Austin is the capital of Texas, home of the University of Texas at Austin® and gateway to the beautiful Hill Country. As the Live Music Capital of the World®, the city has a soundtrack all its own. More than 250 live music venues flourish with rock, indie, pop, Tejano, and more. Top notch restaurants with legendary barbecue and farm-to-table cuisine whet your appetite. Shop in the one-of-a-kind boutiques that line our streets and neighborhoods, or head out to hill country to relax in a world class destination spa. More than 300 days of sunshine lend itself to a refreshing dip in Barton Springs or try stand-up paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake.
Here are some of the top things to do in town, whether it’s your first time in Austin or your fortieth!
- Experience Local Flavor.
You shouldn’t visit Austin without trying what we’re most known for – barbecue, Tex-Mex and breakfast tacos. There are too many spots to name for just one visit, but you can’t go wrong with breakfast tacos with your coffee, a big BBQ lunch and a margarita on the patio with queso at happy hour. We're also known for our unique food trucks, which can be found all over town. If you leave hungry, you're just not doing it right.
- Listen to Live Music.
Austin's celebrated live music scene includes more than 250 live music venues with just about every style represented; this is the Live Music Capital of the World® after all. We recommend checking out one of Austin's many iconic music venues. A few favorites include The Saxon Pub, Hotel Vegas, The Elephant Room, and Broken Spoke for a little two-steppin’ fun!
- Visit a Local Brewery, Distillery or Hill Country Winery.
It’s no secret that Austin’s craft beverage scene is booming right now. Warm up with a glass of local Texas wine at Texas Reds and Whites Tasting Room, spend an afternoon touring Hill Country distilleries like Deep Eddy Vodka or Garrison Brothers whiskey distillery, visit one of our local craft breweries for a pint and a tour, or meet up with colleagues over cocktails at Firehouse Lounge (find the entrance to this speakeasy through a bookshelf in the hostel lobby). From grapevines to hops, Austin serves up libations sure to please every palate.
- Get Outdoors.
The Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail is just across Cesar Chavez from the Austin Convention Center and is a great way to run off those breakfast tacos while watching the sun rise over Austin's skyline. Have a little more time? Spend a sunny afternoon in a kayak or stand up paddleboard on the lake, hike the Barton Creek Greenbelt, take a refreshing dip in historic Barton Springs Pool or play 18 holes at one of Austin's many scenic golf courses.
- Capture our Iconic Street Art.
There are many photo-friendly murals and public art pieces in Austin. Make time to explore South Austin’s murals; stop by the “I love you so much” mural at Jo’s coffee or the “Willie for President” mural at STAG on South Congress Avenue, then send a photo postcard to friends and family back home at the “Greetings from Austin” mural at Roadhouse Relics art gallery on South First Street.
- Discover Texas Heritage.
Go for a stroll on Congress Avenue to see Mexic-Arte Museum, the Texas State Capitol (open 24 hours a day with regular, free tours) and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. From there, head to central Austin’s Cultural Campus, around the University of Texas at Austin. This area is home to world-class museums like the Blanton Museum, the LBJ Presidential Library, the Harry Ransom Center and more. For a more casual history lesson, explore some of Austin’s historic districts and sites.
- Tour the Sights.
For an informative and fun Austin experience, go on an expedition with one of Austin’s many local tour companies. Get a taste of the best food trucks in town with Austin Eats Food Tours, see the city on two wheels with a Barton Springs Bike Rentals bike tour, go behind the scenes at ACL Live at the Moody Theater or see the top sights in 90 minutes with AO Tours. There's something for everyone!
- Shop Local on South Congress.
Vintage shops, used bookstores and unique gift shops abound in this eclectic, funky stretch studded with casual eateries, cafes and bars. While you’re here, marvel at the costumes at Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, shop Mexican folk art and jewelry at Tesoros Trading Company, find your next staple piece at Parts and Labour and pick up a pair of cowboy boots at Allens Boots. Guys won’t want to miss the trendy styles at hot spots like Co-Star and Service Menswear.
- Relax and Reset at the Spa.
Treat yourself to some quality time at a local spa, where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and rejuvenate before your next networking session. Start fresh with a facial from Milk + Honey Spa in the Second Street shopping district, lounge in the comfy armchairs during a pedicure at Lacquer luxury nail studio or find your balance with a signature massage at the Fairmont Spa.
- Explore Nearby Entertainment Districts.
Hit up Austin's diverse entertainment districts, where you'll find each neighborhood is home to its own vibrant and unique culture. East Austin boasts everything from iconic honky tonks and relaxed dive bars to hipster music venues. Stroll from food truck to bar on Rainey Street, where historic bungalows have been renovated into trendy bars and restaurants. For a more upbeat scene, Downtown is your place. Hit up Fourth Street for a bevy of cocktail bars, gay nightclubs, rooftop lounges and more.
Austin, TX 78701