Austin, the capital of Texas, is a city full of hills, valleys and lakes. Austin's official slogan is "The Live Music Capital of the World". It is rightfully named so due to its popular and broad music scene and the fact that it has more music venues per capita than any other U.S. city. Austin is a great city in which to pursue an internship or training program or just to visit, not only because of its rich culture but also all of the entertainment geared toward a younger crowd.
Capital Metro provides numerous bus routes from all parts of town. Most individual rides are 50 cents or you can opt for a $10 pass that gives you unlimited rides for the month. You can go to "Riding Cap Metro", "Schedules and Maps" or "Trip Planner" to assist you with finding the best route to your destination.
Weather and Climate
Austin is a temperate-to-hot green oasis with a highly variable climate and characteristics of the desert, tropics and a wetter climate. Austin has hot summers with an average temperature of 90 degrees, often with humid winds. The springtime usually holds severe thunderstorms. Winter months are mild and relatively dry.
The Music Capital
Austin is well known for its music and live entertainment venues, festivals, and nightlife.
Austin City Limits Music Festival is a three-day American music festival in September that takes place in Austin's central public park, Zilker Park. Along with food, art and local vendors, the ACL festival brings more than 130 acts from all across the world and musical spectrum to more than eight stages. Over 70,000 fans attend the festival each of the three days.
Another well-known annual festival is South by Southwest, (SXSW), one of the largest music festivals in the U.S., with more than 90 venues around downtown Austin over four days in March.
Austin Reggae Fest is a 3-day event showcasing Reggae music at Auditorium Shores in mid-April that supports the capital food bank.
Things to Do and See Around Town
Barton Springs Pool: 2101 Barton Springs Rd.
Swim in the constant 68-degree waters of Barton Springs Pool, a spring-fed swimming hole in Zilker Park. Voted "Best Swimming Hole in Texas."
The Capitol Building: 112 East 11th St.
This building, which opened in 1888, is a major Austin attraction and is one of the great symbols of Texas history and politics. Stop in for a free tour!
Esther's Follies: 525 East 6th Street.
This comedy club has been a popular venue since 1977. This venue is full of ever-changing shows with a wide range of comedy, theatre and improv. If you need some laughs, this is the place to go. Regular shows are Thursday- Saturday.
Want to sight-see? Then the Austin Duck Tour is a great way to see your surroundings in one day! This 75-minute sightseeing tour allows you to see Historic Sixth Street, the State Capitol Building and Lake Austin among other great places.
Bats of the Congress Avenue Bridge: Flying over Town Lake in Austin. Every year nearly 1 million Mexican free-tailed bats call Austin home. In the springtime you can find them gathered on downtown's Congress Avenue Bridge. At dusk, the bats create an amazing sight as they take to the sky like a black cloud.
Town Lake Bike and Hike Trail: 1928 S Lakeshore Blvd.
Town Lake is known as a phenomenal recreational hot spot. Since the lake bans motorized boats, there's even more room for kayaking, canoeing, swimming and stand-up paddleboarding.
Mount Bonnell: 3800 Mt. Bonnell Rd.
Mt. Bonnell has been a major attraction since the 1850s. This scenic overlook is the highest point in the Austin city limits. You will have to climb some steps, but once at the top, the view over the Lake is worth the effort. From this point you can also see downtown and the 360 Bridge.
Austin Hill Country – Hill Country is located in the heart of Texas. Their website has information on community events, as well as places to eat and shop. This popular location is known for its natural views and beautiful mountains and is considered a "backyard playground" for Texans.
If you're looking for a great Austin BBQ experience, Stubb's Bar-B-Q is the place to go. With delicious eats such as the fried green tomatoes or $17.95 all-you-can-eat-family-style BBQ dinner with live music and entertainment, Stubb's is a sure win.
Driskill Grill: 604 Brazos St.
If you're looking for a more upscale experience that's worth the price, this is the place for you. Driskill's eaters rave about the lobster crème bisque or the quail and lemon sole, as well as exotic desserts like their Chocolate Crunch Bar with miniature malted milkshake: a chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache and bacon chocolate ice cream, garnished with dried bacon and tiny balls of chocolate. Not only is the food worth the trip but the superb service is a nice bonus as well.
