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Austin is a city of over 700,000 people in the Hill Country region of the U.S. state of Texas. It's the capital of Texas and a college town, and also a center of alternative culture away from the major cities on the US coasts, though the city is rapidly gentrifying with its rising popularity. Austin's attitude is commonly emblazoned about town on T-Shirts and bumper stickers that read: "Keep Austin Weird." Austin is also marketed as the "Live Music Capital of the World" due to the large number of venues. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Austin
- The University of Texas at Austin,  is a beautiful stroll. While there you might want to visit the Blanton Museum of Art , the Harry Ransom Center , Texas Memorial Museum of Science and History , or view the public art around campus . The famous UT tower has reopened and is worth a look for the breathtaking views and history lesson. It is a tour though so you need to make reservations . The theater and music departments are both well regarded and have performances throughout the school year. If you visit during football season, you can see the 2005 National Champion Texas Longhorn football team play at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium.
- LBJ Presidential Library. Always seems to have something interesting on display. They change their exhibits fairly frequently.
- The Texas State Capitol. Is a must-see for new visitors to Austin. A large source of pride for the city and the state, the State Capitol is a beautiful building wrapped in Texas pink granite. Independent-minded Texans take pride in the fact that the State Capitol is actually 14 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Unlike many other state capitols in America, Texas' is as welcoming as the state's people, and is completely open to the public seven days a week. It's interesting to stroll through the halls, look at the paintings and sculptures, and peek into the legislative chambers. And it's free!
- Austin Bats. Yes, that's right, bats. Austin's Congress Avenue bridge is home to about 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats. This is the largest urban bat colony in the world and one of the largest Mexican free-tailed bat colonies in North America. The bats are generally active at dusk every evening between March and November. In years when there has been a drought, the bats leave early (when there is still light), and can be a quite impressive sight. In years when there has been plenty of rain, they leave so late it is difficult to see much. Best place to see them is near the Austin American Statesman's parking lot, or you can pay for boat tours to see them from underneath the bridge. Towards the end of bat season, when the colony's young are flying for the first time, pedestrian crowds can become rather dense. Try to arrive at least an hour before dark if you want to have a good, unobstructed view.
- Texas State Cemetery. Is the state burying ground for Texas politicians, cultural figures and Republic of Texas heroes. Texas luminaries buried within its grounds include Stephen F. Austin, John Connally, Barbara Jordan, Darrell Royal and Ann Richards. The cemetery is open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Audio tours are available at the office at 909 Navasota Street or can be downloaded for free from the website. Admittance is free, but can be limited during a funeral.
Austin weather is generally nice most of the year; activities are generally not limited by season. However, as Austin lies within Central Texas, be prepared to deal with the long, hot summers if you are visiting between May and September. It is not uncommon for daily high temperatures to be between 90 and 100 degrees during this time — in fact, a day in the 80s is rare, and several days may even reach triple digits (90 days in 2011). If you are here when the weather is like this, dress accordingly, drink plenty of water, and do not plan on staying outside for long (nearly all indoor places are air-conditioned) — unless you're taking the opportunity to take a dip in Barton Springs Pool or any of the other swimming holes in the area. This is especially true if the heat index is around 105 or higher, which is considered to be dangerous. Also keep in mind that the interior of cars will get dangerously hot, especially if the windows are up and it's parked in the sun — don't leave pets or children in there, no matter how brief. How hot the summer gets usually depends on the amount of precipitation the area has been getting. If there is no drought and the spring has been particularly wet, temperatures will remain relatively tolerable and rarely break triple digits. If it has been dry, as it was from 2007-2009, summers can be very uncomfortable and triple-digit temps will be very common.
Central Texas winters are short to non-existent. There are many pleasant or even warm days during the winter months (the first 90 degree day of 2012 was in February), and snowfall is rare. However, hard freezes happen occasionally, and light freezes may occur frequently (especially in the more rural areas), and when this mixes with precipitation, ice storms and other wintry weather happen. If the storm is severe enough, the city may shut down for a day or so, traffic may be snarled, and the local auto body shops may receive a spike in business. The Austin area usually experiences such events 0-2 times each year or so, from late December to mid-February. Generally, though, winter weather just varies a lot, with alternating cold and warm fronts that can make for large temperature swings within just a week's time.
Spring and fall are the best times to visit. Springs tend to be stormy (see "Stay safe" for related warning), and falls may bring light freezes during the night. For the most part, though, springs and falls are very pleasant times to experience Austin.
- Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. formerly know as the Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail, the 1.1 mile trail creates a complete circuit around Lady Bird Lake. It is one of the oldest urban Texas hike and bike paths. The trail is the longest trail designed for non-motorized traffic maintained by the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department and watched after by a local non-profit named The Trail Foundation.
- The Veloway, 4900 La Crosse Ave. A 3.1 mile long, paved asphalt bicycling and rollerblading trail.
- Walnut Creek Municipal Park, 12138 N. Lamar Blvd. Walnut Creek Park features a large loop and a multitude of hilly, meandering trails popular with mountain bikers. As of 2013 a new dirt BMX trail and loop has been added to the existing trails. Stay on mark trails, some areas have experience heavy errosions which have lead to huge rock slides recently.
Arranged by month. The mammoth South by Southwest (SXSW) festivals are in March. The major Austin City Limits Festival is in October.
- Chinatown Center Austin Chinese New Year Festival. JANUARY/FEBRUARY. Austin’s Chinatown Center has set a Texas-sized standard for how Chinese New Year’s Celebration should be done! All adults and children are invited to attend this FREE two-day event with family-fun entertainment including the kids’ area, dragon and lion dances, traditional Chinese Dances, martial arts performances and more! Don’t miss out on a celebration that embraces and educates on the wide range of Asian culture. All retail stores and restaurants in the center are open - Chinatown Center is located at 10901 N. Lamar Blvd. at the intersection of Kramer and N. Lamar.
- Lunar New Year Festival. FEBRUARY.
