Austin: Wikis


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—  City  —
Downtown Austin skyline reflected in Lady Bird Lake.

Nickname(s): Live Music Capital of the World,[1] The ATX,[2] City of the Violet Crown [3], The Capital City
Location in the state of Texas
Austin is located in the USA
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 30°16′2″N 97°45′50″W / 30.26722°N 97.76389°W / 30.26722; -97.76389
Country United States of America
State Texas
County Travis
Settled 1835
Incorporated December 27, 1839
 - Type Council–manager
 - Mayor Lee Leffingwell
 - City Manager Marc Ott
 - City 296.2 sq mi (767.28 km2)
 - Land 251.5 sq mi (651.4 km2)
 - Water 6.9 sq mi (17.9 km2)
 - Metro 4,285.7 sq mi (11,099.91 km2)
Elevation 489 ft (149 m)
Population (2008)[4]
 - City 757,688 (15th)
 Density 2,557.6/sq mi (987.5/km2)
 Metro 1,652,602
 - Demonym Austinite
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 78701-78705, 78708-78739, 78741-78742, 78744-78769
Area code(s) 512
FIPS code 48-05000[5]
GNIS feature ID 1384879[6]

Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest,[7] it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 15th-largest in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006.[8] According to the 2009 U.S. Census estimate, Austin had a population of 757,688.[4] The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos metropolitan area, with a population of 1.7 million as of the July 2008 U.S. Census estimate, making it the 36th-largest metropolitan area in the United States.

The area was settled in the 1830s on the banks of the Colorado River by pioneers who named the village Waterloo.[9] In 1839, Waterloo was chosen to become the capital of the newly independent Republic of Texas. The city was renamed after Stephen F. Austin, known as the father of Texas.[9] The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas.[10] After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city and emerged as a center for technology and business.[9] Today, Austin is home to many companies, high-tech and otherwise, including the headquarters of three Fortune 500 corporations, Dell, Whole Foods Market, and Freescale Semiconductor.[11]

Austin was selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and No. 3 in 2009, also the "Greenest City in America" by MSN.[12][13] According to Travel & Leisure magazine, Austin ranks No. 1 on the list of cities with the best people, referring to the personalities and attributes of the citizens.[14] Austin was also voted America's #1 College Town by the Travel Channel.[15] Austin was ranked the fifth-safest city in part because there are fewer than five murders per 100,000 people annually.[16][17] Austin has always been among the top in Bicycle Friendly Communities, receiving a silver ranking from the League of American Bicyclists. {{[18]}} Furthermore, in 2009, Austin was determined to be the least stressful large metro area by Forbes magazine.[19]

Residents of Austin are known as "Austinites" and include a diverse mix of university professors, students, politicians, musicians, state employees, high-tech workers, blue-collar workers, and white-collar workers. The main campus of the University of Texas is located in Austin. The city is home to development centers for many technology corporations and has adopted the nickname "Silicon Hills". Additionally the city's official slogan promotes it as "The Live Music Capital of the World", a reference to the many musicians and live music venues within the area.[1][2] In recent years, many Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird"; this refers partly to the eclectic and liberal lifestyle of many Austin residents but is also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller local businesses and resist excessive corporatization.[20]



An 1873 illustration of Austin

When Europeans first arrived in the area, the Tonkawa tribe was the most prevalent, though the Comanches and Lipan Apaches were known to travel through the area as well.[21] Spanish explorers, including the Espinosa-Olivares-Aguirre expedition, traveled through the area for centuries though few permanent settlements were created for some time.[22] In the mid 18th century the San Xavier missions were established along the San Gabriel River in what is now western Milam County to facilitate exploration.[23]

In the early 1800s Spanish forts were established in what are now Bastrop and San Marcos.[24][22] Following the indepdence of Mexico, new settlements were established in Central Texas but growth in the region was stagnant because of conflicts with the Native Americans in the region.[25][24][26]

In 1835 Texans fought for independence in what was known as the Texas Revolution and won. In 1839, the Texas Congress formed a commission to seek a site for a new capital to be named Austin. Mirabeau Lamar, second President of the newly-formed Texas republic, advised the commissioners to investigate the area named Waterloo. Waterloo was selected and the name Austin was chosen as the town's new name.[27] The location was seen as a convenient crossroads for trade routes between Santa Fe and Galveston Bay, as well as routes between northern Mexico and the Red River.[28] Edwin Waller was picked by Lamar to survey the village and draft a plan laying out the new capital.[29] The original site was narrowed to 640 acres (259 ha) that fronted the Colorado River between two creeks, Shoal Creek and Waller Creek, which was later named in his honor. The fourteen-block grid plan was bisected by a broad north-south thoroughfare, Congress Avenue, running up from the river to Capital Square, where the new Texas State Capitol was to be constructed. A temporary one-story capitol was erected on the corner of Colorado and 8th streets. On August 1, 1839, the first auction of 217 out of 306 lots total was held.[29][28] The grid plan that Waller designed and surveyed now forms the basis of the streets of downtown Austin.

In 1840 a series of conflicts between the Texas Rangers and the Comanches known as the Council House Fight and the Battle of Plum Creek finally pushed the Comanches westward mostly ending conflicts in Central Texas.[30] Settlement in the area began to expand quickly. Travis County was established in 1840 and the surrounding counties were mostly established within the next two decades.[26]

Initially, the new capital thrived. But Lamar's political enemy Sam Houston used two Mexican army incursions to San Antonio as an excuse to move the government to Washington-on-the-Brazos. Remaining Austin residents responded to the threat by forcibly keeping the national archives in their city in defiance of President Houston's attempts to bring them to Washington (Texas Archive War). Once the annexation of the Republic of Texas by the United States became official in 1845, delegates wrote a new state constitution in which Austin was again named the seat of state.

In 1861, with the outbreak of the American Civil War, voters in Austin and other Central Texas communities voted against secession.[29][24] However, as the war progressed and fears of attack by Union forces increased, Austin contributed hundreds of men to the Confederate forces. With the end of the war and the emancipation of Texas slaves, the African American population of Austin swelled dramatically. Black communities such as Wheatville, Pleasant Hill, and Clarksville were established around Austin by these newcomers.[29] The postwar period saw dramatic population and economic growth. The opening of the Houston and Texas Central Railway, connecting Austin with Houston, transformed Austin into the major trading center for the region. However as new railroads were built through the region in 1870s, Austin began to lose its primacy in trade to the surrounding communities.[29]

In September 1881, Austin public schools held their first classes. The same year, Tillotson Collegiate and Normal Institute (now part of Huston-Tillotson University) opened its doors. The University of Texas held its first classes in 1883. During the 1880s Austin gained new prominence as the state capitol building was completed in 1888, and claimed as the 7th largest building in the world.[29] In the areas surrounding Austin cattle and cotton production became major economic drivers for some communities.[31]

In the late 1800s Austin expanded its city limits to more than three times its former area and the Austin Dam was built to power a new street car line and the new municipal water system.[29] In the early 1900s the Texas Oil Boom took hold creating tremendous economic opportunities in Southeast Texas and North Texas. The growth generated by this boom largest passed by Austin at first, with the city slipping from 4th largest to 10th largest in Texas between 1880 and 1920.[29]

Beginning in the 1920s and 1930s Austin launched a series of civic development and beautification projects that created much of the city's infrastructure and parks. In addition the state legislature established the Lower Colorado River Authority that, along with the City of Austin, created the system of dams along the Colorado River that formed the Highland Lakes. These projects were enabled in large part by the fact that Austin received more Depression era relief funds than any other Texas city.[29]

During the mid and later 1900s Austin became firmly established as one of Texas' major metropolitan centers. The later 20th century saw Austin's emergence as an important high tech center, both for semiconductors and for software. The University of Texas emerged as a major, nationally ranked university.

This later period also saw Austin's emergence in the national music scene beginning in the 1970s with artists such as Willie Nelson and venues such as the Armadillo World Headquarters. The long-running television program Austin City Limits, the annual South by Southwest musical festival, and other important events have helped to solidify the city's fame in the music industry.[9]

Recent event

On February 18, 2010, Joseph Andrew Stack III, flying his Piper Cherokee PA-28-236 (Aircraft registration: N2889D) plane, crashed into Building I of the Echelon office complex in northwest Austin in a suicide attack against the IRS.[32]


City limits of Austin

Austin is located in Central Texas along the Balcones Escarpment and Interstate 35, northeast of San Antonio. It's elevation varies from 425 feet (130 m) to approximately 1,000 feet (305 m) above sea level.[33] As of 2010 the city occupies a total area of 271.8 square miles (704 km2).[34] Approximately 6.9 square miles (18 km2) of this area is water.[35]

Austin is situated on the Colorado River, with three man-made (artificial) lakes within the city limits: Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Walter E. Long. Additionally, the foot of Lake Travis, including Mansfield Dam, is located within the city's limits.[29] Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Travis are each on the Colorado River.[29] As a result of its stradling the Balcones Fault the eastern part of the city is flat, whereas the western part and western suburbs consist of rolling hills on the edge of the Texas Hill Country.[36] Because the hills to the west are primarily limestone rock with a thin covering of topsoil, portions of the city are frequently subjected to flash floods from the runoff caused by thunderstorms.[37][38] To help control this runoff and to generate hydroelectric power, the Lower Colorado River Authority operates a series of dams that form the Texas Highland Lakes. The lakes also provide venues for boating, swimming, and other forms of recreation within several parks on the lake shores.[39]

The view from Mount Bonnell

Austin is located at the intersection of four major ecological regions and is consequently a temperate-to-hot green oasis with a highly variable climate having some characteristics of the desert, the tropics, and a wetter climate.[40] The area is very diverse ecologically and biologically, and is home to a variety of animals and plants.[41] Notably the area is home to many types of wildflowers that blossom throughout the year but especially in the spring, including the popular bluebonnets, some planted in an effort by "Lady Bird" Johnson, wife of former President Johnson.[42]

A popular point of prominence in Austin is Mount Bonnell. At about 780 feet (238 m) above sea level, it is a natural limestone formation overlooking Lake Austin on the Colorado River, with an observation deck about 200 feet (61 m) below its summit. From the observation deck, many homes are visible.

The soils of Austin range from shallow, gravelly clay loams over limestone in the western outskirts to deep, fine sandy loams, silty clay loams, silty clays or clays in the city's eastern part. Some of the clays have pronounced shrink-swell properties and are difficult to work under most moisture conditions. Many of Austin's soils, especially the clay-rich types, are slightly to moderately alkaline and have free calcium carbonate.[43]


Austin has a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot summers and mild winters.[44] On average, Austin receives 33.6 inches (853.4 mm) of rain per year, with most of the precipitation in the spring, and a secondary maximum in the fall.[45] During springtime, severe thunderstorms sometimes occur, though tornados are rare in the city. Austin is usually at least partially sunny.

Austin summers are usually hot and humid, with average temperatures of approximately 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) from June until September. Temperatures above 100 °F (38 °C) are common. The highest recorded temperature was 112 °F (44 °C) on September 5, 2000.[44][46][47] For the entire year there is an average of 111 days above 90 °F (32 °C) and 198 days above 80 °F (27 °C).[44]

Winters in Austin are mild and dry. For the entire year, Austin averages 88 days below 45 °F (7 °C) and 24 days when the minimum temperature falls below freezing. The lowest recorded temperature was −2 °F (−19 °C) on January 31, 1949.[44] Snowfall is rare in Austin, but approximately biannually Austin may suffer an ice storm that freezes roads over and affects much of the city for 24 to 48 hours.[44] Monthly averages for Austin's weather data are shown in a graphical format to the right, and in a more detailed tabular format below.

Climate data for Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas, USA
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 90
Average high °F (°C) 60
Average low °F (°C) 40
Record low °F (°C) -2
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.89
Source: NOAA[45]
Source #2:[47]
Table Note: Averages are from the 30 year average from 1971–2000 at Camp Mabry, and records are from Camp Mabry and from previous climate sites, spanning from 1897 to present.[45][47]

Government and politics

Law and government

Austin City Hall

Austin is administered by a city council of seven members, each of them elected by the entire city. The council is composed of six council members, and by an elected mayor, accompanied by a hired city manager under the manager-council system of municipal governance. Council and mayoral elections are non-partisan, with a runoff in case there is no majority winner. Austin remains an anomaly among large Texas cities in that council members are elected on an at-large basis by all voters, as opposed to elections by districts.

Austin formerly operated its city hall at 128 West 8th Street.[48] Antoine Predock and Cotera Kolar Negrete & Reed Architects designed a new city hall building, which was intended to reflect what The Dallas Morning News referred to as a "crazy-quilt vitality, that embraces everything from country music to environmental protests and high-tech swagger."[49] The new city hall, built from recycled materials, has solar panels in its garage.[50] The city hall, at 301 West Second Street, opened in November 2004.[51]

The current mayor of Austin is Lee Leffingwell. His first term ends in 2012.

Austin Main Post Office

Law enforcement in Austin is provided by the Austin Police Department, except for state government buildings, which are patrolled by the Texas Department of Public Safety, along with the Texas Rangers, and the Texas Homeland Security Committee.

Fire protection is provided by the Austin Fire Department, and emergency medical services are provided by Austin-Travis County EMS.

The Texas Department of Transportation operates the Austin District Office in Austin.[52]

The United States Postal Service operates several post offices in Austin. The main post office, the Austin Post Office, is located at 8225 Cross Park Drive.[53]


The controversy that dominated Austin politics during the 1990s was the conflict between environmentalists and advocates of urban growth. The city council has in the past tried to mitigate the controversy by advocating smart growth, but growth and environmental protection are still the most divisive issues in city politics.[citation needed]

Austin is well known as a center for liberal politics in a generally conservative state, so much so that the city is sometimes sarcastically referred to as "The People's Republic of Austin" by residents of other parts of the state and by conservatives in the Texas Legislature.[54][55] Suburban neighborhoods in Austin, especially to the west and north, and several satellite municipalities, however, tend toward political conservatism.[citation needed]

As a result of the major party realignment that began in the 1970s, central Austin became a stronghold of the Democratic Party, while the suburbs tend to vote Republican. One consequence of this is that in the most recent redistricting plan, formulated by former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay and enacted by the Republican-majority legislature, the central city has been split among multiple sprawling districts. Opponents characterized the resulting district layout as excessively partisan gerrymandering, and the plan was challenged in court on this basis by Democratic and minority activists; of note, the Supreme Court of the United States has never struck down a redistricting plan for being excessively partisan. The plan was subsequently upheld by a three-judge federal panel in late 2003, and on June 28, 2006, the matter was largely settled when the Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision upheld the entire congressional redistricting plan with the exception of a Hispanic-majority district in southwest Texas. This may later affect Austin's districting, as U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett's district was found not to be sufficiently compact to compensate for the reduced minority influence in the southwest district.[56]

Overall, the city is a blend of downtown liberalism and suburban conservatism but leans strongly to the political left as a whole. In 2003, the city adopted a resolution against the USA PATRIOT Act that reaffirmed constitutionally guaranteed rights. In the 2004 presidential election, Senator John Kerry won a substantial majority of the votes in Travis County.[57] Of Austin's six state legislative districts, three are strongly Democratic and three are swing districts all of which are held by Democrats. However, two of its three congressional districts (the 10th and the 21st) are presently held by Republicans, with only the 25th held by a Democrat. This is largely due to the 2003 redistricting, which left downtown Austin without an exclusive congressional seat of its own. Travis County was also the only county in Texas to reject Texas Constitutional Amendment Proposition 2–effectively outlawing gay marriage and status equal or similar to it–and did so by a wide margin (40% for, 60% against).[58][59][60]

Austin is also an active area for the Libertarian Party. Although the Libertarians remain a third party, they occasionally garner substantial votes, and one of the past Libertarian presidential candidates, Michael Badnarik, comes from Austin.

