Hunting for a travel and city guide to Austin, TX? We don’t blame you: This Texas city represents one of the best destinations the South has to offer in terms of food and music, arts and culture, and places to party. Visitors can swing by to enjoy a distinctly Texan town that also offers the international flair of the coasts and a variety of attractions that underscore the city’s singular dedication to a famed motto: Keep Austin Weird. Newcomers will be awed by the city’s impressive restaurant scene, concerts and festivals, and welcoming locals. Stop by, and you’ll find it provides the perfect combination of hippie-meets-hipster, North-meets-South, and fried-chicken-meets-sushi, all within the warm bubble of Texas heat. Ready to make the trip? The following travel and city guide to Austin, TX will help you get the most from your vacation.
When to Go
It’s still Texas, so the summers are going to be hot and humid. As VacationIdea explains, spring and fall are the best times to enjoy the temperate climate and avoid a so-hot-your-sweat-is-like-another-layer-of-clothing situation due to summer heat. Many visitors plan trips around the many abundant — and famed — music festivals. Those hoping to catch South by Southwest, the megaconference/interactive media/concert/party, should plan to visit Austin in March. And if you want to hit Austin City Limits, mark your calendar for two weekends in October, but make sure to book as early as possible, as places often book up more than a year in advance!
If you’re looking for the best neighborhood to stay in, you’re in luck: Austin has a ton of options where you really can’t go wrong. Airbnb nicely summarizes the city’s various corners, including the vibrant downtown, the artsy South Lamar, the residential and relaxed Upper Boggy Creek, and more.
Our Austin, TX city and travel guide highlights how the town certainly has an abundance of places to see and things to do, so in between your BBQ and taco feasts, take some time to explore the area. BuzzFeed compiled an Austin bucket-list, which suggests dancin’ and movin’ and shakin’ at Broken Spoke, a dance hall, take an intellectual road trip at the Harry Ransom Center and catch a movie—while eating!—at the famed Alamo Draft House. If you feel compelled to try out some touristy favorites, 365 Things Austin has you covered: head to the Texas State Capitol, cruise along the river to see the Congress avenue bats at sunset (yes, the kind of bats that fly), and try Tipster, the city’s free walking tours.
Nom Nom Nom: Best Austin Eats
You’re still in Texas, so you must pay homage to this Souther city’s BBQ roots. Thrillist rounded up the best Austin spots, including Smokey Denmark’s, known for their sausages and smoked meats, Micklethwait Craft Meats, which serves up traditional favorites alongside more innovative fare. Travel and Leisure put together their favorite Austin restaurants, like Jeffrey’s Restaurant and Bar, an upscale new American spot and Fixe, a creative and refined take on all of the buttery, mouth-watering regional favorites. In addition to the fabulous and wide-ranging culinary treats, locals are particularly proud of another specific dish: breakfast tacos. Eater put together a list of the city’s essential breakfast taco spots, like Veracruz All Natural and Mi Madre’s Restaurant. Eggs, tortillas, meat, and all other goodness under the Texas sun? Sounds like a great way to spend every morning.
Best Things to Do in Austin, TX
If you want to embrace the city’s motto and keep things quirky, make sure to hit up all of Austin’s weirdest attractions. Atlas Obscura suggests the top “unusual attractions” in Austin that are sure to impress, like Uncommon Objects, an antique store peppered with random objects, and the Cathedral of Junk, a structure made out of…junk parts. From its weirdo attractions to its delicious food and colorful locals, Austin is a place that will inspire you to plan your next visit before your first has even ended.
Freelance writer Lauren Paley is an avid writer and traveler. She has lived in Morocco, France, Tel Aviv and Prague, and has traveled to over 25 countries. Her interests include banh mi sandwiches, Boo the dog, trying (and failing) at languages, and outdoor movie theaters.