- Zilker Park Kite Festival. MARCH. The oldest continuous kite festival in the USA. Hundreds of kites will dance in the sky the first Sunday in March (10AM to 5PM) Admission is FREE. Everyone is welcome whether they fly a kite or just enjoy the spectacle that must be seen to be believed. Kite flying demonstrations will be held all day and delicious food of all kinds will be prepared fresh at the event. See kite ballet, kite battles, kite buggies and giant kites over 50 feet long. Come compete in both youth and adult kite contests with your homemade kite. Trophies are awarded to the winners. Proceeds from vendor sales go to break the cycle of child abuse. Free parking and shuttles. Come on down to Zilker Park and enjoy “Kite Day”. Zilker Park is in Austin at 2200 Barton Springs Road. Rain date is the following Sunday.
- Austin Chocolate Festival. MARCH. The festival will include up to 20 vendors including chocolatiers, bakeries, patisseries, restaurants, hotels, caterers, authors, and resorts. The participating vendors will offer samples to festival guests. Guests will also enjoy and participate in chocolate competitions and demonstrations. It was founded in 2006 and benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Tickets for the Austin Chocolate Festival are available for purchase online in advance at the festival website. For more information, volunteer, vendor or sponsorship opportunities please visit the website.
- South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival. MARCH. Beginning before and overlapping the SXSW Music Festival. SXSW Film is a significant industry conference, but also hosts many film screenings.
- South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival. MARCH. Spotlighting cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, SXSWi features five days of presentations and workshops, networking events and special programs.
- South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival. MARCH. One of the biggest music festival in the United States, with more than 1,400 performers playing dozens of venues around Austin for four days. The wrist bands are loved by college students here, but be warned that you'll be turned away at the door at many of the venues even with one. You can still get into some of the larger venues without a wristband if you'd simply like to sample a band or two and check out the atmosphere; you can usually pick one "official" venue where you think you'll like all the bands, and then go early and pay the cover. Hardcore music fans usually make a week long calendar and plan to arrive at different venues for different acts.
- Wildflower Center Art and Artisans Festival. MARCH. The annual Wildflower Days celebration begins with the Art and Artisans Festival devoted to arts, crafts and nature. This early spring event features the work of local artists and artisans, all working with a nature theme. You will find watercolors, metalwork, pottery, jewelry, photography, woodwork and more, all lovingly made by hand. Highlights include children's activities in the Little House as well as book signings and special discounts at the store. Then, add some leisure to your arts - dine on tasty cuisine at the Wildflower Cafe and enjoy entertainment provided by local musicians.
- Texas Round-Up & Street Festival. APRIL. The Texas Round-Up 10K, 5K and Family Mile is held annually in Austin, Texas on the last Saturday in April. Race weekend begins with a health and fitness expo showcasing vendors and sponsors. The race is followed by a fitness festival where families can enjoy live music, food, fitness demonstrations and family friendly activities. Many participants spend months training for Texas Round-Up, and for several participants, the Texas Round-Up is their first race, making the events a very special accomplishment and a true celebration of healthy living.
- Dragon Boat Festival. APRIL. Running since 1999 with growing participation and attendance; held centrally on Town Lake. In addition to the friendly, competitive races, the festival will include many other cultural exhibitions, vendors, and kids activities. FREE admission to the public.
- Eeyore's Birthday Party. APRIL. . Held on the last Saturday of every April to ring in spring, there are few things that seem so "Austin" as Eeyore's Birthday Party. It is a unique event: a free-form hang-out of several thousand people... sitting, walking, playing music, beating drums, eating, drinking beer, playing games. Be yourself... there are families, dogs, tattoos, costumes, hotties, hippies, gay, straight, black, white, brown, red, tan.... and a statue of Eeyore dressed like the Statue of Liberty. The drum circle is massive and the beat vibrates throughout the central city. It ends when the sun goes down and everyone leaves peacefully. More information can be found at: 
- Moontower Comedy Festival. APRIL. Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival brings to Austin, TX some of the funniest, wittiest and oddest world-class comics from around the globe. This marathon of side-splitting nights throughout the city is slated to bring over 60 comedians doing everything from stand-up and sketch to improv and musical comedy. National headliners, up-and-comer and local Austin-based comedians ensure that there are options for every type of comedy fan; die-hards to those just looking for a fun night.
- Old Pecan Street Festival. MAY & SEPTEMBER. East Sixth Street (formerly Pecan Street) from Congress to IH-35 and adjacent streets are closed to traffic to host over 240 Arts, Crafts and other vendors. Several music stages offer live music.
- Austin Wine Festival. MAY. A uniquely Austin 3-day Texas wine celebration - RAIN OR SHINE! Wineries from Lampasas to New Braunfels and Fredericksburg to Dripping Springs have bloomed from a pioneering few, into an internationally awarded and recognized wine region. The number 2 wine destination in the nation, second only to Napa! Together they have created the annual Austin Wine Festival, the first of its kind in Texas.
- Austin Gay Pride. SEPTEMBER. Austin's single largest LGBT event includes a festival at Fiesta Gardens park and a parade that goes through the Warehouse District.
- Austin Bamboo Festival, ☎ +1 512 477-8672. AUGUST. Zilker Botanical Garden. This annual event features tours of theTaniguchi Japanese Garden, traditional dances, bamboo crafts and flute music.
- Austin City Limits Festival. OCTOBER. An annual three day outdoor music festival. It brings together more than 130 bands on eight stages, including rock, country, folk, indie, Americana, hip-hop, reggae, and bluegrass, and attracts a crowd of about 65,000 music-lovers each day. A great mix of big names as well as local acts, but be prepared to deal with the heat.
- Texas Book Festival has reached national prominence, in part due to support from Honorary Chairperson Laura Bush. OCTOBER. 
- Austin Film Festival. OCTOBER. Conference and film showings.
- Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off. NOVEMBER. The annual vegetarian cook-off began in 1989. Our mission is to show a healthy lifestyle can be as familiar as traditional, homemade chili – and a lot more fun! All of the chili is purely vegan (no animal products). The cook-off is open to all entrants. It is open to the public for tasting and mingling; admission enables you to taste ALL the different chili (and includes Zoo Entrance fee)! There will be lots of chili to taste, lots of interesting people to meet, guest speakers, great door prizes, live music, and many educational booths & exhibits. Half of the proceeds benefit the Austin Zoo, a rescue zoo providing sanctuary to displaced animals.