Two of the candidates for president in the 2004 race call Austin home. Michael Badnarik, mentioned above as the Libertarian Party candidate, and David Cobb of the Green Party both have lived in Austin. During the run up to the election in November, a presidential debate was held at the University of Texas student union involving the two minor party candidates. While the Commission on Presidential Debates only invites Democrats and Republicans to participate in televised debates, the debate at UT was open to all presidential candidates. Austin also hosted one of the last presidential debates between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during their heated race for the Democratic nomination in 2008.[61]


Whole Foods Market headquarters in Austin

Austin is considered to be a major center for high tech.[62] Thousands of graduates each year from the engineering and computer science programs at The University of Texas at Austin provide a steady source of employees that help to fuel Austin's technology and defense industry sectors. The metro Austin area has much lower housing costs than Silicon Valley, but much higher housing costs than many parts of rural Texas. As a result of the high concentration of high-tech companies in the region, Austin was strongly affected by the dot-com boom in the late 1990s and subsequent bust.[62] Austin's largest employers include the Austin Independent School District, the City of Austin, Dell, the United States Federal Government, Freescale Semiconductor (spun off from Motorola in 2004), IBM, St. David's Healthcare Partnership, Seton Healthcare Network, the State of Texas, Texas State University-San Marcos, and the University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas.[62] Other high-tech companies with operations in Austin include 3M, Apple Inc., Hewlett-Packard, Google, AMD, Applied Materials, Cirrus Logic, Cisco Systems, eBay/PayPal, Hoover's, Intel Corporation, National Instruments, Samsung Group, Silicon Laboratories, Sun Microsystems and United Devices. The proliferation of technology companies has led to the region's nickname, "the Silicon Hills," and spurred development that greatly expanded the city. The concentration of high-tech companies has led the former American Airlines flight between Austin and San Jose, California to be dubbed the "nerd bird." This route will now be operated by Alaska Airlines effective September 2, 2009.[63]

Southward view of downtown Austin from The Capitol Grounds on 11th Street.

Austin is also emerging as a hub for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. About 85 companies from this industry are based in Austin.[62] The city was ranked by the Milken Institute as the #12 biotech and life science center in the United States.[64]

It is also home to advertising agencies including Omnicom owned GSD&M Idea City and LatinWorks, as well as Dell’s agency of record, WPP Group owned Enfatico.

Whole Foods Market is a grocery store that specializes in organic, local, and natural foods and other goods. It was founded and based in Austin. As of August 25, 2008, Whole Foods has 271 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.[65]

In addition to global companies, Austin features a strong network of independent, locally-owned firms and organizations. The success of these businesses reflects the high level of commitment by the citizens of Austin to preserving the unique spirit of the city and has been tied to the "Keep Austin Weird" campaign.


Skyline of Austin
A moonlight tower

Buildings that make up most of Austin's skyline are modest in height and somewhat spread out. The latter characteristic is due to a restriction that preserves the view of the Texas State Capitol building from various locations around Austin (known as the Capitol View Corridor).[66] However, many highrise towers have been constructed and the downtown area is looking more modern and dense. The city's tallest building, The Austonian, was topped out on September 17, 2009.[67] Austin is currently undergoing a skyscraper boom, which includes recent construction on the now complete 360 Condominiums at 563 feet (172 m), the Austonian at 683 feet (208 m), the T. Stacy Towers at 830 feet (253 m) and 420 feet (128 m) tall and several others that are mainly for residential use. By 2015, the Frost Bank Tower could be the only skyscraper built before 2005 to remain in the top ten tallest buildings in the city.

At night, parts of Austin are lighted with "artificial moonlight" from 17 surviving Moonlight Towers. Several 165-foot (50 m) moonlight towers, built in the late 19th century and recognized as historic landmarks, illuminate the central part of the city. Only 17 of the 31 original towers remain standing. The towers are featured in the film Dazed and Confused.


Downtown skyline as seen from Lady Bird Lake

The central business district of the city is now home to some of the newest and tallest condo towers in the state. The 360 Tower, one of several new condo towers in Austin, opened in early 2008. The mayor strives to have up to 25,000 people living Downtown by 2015.[68] Because of this, the city has been driven to increase density in Austin's urban core. The skyline has drastically changed from 5 years ago, and the residential real estate market has remained relatively strong while other parts of the city have seen a slowing along with the rest of the country. Downtown growth has been aided by the presence of a popular live music and nightlife scene, Whole Foods Market flagship store and headquarters, museums, restaurants, and Lady Bird Lake, considered one of the city's best recreational spots. The 2nd Street District consists of several new residential projects, restaurants, coffee shops, record stores, upscale boutiques and museums, and the Austin City Hall. Under construction across 2nd Street from Austin City Hall is the new Austin City Limits location that will be housed beneath a new 478 feet (146 m) W Hotel and residential tower. Each year SXSW, the largest music conference in the world, is hosted in downtown Austin.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1850 629
1860 3,494 455.5%
1870 4,428 26.7%
1880 11,013 148.7%
1890 14,575 32.3%
1900 22,258 52.7%
1910 29,860 34.2%
1920 34,876 16.8%
1930 53,120 52.3%
1940 87,930 65.5%
1950 132,459 50.6%
1960 186,545 40.8%
1970 251,808 35.0%
1980 345,496 37.2%
1990 472,020 36.6%
2000 656,562 39.1%
Est. 2009 757,688 15.4%

As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 63.7% of Austin's population; of which 49.9% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 8.5% of Austin's population; of which 8.3% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.5% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 5.6% of the city's population; of which 5.5% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 19.5% of the city's population; of which 0.4% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 2.1% of the city's population; of which 1.3% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 34.2% of Austin's population.[69]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 656,562 people, 265,649 households, and 141,590 families residing in the city (roughly comparable in size to San Francisco, Memphis, and Columbus). The population density was 2,610.4 people per square mile (1,007.9/km²). There were 276,842 housing units at an average density of 1,100.7/sq mi (425.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.4% White, 10.0% Black or African American, 4.7% Asian, 0.6% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 16.2% from other races. 3.0% were from two or more races. 30.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino, who can be of any race. About 52.9% of the population were non-Hispanic whites.

There were 265,648 households out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.7% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 16.6% from 18 to 24, 37.1% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 6.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 105.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,689, and the median income for a family was $54,091. Males had a median income of $35,545 vs. $30,046 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,163. About 9.1% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.5% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over. The median house price was $185,906 in 2009, and it has increased every year since 2003.[70]

According to the US Census Bureau, as of July 2008 the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos metropolitan area had 1,652,602 people. It is one of the five fastest-growing metro areas in the nation.[citation needed]

Austin is consistently ranked among the three safest cities per capita of any size in many categories. Its annual murder rate is fewer than five people per 100,000 residents.

Arts and culture

Austinites take pride in eccentricities and celebrate differences and being different (in lifestyle, character, beliefs, etc.). Austin is the only major Texas city that has no ordinance against women appearing topless in public.[citation needed] "Keep Austin Weird" has become a local motto in recent years, featured on innumerable bumper stickers and t-shirts. This motto has not only been used in promoting Austin's eccentricity and diversity, but is also meant to bolster support of local and independent businesses.[20] According to the Nielsen Company, adults in Austin read and contribute to blogs more than those in any other U.S. metropolitan area.[71] Austin residents have the highest internet usage in all of Texas.[72]

SoCo is a shopping district stretching down South Congress Avenue from Downtown. This area is home to many coffee shops, eccentric stores, restaurants and festivals. It prides itself on "Keeping Austin Weird", despite constant development surrounding the area.

Annual cultural events

The sights of Austin's nightlife on 6th Street.

The O. Henry House Museum hosts the annual O. Henry Pun Off, which is a pun contest where the contestants exhibit amazing wit. Other annual events include Eeyore's Birthday Party, Spamarama, and the Austin Reggae Festival and Art City Austin in April and Carnaval Brasileiro in February. Sixth Street features annual festivals such as the Pecan Street Festival and Halloween night. The three-day Austin City Limits Music Festival has been held in Zilker Park every year since 2002.

