Texas Travel

City Spotlight: Austin

By Kristy Alpert 10.5.16

It’s a city that needs no introduction. With a metro population of more than 2 million, Austin is the 11th most populated city in America, and the perfect destination for anyone looking for a big Texas adventure.

IMG_6638Founded in 1839, Austin (formerly Waterloo) was built by the Republic of Texas as its capital and named in honor of Texas forefather Stephen F. Austin. History buffs can explore the city’s rich past and present on a visit to the state Capitol building — the largest in the nation. In addition to the standard tour of the property, the Capitol offers themed tours throughout the year, such as Women in Texas History and Heroes of the Texas Revolution. Schedule a trip to the Governor’s Mansion to see where the head honcho eats and sleeps, and check out the Bullock Texas State History Museum to explore an abundance of exhibits on the Lone Star State’s rich legacy. 

For those who want to embrace the spookier side of Austin this October, head to Oakwood Cemetery. The oldest burial ground in the city celebrates the season in style with its 10th annual Halloween-theme walking tour on Oct. 29, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Exploring the lives and deaths of the city’s earliest residents, this ghoulish tour takes you back in time and may give you a (fun) fright! And no trip to Austin in the fall is complete without a trip to the Congress Avenue Bridge to witness the world’s largest bat colony take flight.

Also this month, the Live Music Capital of the World hosts its Austin City Limits showcase. This legendary music festival capitalizes on Austin’s more than 2,000 recording artists and more than 250 music venues, hosting international headliners, beloved local groups, and 450,000 music lovers at the expansive Zilker Park. In March, thousands of music and movie lovers descend on the city for its renowned South by Southwest festival.

Want to get outdoors but not attend a concert? The city’s 251 parks serve as great venues during the festival season, but they’re also a big part of what makes Austin such an inviting destination for outdoorsy visitors. IMG_6789One of the capital’s most recognized and popular recreational areas is its 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail that follows the edge of Lady Bird Lake toward a spring-fed pool, where locals can be found swimming in its 68-degree waters year-round.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite discovering all that the state capital has to offer, why not grab a bite to eat? Austin boasts more fine restaurants and nightlife venues per capita than any other U.S. city, as well as several 2016 James Beard Award finalists, including Launderette (Best New Restaurant) and chef Bryce Gilmore (Best Chef: Southwest, Odd Duck and Barley Swine). But for real Austin flavor, head to the presidentially approved Franklin Barbecue and sample some true Texas ’cue.

Find more Lone Star State travel tips and destinations elsewhere on our blog and on our Pinterest page

Also Happy Birthday to Joe. He’s the Best!