- Austin Asian Film Festival. NOVEMBER. An innovative Asian/Asian-American film festival committed to celebrating the best in independent Asian cinema from across the globe. For five years, our festival has highlighted the complexity and vitality of Asian/Asian-American communities through cutting-edge narrative, documentary and experimental films.
- Alamo Draft House. With several locations scattered throughout the city, the Alamo Draft House is a great place for movie lovers to experience current and classic movies on the big screen. Every theater offers a full food and drink menu, and servers deliver your order straight to your seat.
- Segway Tours Austin Segway Tours enable you to tour downtown Austin on the Segway. Learn to ride a Segway for $50 or tour downtown Austin for $75. Tours depart daily. .
- Austin Tours, 555 E. 5th Street, #2811, ☎ +1 512 215-4603, e-mail: email@example.com. Operating daily. Offers scenic carriage and van tours as well as ground transportation to several area landmarks including Arboretum, Round Rock, and UT. Priced from $16.95.
- TexasWineTours.com, ☎ +1 512 329-7007, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.Texas-Wine-Tours.com. Offers half and full day tours of the nearby Texas Wine country. Rent a chauffeured sedan, limo or minibus, generally departing between 10AM and noon daily. $50-$1500.
- Austin Ghost Tours, ☎ +1 512 853-9826. Offers several guided walking tours of downtown haunts ~$15.
- Independence Brewery Tour, 3913 Todd Lane #607, ☎ +1 512 707-0099, e-mail: email@example.com. 1-3PM, first Saturday of the month. Austin's local microbrewery, if you're in town on a tour day they are worth the time to see (and sample).
- Bike Nation Tours and Rentals, 1108 Lavaca Street, ☎ +1 512 663-9634. Austin's premier bike rental and touring company. Whether you are in Austin for a day or a week, rent a bike and explore Lady Bird Lake, the state capitol and other hike/bike trails.
- Rude Mechanicals. Or Rude Mechs. Original pieces are always engaging. Their production values are over the top (10 foot tesla coils on stage), and always make you interested to be watching theater. They did Lipstick Traces, which I loved. Also loved Get Your War On. They tour, so look for them.
- Pro Arts Collective. They do everything: theatre, dance, hip-hop, musicals, festivals and more.
- Teatro Vivo. Dedicated to producing quality bilingual theatre. Reflects the heart and soul of the Latino reality.
- Salvage Vanguard. Original musical pieces in conjunction with the Golden Arm Trio's Graham Reynolds are not to be missed.
- Different Stages. One of Austin's oldest rep. companies.
- Refraction Arts. They dabble in multiple mediums. Always interesting.
- the dirigo group. These critical darlings do original and established work.
- Bedlam Faction. The typical Bedlam fare is nervy, physical productions of lesser known early-modern playwrights. They occasionally do new, local works.
- Naughty Austin. Started out dedicated to gay-themed scripts, but they've been branching out lately.
- Loaded Gun Theory. Original pieces.
- Yellow Tape Construction Co. New work in theatre, dance, music, and many different combinations of the three.
- The State and Paramount Theaters feature a wide variety of plays and acts, from Broadway touring shows to Chinese acrobats to plays and unique dance companies. Note that the State Theater is closed for most of the 2006-2007 season due to flooding. Performances not canceled will take place in the Paramount Theater. 
- Go to Esther's Follies for an entertaining Saturday Night Live-like comedy skits (Th-Sa). Located in the 6th street entertainment district it's a great way to start an evening. Reservations recommended. 
- The Off Center. Managed by Rude Mechs and home to some of Austin's best theatre, music and dance: Deborah Hay Dance Company, Physical Plant Theatre, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, The Golden Hornet Project.
- The Hideout. Managed by The Austin Improv Collective. You can always find improv comedy there.
- The ColdTowne Theater. Plenty of comedy, ranging from stand-up to sketch and improv.
- Zach Scott. Dave Steakley is artistic director. If you are looking for solid musical theatre, this is your venue. They also have a lock on Christmas plays.
- The Blue Theater. Managed by Refraction Arts and featuring theatre, music, film and dance.
- The Vortex. Bonnie Cullum is artistic director. Original musicals and operas and plays. Some of the most delightfully weird stuff you'll see.
- Sam Bass Community Theater.
- Arts on Real.
- The Gas Light Theater.
- The Mary Moody Northen Theatre. Sitting atop a hill with gorgeous views of downtown, this professional Equity house at St. Edward's University allows college students and seasoned actors to work together creating exceptional theatre at a great value. 512-448-8484
- Austin Poetry Slam. 8:30pm, every Tuesday night at the 29th Street Ballroom.
KUTX Austin Music Map (Warning: sound; mute at bottom left)
Austin is the "Live Music Capital of the World". If you're into the bar and club scene, head to Sixth Street during the later hours for a wide selection of venues, many of which also feature live music. Sixth street is not by any stretch the only place to see music. It can in fact, become very crowded, and is generally the most tourist filled part of town. By ordinance for the protection of workers and public enjoyment, all public buildings in Austin are clean air zones, including bars. Smoking is prohibited except in rare separately ventilated areas, making Austin one of the few cities where a large and varied selection of music can be experienced smokefree.
- The Cactus Café, 2247 Guadalupe (at 24th St.), ☎ +1 512 475-6515, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 11AM-Midnight, F 11AM-2AM, Sa 8PM-2AM (hours may vary during school breaks). A great place to hear many local artists. Much of the music that is played there seems to be singer-songwriter. It's musically akin to Austin City Limits and unlike Austin City Limits you can probably actually get in to the Cactus Café.
- Austin City Limits, e-mail: email@example.com. The venerable PBS show was filmed at Studio 6A in the Communications Building B at the University of Texas from 1976 to 2010. In February 2011, it moved to the The Moody Theater at 310 Willie Nelson Blvd in Downtown Austin.
- Stubb's BBQ, 801 Red River, ☎ +1 512 482-8422. This BBQ restaurant has some of the best selection of live music in Austin, thanks to Charles Attal, one of the owners, who is recognized nationally for his music booking business. Crowded on Sundays!
- Antone's, 213 West 5th, ☎ +1 512 320-8424. An Austin original that has survived despite many hardships. Considered by USA Today to be one of the best Blues clubs in the nation, Antone's continues to be a launching pad for dozens of new artists each year.
- The Saxon Pub, 1320 South Lamar, ☎ +1 512 448-2552. M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su Noon-2AM. An awesome live music venue. The Saxon hosts live music throughout the week and even has a "no cover" happy hour until 7PM. Look for the giant knight and neon guitar.
- Emo's East, 2015 E. Riverside Dr.. Standing on the site of the old Back Room, this venue has a larger capacity than the old Emo's (which, as of December 2011, is closed), better sound quality, and the draw of bigger acts.
- Hole in the Wall, 3600 Guadalupe (UT Campus ARea.). Unique UT campus area club. Great Live Music. Usually no cover. Unique mix of students and z's, craftsman and construction workers, gays, and professionals.
- Elysium, 705 Red River (Take I-35 to exit number 234B, 8TH), ☎ +1 512 478-2979. Voted Best Dance Club 2003-2008 in the Austin Chronicle Readers' Poll
- Mohawk, 912 Red River (Intersection of East 10TH and Red River). Live music venue featuring local and national tallent. 8pm-2am live music everyday. 5-9pm weekday happy hour featuring local ales on tap. varies based on performer.
- Austin Film Festival. See information under Festival heading.
- SXSW Film Festival. See information under Festival heading.
- The Alamo Drafthouse. Four locations. A movie theater with full restaurant service. Downtown always has an eclectic array of cult and foreign films and a good beer and food menu and recently began serving liquor. They also have a dizzying number of specialty shows and film festivals. Their other locations show more first run movies with the same excellent food and beer menu.
- Arbor 7 Cinema. 9828 Great Hills Trail in the Arboretum area. Even though it is owned and operated by mainstream Regal Cinemas, the Arbor 7 shows art and foreign films.
- IMAX® Theatre. At Bob Bullock Texas State Historical Museum. Huge screen, 400 seats, with 2-D and 3-D capability.
- Austin Film Society. Various theaters. A membership organization bringing the best of cinema to Austinites. Many screenings open to the public. Check the website for current programs and community film annoucements.
- Austin Jewish Film Festival, takes place annually in January, presenting a cinematic examination of Jewish life and culture. .
- Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, takes place in April, presenting the best in Latino and Indigenous cinema. The Festival presents approximately 100 films with screenings in theaters throughout Austin. .
- Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, takes place annually in September. aGLIFF is the oldest and largest gay & lesbian film festival in the Southwest and one of the Top 5 Film Festivals of its kind in the nation. .
- Austin Bicycle Film Festival, takes place annually in September. The Bicycle Film Festival is a celebration of bicycles through film, art and music. .
- Austin Asian American Film Festival, takes place annually in October, celebrating the best in independent Asian cinema from across the globe. .
Enjoying the outdoors
- 43rd Street Bench. Undoubtedly Austin's favorite bench. Amazing location outside Quack's Bakery at the corner of 43rd Street and Duval. Frequently the scene of Hyde Park regulars holding forth on all manner of topics both day and night.
- Zilker Park. Undoubtedly Austin's favorite park. Amazing location on the banks of Town Lake with several miles of hiking and biking trails.
- Barton Springs Pool. Is one of Austin's most unique (and a refreshing 68 degrees year-round!) attractions: a beautiful spring-fed pool over 3 times longer than a football field, nestled in the heart of the city at Zilker Park. $3 entrance fee for the whole day. If you are short of cash or have a dog, head downstream just on the other side of the fence and find more clear beautiful water.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Showcases flowers and plant life of the area. The center is a bit southwest of downtown and worth the drive, especially during spring.
- Town Lake Boat Rental Rent a canoe or kayak and enjoy the natural world in the heart of the city.
- Austin Rowing Dock , 2418 Stratford Drive (512) 459-0999. From $10 to $25/hr.
- Zilker Park boat rentals , (512) 478-3852. In the park. $10/hr, $40 per day.
- Tubing the San Marcos River, 170 Bobcat Dr, ☎ +1 512 396-5466. San Marcos, 25 miles south of town on I-35. There is no more quintessentially Central Texan thing than enjoying a summer afternoon lazily floating down the river. The Lion's club of San Marcos rents tubes at around $8/person or canoes at $10/each. They take you to the river and pick you up.
- McKinney Falls State Park. A 744 acre state park located in southeast Austin is rich in local history.
- Town Lake Hike & Bike trail. A big loop around Town Lake, beautiful scenery while getting a good workout. Recent beautification has cleaned up parts, and is making it nicer for all. Runs alongside Zilker park. A good place for biking, running, walking, or taking the dog out for a nice run. Relatively easy hike.
- Other parks in and around Austin. There are numerous parks all over the city and in the surrounding suburbs that are very popular with the residents of Austin. A significant number of these parks are pet friendly.
- Mt. Bonnell, 3800 Mt. Bonnell Dr (west of Mopac on 2222, left on Mt. Bonnell Rd.). The third-highest point in Austin city limits at 780 feet. Several trails make for pleasant short hikes and points to experience incredible views of Town Lake and the city. The area has a history of romance and is sometimes called Antoinette's Leap, after a woman who supposedly leapt to her death to escape Indians who killed her lover.
- Hippie Hollow, 700 Comanche Trail (West on FM 2222, left on FM 620, right on to Comanche Trail). The only legal nude beach in Texas, although "beach" is a bit of a stretch. Located on the North shore of Lake Travis, Hippie Hollow has a "steep, rocky, shoreline." It is also home to both the golden cheeked warbler and the black capped vireo, two bird species listed under the US Endangered Species Act.
- University of Texas Longhorns. Austin is a university town and Texas sports are taken very seriously. Home of the 2005-06 National Football Champions. UT also has strong basketball and baseball teams, in particular.
- Professional Sports. Among the professional sports teams in Austin are the Austin Aztex of the United Soccer League, and the Austin Toros of the National Basketball Development League. The Round Rock Express, affiliated with the Texas Rangers, are located in nearby Round Rock, Texas and play Triple-A baseball in the Pacific Coast League. The Texas Stars hockey team is an American Hockey League team playing at the Cedar Park Center and are affiliated with the Dallas Stars (NHL).