Austin's Zilker Park Tree is a Christmas display made of lights strung from the top of a Moonlight tower in Zilker Park. The Zilker Tree is lit in December along with the "Trail of Lights," an Austin Christmas tradition.


2009 Austin City Limits Music Festival with view of stages and Austin skyline.

As Austin's official slogan is The Live Music Capital of the World, the city has a vibrant live music scene with more music venues per capita than any other U.S. city.[1][2] Austin's music revolves around the many nightclubs on 6th Street and an annual film/music/interactive festival known as South by Southwest (SXSW). The longest-running concert music program on American television, Austin City Limits, is recorded on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Austin City Limits and C3 Presents produce the Austin City Limits Music Festival, an annual music and art festival held at Zilker Park in Austin based on the Austin City Limits television show. The festival and television show alike attract musical artists from around the world. Other music events include the Urban Music Festival, the Fun Fun Fun Fest, Chaos In Tejas and the Old Settlers Music Festival. The Austin Symphony Orchestra traces its roots to 1911.


Austin hosts the annual Austin Film Festival, which draws films of many different types from all over the world. In 2004 the city was first in Moviemaker Magazine's annual top ten cities to live and make movies. The 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival included Pete Townshend, Iggy Pop, Tom Morello, and Rickie Lee Jones.

Austin has been the location for a number of motion pictures, partly due to the influence of The University of Texas at Austin Department of Radio-Television-Film. Films produced in Austin include Man of the House, Secondhand Lions, Waking Life, Spy Kids, Dazed and Confused, Office Space, The Life of David Gale, Miss Congeniality, Doubting Thomas, Slacker, Idiocracy, The New Guy, Hope Floats, The Alamo (2004 film), Blank Check, The Wendall Baker Story , A Scanner Darkly, and most recently, Grindhouse, How To Eat Fried Worms and Bandslam. In order to draw future film projects to the area, the Austin Film Society has converted several airplane hangars from the former Mueller Airport into filmmaking center Austin Studios. Projects that have used facilities at Austin Studios include music videos by The Flaming Lips and feature films such as 25th Hour and Sin City. Austin also hosted the MTV series, The Real World: Austin in 2005. The Film review websites and Ain't It Cool News are based in Austin.


Austin's main daily newspaper is the Austin American-Statesman. The Austin Chronicle is Austin's alternative weekly, while The Daily Texan is the student newspaper of the University of Texas. Austin also has smaller newspapers such as the Oak Hill Gazette, and Austin Business Journal. Texas Monthly, a major regional magazine, is also headquartered in Austin. The Texas Observer, a muckraking biweekly magazine, has been based in Austin for over five decades.Community Impact Newspaper is a free monthly hyperlocal newspaper with separate editions for various regions of Austin. Newspapers are delivered to every house and business within certain zip codes and all of the news is specific to those zip codes.[73] The local PBS station KLRU produces several award winning locally produced programs.[74] KUT is the leading public radio station in Texas and produces the majority of its content locally.[75] KOOP (FM) is a volunteer-run radio station with more than 60 locally produced programs.[76] Network television stations (affiliations in parentheses) include KTBC (Fox), KVUE (ABC), KXAN (NBC), KEYE-TV (CBS), KNVA (The CW), KBVO (My Network TV), and KAKW (Univision). Also, subscribers to Time Warner Cable receive a 24-hour local news station, News 8 Austin. In some parts of Austin, Time Warner has cable competition from Grande Communications.


Austin also has a strong theater culture, with dozens of itinerant and resident companies producing a wide variety of work. The city also has a burgeoning circle of live performance theater venues such as the Zachary Scott Theatre Center (Scott was born in Austin and an alumnus of the University of Texas), Vortex Repertory Company, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Rude Mechanicals, Refraction Arts, Arts on Real, Scottish Rite Children's Theater, Hyde Park Theatre, The City Theatre, and Esther's Follies, a comedy and magic show.[77] The Victory Grill was a renowned venue on the Chitlin' circuit.[78] Public art and performances of many kinds in the parks and on bridges is popular and it is easy to find a myriad of diverse and creative free productions. Austin hosts the Fuse Box Festival each April featuring international, leading-edge theater artists.[79]

The Paramount Theatre opened in downtown Austin in 1915. Managing to escape destruction throughout the years, it contributes not only to Austin's theater culture, but also to its film culture, showing a variety of classic films throughout the summer. The summer program features a series of double features, often paired with vintage cartoons or serials to complete the retro feel. Gone With the Wind is always shown, usually at the end of the season or over the Labor Day weekend. The theater also hosts regional premieres for films such as Miss Congeniality.[80] The long-running outdoor musical, the Zilker Park Summer Musical, expects to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2008.[81]

The Long Center is also a large theater, which opened in 2008. It used to be the Lester E. Palmer Auditorium, which housed various events. The Long Center was built with recycled materials from the old auditorium, and is an example of Austin's green lifestyle. The Long Center features a 2,300 seat theater, which houses plays, comedians, musicals, etc.

Ballet Austin is the fourth largest ballet academy in the country.[82] Each year Ballet Austin's twenty member professional company performs ballets from a wide variety of choreographers, including their international award winning artistic director, Stephen Mills. Ballet Austin has traveled around the world performing in Europe, the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), and New York City's Joyce Theatre.[citation needed] The city is also home to the Ballet East Dance Company, a modern dance ensemble, and the Tapestry Dance Company which performs a variety of dance genres.

In January 2007, Austin Lyric Opera hosted the American Premiere of the Philip Glass opera, Waiting for the Barbarians, an allegory of oppressor and oppressed based on the novel by J. M. Coetzee of South Africa. Coetzee, the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature in 2003, is a University of Texas at Austin graduate and former UT professor.

Austin Lyric Opera has, since its founding in 1986, provided area residents with performances of multiple operas each year (including the 2007 opening of Philip Glass's Waiting for the Barbarians, written by University of Texas alumnus J. M. Coetzee). Performances are held at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. The company performs outdoors at Zilker Hillside Theater every October.[83]

The growing Austin improv comedy scene is spread over several theaters: ColdTowne Theater, The Hideout Theater, The New Movement Theater, and Salvage Vanguard Theater. Some of Austin's best known improv troupes include ColdTowne, The Frank Mills, Girls Girls Girls, Parallelogramophonograph, and Get Up. Austin also hosts the annual Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. Out of Bounds has drawn comedic artists in all disciplines to Austin from international and mostly national points of origin. In 2009, Out of Bounds hosted over 300 improv and sketch comedy artists over 7 days in 7 different venues. Held every year during the week leading up to Labor Day, the festival continues to grow thanks to a great reputation and a fertile, supportive Austin community.[citation needed]


Austin is the largest city in the United States without a franchise in a major professional sports league.[84] Many Austinites support the University of Texas Longhorns' sports programs. The University of Texas football and baseball teams each won their respective national championships during the 2005–2006 seasons. Minor-league professional sports came to Austin in 1996, when the Austin Ice Bats began playing at the Travis County Expo Center. Since then, they have been joined by many other teams including the Austin Wranglers, an arena football team, and the Austin Aztex FC, a professional soccer team of the USL First Division. Austin is home to the state's largest sports stadium, Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, seating over 101,000 fans.[85]

Austin area minor-league professional sports teams
Club Sport Founded League Venue
Round Rock
Baseball 1999 Pacific Coast League Dell Diamond
Austin Aztex U23 Soccer 2008 USL Premier
Development League
Dragon Stadium
Austin Aztex FC Soccer 2009 United Soccer
Leagues -
First Division
Nelson Field (2009) and
House Park(2010+)
Austin Outlaws Football 2003 National Women's
Football Association
House Park
Austin Toros Basketball 2005 NBA D-League Austin Convention Center
Texas Stars Ice hockey 2009 American Hockey
Cedar Park Center
Austin Turfcats Indoor football 2009 Southern Indoor
Football League
Luedecke Arena
Football 1998 North American
Football League
Yellow Jacket Stadium

