The Live Music Capital of the World … and so much more.
Live music abounds in Austin, Texas—The Live Music Capital of the World. From grocery stores, street curbs and outdoor parks to the city's 250 venues, every corner pulses with live beats.
Yet music is just the beginning. The offerings crescendo from there.
The city, showcasing dynamic entertainment, world-class museums, delicious food and outdoor nirvanas, harbors a rich history, artistic spirit and cultural medley. Those who call Austin home are proud of their past—and visitors are welcome to take part in the legend.
A land of legend, history and culture...
Among Austin's revered museums is Bullock Texas State History Museum, with three floors of exhibit space, an IMAX Theater and the Texas Spirit Theater, which hosts presentations on the history of the Lone Star State. The venue is ideal for visitors interested in immersing themselves in Texas history and culture, and just a block from Texas State Capitol—the largest of the 50 state houses, standing 14 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol. Free guided tours are available every 15 minutes.
Art isn't just a tourist attraction.
Art is part of Austin's soul and spirit. In addition to musicians strumming their stuff in local hubs, museums house cultural treasures, galleries feature new and established artists, Ballet Austin dancers command the stage, and local artists fill streets and yards with their work—including Vince Hannemann's eccentric Cathedral of Junk, a tower constructed from an estimated 60 tons of lawnmower wheels, car bumpers, ladders and other gear. It's been in the works since 1988.
Folks could find their own beat at the Broken Spoke, the state's last true dance hall, where Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and George Straight have performed and the Texas Two Step runs the show. The memorabilia room is filled with photos, hats and other country music treasures.
Austin is known for barbecue and Tex-Mex.
While locals list Lambert's Downtown Barbecue, La Barbecue and Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew among their favorites, vegetarians and vegans won't starve—restaurants plate savory sensations for every diet, and around 1,000 mobile food vendors (they've lost count!) serve cuisine from the backs of refurbished Airstreams and concession trailers.
Pair meals with local cocktails, craft beer and wine. Tito's Handmade Vodka is Texas' first and oldest legal distillery that, to this day, micro-distills the spirit in an old-fashioned pot. Grapevines and hops are grown in the region, with more than 30 wineries within a short drive of the city.
Being active comes naturally.
Austin boasts 300 days of sunshine and an average temperature of 68 degrees. Whether you seek a stroll along Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail in the heart of the city or a leisurely canoe ride on serene Lady Bird Lake, Austin offers myriad outdoor activities.
The 361 acres of Zilker Park are ideal for a picnic, a game of disc golf or a ride on the Zilker Zephyr—a miniature train perfect for children and families, whisking passengers on a tour of Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake. Here, you'll have a chance to cool off in the city's beloved Barton Springs Pool, an urban oasis of spring-fed waters. Austin consistently ranks as one of the United States' best cities to visit, thanks to the musical beats, historical dynamics and outdoor high notes that craft a unique travel timbre.
Escape to Hill Country
With so much to experience in Austin, it's hard to believe visitors could ever get enough of city life. Yet the 14,000 square miles of Hill Country surrounding the urban mecca offer a laid-back, soulful experience for a divergent and distinct experience.
First a German farming settlement, then a ghost town … and now an artsy, revitalized city listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors could shop for antiques, sip wine or fly fish in the Guadalupe River, the southernmost trout stream in the Northern Hemisphere.
More than 20 wineries offer tastings, tours and unbeatable views. Main Street claims 150 plus shops, boutiques and art galleries, and visitors can find a stunning 360-degree view atop Enchanted Rock.
Formerly a mill town featuring production in lumber, molasses and cotton, present-day Wimberley entices travelers with arts, boutiques and outdoor adventures. Jacob's Well, an artesian spring, is perfect for swimming, and Cypress Creek Trail and Mount Baldy are perfect for scenic hikes.
Written by Cassie Westrate.
Photo courtesy of Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau.