Austin City Guide
Austin is capital city of Texas and is located on the banks of Colorado River. It was inhabited by pioneers in the 1830s, who named this settlement Waterloo, which was made the capital of the Republic of Texas in 1839.
The city was renamed Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, who is regarded as the ‘Father of Texas’. The city became the permanent capital of Texas in 1870.
For history buffs, the city has interesting history associated with it and they can revisit it during their next vacation to Austin.
Today, Austin is a lively city and home to University of Texas with a vibrant student population. The city is also renowned as a center for live music performances centered on the bars and clubs of its famed 6th street. In fact, the city’s tag line promotes it as the ‘Live Music’ capital of the world!! Need we say more?
Further, this fast developing urban center is also a hub for technology and business as it is home to the headquarters of prominent companies like Dell, Whole Foods Market and many others.
Where to stay in Austin
Hotels in Austin can be found in all neighborhoods of the city. However, most people prefer to stay in the heart of the city, namely in its downtown area, which encompasses the famed Sixth Street, the Warehouse District, the clubs and restaurants around Red River near Austin’s convention center.
Other areas of Austin that are popular with visitors include newer areas of the city like the hip and trendy area of South Congress in the Southern part of Austin and the Arboretum area in Northwest Austin known for its many shopping and dining opportunities.
Places to see in Austin
Texas State Capitol
As the capital of the state of Texas, Austin has its very own domed building that serves as the seat of power in the state. The capitol building in Austin is made of pink granite and resembles the US Capitol in Washington DC. The Texas State Capitol was built in 1882 with granite quarried from the state’s own Granite Mountain located 75 miles away. The building stands surrounded by a wrought iron fence on a three acre plot of land. Visitors are offered tours of the building and can even attend a legislative session if they wish. You may visit the Capitol to have a closer look at how the legislative sessions run.
Zilker Park extends over 351 acres in the South Lamar district of Austin and is the city’s most popular recreational facility. This park was donated by a German immigrant who also gave it his name. The park hosts a swimming pool called Barton Springs that is fed by an underground warm water spring, which is believed to have medicinal properties. The park features various other attractions like a botanical garden, a nature preserve, the Umalauf sculpture garden, museum, ‘walking, jogging and biking’ trails and various other recreational facilities like paddle boats.
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center
Austin and the rest of Texas hill country are renowned for its gorgeous spring flowers and the former first lady of the US, Lady Bird Johnson, who was an enthusiastic conservationist. She created a center in Austin dedicated to the study and preservation of the native plants and flowers of the Texas hill country. The center features 178 acres of wildflowers arranged in various display gardens. The center offers free lectures and guided tours of the property on the weekends.
The Texas governor’s mansion is the oldest continuously inhabited house in Texas and the fourth oldest governor's mansion in the United States that has been continuously occupied by a chief executive. The opulent Texas Governor’s mansion is built in Greek Revival style and was the first-designated Texas historic landmark in 1962. It was declared a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1974. You may try the tours of the mansion, which are offered to the public every 20 minutes. During these tours, public gets the chance to view the many historical artifacts contained within the mansion. Your Vacation to Austin would be incomplete without a visit here.
Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art
The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas is a highly acclaimed art space ranked among the top ten university art museums in the country. The museum offers a spectacular collection featuring the art of European and American artists as well as a substantial collection of artworks created by Latin American artists.
Best time to visit Austin
The weather in Austin can be described as semi-tropical. Summers in Austin are generally hot with temperatures ranging from 73 F (22 C) to average highs of 93F (33C) though 100 F (38C) days are not uncommon.
Spring in Austin is a glorious time to plan and book a vacation as it features temperatures ranging from 51 F (10C) low to 72 F (22C) high. During this time, Austin is covered in pretty wild flowers and also host many live music concerts around the shores of Town Lake. The most famous of all these events is the annual South by Southwest music festival-conference held each March. Planning a trip to Austin around March can, therefore, guarantee fun for music fans.
