Austin: Live Music Capital of the World! Come to Austin, home to more than 250 music venues and countless famous artists, and enjoy vibrant entertainment, culture, culinary delights and outdoor activities that range from a 68-degree swimming hole to the largest urban bat colony. There’s something for everyone!
See a few suggestions below, or plan your own trip with this helpful map of downtown Austin.
Explore Music and Culture
Live music, and music in many other forms, is everywhere in Austin. Musicians play in everything from grocery stores to city council meetings. Mostly, you'll find Austin musicians at clubs, coffeehouses, bars, taquerias, auditoriums and concert halls – and with more than 250 live music venues, it can be intimidating knowing where to start. The downtown area features many classic venues, such as ACL Live at the Moody Theater, the Elephant Room, Parish and the Hideout Theatre.
The Contemporary Austin
The Contemporary Austin (formerly the Austin Museum of Art) shows work by emerging and mid-career artists, along with work by national visionaries — from Andy Goldsworthy to Andy Warhol. Or check out Blanton Museum, an airy art space sitting on the edge of the University of Texas Austin campus. Head here for the largest and most comprehensive collection of art in Central Texas (a staggering 17,000 pieces).
The Mexic-Arte Museum
The Mexic-Arte Museum presents and promotes traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino and Latin American art and culture. Since its founding in 1984, Mexic-Arte Museum has been designated as the Official Mexican and Mexican American Fine Art Museum of Texas.
Lenoir: This hotbed of super-fresh tweaked French cuisine offers a three-course prix fixe menu. Produce, meat, cheese and other larder is sourced from Texas producers and purveyors whenever possible – and most purchases are made directly from local farms or through local purveyors.
Olive & June: Here you will find regional dishes including heavenly handmade pastas such as the butternut squash mezzalune, “piccolo piatti” small plates such as saffron-infused suppli (fried risotto balls), and entrees from a wood-fired grill including thick-cut pork chop with rosemary.
Rattle Inn: Located in the Warehouse District on West Sixth Street in downtown, the bar is decked out with faux snake skin booths and real deer antlers. You can listen to live music or head to the upstairs outside patio overlooking Austin’s beautiful skyline.
Barley Swine: Offers social dining (shared tables) and a menu of locally-sourced small and large plates featuring everything from tomato salads to crab pancakes, sweetbreads to wagyu beef. GQ magazine named it among the Ten Best New Restaurants in America in 2012.
Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden: Newly opened Banger’s brings 103 taps, house-made sausage and pickles to the popular Rainey Street neighborhood. The eatery serves 30 sausages on rotation, live music in the beer garden and an off-leash dog park.
Explore Sports and the Outdoors
Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail
A trip to Austin wouldn't be complete without walking or running along Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. Located in the heart of the city, this 10-mile off-road trail is Austin's crown jewel. Here, city officials and luminaries jog alongside locals. It's hard not to fall in love with the lush scenery and gorgeous skyline views.
Barton Springs Pool
Looking to cool off? Don't miss Austin's beloved Barton Springs Pool, a natural spring-fed watering hole that covers three acres and remains a constant 68 degrees.
Circuit of the Americas
Circuit of the Americas is the world’s newest home for high performance motorsports racing. The track is the only purpose-built facility in the country designed for Formula 1 racing and is the host circuit for the United States Grand Prix from 2012 to 2021.
Go for some retail therapy and rock the trendy cowboy look by scoring a pair of uniquely colorful or horse-patterned boots at Heritage Boot. Or shop the nearly 100 vendors at Austinites, which prides itself on selling items “made for weirdos by weirdos.” You can’t get much more Austin than that. Don’t miss the Austin Bazaar, one of the world’s largest online retailers of musical instruments, which has an expansive, wood-paneled showroom in north Austin. The floor is stocked with guitars – with a special wall of 100 Fender guitars playable in the store.