In addition to team sports, Austin is generally known for its active outdoor culture. Austin is home to many runners, rock-climbers, swimmers, divers, snorkelers, mountain bikers, cyclists, and more. Natural features like the bicycle-friendly Texas Hill Country, limestone rock formations, and generally mild climate work with the centrally-located Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, and local pools like Barton Springs to make Austin the home of several endurance and multi-sport races and communities. The Capitol 10,000 is the largest 10 K race in Texas, and approximately fifth largest in the nation. The Austin Marathon has been run in the city every year since 1992. The Austin-founded American Swimming Association hosts an open water swimming event, the Cap 2 K, and other closed-course, open water, and cable swim races around town. Austin is also the hometown of several cycling groups and the champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, as well as environmentally- and economically-minded bicycle commuters. Combining these three disciplines is a growing crop of triathlons, including the Capital of Texas Triathlon held every Memorial Day on and around Lady Bird Lake, Auditorium Shores, and Downtown Austin.[86]

Museums and other points of interest

Museums in Austin include the Texas Memorial Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art (reopened in 2006), the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum across the street (which opened in 2000), the Austin Museum of Art (AMOA), and the galleries at the Harry Ransom Center. The Texas State Capitol itself is also a major tourist attraction. The Driskill Hotel built in 1886, and located at 6th and Brazos, was finished just before the construction of the Capitol building. Sixth Street is a musical hub for the city. The Enchanted Forest, a multi-acre outdoor music, art, and performance art space in South Austin hosts events such as fire-dancing and circus-like-acts.[87] Austin is also home to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, which houses documents and artifacts related to the Johnson administration, including LBJ's limousine and a recreation of the Oval Office.

The art that gave Austin its reputation for being weird is featured at the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture. The Mexic-Arte Museum is a Latin American art museum founded in 1983. Austin is also home to the O. Henry House Museum, which is where O. Henry lived in Austin in 1891. Farmers markets are popular attractions, providing a variety of locally grown and often organic goods.[88]

Austin is also "weird" for its many statues and landmarks, such as the Hyde Park Bar & Grill fork, the Mangia dinosaur, the Loca Maria lady at Taco Xpress on South Lamar, the pink flamingo lawn in front of the Pots and Plants Garden Center, the Hyde Park Gym's giant flexed arm, and Daniel Johnston's Hi, how are you? frog mural. Austin locals are proud of these landmarks and work to preserve them, even as the city grows.[89]

The Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge houses the world's largest urban population of Mexican Free-tailed Bats. Starting in March[90][91], up to 1.5 million bats take up residence inside the bridge's expansion and contraction zones as well as in long horizontal grooves running the length of the bridge's underside, an environment ideally suited for raising their young. Every evening around sunset, the bats emerge in search of insects, an exit visible on weather radar. Watching the bat emergence is an event that is popular with locals and tourists, with more than 100,000 viewers per year. The bats migrate to Mexico each winter.[92]

The Austin Zoo, located at 10807 Rawhide Trail in unincorporated western Travis County, west of Austin and north of U.S. Highway 290,[93] is a rescue zoo that provides sanctuary to displaced animals from a variety of situations, including those involving neglect.

Parks and recreation

Austin's Deep Eddy Pool is the oldest man-made pool in Texas

The Austin Parks & Recreation Department received the Excellence in Aquatics award in 1999 and the Gold Medal Awards in 2004 from the National Recreation and Park Association.[94][95] Home to more than 50 public swimming pools, Austin has parks and pools throughout the city. There are several well-known swimming locations. These include Deep Eddy Pool, Texas' oldest man-made swimming pool, and Barton Springs Pool, the nation's largest natural swimming pool in an urban area.[96][97] Barton Springs Pool is spring-fed and ranges in temperature from about 68.0 °F (20.0 °C) during the winter to about 71.6 °F (22.0 °C) during the summer.[98][99][100] Hippie Hollow Park, a county park situated along Lake Travis, is the only officially sanctioned clothing-optional public park in Texas. Activities include rockclimbing, kayaking, swimming, exploring, and hiking along the greenbelt, a long-spanning area that runs through the city. Zilker Park, a large green area close to downtown, forms part of the greenbelt along the Colorado River. Hamilton Pool is a pool and wildlife park located about 30 minutes from the city.[101]



Night view of the Pennybacker Bridge on Loop 360.

Central Austin is bracketed by Interstate 35 to the east and the Mopac Expressway to the west. U.S. Highway 183 runs from northwest to southeast, and State Highway 71 crosses the southern part of the city from east to west, completing a rough "box" around the central and north-central city. Austin is the largest city in the United States to be served by only one Interstate Highway.

U.S. Highway 290 enters Austin from the east and merges into I-35. Its highway designation continues south on I-35 and then becomes part of Highway 71, continuing on to the west. Highway 290 becomes its own road again southwest of the city, when it splits from Highway 71 in a busy interchange in Oak Hill known as "The Y." Highway 71 continues as far west as Brady, Texas, and Highway 290 continues west to intersect Interstate 10 near Junction. Interstate 35 continues south through San Antonio, and continues to its culmination at Laredo, Texas, which is on the Texas-Mexico border. Interstate 35 is the highway link to the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex in northern Texas. There are two links to Houston, TX (Highway 290 and State Highway 71/Interstate 10). Highway 183 leads northwest of Austin and is a route with other major highways to such cities as Abilene, San Angelo, Lubbock, Amarillo, Albuquerque and Denver.

In the mid-1980s, Austin completed construction on Loop 360, a scenic highway that curves through the hill country from near the 71/Mopac interchange in the south to near the 183/Mopac interchange in the north. The iconic Pennybacker Bridge, also known as the "360 Bridge", crosses Lake Austin to connect north and south Loop 360.


Interchange of Interstate 35 and State Highway 45.

In November 2006, Austin opened the first segments of its first-ever tollway system: State Highway 130 runs from just south of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Interstate 35 just north of Georgetown. Highway 130 connects with Highway 45 in Pflugerville, Texas. The project, when completed, will end at Interstate 10 just east of Seguin, about 30 miles east-northeast of San Antonio.

State Highway 45 runs east-west from just west of Highway 183 in Cedar Park to 130 inside Pflugerville (just east of Round Rock). The project also included a tolled extension to Mopac that allows direct access to I-35. A new southeast leg of Highway 45 has recently been completed, connecting US 183 and the current south end of TX-130 to I-35 at the FM 1327/Creedmoor exit near the south end of Austin and close to the town of Buda's northernmost interchange.

The 183A Toll Road opened March 2007, providing a tolled alternative to 183 through the cities of Leander and Cedar Park.


Austin's airport is Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) (IATA code AUS), located 5 miles (8 km) southeast of the city. The airport is on the site of the former Bergstrom Air Force Base, which was closed in 1993 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process. Previously Robert Mueller Municipal Airport was the commercial airport of Austin.

Intercity bus service

Greyhound Lines operates the Austin Station at 916 East Koenig Lane.[102]

Turimex Internacional, a division of Mexican company Grupo Senda, operates bus service from Austin to Nuevo Laredo and on to many destinations in Mexico. The Turimex station is located at 5012 East 7th Street, near Shady Lane.[103] It is advisable to disembark at the station in Laredo, Texas, take a cab across the border and onto the Nuevo Laredo bus station where you can find buses to the major cities to continue your journey.

