Austin Travel Guide
The ultimate guide to the best things to do and see in Austin
Weird Austin is probably the hipster capital of the US South. With loads of cool cafés, shopping opportunities, events and history, it’s got a lot to offer visitors. Start here with my basic Austin travel tips, or jump down below to read my latest Austin travel blogs.
When to Visit
For the best outdoor weather, fall is likely the best time to make a visit to Austin, as this is when the oppressive heat has lessened and temperatures are more bearable. However, summer is still a great time to visit Texas’ capital, as it’s when things are the most bustling.
During the world famous SXSW Festival in March, the city gets packed, so accommodation can be in short supply (and what there is is often expensive!) but if you can manage it, it’s a great time to visit Austin for the international vibe.
Top Things To Do
Walk down South Congress Street – Here in Austin’s unequivocable hipster center, you’ll spot dozens of people shopping for vintage accessories and geeky antiques, drinking smoothies, having Tex-Mex tacos and eating cupcakes. It’s also a place where vintage stores coexist with candy shops and karaoke bars, so there’s something of everything to be found here.
Eat all the food – The capital of Texas is where you’ll find some of the best music in the country, but more importantly— the best barbecue in the Southwest (The Salt Lick). Even the sushi in Austin comes with a bit of a Texas twist (Roll On Sushi Diner). Or for those looking for inspiration from south of the border, the Mexican Martinis (at Trudy’s) are legendary.
Visit the Capitol building – Entry is free, and inside is the famous rotunda featuring the six flags of Texas and surrounded by portraits of our recent governors. Going up there will also give you great views over the city as it’s a structure that can be seen from just about anywhere in the state capital.
Taking a tour around Austin is a great idea. It will get you into parts of the town you might otherwise overlook and you’ll learn a lot about the fascinating history of this state capital. Take a look at this selection of recommended Austin tours.
LGBT – Gay Austin Travel Guide
Though there’s no real gayborhood in Austin, there are plenty of gay and gay-friendly establishments spread out through Texas’ capital, and it may be one of the queerest cities in the state. These are a few of the best things you should know about visiting gay Austin.
Oilcan Harry’s – The place to be in Austin, this heaving and fun venue is one of the city’s best gay clubs. They play a nice range of music and host super fun events, often with big stars from the world of drag and beyond. Best visited Thursday through Sunday.
Rain – An upscale lounge bar, Rain attracts a mixed crowd and hosts some excellent DJs from all around the country. Perfect for late night dancing and the friendly (and cute!) bar staff make it a welcoming place to come in a group or alone.
BookWoman – Austin’s premier feminist independent bookshop, this place has a great selection of well curated books on a range of topics, including graphic novels too. Much of the collection touches on LGBT subjects too, and it’s a cosy and safe environment to learn something new!
More gay travel resources here.
Austin Hotel Deals
Austin has plenty of cool and quirky hotels, as well as all the big chains you’d expect. They’ll likely get full when there’s a conference or special event in town, so definitely consider booking in advance. I’ve found that using Booking.com, Agoda.com or Hotels Combined can be really useful for finding last-minute deals.
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