Uchi: 801 S Lamar Blvd.
Uchi has been named Austin's #1 restaurant and with good reason! Uchi uses an assortment of local ingredientsand serves fresh seafood known to satisfy any palate. Uchi takes traditional Japanese cuisine and adds a twist.
Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill: 303 Red River St.
Moonshine's is easy and relaxing, playing on the family atmosphere and the idea of a simple meal. Specializing in comfort food, Moonshine's menu will satisfy even the pickiest eater.
Advertised as the "Sunset Capital of Texas", Oasis is a venue overlooking Lake Travis that provides you with weekly specials and over 30 retail spaces; you can also peruse their gift shop and reserve one of their rooms for a party or special event. You will also find live music at the venue beginning in March.
Hula Hut: 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.
This casual Tiki-Mex infused location is sure to make any mouth water! With unique options like the Hawaiian Fajitas or the Mango-Poblano Chile Quesadilla, you are not only guaranteed a good meal, but all the food is made fresh. Enjoy it all while sitting on their patio over the lake.
Z Tejas: 1110 West 6th Street.
If you are looking for a great Southwestern Grill, complete with vegetarian and gluten-free menu options, Z Tejas is the place to go! With their famous margaritas for happy hour and an innovative menu, Z Tejas knows how to take traditional recipes from around the South and make them into masterpieces.
Salk Lick: 3600 Presidential Boulevard.
At Salt Lick you will find world-renowned Bar-B-Que with family recipes that have come from as far back as the wagon trails in the mid-1800s. Here you will find the same warm atmosphere and delicious food they savored around the campfire. Come on in and enjoy some classic meats and fillings that are sure to satisfy.
Sixth Street: 6th Street in downtown Austin provides an abundance of nightlife from their long strip of bars, to music venues and restaurants. The main stretch of bars extends from Sabine to Lavaca Street and always attracts a young crowd. West 6th Street bars are especially popular during happy hour.
The Broken Spoke: 3201 South Lamar Blvd
This original Texas dance hall provides some nighttime entertainment with good bands, a dance floor and friendly folks! Their chicken fried steak has been known to be a great dish at this venue. Visitors who have spent an evening at The Broken Spoke say you haven't seen Austin until you have been here.
Blue Moon Rock N Blues: 422 East 6th Street
Austin's only Blues and Rock bar features live music seven days a week. You can come in for a mid-week break or weekend outing to play a game of free pool. Many rave that Blue Moon is the best place for live music.
The Library Bar: 407 E 6th St.
The Library Bar is a popular hang out for the younger crowd with great drink specials, pool tables, and a relaxed atmosphere.
Pete's Dueling Piano Bar: 421 E 6th St.
This "Texas size" sing-along bar is known for its upbeat atmosphere where the fun is in belting out popular tunes while being accompanied by a piano. If you're looking for a relaxing place, Pete's is not it! Full of singing and dancing, Pete's is sure to be a good time.
Barfly's: 5420 Airport Blvd.
If you're looking for a classic dive bar, you have found the place! Barfly's has cheap drinks, a jukebox to pick your favorite jams, foosball, pool tables and arcade games. Come to Barfly's any night of the week for tasty drinks like the Happy Meal, Barfly's special Lonestar and Jaeger combo.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: 320 E. 6th Street.
Want to catch up on the latest action movie showing on the big screen? Or do you need a relaxing night out to see a chick flick? Alamo Drafthouse is the place to go! Plus, you can eat dinner while watching the movie. For a listing of show times, visit http://drafthouse.com/austin.
The Continental Club: 1315 South Congress Avenue.
Not sure what to do on a weeknight? Check out The Continental with bands playing every night of the week! They are known as the premier club for live music in Austin since 1957 and refer to themselves as the "granddaddy of all local music venues".
Nutty Brown Café and Amphitheatre: 12225 W Highway 290.
If you are looking for a great outdoor music venue, don't miss Nutty Brown. With events such as Karaoke Thursdays and Live Jazz Brunch Sundays with a full menu, you are sure to keep the good times rolling.
If you know of other great areas or attractions that we've missed, please leave comments and suggestions below in addition to any tips on navigating the city!
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.