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Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Austin, Texas

Planning a trip to Austin, Texas and looking for more information on the local area? We’ve got you covered with this guide to all things Austin. Learn more about the history of the area and uncover museums and art galleries that promote the best qualities of Austin. Discover great food, lively events, and stunning natural vistas with this handy guide to Austin, Texas.

Planning a trip to Austin, Texas and looking for more information on the local area? We’ve got you covered with this guide to all things Austin. Learn more about the history of the area and uncover museums and art galleries that promote the best qualities of Austin. Discover great food, lively events, and stunning natural vistas with this handy guide to Austin, Texas.

austin texas: state capitolAustin, Texas Basics

Austin is an American city located in central Texas in the southern United States. It’s the seat of Travis County. The city of Austin is due north of San Antonio, south of Dallas, and just west of Houston. The main airport is called Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, which features direct flights to dozens of American cities as well as to Calgary and Frankfurt.

Austin is the state capital of Texas and is also home to the University of Texas at Austin. The city is undergoing rapid expansion and is the third fastest-growing city in the United States (1).

Greater Austin consists of Austin-Round Rock — a metropolitan area spanning five counties including Cedar Park. Austin is also home to the headquarters or regional offices of large corporations including Amazon, Oracle, and Google. The city is governed by an 11-member city council and a city manager.

The rapid growth has also led to a higher cost of living compared to the days of old Austin. The rising cost of real estate has made the city more expensive to live in, though it’s still a relatively affordable destination for tourism. Public safety is high for a city of its size with crime rates lower than average.

These factors all combine to make Austin one of the best places in the country to experience authentic American culture. From paddleboarding to watching bats take flight, there are dozens of things to do in Austin.

What’s Austin All About?

Austin has no shortage of things to do. From the gorgeous Austin skyline to the Lady Bird Lake boardwalk and adventures in nearby Hill Country, there’s something for everyone. Nature lovers will enjoy getting out on the water on Lake Travis while nightlife enthusiasts will be right at home at live music festivals and on 6th street. Want to know more about Austin, Texas? Here’s our guide to the basics.

Live Music

They don’t call Austin “the live music capital of the world” for nothing. Music venues from hole-in-the-wall dive bars to major events such as the South by Southwest music festival (SXSW) draw music lovers from all corners of the globe.

Austin landed on the music scene back in the early 1970s as local artists including Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan became household names. Music venues such as the Armadillo World Headquarters became iconic locations for concerts and live events.

Austin hotspots like Bespoke have seen the likes of Clint Eastwood and Dolly Parton and it’s not unheard of to come across your favorite musician enjoying a delicious meal in one of Austin’s eateries.

Food + Drink

Austin is foodie heaven. Whether you love Mexican food, European cuisine, or southern cooking, there’s something for you in Austin. The city offers dozens of restaurants from food trucks to upscale five-star experiences. Start the day off with dishes that made Austin famous from breakfast tacos and Tex Mex food to barbecue and farm-to-table meals.

The experience doesn’t stop there. Austin is a great place to try out some craft beers and local ales before hitting the town for a fun night out. Nightlife in Austin centers on several lively neighborhoods including downtown Austin and East Austin.

Rainey Street in downtown Austin offers a laid back vibe with bars and restaurants built out of converted homes. The area used to be a neighborhood before being rezoned as a commercial district. The resulting eateries and bars feature front porches and backyard areas where you can sip and enjoy the company of friends.

Another wildly popular nightlife spot in the downtown area is Dirty 6th Street. The sixth street area is either loved or hated and features cheap places to get drunk with friends. You’ll find several $1 shot bars lining the street along with the requisite belligerent and raucous partakers. The entertainment district is worth a stroll, but there are better Austin areas for imbibing without the chaos.

East Austin is the preferred nightlife area of most local Austinites. It offers a down-to-earth feel with hole-in-the-wall establishments. You’ll also find bars in this area that have been around for decades, offering a glimpse into wild nights of years gone by. You’ll also find more upscale establishments here with full mescal menus and exquisite craft cocktails. Plus, there is exceptional street art and murals that are perfect for snapping a pic.

austin texas: skylineNature

Austin is a nature lover’s paradise with the city limits bordering the gorgeous hill country. Here, you’ll find 14,000 square miles of rolling hills, historic towns, and vineyards to keep you busy all day long. The hill country features unbeatable views, a soulful vibe, and wellness retreats along with access to cultural and historical towns of Texas.

