State: Texas (TX)
Capital: Washington, DC
Continent: North America
Most spoken language: English
With a population of approx 750,525 within city limits; 1.6 million in the metropolitan area; Austin is the 16th largest city in the United States. Austin is well known for its live music scene and eclectic array of shops and boutiques and with an official city slogan of “Live Music Capital of the World”, how could any music fan resist?!
My contributor for this ‘An Insight Into’ is Carla Young. Carla is originally from Northampton in the UK and is currently living in Washington, DC in the USA. I asked Carla to share with us her love of Austin:
What makes you want to tell the world about this place, what makes it special to you? Austin is an amazing city. It’s large enough to have plenty of activities and a diverse population yet small enough to get around easily and feel at home. There are so many things to do outside, friendly people, and lots of great dining and nightlife.
What’s your favourite thing to do there? My favourite thing to do is to swim in Barton Springs Pool (68 degrees year round) or float the Guadalupe River, about 45 minutes south of Austin.
What’s the best time of year to visit? The temperature gets to be over 100 degrees in the summer, so unless you like the extreme heat the spring or fall is the best time to go. Think April or September.
If I only had 24 hours there, what would you suggest I do and where should I go? I’d suggest starting the morning with a trip to one of the natural swimming holes, preferably barton springs. Pack a picnic lunch or bbq from one of the many amazing bbq places in town. Some suggestions are Bill Millers, Rudys, or Pok-e-Joes. A walk around Lady Bird Lake on the hike and bike after lunch followed by some shopping along South Congress. For dinner I’d suggest some Tex-Mex. My favourite spot is Trudy’s, although there are many other options- Maudies, Curras, Baby Acapulco. After dinner, head to the Congress bridge and watch the bats come out in droves at dusk. East Sixth Street is the place to go if you’re into drunken debauchery, for an older or classier crowd head to West Sixth Street, or check out one of the many live bands on Red River.
What is the #1 must do thing? Live music. Austin is known as the live music capital of the world and has free acts playing every single night.
What other things are worth doing or seeing? Kayaking on Town Lake, Tubing the Guadalupe River, Pub Crawl on Sixth Street, Whole Foods flagship store on Sixth Street (has restaurants inside it’s so big!), Stevie Ray Vaughn statue, University of Texas Football game, Congress Avenue bats, Shopping on South Congress, “Hippy Church” on Sunday at Maria’s Taco Express.
Which area should we stay/find accommodation in to be close to everything? Between Lamar and I-35 and Cesar Chavez and 15th. Ideally the closer to 6th and congress, the better. The Hilton, Sheraton, Radisson and Four Seasons are all extremely well located.
What one tip would you give someone wanting to go there? The ‘Dillo’s are free and a great way to get around. Additionally, the buses are inexpensive and easy to use. *
Any tourist attractions we should avoid or are not worth doing? The segway tour. Austin is very pedestrian friendly, you can easily do it for free on foot.
Any interesting facts about the area? Austin is the biggest city without any major league sports team. Football fans aren’t disappointed though, as it is home to the University of Texas Longhorns.
Is it home to any large/well known events (sporting, festivals etc)? Austin is home to many events. The two biggest events are Austin City Limits and South By Southwest. There are many athletic events and there are streets blocked almost every weekend for marathons or triathlons.
What’s the weather normally like? Hot Hot Hot. It rarely freezes in Austin and is not uncommon to see temperatures of 70-80 degrees in winter. The summer reaches over 100.
Anything else we should know? Unless you are planning to attend South by Southwest or Austin City Limits, avoid visiting during these festivals. Hotels will be over priced or sold out, and many venues downtown will be open to festival patrons only.
*Thank you to Seth who advised that the ‘Dillos routes have now changed and now cost 50c US.
Want to learn more about Austin, Texas? Try:
About our contributor Carla:
Carla is a 26 year old who recently quit her job to write, act and travel full time. She just left her favourite city in the US, Austin, TX and is traveling to Europe where she intends to experience all there is to offer.
Social websites you can find Carla on:
Twitter : http://twitter.com/wherescarla
Would you like to share your love of somewhere? Contribute in your very own “An Insight Into” by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.