Things to do in Austin, TX
Get Your Bearings in Austin
Hot Tips: In summer, always bring sunblock and water to any outdoor event. Texas heat is scorching!
Caution: Parking can be a premium downtown and in neighborhoods like Rainey Street and East Austin. Consider using a service like Uber, Car2go or a pedicab.
Avoid: Being disappointed by a venue that's closed when you arrive; always check the website or call ahead for hours or reservations if needed.
Hot Tips: Austin's unique vibe means that many boutique hotels have their own distinct personality, so check out several to find one that's your style.
Caution: There are three chain hotels right at the airport, with several others within a 15 minute radius.
Be Sure to Sample: Entrees from at least one of Austin's funky but fabulous food trailers!
Take It or Leave It: Skip the chain food restaurants. Ask about establishments that are local favorites instead.
Avoid: Avoid taking IH-35 if you are short on time or have a reservation. Traffic can be a nightmare between 4-7pm on the weekends.
Take It or Leave It: Parking can be an issue at some venues. Call ahead to see if valet service is available, or use public transportation, taxi or other services.
Hot Tips: Pick up a copy of the Austin Chronicle (available free at many local businesses) to see up-to-date concert, show and event times.
Caution: When attending concerts and live music events, advance purchase of tickets may be the only thing to get you in the door.
Hot Tips: Ask shop owners if you can be put on the VIP mailing list. It often qualifies your for an instant discount!
Caution: Parking can be brutal on the weekends. Channel your inner rockstar and visit boutiques and independent shops for local flavor.
Best Local Souvenir: Pick up a T-shirt that says "Keep Austin Weird" - even locals wear them!
Things to do in Austin
Austin is known for...
1. Keeping it Weird:
The "Keep Austin Weird" slogan reaches far beyond a marketing campaign. Austin is the self-proclaimed "live music capital of the world" and the people of Austin reflect a friendly, accepting culture of artistic and individual expression that maintains the city as a vibrant and eclectic creative center. “Keep Austin Weird” is the mom and pop shop down the road, but it’s also the hippie with pet chickens. In a mostly conservative state, Austin is "Weird" because it continues to be that blue spot on a big red map. "Keep Austin Weird" moves beyond a mere slogan, to reflect the dynamics that encompass Austin.
2. Breakfast Tacos:
Austin can’t claim taco primacy, but when it comes to breakfast tacos, Austin is king. The breakfast taco to Austin is the bagel to Miami. There are hundreds and hundreds of venues in Austin in which to buy a breakfast taco, but it would be rare to find any two alike. The gas station taco is completely different than the taco trailer’s, which is different from the taco stand’s. It’s the cross-pollination of cultures between Texas and our neighbors to the south. Breakfast tacos for dinner? Sure, why not?
3. Food Trailers:
Los Angeles and New York City can have their food trucks, because Austin claims the food trailer. As witnessed on TV (and many neighborhoods) the food truck/trailer movement is steadily gaining steam. Austin is home to nearly 1600 trailers, and they are serving up some of city’s best cuisine. Many of our locally grown trailers now have a brick and mortar counterpart, due to their success on wheels. Austin and Airstream now go hand in hand.
4. The Lakes:
The Colorado River is the 18th longest river in the United States, but it also makes up three of the lakes within Austin city limits. Lake Travis, Lake Austin, and Lady Bird Lake are three reservoirs that run through the city and serve as the city’s most popular escapes from the summer heat. Lake Travis is the largest of the three and it is ideal for fishing, boating, swimming, scuba diving, picnicking and camping. Lake Austin is mainly for boating, but is perfect for water sports. Lady Bird Lake is a major recreation area for the city because it bans motorized boats, so kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding are more popular in this downtown location. Each lake takes on its own character, but together they create something that is uniquely Austin.
Walk the streets of downtown Austin and chances are you’ll encounter one of its festivals. From the Austin City Limits festival to internationally renowned SXSW to Eeyore’s Birthday, the city is always playing host to festival goers with a common interest. Then there are the free concerts in the summer and film events of winter. Even our races and sporting events turn out to be a cause for celebration or a reason to visit Austin.