Public transportation

A Capital Metro bus designated as a shuttle bus for University of Texas at Austin students and staff

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) provides public transportation to the city, primarily by bus. Capital Metro is planning to change some routes to "Rapid Lines". The lines will feature 60 ft (18 m) long, train-like high-tech buses. This addition is going to be implemented to help reduce congestion. Capital Metro is also testing a commuter rail system known as Capital MetroRail that was scheduled to open in March 2009.[104] The system was built on existing freight rail lines and will serve downtown Austin, East Austin, North Central Austin, Northwest Austin, and Leander in its first phase. Future expansion could include a line to Manor and another to Round Rock. Capital Metro is also looking into a circulator system of streetcars to connect most of Downtown, the University of Texas, and the 700-acre (2.8 km2) Mueller Airport Redevelopment. The streetcar system would help connect the new rail line to key destinations in Central Austin. An Amtrak Texas Eagle station is located west of downtown. Segments of the Amtrak route between Austin and San Antonio are under evaluation for a future passenger rail corridor as an alternative to the traffic congestion of Interstate 35. Austin is known as the most bike-friendly city in Texas and has a Silver-level rating from the League of American Bicyclists.


John Henry Faulk Library of the Austin Public Library

Researchers at Central Connecticut State University ranked Austin the 16th most literate city in the United States for 2008.[105] The Austin Public Library operates the John Henry Faulk Library and various library branches. The Travel Channel gave Austin the title "America's #1 College Town".[15]

Higher education

Austin is home to the University of Texas at Austin, the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. The university has several internal colleges located inside the city including the College of Pharmacy, McCombs School of Business, the School of Architecture, and the School of Engineering. Other institutions of higher learning in Austin include Austin Community College, Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson University, St. Edward's University, the Seminary of the Southwest, the Acton School of Business, Austin Graduate School of Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Virginia College's Austin Campus, The Art Institute of Austin, and a branch of Park University.

Public primary and secondary education

Most of the city is served by the Austin Independent School District. Some parts of Austin are served by other districts, including Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, Manor, Del Valle, Lake Travis, and Eanes ISDs, Hays.

Private and alternative education

Private and alternative education institutions for children in preschool-12th grade include Regents School of Austin, Redeemer Lutheran School, Garza (public), the Waldorf schools, The Griffin School, The Khabele School, Concordia Academy, St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic School, San Juan Diego Catholic High School, Brentwood Christian School, St. Austin Catholic School, St. Stephen's Episcopal School, St. Mary's, St. Theresa's, St. Michael's Catholic Academy, St. Gabriel's Catholic School, St. Andrew's Episcopal School, St. Francis School, Saint Paul Lutheran School, Trinity Episcopal School, Huntington-Surrey, Sri Atmanada, and many Montessori schools. Paragon Preparatory Middle School is a private school for grades 5-8, founded in 1997.

Sister cities

Sister city monument in Austin commemorating the relationship with Saltillo

List of sister cities of Austin, Texas, designated by Sister Cities International.[106]


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Further reading

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Discussion on defining district borders for Austin is in progress. If you know the city pretty well, please share your opinion on the talk page.

Austin is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.
The state capitol in Austin, Texas
The state capitol in Austin, Texas

Austin [1] is a city of over 700,000 in the Hill Country region of the American 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 American coasts, although 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.

  • Austin Visitor Center, 209 E. Sixth Street, +1-866 GO-AUSTIN, [2]. Daily 8:30AM-5:30PM.


Pick up an Austin Chronicle newspaper first thing. These are freely available all over town, including the information desk across from baggage claim at the airport. It will be your guide to everything that's going on in Austin from festivals (Spam Festival, Chili Festival, et al.) to music, theater and food; it's all in there. New issues are out every Thursday.

  • Austin American-Statesman [3] — the major paper; news that everyone else prints.
  • Austin Chronicle [4] — the alternative weekly; all the news that's fit to print, reflects the true vibe of Austin. Their "Best of" lists are a great resource and can be accessed online.
  • Daily Texan [5] — the student newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin.
  • The Onion [6] — recently opened print edition office in Austin, already quite popular as a local paper. This is a satire paper.
  • Rare Magazine [7] — Rare is a free monthly publication that covers Austin shopping, food, health and beauty, real estate, music, nightlife and everything else that makes Austin such a great place to be. Available in over 650 locations around town.
  • Tribeza [8] — similar in scope to Rare and also free at numerous locations around town. Tribeza tends to focus on higher end establishments but also tries to stay down to Earth and be accessible to all.
  • Austin Monthly [9] — magazine that can be purchased on any newsstand in town (including Bergstrom International Airport) Aims to highlight more in depth the people, places and events that make Austin unique.

Get in

By plane

Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ICAO: AUS), [10]. 6 miles (10km) southeast of the city center, it is served by most major carriers, with non-stop service to 49 destinations. There are a selection of buses [11], taxis, shuttles and car rentals to get you into town and back. Chauffeured sedans or limos are also available to pick you up or drop you off at the airport but normally require advance reservations. Taxi fare to downtown Austin is approximately $30.

By train

Austin Amtrak station, 250 North Lamar Blvd., [12]. Served by the Texas Eagle Line with service from Chicago to San Antonio.

By car

Austin is on several major freeways. From San Antonio, head north on IH-35, about one and a half hours. From Dallas, head south on IH-35, about three hours. From Houston, head west on US-290 (or I-10 W to Hwy 71 W if want to reach South Austin), about three hours.

  • Greyhound Bus Line, (station is on IH-35 near Highland Mall), +1 800-231-2222, [13]. Serves Austin daily. Schedules may change. Passengers can catch the number 7 bus to downtown from there.

Get around

By bike

Austin is hilly to the west but generally mildly sloping toward the river in the center of town. There are bike lanes on some major streets. Biking is a great way to get around year round and the weather is usually agreeable.

  • Yellow Bike Project, Phone: 512-457-9880 [14]. Operates two community bike shops where individuals can go and repair their own bikes free of charge. Coordinators are present to answer any questions and guide you, but not to fix your bike for you. At the Main Shop on 51st street there are 10+ work stands and tools sets available for use. The Satellite Shop is better for minor repairs and only has as a few work stands. If you are looking for a cheap bike while in town and are willing to do a little maintenance work, visit The Yellow Bike Project and pick out a bike that needs a little love in exchange for a small donation. If you are interested getting away from touristy attractions on your visit, the Yellow Bike shop is a great place to drop in and volunteer a few hours. Their hours change monthly but are up-to-date on their website. If you are lucky you might see one of the name-sake Yellow Bikes around town. If you see a Yellow Bike, feel free to ride it to your destination and leave it for the next person. Yellow Bikes are not to be locked up and you ride at your own risk. The Austin Yellow Bike Project has been operating for ten years and has released over 600 yellow bikes.
  • Bicycle Sports Shop - Bike Rentals, Phone: 512-477-3472 [15]. The Bicycle Sports Shop is located Downtown and offers the largest selection of bike rentals in the city.

By bus

Capital Metro, [16]. The city's public bus network with a solid system of inexpensive neighborhood express and downtown routes. Busses cost 75c per trip, or you can get a 24 hour pass for $1.50. "E-Bus" and "Night Owl" services serve the city's entertainment districts after hours. The Capital Metro website has a trip planner which can be used to find public transport options between two points in Austin.

By car

Driving is not too difficult, if you're used to living in a large city. Traffic is bad from 7-9AM and 3:30-7PM weekdays, though IH-35 through town can be jammed at other times as well

There are two major north-south expressways: IH-35 and Loop 1 (also called the MoPac Expressway for former owner of the railroad which runs along it, Missouri-Pacific - or "Slo-Pac" for anyone who has experienced it at rush hour). There is only one true major east-west freeway in Austin located south of the city center, known as Ben White or US 290 West/Texas highway 71. The freeway section of 290 West/Ben White currently runs from IH-35 to just east of Oak Hill. Freeway extensions are currently being constructed east on 71 to the airport, and the beginning stages of construction are taking place west towards and past Oak Hill. Hwy 183 runs from the southeast corner of the city near the airport to the northwest suburbs, bridging Mopac and IH-35 in North Austin.

Oak Hill is the point at which 71 and 290 split apart and go in separate directions, and in case this isn't confusing enough, some people make the distinction between 290 West and 290 East because at IH-35 290 East actually heads up the interstate, and then continues on to the east in North Austin. There is a second freeway that runs from the Northwest side of the city down to the Southeast side of the city past the airport. This freeway is called US 183, and in North Austin it may also be referred to as Research Blvd. Most of it is freeway now, however there are still several major intersections which are currently being constructed and turned into freeway.