If you’re looking for nature a little closer to town, Austin has it. Get out and paddleboard or kayak on Lady Bird Lake and Lake Austin. Enjoy a sunset hike up Mount Bonnell, the tallest mountain in the Austin city limits.

You can also enjoy the extensive hike and bike trails in Zilker Park. Be sure to check out the local flora at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. For those hot summer days, cool off with a dip in the Barton Springs Pool, an aquifer-fed pool that stays a perfect 68 degrees year-round.

Try out the hiking and biking trails in McKinney Falls State Park or play a quick game at the disc golf course inside Roy G. Guerrero Park. The city also features a private golf club called the Austin Country Club, which features a course right along the banks of the Colorado River.

If animals are your thing, be sure to catch the largest urban bat colony as it takes flight every evening from the South Congress Avenue Bridge. The best spots to catch this wonder are from kayaks or boats on the water. Make sure to hit up the Austin Zoo to get a glimpse of other animals too.

Culture and History

The City of Austin is replete with cultural and historical significance. Here, you’ll find the LBJ Presidential Library, which documents thousands of historical texts as well as possessions donated by the Johnson family.

You can also visit Bullock Texas State History Museum for a better grasp on this history of Texas and the local Austin area. The museum features three floors packed with artifacts, an IMAX theater and archival libraries. The museum covers everything from history and culture to technology and is home to a 300-year-old French shipwreck.

If art is more your thing, check out the Blanton Museum of Art. Located on the campus of the University of Texas, this museum features European Renaissance works as well as Latin American art and contemporary pieces. The museum covers 125,000 square feet with close to 18,000 pieces of art. You’ll find collections featuring Luca Cambiaso and Claude Lorrain and drawings from Picasso and Goya to Rembrandt.


If live music is the soul of Austin, the University of Texas is the heart. The Texas football team is known as the Longhorns and they’ve won more Big 12 championship titles than any other university. If you’re lucky enough to visit during football season, check out a game at the Austin stadium. You’ll join thousands of other fans celebrating the team with “hook ’em horns” and enjoying the mascot Big Bertha.

park capitol hill austin tx governmental building architecture dome texas tourism 688905.jpgd Government

Austin is a great place to visit for government aficionados. The Texas State Capitol building offers tours and the chance to view Texas history. You can view the oldest building on the premises — known as the Texas General Land Office —  which was built back in 1857.

You can also visit the legislative chambers including the house and senate chambers. In the Senate chambers, you’ll see the original desks purchased in 1888. You can also view artifacts including the flag from the Battle of San Jacinto and 15 historical paintings that adorn the chamber walls. Take a short stroll from the legislative building and visit the Governor’s Mansion, which offers tours most weeks on Monday through Thursday.

Quality of Life

The quality of life in Austin regularly ranks higher than other cosmopolitan areas like New York City and San Francisco. In recent years, large tech companies have established headquarters in the Austin area. This include businesses like Google, Tesla, and Facebook. The result has been hundreds of new high-paying jobs in the tech and healthcare industries. The city is increasingly popular among young professionals and families. 

The downside of this influx is that home values and the cost of living have increased in recent years. The price increase year over year is  5.1% and the median home price is now over $500,000. Property taxes in Texas are also higher than many other states. On the positive side, Texas doesn’t have an income tax, allowing families to save money compared to choosing to live elsewhere. 

Austin isn’t just about having a good time. It’s a great place for families to raise kids and for young professionals to put down roots. There are several school districts in the area — including Leander and Eanes. The city is also home to charter and public high schools that have received accolades from national organizations. Young adults can also get a bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin.

Discover the Joys of Living in and Visiting Austin

Austin is one of the most unique cities in America. You’ll never run out of things to do in the city thanks to exceptional nightlife, beautiful green spaces, and live music. With shopping in South Austin and latino foods that are out of this world, there’s something for everyone. Plus, it’s a great place to live. Known for it’s great university and neighborhoods that are well-suited to raising a family, it’s a fantastic place to set down roots.

Erika Marty
Erika Marty

Erika is an avid traveler who has been to more than 60 countries where she finds food, activities, and hidden locales for touring like a local. When she’s not writing, she enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and planning her next adventure.

Learn more about Erika

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