As the self-dubbed “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin, Texas is a city abuzz with the electric spirit of young musicians, artists, entrepreneurs and cowboys. Walk down Sixth Street at any hour of the day and you’ll find just about every genre of music being played from inside a bar, club or coffee shop. The SXSW Music and Austin Film Festival are just two of the hundreds of events that blow through the city and leave a wave of artistic inspiration in their wakes. Though it may seem that Austin is strictly arts and culture-centric (which it definitely can be), there are multiple personalities to this sunny city. Nature is abundant here, which makes for wonderful hiking and biking excursions, swimming in freshwater springs and kayaking or tubing down the San Marcos River. To witness one of Austin’s wackiest claims to fame, check out the Congress Avenue Bridge between March and November to see 1.5 million bats take flight into the cobalt dusk sky.
As a giant creative community made up of students, artists, musicians, designers and filmmakers, Austin thrives as a southern epicenter for everything arts. Located at the University of Texas, the Blanton Museum is the nation’s largest university-owned collection that exhibits everything from modern and contemporary American and Latin American art, to European paintings and an encyclopedic collection of drawings and prints. In addition to the hundreds of galleries in the area where local works are displayed, art venues such as the DiverseArts Culture Works, Mexic-Art and the Botanical Gardens infuse an international flair into the city.
More than just a music and arts town, the Texas state capital also has an abundance of nature within the city that provides for a multitude of outdoor recreational activities. There are 220 parks in the Austin area, including the 360-acre Zilker Park, as well as a 10-mile hike and bike trail that surrounds Lady Bird Lake. Visitors can also take a dip in the year-round 68 degree water of Barton Springs Pool or trek around the Barton Creek Greenbelt, which including nearly eight miles of trails and is habitat to several endangered plant and wildlife species.
The cuisine of Austin is just as rich and soulful as its music scene. County Line BBQ, along with dozens of other Southern-style eateries, may just be the best ’cue you’ve tried. Mexican food also thrives in the city and is as authentic as it can get north of the border. El Ray, Serranos and Chuy’s Restaurant are just a few of the many. And because you can’t go far in Austin without hearing some tunes, grab a burger and a beer while listening to some local music at the Shady Grove.
Located six miles southwest of downtown, Austin Bergstrom International Airport is the largest airport in the area and is served by most major carriers. Aside from downtown, seeing Austin by foot can be quite difficult due to the fact that is a sprawling metropolis. Public transportation includes Capital Metro, a bus service as well as a light rail that makes stops all over the city. Taxis are also available, and renting a car may be a decent option if you plan on visiting several parts of the city for an extended stay.
Austin has a humid subtropical climate and is characterized by hot summers and mild winters. July and August temperatures tend to remain quite hot and often humid, averaging in the mid 90s for the duration of the season and into the early parts of autumn. Spring delivers pleasant weather, with temps typically in the 70s, and winter weather can average temperatures anywhere from the low 40s through the mid 60s.