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Austin: Fun in The Capitol City
“Keep Austin Weird” – the famous slogan normally speaks for itself, when it comes to the unique flair that is the capital of Texas! Although the affordable cost of living, diverse entertainment, creative atmosphere, friendly people and awesome food keep Austin on the “Best Cities for Young People” list, this city should definitely be on your radar for your next vacation. Austin offers something for everyone; from museums and shopping, to live entertainment and nightlife, or shopping and taking in the sites. This city has it all!
DOWNTOWN AUSTIN: WHERE TO SLEEP?
During your trip to Austin, it’s best to stay in the heart of downtown. You can find so many great options around the city, but if you can afford it, you should lay your head in one of Austin’s popular boutique hotels. One example is, The Driskill. With a luxurious price point, The Driskill is one of the most popular boutique hotels in Austin. This hotel is located in the heart of downtown and you can walk to all of the city’s main attractions, including the entertainment strip - 6th Street. The old historic landmark is known for its marble lobby and leather lounge. Those looking for a spooky thrill should stay here too, because the hotel is rumored to be haunted! According to guest, it’s quite common to see a visitor from beyond roaming the halls. Bring your pets, they are also welcomed. Those looking for a less exciting option in the heart of downtown, should stay in the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Austin. This hotel is all about location. Not only is it walkable to all of the capitol’s main attractions, but its three blocks away from the downtown train station! It has an onsite restaurant, gym and outdoor pool. If you’re looking to tour the university this is a great option as well, because the University of Texas-Austin is only two miles away. Pets are welcomed here as well.
MORE HOTELS: GO FOR A DRIVE?
If you’re looking to save a bit of money, or don’t want to stay in the heart of downtown, don’t worry. You don’t have to sacrifice luxury and comfort, for price. If you still want the boutique hotel experience, there’s a popular one driving distance from downtown. The Casulo Hotel is considered a “Zen retreat from the city,” for those who want to be close to downtown, but far enough to relax. Located right off the I-35 highway and three miles to downtown, a quick drive will get you to 6th street, and other attractions, in no time. This hotel is also located near the airport and has a few parks in its vicinity for those longing to take a stroll. You can enjoy lunch at the Asian inspired café, before you head out. The Super 8 - Austin Airport North is a great averaged price hotel, for those looking to save money. It’s near the airport and less than five miles to downtown. For golfers, the Morris Williams Golf Course is five minutes away. Pets are also welcome in this hotel as well.
THINGS TO DO IN AUSTIN
Often compared to New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, a trip to Austin wouldn’t be complete without visiting 6th Street. This main hub is alive with surrounding shops, restaurants, bars and live-music clubs such as the popular Emo’s. Holding true to its title the “Live Music Capital of the World,” tons of up-and-coming, as well as local acts, can be found along 6th Street. 6th Street appeals to the diversity of Austin, offering venues and restaurants that cater to all tastes. If you can, plan your visit to 6th Street on a Friday or Saturday night. The police restrict car traffic on these nights and you’ll be able to experience this entertainment district at its finest.
Although the city prides itself on “Keeping Austin Weird,” that doesn’t necessarily mean ‘strange.’ It could also mean activities and sties that you would find only unique to Austin. An example of this, that is guaranteed to leave you impressed, is the Austin Bats. Yes, bats. According to experts, Austin is home to the largest city bat population in North America. Every spring, bats migrate up from Mexico and settle under the Congress Avenue Bridge. In August thousands of bats participate in nightly excursions, feeding on insects, before heading back south in the fall. Unless you’re absolutely freaked out by the idea of bats, you’ll naturally be impressed at the sight of them during their nightly mass exodus. There’s an informational kiosk located on the south bank of the river, if you want to learn more.
There are several museums and exhibits that will appeal to the cultural connoisseur during a trip to Austin. One of the popular museums to see is the Blanton Museum of Art. Located on the University of Texas campus, Blanton is the largest university art museum in the country and has the largest private collection of master works in the U.S. The museum has a large collection Renaissance and baroque pieces, as well as, 20th and 21st century and a collection of contemporary Latin American art. If you come on a Thursday, you’ll get free admission.
What’s a trip to the capitol of Texas, without visiting the actual State Capitol? Standing in the heart of Austin’s legislative center, the capitol was constructed in 1888 and actually stands seven feet taller than the United States’ Capitol in Washington D.C. When visiting the capital, free guided tours are available. However, they make it easy for you to have a self-guided tour. Pick up one of the self-guided tour pamphlets and explore the building and grounds at your own pace.
Eat good food and enjoy live music, all over the city, at any time of the day - shop until you drop or dance the night away - explore the museums and exhibits, or take a stroll through the gardens and parks – take one of Austin’s may tours, including the popular Texas Bike Tours . Whatever your desire, Austin has it and before it’s over you may never want to leave.
Price rangefrom $27to $1,317
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