- Formula 1 (at the Circuit of the Americas south of Austin-Bergstrom Airport). Formula 1 has added Austin to its series of races. A must see for auto enthusiasts, the COTA also hosts other racing events such as Moto GP and the Australian V8 Supercars series.
- House Park Skatepark, 1213 Shoal Creek Blvd. Is a 30,000 square foot public, concrete skate park next to the ACC Rio Grande Campus.
- Maple Davis Skate Park, 3427 Parker Lane. Is Austin's first public concrete skate park.
- Duncan Park BMX Trails, 900 W. 9th St. 78703, For the past 20 years, the South side of Duncan Park has been used as a BMX bicycle Jumping/Trail spot. It has been hand built by the local riders with very minimal involvement from the City of Austin and absolutely zero compensation.
The Austin Steam Train Association, , runs several tours aboard the Hill Country Flyer steam train into and around Texas Hill Country. The train makes short half hour jaunts as well as a 30 mile (50 km) circuit on weekends March through December. The Steam Train Association does actually own a live steam train, but it has been out of commission since about 2000. The train still runs though, just using a borrowed diesel engine. It is still nice, but not as attractive as it used to be.
When you visit Austin, or if you decide to live here, you'll have no shortage of interesting and satisfying places to eat. Austin's restaurants are a feast for the mind and the palate. The listings below are only a sampling of the diverse and plentiful Austin restaurant scene.
Austin has many high-end, destination restaurants, but it also has many high-quality, unique, and inexpensive restaurants where the locals eat, drink, and socialize every day (all day). It's a town built for living in, and the affordable, excellent restaurants show it. Just so you know you're in Texas, Austin has a large number of places serving Texas Barbeque and Tex-Mex; many of them are venerable, famous, and exceptionally good eating.
Austin is vegetarian-friendly, and many restaurants have a good selection to choose from. Most supermarkets such as HEB, Fiesta and Randall's offer inexpensive prepared food.
- Asia Cafe: One of the best Chinese food you can have in Austin. Its family style (huge portions) and offer some very exotic dishes. But its rise to fame is the "Spicy Fish Fillet". Its amazing. Few other must try items, Eggplant with ground pork and Twice cooked pork(bacon) with garlic sprouts.
- Threadgill's. The menu focuses on southern comfort food. The chicken fried steaks, salads, and peach cobbler are all especially good. Both locations are famous concert venues, starting the likes of Janis Joplin. Weekly gospel brunch at the south location on Sunday, for which you might want to call for reservations.
- Pluckers Wing Bar, Rio Grande, South Lamar, Research Blvd, Lakeline Mall, Round Rock. A local wing joint/sports bar. Reasonably priced, delicious wings and other menu items (including tasty salads). Try the fried macaroni and cheese. They have tons of TVs; it's a great place to watch a ball game.
- Austin Land and Cattle, 1205 N. Lamar Blvd.. Delicious steaks in a relaxed atmosphere (for a steakhouse). Great bar, appetizers, and sides too. Not especially cheap, but some of the best steaks in town.
- Dan's Hamburgers. Big, greasy burgers and tasty milkshakes. There is also Fran's Hamburgers; the story is that Dan & Fran divorced and each took part of the franchise.
- Waterloo Ice House. Austin classic. Delish burgers, some of the best onion rings in town. Don't miss the Cinnamon Chocolate Shake!
- Hopdoddy Burger Bar, South Congress and West Anderson Lane. Absolutely amazing burgers, an excellent bar, and great milkshakes (be sure to try the Caramel & Sea Salt)! Be prepared for a wait.
- P.Terry's. Hormone free, anti-biotic free beef, served up in tasty burgers with fresh cut french fries. Veggie burgers and quality chicken burgers (better than the regular burgers) are also available. Great quality 'fast food.' Several locations all over town.
- Mighty FIne. 4 Locations. Up and coming burger joint in Austin, short menu but not short on taste.
If you're going to Austin looking for barbecue, you're going to the right place. Austin is home to multiple of the best barbecue restaurants in the state.
- Franklin Barbecue, 900 E. 11th Street. 11 a.m. until sold out. Super popular (and rightfully so) place just east of I-35. It started as a trailer, but they now have a small restaurant. They open at 11 a.m. and only serve food until they sell out. Be warned; folks start lining up incredibly early. If you arrive later than 10 or 10:30 on a usual day, you may not get food. It's easily worth the wait if you have the time; their brisket is the best in Texas.
- The Salt Lick, 18300 FM 1826, ☎ +1 512 858-4959. 11am to 10pm. Built in 1967, this Austin establishment is a local favorite and winner of multiple awards. A great place to have a huge BYOB barbecue feast.
Austin is home to a verity of excellent Mexican restaurants. Everyone in town has his/her favorite so if your looking to find a good one just ask the locals.
- Polvo's Mexican Restaurant, 2004 S 1st Street. All-around excellent tex-mex, very popular with the local crowd. Some of the best margaritas to be found anywhere, and a trip to Austin is not complete without their Rellenos al Nogal.
- Curra's Grill, 614 E Oltorf Street. A much larger, more diverse menu than most tex-mex restaurants, and it's all fantastic. The avacado margaritas are extremely popular. Be forewarned, it's a small restaurant and it's almost always packed.
- Baby Acapulco's. This is a well known Tex-Mex restaurant serving out of 5 locations throughout the Austin area. A fun place for happy hour with a more upbeat and younger crowd. The famous purple margarita will do you just fine. But they serve a limit of two so drink responsibly!
- Chuy's Restaurant, 4 locations, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Austin institution with great Tex-Mex food. The North Lamar location is somewhat out of the way, but also tends to have the shortest wait times. Call ahead because the wait can sometimes be extremely long, though there are free chips and salsa to help make up for it.
- Maudie's. 6 locations. Great local Tex-Mex chain with locations spread across the city. Excellent tacos, enchiladas and chili rellenos. Serves breakfast all day. Gluten Free Menu available upon request.
