- Airport – Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA)
- Currency – U.S. Dollar ($)
- Language – English
- Population – 930,000
In 1839, the city of Austin became the capital of the great state of Texas. Not only has Austin become a household name across Texas, but also across the world. We can thank events like South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits Festival for bringing people from all over together. It is part of why Austin is so diverse in its communities, creating a vibe you won’t find anywhere else. It’s where you’ll meet some of the friendliest people, find foodie heaven, experience breathtaking views, and see big-name companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook.
Austin isn’t just known for being the Live Music Capital of the World, but its eccentric scene helped create the motto “Keep Austin weird.” From kayaking on Lady Bird Lake to the numerous amounts of photo opportunities against iconic murals, to taking a stroll down South Congress, there is an array of fun activities to do. So if you’re planning on making a stop in this quirky city, be sure to check out these tips and attractions!
If you’re without a car, you’ll have plenty of options for getting around the city. Here are our recommendations:
- Car2go – $0.41 per minute and $14.99 per hour
- Fasten – $1.50 (Base charge) + $2.00 (Ride fee)
- CapMetro/MetroRapid – $1.25 (Single ride) and $2.50 (Day Pass)
- Austin Cab Company – $2.50 (for first 1/6 mile) + $0.40 (for each additional 1/6 mile)
Austin is a city that strives to cater to everyone, so whether you’re an art lover, the outdoorsy type, or a major foodie, there is something guaranteed to appeal to you. Once you’ve arrived in Austin and embraced the warm weather, here are a few activities and attractions you don’t want to miss out on!
Scroll down for our top activities. Here’s a clickable summary to skip to an activity of choice:
1) Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake runs through the heart of the city, with the skyline as its backdrop. If you’re feeling adventurous and ready to take on the sun, rent out a kayak or paddleboard. If water activities aren’t your thing, Lady Bird Lake is surrounded by a trail which you can walk, run, or ride your bicycle. Maybe you’re not up to exerting extra energy today, not to worry, there are 350 acres of soft Bermuda grass waiting nearby for you at Zilker Park, home of the Austin City Limits. Pack a blanket, picnic, maybe a Frisbee and you are ready to go!
2) South Congress Avenue
Also known as SoCo, is a single strip featuring an assortment of eclectic shops, restaurants, boutiques, antiques, and galleries. If you want to know why Austin has adopted the saying “Keep Austin Weird”, just visit one of the vintage thrift shops, and you’ll soon understand. Items range from old postcards to bags of used toothbrushes to things like Disney pins and collectible Pez dispensers. SoCo is lined up with a number of restaurants and dessert places, bookstores and live music. Austin wouldn’t be Austin without South Congress, in fact, it leads right to the Capital, making it run straight through the heart of Texas. It’s worth it to spend an hour or two here, visiting each individually unique shop.
3) The Blanton Museum of Art
Located on the infamous campus of the University of Texas at Austin, the Blanton Museum of Art features many different types of exhibits sure to spark your interests and creativity. While some of these exhibits change, Blanton’s more permanent collection features almost 18,000 works. These works include European paintings, prints, and drawings, and modern and contemporary American and Latin American art. An adult ticket costs $9, however, with a valid college ID, it costs $5.
4) Barton Springs Pool
Within Zilker Park, Barton Springs is the place to be on a sweltering hot day. The natural pool, fed from underground springs, measures three acres in size and averages a temperature of 68-70 degrees year round. It’s no wonder crowds of people form lines to visit this spot during the summer! Take a dip in the pool or lounge on the surrounding grassy areas to see all the different types of people Barton Springs attracts. The pool opens at 5 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m., so whether you’re an early bird or love sleeping in until the afternoon, it’s possible to go almost any hour of the day. A non-resident adult ticket is $8.
Austin Food Scene
Much of Austin’s cuisines are influenced by the cultures that have made their way to the city. It isn’t one specific style, but rather multiple elements from different cultures fused into one. Austin is well-known for their abundance of food trucks and local restaurants that put the focus on fresh, all-natural, local ingredients, making it one of the best foodie cities in the U.S. Here are a few places you have to try!