IH-35 has no loop that circumnavigates the city, so watch out for aggressive, confused drivers. Also, keep your eyes open for the upper deck/lower deck split between Airport Blvd and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd; it's confusing, and accidents occur there frequently. Drivers going through Austin without stopping, or those who wish to avoid the chaos of the lower deck, should use the right two lanes as the deck split approaches, in contrast to other cities where through traffic uses the left lane. On the northbound side, traffic entering IH-35 at Martin Luther King Jr Blvd goes directly to the upper deck.

Out-of-towners be warned: on-ramps on IH-35, especially the lower deck, are very short.

Austin has a mostly completed network of toll roads, see Central Texas Turnpike System [17] and Central Texas Regional Mobile Authority [18]. These include SH 130, an Austin bypass east of town; SH 45, an east-west artery in North Austin; the North MoPac extension; the US 183A bypass of Cedar Park and Leander; and SH 45SE in far south Austin. TxTag [19] accounts are available for commuters. There has been significant opposition and accommodations have been made in some areas. Both 183A and MoPac are rather deceptive - if you keep going north on either 183 or MoPac, the freeway seamlessly transitions into a toll road and the signing is rather poor. To avoid the toll, you must keep a sharp eye out and get off the main lanes. Even worse, the first toll on 183A is "TxTag Only" meaning that you cannot pay cash.

Parts of the city are subject to flooding at times during the year, however it is not too common as Austin does not usually get an excessive amount of rain. 2007 has seen several flood episodes with the worst effects in Marble Falls, northwest of the city. See City of Austin Flood History [20] for historic flooding.

For those of you unfamiliar with proper treatment of flooded areas, NEVER drive through flooded low water crossings. You will lose your car and possibly your life. As little as a few inches of running water can and does wash a car away and each year there are some deaths due to this. "Turn Around, Don't Drown."


While driving is not too bad, parking in the city center can be difficult; look for municipal parking garages as officers will ticket you in the blink of an eye. (Check meters, though, because many are free in the evenings, on weekends, and on major holidays.) Worse yet, vehicles illegally parked in private parking areas are very quickly towed, so make sure that you don't park in spots marked no parking.

Parking is free in the Texas State History Museum garage near UT after hours and on weekends. As of 2005 under SB 1533, state employees may park in state garages during non-business hours for free.

By taxi

There are several cab companies on call if you'd prefer to avoid the driving hassle.

  • Yellow Cab, Phone: 512-452-9999. website includes fare estimator and online booking: [21]
  • Marriton Limousine, Phone: 512-329-7007, Toll free: 1-800-940-7007, [22] For airport transfers or those who just demand a bit more luxury you can rent a chauffeured sedan, limousine or minibus.
The University of Texas Tower
The University of Texas Tower
  • The University of Texas at Austin, [23] is a beautiful stroll. While there you might want to visit the Blanton Museum of Art [24], the Harry Ransom Center [25], or the Texas Memorial Museum of Science and History [26]. 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 [27]. 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, [28] always seems to have something interesting on display. They change their exhibits fairly frequently.
  • The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, [29]. M-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su Noon-6PM. A very good survey of Texas History and Culture. As with most newer museums it suffers quite a bit in that it seems to have traded depth for lots of multimedia displays and an IMAX theater. What is there, however, is quite well done. Access to the museum and both theaters: $13.50/10.50/8.50/6.50 (General/Seniors 65+/Children 5-18/Children 3-4).  edit
  • The Texas State Capitol, [30] 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.

Austin is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

  • Chinatown Center Austin Chinese New Year Festival. JANUARY/FEBRUARY. [31]. 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. [32].
  • Zilker Park Kite Festival. MARCH. [33]. 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. [34] 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. [35]. Beginning before and overlapping the SXSW Music Festival. SXSW Film is a significant industry conference, but also hosts many film showings.
  • South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival. MARCH. [36]. 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. [37]. 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.
  • SPAMARAMA™ is a fun and irreverent homage to Spam™. APRIL. [38]. It includes a Cookoff, the SPAMALYMPICS™ (Contests, some athletic, some not), SPAMJAM® (Music), Arts/Crafts/Food booths and a Kid's Area. SPAMARAMA™ benefits the Disability Assistance of Central Texas, Inc. It was founded in 1976.
  • Texas Round-Up & Street Festival APRIL. [39]. 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. [40]. 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. [41]. 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: [42]
  • Old Pecan Street Festival. MAY & SEPTEMBER. [43]. 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. [44]. 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 Pride. June. [45]. Austin's single largest LGBT event includes a festival at Republic Square Park and a parade that goes through the Warehouse District.
  • Austin Bamboo Festival. AUGUST. Phone: 512-477-8672, [46]. Zilker Botanical Garden. This annual event features tours of theTaniguchi Japanese Garden, traditional dances, bamboo crafts and flute music.
  • Austin City Limits Festival. OCTOBER. [47]. 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. [48]
  • Austin Film Festival. OCTOBER. [49]. Conference and film showings.
  • Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off. NOVEMBER. [50]. 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. [51]. 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.
  • Segway Tours Austin SegCity 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. [52].
  • Austin Tours, 555 E. 5th Street, #2811, 512-215-4603 (), [53]. 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.  edit
  •, 512-329-7007 (). 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.  edit
  • Austin Ghost Tours, 512-853-9826, [54]. Offers several guided walking tours of downtown haunts ~$15.  edit
  • Independence Brewery Tour, 3913 Todd Lane #607, 512-707-0099 (), [55]. 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).  edit


Austin is a great city for theater, especially if you like new works.

Theater Companies

  • Rude Mechanicals or Rude Mechs, [56]. 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, [57]. They do everything: theatre, dance, hip-hop, musicals, festivals and more.
  • Teatro Vivo, [58]. Dedicated to producing quality bilingual theatre. Reflects the heart and soul of the Latino reality.
  • Salvage Vanguard, [59]. Original musical pieces in conjunction with the Golden Arm Trio's Graham Reynolds are not to be missed.
  • Different Stages, [60]. One of Austin's oldest rep. companies.
  • Refraction Arts, [61]. They dabble in multiple mediums. Always interesting.
  • the dirigo group, [62]. These critical darlings do original and established work.
  • Bedlam Faction, [63]. The typical Bedlam fare is nervy, physical productions of lesser known early-modern playwrights. They occasionally do new, local works.
  • Naughty Austin, [64]. Started out dedicated to gay-themed scripts, but they've been branching out lately.
  • Loaded Gun Theory, [65]. Original pieces.
  • Yellow Tape Construction Co, [66]. 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. [67]
  • Go to Esther's Follies for an entertaining Saturday Live-like comedy skits (Th-Sa). Located in the 6th street entertainment district it's a great way to start an evening. Reservations recommended. [68]
  • The Off Center, [69]. 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, [70]. Managed by The Austin Improv Collective. You can always find improv comedy there.
  • The ColdTowne Theater, [71]. Plenty of comedy, ranging from stand-up to sketch and improv.
  • Zach Scott, [72]. 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, [73]. Managed by Refraction Arts and featuring theatre, music, film and dance.
  • The Vortex, [74]. 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, [75].
  • Arts on Real, [76].
  • The Gas Light Theater, [77].


Austin is the "Live Music Capital of the World"[78]. 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. A note of interest regarding Austin clubs and bars: a new smoking ban prohibits smoking in any public building, including these establishments.