- Maria's Taco Express, 2529 South Lamar Boulevard. Local mexican food. Live music on a regular basis and great fajitas.
- Changos Taqueria, 3023 Guadalupe. Tasty, affordable, and authentic tacos and other Mexican dishes. Try the al pastor tacos with the el nortena salsa. Serves breakfast tacos as well.
- Garrido's, Nueces & 3rd Street. Modern Mexican food downtown. Try the chicken enchiladas and the guacamole. Great lunch special: 3 course meal for $12.
- Lupe Tortilla's, Arbor Walk and Westlake. Really delicious and affordable Tex-Mex. Great margaritas. Their queso is the best in town, and be sure to try the flour tortillas (which are as big as your plate).
- Serranos. A homegrown Tex-Mex restaurant with five area locations aroud town offering a great selection of tasty Tex-Mex dishes. The food and service are consistently good for a reasonable price. For something different try the enchiladas con huevos.
- Santa Rita Cantina, 38th and Lamar, Slaughter Lane. Fantastic and reasonably priced Tex-Mex. Their enchiladas are amazing, and their Mexican martinis are the best in town. Great happy hour specials, too.
- Tamale House, 5003 Airport Boulevard, Austin, TX 78751, ☎ +1 512 453-9842. The best hole-in-the-wall Mexican food in town. Simple, wholesome food made right in front of you by somebody's Mexican tias and abuelitas. It's mostly a take-out place but they have a half dozen tables inside/outside if you aren't in a hurry. Great value and colorful clientele. Nothing glamorous here though. One of the few places in town that feels like it is south of the border. $.
- Torchy's Tacos, Locations across town. Amazing tacos of every kind, including breakfast tacos. Try the green chile pork or the democrat.
- Trudy's, 3 locations. Regarded by some as the favorite for Tex-Mex food in town, but this also means they are generally incredibly crowded and loud. Excellent margaritas with specials each night of the week. They're known more for their Mexican martinis than for their food.
- Mandola's Italian Market, The Triangle, Bee Cave, and Arbor Trail. Referred to by some as the best Italian food in Austin. Everything on the menu is affordable and delicious. Try the bruschetta alla checca, the trenette al pesto, or any pizza. They also have fabulous coffee, dessert, and gelato selections. From 3-6 p.m. on weekdays they have a great happy hour.
- Perla's Seafood and Oyster Bar, 1400 S Congress Avenue. Excellent for lunch or dinner, but particularly wonderful for weekend brunch on their patio. Have a few cocktails and some oysters before ordering your entree.
There are numerous Japanese restaurants in town (if you are looking for the real thing, most Japanese restaurants in town also are Korean or Chinese run). If you see bulgogi or other Korean fare it's likely a Korean restaurant. These places are pretty good and if you're not really into sushi, it's great to also have the option to eat Korean food.
- Uchi, 801 s. lamar, ☎ +1 512 916-4808. High end authentic Japanese dining and sushi. Make a reservation!!! Always slammed full of people.
- Pho Tai Son, Three or four locations (Burnet Rd & Parmer in the HEB strip mall, Wm. Cannon and Brodie by ChoobieDoos, the Drag, and maybe Oltorf, but that's probably Hai Ky now?). Good fresh Vietnamese standbys, pho, bun, stirfry and bubble drinks. No beer but maybe you can bring your own?
- Amy's Ice Creams (Downtown, North Loop, Northwest Austin, South Austin, UT and the Drag). The atmosphere is lively and the employees are friendly. Add a fruit or candy "crush'n" to your ice cream for even more flavor. The recently-added location on Burnet Road, aside from being right beside the Amy's production facility, also features a burger joint - Phil's Ice House. Try the sweet potato fries and the burger sampler.
- Kerbey Lane Cafe. 24 hours. This Austin favorite offers legendary pancakes and an extensive vegan menu that includes breakfast tacos, chai pancakes, tofu cheesecake, and more. Also try the queso and Dave's enchiladas. Breakfast all day.
- Opal Divine's. Serving up American food menu at four Austin locations, all of which have large outdoor decks for those who prefer to dine or enjoy an adult beverage with nature.
- Thundercloud Subs. A local Sandwich deli with over 27 locations around town. Known for its 'Keep Austin Weird' atmosphere and 'Thunder sauce.'
- Whole Foods Market Cafe. Vegetarian-friendly grocery store with numerous food bars offering vegan and vegetarian options. Whole Foods' flagship store is in Austin.
Austin is coffee mad. The coffeehouse culture is strong and growing here in Austin, and you can hear poetry and live music at quite a few of these places, as well as getting light eats. Coffeehouses are where the liberal heart of Austin beats for all to see. Free wireless Internet connections are very common (and available at many other businesses as well).
- Houndstooth Coffee, 4200 N Lamar, ☎ +1 512 531-9417. Varies by day.
- Caffe Medici, Three Locations. Varies.
- Spider House, 2908 Fruth St (just north of the UT Campus), ☎ +1 512 480-9562. Daily 7AM-2AM. A lovely place to spend a night out on the patio by yourself or with friends. Table service available. The Chai Milkshake is a dream; the Sangria pitcher is pricey but a fun way to unwind. Decent food as well. Hosts a poetry slam every Tuesday night at 8pm in an annex.
- Epoch Coffee, 221 W North Loop Blvd, ☎ +1 512 454-3762, e-mail: email@example.com. Always open.
- Genuine Joe, 2001 W Anderson Ln, ☎ +1 512 220-1576. M-F 7AM-11PM, Sa-Su 8AM-11PM.
- Texspresso Cafe, 2700 W Anderson Ln, ☎ +1 512 467-9898.
- Ruta Maya, 3601 S Congress Ave **As of January 15, 2013, Ruta Maya has either moved or closed down!** (turn off So. Congress at the strip joint and go uphill), ☎ +1 512 707-9637, fax: +1 512-472-9639, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M 7AM-11PM, Tu-Th 7AM-1PM, F 7AM-2AM, Sa 8AM-2AM, Su 8AM-11PM. An Austin tradition. Located at the Penn Field complex in a cavernous space with classes, entertainment, and events. Be aware that the service can be haphazard, but always friendly.