Scroll down for our top restaurants. Here’s a clickable summary to skip to a place of choice:
Barbecue, Salad, Sandwiches
900 E 11th St | Austin |$$$$
Franklin Barbeque is a casual barbecue restaurant that has been top rated in the nation. The store opens at 11 a.m., but people from all over begin lining up outside the door as early as 7 a.m. to ensure they get the pieces of meat they want. Franklin provides brisket, ribs, sausage, and all the fixings, including beans, coleslaw, and potato salad. The hype for Franklin Barbeque is real and if you want the best dang barbecue you’ve ever had, be prepared to wait for it. As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Burgers, American (Traditional), Cocktail Bars
1400 S Congress Ave | Austin |$$$$
Hopdoddy Burger Bar is one of Austin’s most recognized restaurant. If someone wanted really good burgers, truffle fries, and milkshakes, Hopdoddy is the go-to suggestion. The Austin area has opened a total of four locations, and while the lines are long enough to wrap around the building, now you have more locations to pick and choose from. So there’s really no excuse not to try this place out. Hopdoddy prides itself in the freshest available, all-natural ingredients and humanely raised cows. Their fries are hand-cut, their buns are baked from scratch all day every day, and their meat is ground in-house daily. “Good food + good vibes” is a motto they live by.
1311 S 1st St. | Austin |$$$$
Torchy’s Tacos is one of Austin’s very own! What started out as a taco trailer can now be found at multiple locations all across Texas. When visiting Torchy’s, be sure to get the queso. It’ll be one of the best ones you’ve ever had, and they’ve proven it by ranking 1st amongst their competitors. This casual joint allows you to order at the counter and seat yourself or make to-go orders ahead of time, making it an easy option for a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
8557 Research Blvd | Austin |$$$$
Ramen Tatsu-ya is one of the most popular local ramen places in Austin. Their mission is to educate people on what ramen is, the “soul food of Japan.” Prepare to be blown away because this is far from the 15-cent packaged ramen we get at the store. Their noodles are made fresh, in-house and their broth offers a great depth of flavor we wish we could bathe ourselves in. Tatsu-ya’s menu provides a guide on what to order and how to properly eat it. Need more noodles to finish off your broth? Just yell out “Kaedama please!” Each bowl is customizable with classic toppings and flavor bombs, appealing to your own personal taste.
Venezia Italian Gelato
Coffee & Tea, Ice Cream, Gelato
1701 S Lamar | Austin |$$$$
Venezia Italian Gelato is located in a small parking lot, and you wouldn’t notice it if it wasn’t for the Italian flag wildly waving as if it was excited to see you. The owners of this shop come straight from Venice, so it doesn’t get more authentic than this. Their case of options include their original donut gelato, called Mr. Ring, as well as a good mixture of flavors including passion fruit, imported hazelnut, cappuccino, and stracciatella, just to name a few. So if you have a sweet tooth, come here for satisfying gelato and great service too!
Hope Outdoor Gallery
Located on South Congress, Hope Outdoor Gallery is known to the locals as Castle Hill. If you climb these graffiti filled walls, not only will you get a view of downtown Austin, but the castle tower right behind you, giving it its one of a kind name. Austin is known for their famous murals, so be sure to make your way towards the other street art scattered around the city. Get your camera ready because there’s a lot to see!
Austin’s 6th Street
Welcome to Austin’s nightlife! Sixth Street, also called Dirty Sixth get its name for very good reasons. It’s an entertainment district located in downtown, providing locals and tourists with many bars, clubs, and music venues. In addition, guests can roam the street as they please since barriers are placed to block through traffic. Notorious for being the place to celebrate birthdays and start of the weekend, Sixth is fun, loud, and lively. It’s everything you think of when you say “Cheers to the weekend!” It represents what the city of Austin is about, so grab your friends and make your way down to Dirty Sixth.