Home to the University of Texas and its thousands of students, professors and researchers, Austin is more than just a college town.
The surrounding area offers rolling hills and lakes suited for mountain biking, hiking and kayaking. Chefs have left a delicious mark on the city. Austin’s spotlight shines brightly on its diverse music, film and art offerings, and its thriving music scene remains one of the best in the state.
Here’s what you should know before visiting the Texas capital with a fiercely independent spirit:
The best time to visit Austin
Plan your trip during the autumn if you want a true Austin experience.
Never mind the wonderful weather, Austin holds some of its best events during the fall, namely football. The University of Texas has been a college football powerhouse for years and local fans turn the town into Longhorn central during game days.
Another great part of autumn in this laid-back city is that it gets to show why it’s the Live Music Capital of the World. Austin City Limits pulls in more than $70 million during the festival weekend (which falls in September or October) attracting headliners such as Coldplay, Kanye West and Stevie Wonder to its stages.
What to pack for a trip to Austin
When traveling to Austin in the summer, your load will be much lighter than in the winter. A bathing suit and water shoes are highly recommended if you plan on tubing or exploring any swimming holes. A hat is always a good idea, and both sunscreen and sunglasses are a must.
Austin is a pretty casual city, so there’s no need to bring anything too formal to wear. We’d suggest packing one out-on-the-town-type outfit, but sandals are acceptable in lieu of heels.
Public transportation in Austin
Compared to larger cities, the public transportation in Austin leaves much to be desired. There is a bus system, which is not the most reliable, and a light rail with very limited hours and stations.
We’d recommend renting a car to truly see the city, while also maintaining the freedom to take day trips outside of town.
That being said, it is certainly possible to find a central place to stay and plan on hoofing it around town, but be prepared to sweat.