Fall like spring is a good time to visit Austin as well since it offers pleasant weather characterized by average nighttime temperatures of 60 F (15.5C) and daytime temperatures of 81 F(27C). Winters in Austin are generally mild with temperatures well above freezing.
Getting around in Austin
With an airport that is served by as many as 11 Airlines, getting to Austin is the easiest thing for travelers. Simply book your Flights and Hotels either individually or as a Vacation Package with Fare Buzz and get to Austin to have a fun filled vacation.
Getting around Austin is also convenient as the city is equipped with a good public transport system operated by the Central Metro Transit and features the metro bus and metro rail.
The metro buses cover almost all neighborhoods in Austin for a flat fare. If you are planning to use public transport in Austin, do know that buses are best accessed via reasonably priced passes or you need to carry exact change since bus drivers in Austin do not give change. Bus passes are available at the Capital Metro Transit Store, located at 323 Congress Avenue, and at most major supermarkets.
Besides buses, the city is also equipped with a free trolley system known as the Armadillo Express. This trolley system provides free trolley rides in the historic downtown area of Austin. Further, the city also operates a green travel plan that is known as the Yellow Bike project, which offers communal bikes for public use at various points in the city.
Taxis in Austin are expensive to use and need to be ordered on the phone though they are also easily available outside the many hotels located in downtown Austin. Rent a car if you want to explore the city on your own. Car Rentals in Austin can be checked and booked on our website.
Where to shop in Austin
Austin offers an eclectic shopping landscape which features a range of shopping options like open-air and enclosed malls, specialty stores and outposts of big national chains, One of the main retail heavens in Austin is its centrally-located Second Street District which extends over six city blocks and features more than fifty individually-owned, specialty shops, retail stores as well as several food and beverage outlets that offer shoppers the chance to stop and take a break in the midst of their shopping expeditions.
The open-air Domain mall is one of Austin’s newest retail developments, which is home to more than 700,000 square feet of shopping and dining. This open-air shopping heaven hosts stores of big name brands like Tiffany and Co and Louis Vuitton along with outlets of upscale department stores like Neiman Marcus and Barney’s Co-op. Other popular malls in Austin include the Northcross Mall, the Barton Creek Mall and the Arboretum at Great Hills, a Simon Mall that hosts outlets of various popular national chains.
Yet another recommended shopping district in Austin is the South Congress shopping district, popularly referred to as ‘SoCo’ this area exudes a hip, fashionable vibe and offers indie stores and boutiques like Feathers, a well-established haunt for vintage finds, By George which offers a whole host of Au Courant high fashion labels like Lanvin, Marni and Isabel Marant Etoile and Bootleg Austin, a trendy footwear store. Other Austin districts that offer similar shopping experiences include North Lamar Avenue and the Drag, a retail enclave that offers countless bohemian treasures.
Where to eat in Austin
Austin is home to a vivacious dining scene which offers a good assortment of restaurants and cafés, catering to all tastes and budgets. Buzzing restaurants in Austin currently include hotspots like Salt and Time (farm to the table New American eats), Epicerie (Southern Louisiana inspired fare ), TRIO(a steakhouse), Chez Nous(French food), Freeman’s (BBQ and great cocktails), Barley Swine(a gastro pub), and the Carillion(New American cuisine ).
Nightlife in Austin
The nightlife scene in this ‘live music capital of the world’ naturally centers on music of all kinds. More than 200 venues in Austin offer jazz, hip hop, rock, blues, punk and Latino shows every night. Legendary nightlife venues include dance halls and clubs like the Broken Spoke, the Continental Club and Antone’s though the city has in recent years come to be equipped with several newer venues like the Mohawk, the Vice Bar, the East Avenue Lounge and, the Club DeVille. As far as bars, clubs and brewpubs are concerned, highly-ranked watering-holes in Austin currently include hip and happening spots like Rebel’s Honky Tonk, Weather Up, Midnight Cowboy, Salty Sow, 400 Rabbits, Whip In and Hopfields.