round destination. With so much to see and do, you can spend weeks in Austin without running out of activities.
The best time to visit Austin is from March to May, and from September to November—Spring, and fall. During the spring months (March-May) and fall months (Sept.-Nov.), temperatures are mild,. without the oppressive heat that accompanies summer.
These months have warm weather that will allow for a trip to the waterpark at the Arboretum or a trip to six flags. There will also be fewer school-aged children in the area, making it easier to get a table at a restaurant during your visit.
During spring and fall, the weather is still mild and the annual music festivals abound. In March, the city hosts SXSW, a music and multimedia festival, and the Urban Music Festival, a celebration of R&B, jazz, funk, and reggae. Austin City Limits, a two-weekend festival that brings more than 130 acts to eight stages, happens each October. The Austin Rodeo, with nightly concerts, is held in March.
The weather in Austin is moderate with an average temperature of 72 degrees in summer and 57 degrees in winter. During summer, humidity is high, whereas, in spring and fall, it is relatively comfortable. The winters can be quite cold and it is even possible to see some snowfall during this time. With a good number of both sunny and rainy days in a year, there are plenty of opportunities for activities outside in the city.
Trying to plan out your vacation during the off-peak times is a good idea; this will ensure that you receive the best hotel room rates.
Before visiting Austin, there are a few things you should know about the city.
Austin is a great place for music and entertainment. It is the live music capital of the world. There are over 300 live musical events hosted throughout the city each week. Austin hosts 3 major music festivals which bring in nearly 400,000 people each year including SXSW, Austin City Limits (ACL), and Austin’s new music festival (SXSW Eco). In March, the city hosts SXSW, a music and multimedia festival, and the Urban Music Festival, a celebration of R&B, jazz, funk, and reggae. The Austin Rodeo, with nightly concerts, is also held in March.
A car is the recommended way to get around. The city has unpredictable weather, so prepare for it to be hot, cold, and hot again. Whether you’re visiting for a business conference, family vacation, or music festival, the best way to move around is by using Uber or Lyft. You can also consider renting a car. Although Austin is great for walks, using a car will get you to your destination safely and quickly.
Austin and Food Trucks
Austin is known for its food trucks. You’ll find the city peppered with food truck pods at nearly every turn, especially downtown. The city has received international attention for its love of food trucks and has even parlayed this reputation into tours highlighting the best of Austin street food. Whether you’re looking for classic Texas barbecue or fancy tacos, you can find something to satisfy you almost anywhere in Austin.
Big Sports and Arts Venues Are Rare
Austin is the largest city in Texas without a pro sports team. While there are no professional sports teams in Austin, there are several nationally-acclaimed college sports like the University of Texas and Round Rock Express baseball teams. Austin also does not have a symphony orchestra and opera house. However, the city prides itself on live music – so much so that unofficial “music capital of the world” is engraved on the city’s license plates.
Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or a staycation, these are the best places to stay when in Austin.
The Fairmont is located in the heart of downtown Austin, adjacent to the historic Paramount Theatre and the Convention Center. It is a luxury hotel featuring 303 spacious guest rooms and suites, with luxurious marble bathrooms.
Each spacious guest room at the Fairmont Hotel offers amenities like custom-designed furnishings, upscale bedding, and 55-inch flat-screen television with enhanced cable. The luxurious bathrooms have separate soaking tubs and shower stalls, marble countertops, shiatsu massaging showerheads, and plush bathrobes. Tastefully appointed, the hotel features a world-class spa, outdoor infinity pool overlooking downtown Austin, fitness center overlooking the pool, and sweeping views of the Texas capital city. The five-star hotel also offers guests extensive meeting space and catering capabilities for elegant events.
Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
The Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt has polished wood floors, curated floor-to-ceiling artwork, an extensive vinyl collection, and chic design touches throughout. With a prime location near local music venues and underground art exhibits, the hotel offers an authentic Austin experience. It offers luxurious and welcoming spaces with plush and comfy beds and curated CDs and books in each room. The hotel also has in-house music that fills the property 24/7. Whether it’s in-house music playing over the sound system or the many bands that rock through our front door, guests can revel in aural pleasure.
Hotel Saint Cecilia
Hotel Saint Cecilia is the premier destination for discerning travelers looking for an authentic yet convenient experience in Austin. Every detail is carefully designed with comfort and luxury in mind. It features 14 beautifully appointed rooms all outfitted with Hästens beds and artful décor. It is a luxury hotel by day and an elegant hideaway by night. It boasts of a combination of architectural influences unique to the area, including Mediterranean Revival and Craftsman.
Hotel Saint Cecilia features an exclusive spa and wellness program, a state-of-the-art recording studio, a wine cellar lounge, a seasonal outdoor pool, and a serene herb and vegetable garden.