- Teo, 1206 W 38th St, ☎ +1 512 451-9555. M-Th 7AM-10PM, F 7AM-Midnight, Sa 8AM-Midnight, Su 9AM-10PM.
- Mozart's Coffee Roasters, 3826 Lake Austin Blvd, ☎ +1 512 477-2900, fax: +1 512-477-1971, e-mail: email@example.com. M-Th 7AM-Midnight, F 7AM-1AM, Sa 8AM-1AM, Su 8AM-Midnight.
- Cafe Caffeine, 909 W Mary St, ☎ +1 512 447-9473.
- Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse, 1501 S 1st St, ☎ +1 512 416-1601, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 7AM-Midnight, Sa-Su 9AM-Midnight.
- Jo's, 1300 S Congress Ave, ☎ +1 512 444-3800.
- Flipnotics Coffeespace, 1601 Barton Springs Rd, ☎ +1 512 480-8646. M-F 7AM-Midnight, Sa 7AM-1AM, Su 8AM-11PM.
- Lava Java, 2901 Medical Arts St, ☎ +1 512 495-9228. M-Th 7:30AM-Midnight, F 7:30AM-10PM, Sa-Su 9AM-10PM.
- Anderson's Coffee Company, 1601 W 38th St, ☎ +1 512 453-1533.
- Trianon the Coffee Place, 3201 Bee Cave Rd, ☎ +1 512 328-4033.
- Halcyon Coffee Bar & Lounge Cafe, 218 W 4th St, ☎ +1 512 472-9637, e-mail: email@example.com. M-W 7AM-1AM, Th 7AM-2AM, F 7AM-3AM, Sa 8AM-3AM, Su 8AM-1AM. More of a bar than a coffee house, serves smores.
- Progress Coffee, 500 San Marcos St, ☎ +1 512 493-0963, fax: +1 512-493-0964, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-W 7AM-8PM, Th-F 7AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-9PM, Su 8AM-8PM. Best Iced Toddy in town!
- Pacha, 4618 Burnet Rd, ☎ +1 512 420-8758. M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa-Su 8AM-7PM.
Gay and Lesbian
Most gay and lesbian bars and night clubs are located downtown with the highest concentration in the Warehouse district.
- Oilcan Harry's, 211 W 4th Street, ☎ +1 512 320-8823.
- Rain, 217 W 4th Street, ☎ +1 512 494-1150, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Chain Drive, 504 Willow St, ☎ +1 512 480-9017.
- Bout Time II, 6607 N Interstate 35, ☎ +1 512 419-9192.
- Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Austin's main strip is on 6th Street downtown. But like most entertainment districts that get raves in the media, it's a little overhyped. Check out the nearby Warehouse District and Fourth Street if you don't want quarter wells and million-dollar sorority girls.
- Opal Divines Freehouse, 700 West 6th Street, ☎ +1 512 477-3308. 11AM-2AM every day. This place serves great pub food and has an excellent beer menu. They have an enormous wrap around patio that affords an excellent view of drunk Austin staggering past.
- Maudie's, 2608 West 7th Street, ☎ +1 512 474-7271. Austin as Austin can get. A staple Tex-Mex favorite with five locations around town. Great salsa and better margarita's. If you crave cheese enchiladas get the Hernandez Enchiladas.
- Trudy's, 409 W 30th Street, ☎ +1 512 477-5720. Known for its 'Mexican Martini'. Great place for decent Tex-Mex and great frozen margaritas. Close to campus, so watch out for the frat crowd on weekends. Relaxing patio overlooks a city park. Also known for its unwillingness to split checks.
- Draught House, 4112 Medical Parkway, ☎ +1 512 452-MALT. A neighborhood pub that features 78 taps with an ever-changing selection of unique self-brews in a classic English pub environment that doesn't come off feeling cheesy. Locals bring folding chairs and dogs and tailgate in the parking lot. Check the website for great specials. Often crowded. Homebrews are $2.25 on Thursdays before 11PM.
- The Ginger Man, 304 West 4th Street, ☎ +1 512 473-8801. Dark and warm warehouse with 79 drafts at last count. Pool table and darts and a nice patio out back. Noted for its wide array of craft and local brews. Go on Mondays after 6PM for pint night - buy a pint of the beer of the day and you get to keep the glass.
- Barfly's, 5420 Airport Blvd (above Burger Tex), ☎ +1 512 452-6455. Dark and dive-alicious. Great juke-box, super-cheap and STRONG drinks. Guaranteed interesting crowd of locals. Excellent bartenders.
Most grocery stores (especially HEB and Central Market) carry a variety of Texas beer. There are several microbreweries operating in Texas, and you can expect to find their beer at outlets with moderate to wide selections:
- Independence Brewing Co.. Relatively new, and in Austin.
- Spoetzl. Has several brews, including the Texas staple, Shiner Bock.
- Rahr & Sons. Out of Fort Worth
- Real Ale Brewing Company. Is based in Blanco, about an hour west of Austin.
- Saint Arnold Brewing Company. From Houston is fairly established and has a near-cult following.
- Live Oak Brewing. Is another Austin microbrewery. You can find their beers on tap all over town.
- (512) Brewing Company. Is one the Austin microbreweries, located just south of downtown in the SoCo neighborhood. Their beers are on tap in almost every bar in Austin.
- Jester King Craft Brewery. Is a newly emerging traditional farmhouse brewery located a short drive west of town on a pastoral farm in the Hill Country. They offer tastings and tours every Saturday afternoon.
There are also a number of small brewpubs serving their own house-brewed beers to the local cognoscienti. These include:
- NXNW, 10010 Capital of Texas: Standard menu options here include an Amber, Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, a light Pilsner and a hearty Black Ale. They also rotate out a number of magnificent seasonals, including some amazing house-brewed lambics. Once a month, head brewer Ty Phelps rolls out a special cask-conditioned brew that typically disappears within an hour.
- Draught House, 4112 Medical Parkway: amazingly quick turnover of their fast-rotating seasonals. Drink it today because it won't be on tomorrow.
- Uncle Billy's, 1530 Barton Springs Rd. Tendency towards lighter beers, but their Haystack Hefeweizen is predictably good and some of their hoppy seasonals have been excellent.
- Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery, 7020 Easy Wind Dr #100. The world's first member-owned brewpub. Great house beers and 20 rotating taps of mostly Texas beers. The kitchen features locally sourced and sustainably produced food billed as "Texas Pub Fare".
Austin is becoming a hotbed for local, handcrafted spirits.
- Treaty Oak Distilling Co.. One of the first craft distilleries established in Texas, with a focus on using local ingredients when possible. They make Treaty Oak Rum, Waterloo Gin, Graham's Texas Tea and Starlite Vodka, with whiskey set to release in 2013.
Austin is very proud of its local stores. Great places to shop are South Congress (SoCo), The Drag, (Guadalupe, from 17th to 38th, along the West side of the UT campus) and South First. North Loop also has a few fun and funky shops, but you'll probably have to ask a local (or several) how to get there.
- Barton Creek Mall. Southwest of town.
- Lakeline Mall. Northwest of town.
- Highland Mall. North of downtown. Most stores are gone, though there is La Chaparrita, a very good Peruvian restaurant. Will soon be converted into a ACC campus. The red line has a dedicated stop at this once important shopping center.
- Round Rock Premium Outlets opened in August, 2006 and features upscale outlet shopping in an outdoor courtyard style center. Just north of RM 1431 at I-35 in North Round Rock. 125 stores. IKEA Home furnishings is nearby. .
- Prime Outlets San Marcos and adjacent Tanger Factory Outlets combine for over 200 stores and is worth the trip south from Austin.
- The Domain. And The Shops at Arbor Walk at Braker and MoPac. The Domain hosts Neiman Marcus, Tiffany's and Macy's.
Austin is home of the original and the world headquarters of Whole Foods. Their flagship store is located downtown at W. 6th St. and Lamar, in the same building as their brand-new corporate headquarters. They have several other stores around town as well. The flagship store is a destination in and of itself.
Austin is also home to the original Central Market, near Lamar and 38th St., and a second location at Lamar and Westgate, down south. Both have live music in their dining areas on weekends.
Both Whole Foods and Central Market have a large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, wines, beer, cheese, free-range meats, and seafood. The Whole Foods flagship store downtown and the 38th St. Central Market locations have a varied selection of gelato. The "mothership" Whole Foods (as locals call it) is the largest in its chain, boasting six mini-restaurants with dishes prepared to order (seafood, vegetarian, BBQ, Italian, Asian, and pizza). Spirits live music at night, an ice rink on top (during the winter months) and much, much more.
Wheatsville Food Co-op  (3101 Guadalupe, Austin TX 78705, Open Daily 9AM-11PM) is now a thriving cooperative grocery and has been around for over 30 years. Their focus on food issues guaranteed an excellent selection of ethically produced products including organics, vegetarian, vegan, free range meats and eggs, fair trade, household items, bulk foods and a full service deli. The store is a much smaller than the large supermarkets and provides a much more personal grocery experience. "King of the Hill" made fun of the earnestness of the place with by having Hank eat "faux fu" (a more ethical form of tofu) from the place.
Austin also features a large variety of ethnic grocery stores, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and, of course, Mexican.
- MT Supermarket, North Lamar Blvd. and Braker Lane. 68,000 square foot Vietnamese and Chinese grocery supermarket, part of the 180,000 square foot Chinatown Center.
- Hong Kong, 8557 Research Blvd. Chinese groceries.
- Asahi Imports, 6105 Burnet Road. Japanese grocery store.
- Fiesta Mart, 3909 N. Interstate 35. Mexican groceries, strong selection of other international fare.
- Barton Creek Farmers Market*, 2901 S Capital of Texas Hwy. Austin's largest and most acclaimed farmers market located in the Barton Creek Mall parking lot, meets 9:00-1:00 PM every Saturday
- HEB, one of the largest private (not publicly traded) corporations in America, has many supermarkets around town. They have great selection. Most markets have specialty, organic, and ethnic foods. Many are open 24 hours. Their newest large-scale supermarkets include everything from furniture to electronics to books to eggs.
- Randalls, the second largest supermarket chain in town after H-E-B, owned by Safeway has a few locations open 24 hours.
- Waterloo Records. Sixth & Lamar. Known around town for having local artists play in-store. Wide selection of music, everything from Blues to Electronica to Country. Has a wall dedicated to local musicians, great if you need a real country fix, not that sugary syrup they play on the radio.
- End of an Ear. Experimental music, jazz, other "left of the dial" music. Regular in-store performances, usually on weekends.
- Bookpeople. Sixth & Lamar. Across the street from Waterloo Records, this locally owned bookstore has two stories of books with lots of quiet corners to sit down for a read. Largest independent bookstore in Texas. Great selection of books on Texas history and architecture.
- BookWoman. 5501 N. Lamar. Independent feminist bookstore also specializing in LGBTQ texts.
- Half-Price Books. Five locations around town. This Texas-based chain's stores offer exceptional value for your dollar, and have an extremely diverse selection. A peek in these stores will show you what Austinites are really reading.
- Terratoys, 2438 W. Anderson Lane (newly re-located). Wide variety of toys and excellent selection of children's books.
- Hogwild, 100-A East North Loop. Vintage toys.
- Toy Joy, 403 W 2nd St. Awesome selection of novelty, themed, and era-reminiscent toys, candy, and stationary.
- Game Over Videogames, 911 West Anderson Lane #106. Classic & used videogames from Atari to Xbox360.
There are several antique stores on South Congress.
- Aqua 1415 S. Congress.
- Blue Velvet, 217 W. North Loop.
- Buffalo Exchange, 2904 Guadalupe.
- Flashback, 1805 South 1st St.
- Blackmail. 1202 S. Congress. All black clothing and various accessories.
- Parts & Labor. 1604 S. Congress. Lots of unique items (clothes, earrings, purses, etc.) made by local artists.
- Lucy in Disguise. 1506 South Congress. Eclectic clothing and costumery for children and adults.
- Secret Oktober, 1905 South 1st St. Suite B. Goth, punk, and alternative clothing new/resale shop. Doubles as a local venue ticket sales outlet.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Austin on Wikivoyage.