Austin has an incredible food scene. There are amazing restaurants all over. Here are some of the best restaurants to visit.
Simi Estiatorio’s menu is a mix of seafood from both land and sea, plus a bounty of Greek-style cooking. The focal point is the premium assortment of fresh seafood, sourced daily. At this Peruvian-Greek seafood restaurant, chef Diego Sanchez does justice to cuisines. There’s a charcoal grill for Greek-style lamb chops, meaty fish, and seafood that’s fresh from the ocean.
For Peruvian favorites, there’s a ceviche made from fresh raw fish, scallops, and shrimp marinated in lime juice. The open, airy space is bathed in hanging light bulbs and the patio is bathed in sunlight — it’s a very relaxing atmosphere. The wine list is also well-curated and full of Greek wines, so expect lots of seafood wines.
Emmer and Rye
Emmer and Rye manages to create an ambiance that’s warm, inviting, minimalistic but also dramatic. It offers live music sets during dinner (Thurs-Sunday), and of course, delicious dishes. Emmer and Rye is not just one of the best restaurants in Austin, it is consistently ranked among the best restaurants in the U.S. Diners flock to the popular restaurant for their avant-garde dishes like lobster pot pie with local masa dumplings or crispy pig ear lettuce wraps. The award-winning team behind this nationally-recognized restaurant has managed to keep things simple concerning their menu; letting the ingredient-driven dishes speak for themselves. The food prepared in Emmer and Rye is an amazing combination of contemporary American cuisine, old-fashioned cocktails, Southern hospitality, and modern artistry.
Barley Swine was opened in 2011 by local Chef Bryce Gilmore and his family. This hip, handsome restaurant combines Southwest Austin influences with ingredients sourced from local farms and breeders. You can settle into comfy chairs round reclaimed wood tables at the communal bar or go upstairs for more elevated seating, including a wood counter looking down on the main floor.
There’s an eye-opening menu of plateaus, too, which makes it great for groups of friends and family to share meals. The tasting menu is an exercise in modern American cuisine, inspired by locally sourced ingredients, which rotate seasonally to ensure freshness and great flavor. With sources that include farms, ranches, and gardens, Chef Bryce Gilmore makes sure that the flavors of the many local foods he works with are showcased in both new and old-school preparations.
There are numerous places to visit to relax and have fun in Austin. Here are a few must-see places.
Barton Springs Pool
Barton Springs Pool is one of the best places to visit in Austin. This local favorite has been around for more than 100 years. It is spring-fed and averages 70 degrees, so you can swim all year long. The pool was built in an artificial limestone formation at the base of an underground spring that dates back several million years to when this region used to be covered by water. It covers about 1.7 acres and fluctuates between 3-5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, since its opening, the pool has provided a unique aquatic habitat for the endangered Barton Springs Salamander, which can not be found anywhere else.
Zilker Metropolitan Park
Zilker Park is a 297-acre park located in the heart of the city. It is host to several major music events, including the Zilker Summer Musical, Blues on the Green, and Austin City Limits Music Festival. The park has many recreational facilities including volleyball courts, disc golf courses, and rose gardens. It is also home to several specialty gardens, including the rose garden and the Japanese garden. The sprawling park is the perfect oasis in downtown Austin, offering picnic sites and green lawns where visitors can enjoy a long picnic lunch or take their time enjoying an afternoon reading a book.
The State Capitol Park
The State Capitol Park is one of Austin’s most iconic places to visit. The Texas State Capitol, completed in 1888, still stands in downtown Austin as a proud symbol of the Lone Star State. At 308 feet tall, it is the tallest state capitol in the United States and its red-granite dome stands out clearly from the surrounding grounds. Whether you’re enjoying a guided tour of the building or just taking it in from the entrance courtyard, this Texas National Historic Landmark will not disappoint. Under the shade of mature oak trees, visitors can stroll one-half mile along the Great Walk, designed to protect the capitol grounds from the worst effects of urban growth.
Bullock Texas State History Museum
A popular Austin tourist site, the Bullock Museum of Texas History is a wonderful way for both children and adults to learn about the state’s history.
The museum features a wide variety of interactive exhibits. It lets you explore the state’s history through artifacts and displays that emphasize watershed events such as the La Belle shipwreck and the Battle of the Alamo. The museum also hosts several special events each year for kids and adults, such as movie nights and Sunday concerts at Bullock Plaza.
Austin, Texas is one of the most cosmopolitan cities you’ll ever visit. It’s a vibrant, youthful city where individualism is highly prized. It has a lot of great restaurants and bars, historical centers, and a lively music scene.