  • The Cactus Café, 2247 Guadalupe (at 24th St.), +1 512-475-6515 (), [79]. 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.  edit
  • Austin City Limits, (), [80]. The venerable PBS show is filmed in the University of Texas' Radio Television and Film building.  edit
  • Stubb's BBQ, 801 Red River, +1 512-482-8422, [81]. 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!  edit
  • Antone's, 213 West 5th, +1 512-320-8424, [82]. 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.  edit
  • The Saxon Pub, 1320 South Lamar, +1 512-448-2552, [83]. 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.  edit
  • Emo's, 603 Red River St (just off 6th St.), +1 512-477-3667, [84]. A great venue for live music. Two stages, inside and outside, showcase indie rock and other interesting performances.  edit
  • 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.  edit
  • Elysium, 705 Red River (Take I-35 to exit number 234B, 8TH), 512-478-2979, [85]. Voted Best Dance Club 2003-2008 in the Austin Chronicle Readers' Poll  edit
  • Austin Film Festival. See information under Festival heading.
  • SXSW Film Festival. See information under Festival heading.
  • The Alamo Drafthouse, Four locations [86]. 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. They also have a dizzying number of specialty shows and film festivals. Their other locations show first run movies with the same excellent food menu.
  • Arbor 7 Cinema, 9828 Great Hills Trail in the Arboretum area, [87]. 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, [88]. Huge screen, 400 seats, with 2-D and 3-D capability.
  • Dobie Theater. Adjacent to the University of Texas, [89]. The Dobie plays both mainstream and not-so-mainstream films.
  • Austin Film Society. Various theaters. [90]. 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. [91].
  • 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. [92].
  • 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. [93].
  • Austin Bicycle Film Festival, takes place annually in September. The Bicycle Film Festival is a celebration of bicycles through film, art and music. [94].
  • Austin Asian American Film Festival, takes place annually in October, celebrating the best in independent Asian cinema from across the globe. [95].
  • Zilker Park [96]. Undoubtedly Austin's favorite park. Amazing location on the banks of Town Lake with several miles of hiking and biking trails.
  • Barton Springs Pool [97] 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 [98] 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 [99], 2418 Stratford Drive (512) 459-0999. From $10 to $25/hr.
    • Zilker Park boat rentals [100], (512) 478-3852. In the park. $10/hr, $40 per day.
  • Tubing the San Marcos River 170 Bobcat Dr. San Marcos, (512) 396-5466, 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 $4/person or canoes at $10/each. They take you to the river and pick you up.
  • McKinney Falls State Park [101]. 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. AustinExplorer is a popular website to learn more about local parks and trails [102] and [103].
  • 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.
  • University of Texas Longhorns, [104]. 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 Houston Astros, are located in nearby Round Rock, Texas and play Triple-A baseball in the Pacific Coast League.


The Austin Steam Train Association, [105], 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 (50km) 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. Still nice, but not as cool as it used to be.


Austin is one of the premier educational areas in the nation. The University of Texas at Austin is one of the best universities in the world, public or private. The flagship institution of the University of Texas System, it is also one of the largest universities in the world, both in terms of endowment, and in terms of student population. UT has been the largest university in the United States, but has intentionally limited enrollment and now ranks in the top five nationally. The red-tiled roofs of the "Forty Acres," as it is known, shelter many cultural and entertainment institutions. The campus is beautiful and vibrant, and visitors are welcome.

Austin is a college town as well as a government and high-tech center. It draws its population from all over, and many students decide to stay. This gives Austin a high level of general education and a diverse cultural scene.

  • Austin Community College [106]
  • Concordia University at Austin [107]
  • Huston-Tillotson College [108]
  • St. Edwards University [109]
  • University of Texas [110]


Austin is very proud of its local stores[111]. 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[112] 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 [113].
  • Lakeline Mall northwest of town [114].
  • Highland Mall north of downtown. [115].
  • 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. [116].
  • Prime Outlets San Marcos[117] and adjacent Tanger Factory Outlets[118] 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.

There is a plethora of large retail box stores to the north and south of town (Target, Best Buy, etc.), but of particular note are the Apple Store located in Barton Creek Mall and the Crate and Barrel at Gateway Center.


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 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 also has a varied selection of gelato. Biggest Whole Foods in its chain. Spirits live music at night, a ice rink on top, and much much more.

Wheatsville Food Co-op [119] 3101 Guadalupe, Austin TX 78705, Open Daily 9AM-11PM. Wheatsville is now a thriving cooperative grocery and has been around for over 30 years. Their focus on food issues guaranteed an excellent selection of ethical 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • Waterloo Records, Sixth & Lamar, [120]. 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. Waterloo Video is just around the corner.
  • Cheapo Discs, [121]. Like the name says, Austin's home for cheap used CDs.
  • End of an Ear, [122]. Experimental music, jazz, other "left of the dial" music. Regular in-store performances, usually on weekends.
  • Bookpeople, Sixth & Lamar, [123]. 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, [124]. Independent feminist bookstore also specializing in LGBTQ texts.
  • Half-Price Books, [125]. 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), [126]. Wide variety of toys and excellent selection of children's books.
  • Hogwild, 100-A East North Loop. Vintage toys.
  • Toy Joy, 2900 Guadalupe (29th & Guadalupe), [127]. Awesome selection of novelty, themed, and era-reminiscent toys, candy, and stationary.


There are several antique stores on South Congress.

  • Aqua 1415 S. Congress.
  • Blue Velvet, 217 W. North Loop.
  • Buffalo Exchange, 2904 Guadalupe.
  • Flashback, 2047 South Lamar.
  • Storeyville Boutique, 5015 Duval 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 resale shop. Doubles as a local venue ticket sales outlet.

Austin is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

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.

  • El Rey, 4109 S Capital of Texas Hwy, +1 512-443-1911. If you don't think Tex-Mex should resemble the Taco Bell menu, check out El Rey. Sonoran specialities. Good Mexican food right next to Texican Cafe (formerly the Trudy's SouthStar location,) and they hardly ever have a wait.  edit
  • Chuy's Restaurant, 4 locations, (), [128]. 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.  edit
  • Guero's Taco Bar, 1412 S. Congress, 512-447-7688. Great atmosphere! (You saw it in Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse flick "Deathproof")! And some pretty tasty tacos too!  edit
  • Trudy's, 3 locations, [129]. Generally regarded 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.  edit
  • Baby Acapulco's, [130]. 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!  edit
  • Enchiladas Y Mas, 1911 W Anderson Ln (just east of Burnet Road), +1 512-467-7100 (), [131]. Tu-Sa 7AM-9PM, Su 7AM-2PM. As the name implies this restaurant has enchiladas, and they are some of the best north of San Antonio. "y Mas", as it is called by locals, has a broad selection of Tex-Mex fare including flautas, soft and crispy tacos, migas, burritos, and fajitas. This is a must try on the Tex-Mex trail in Austin. They are closed on Mondays and the lunch crowd starts early, so be prepared for a short wait between 11AM and 1PM. y Mas has the best motto in town, "Never trust a skinny cook!". Dinners $6-10.  edit
  • Curra's Grill, [132]. An Austin original, this restaurant brings outstanding traditional interior Mexican food to four locations. Some of the best pork recipes around and you will not find better Mexican style seafood dishes anywhere in the city. The south eatery is at 614 East Oltorf and the north location is at 6801 Burnet Road.  edit
  • Serranos, [133]. 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.  edit
  • Jesus Maria Mexican Restaurant, 1304 W. Koenig Lane, +1 512-407-8480. Mo-Sa 6:30AM-10PM, Su 6:30AM-5PM. Jalisco-style Mexican food.  edit
  • Jardin Corona, 13233 Pond Springs Rd., +1 512-250-1061. A favorite of those living in Northwest Austin Jollyville.  edit
  • Dan's Hamburgers, 5602 N Lamar Blvd (at Koenig in North Austin), 4308 Manchaca Rd (at Ben White, in South Austin). Big, greasy burgers and tasty milkshakes. Choose your burger size: Small, Medium, Large. Choose single or double meat. There is also Fran's Hamburgers, and the story is that Dan & Fran divorced and each took part of the franchise.  edit
  • Dirty Martin's Place, 2808 Guadalupe St (at 27th - on the Drag), [134]. Daily 11AM-11PM. A staple for hungry football fans after UT home games, Dirty's has been in the same building since the 1920's. Still has a simple old-time feel, and you can watch the burgers grilled right in front of you at the bar. Dinner specials $7+.  edit
  • Sandy's Hamburgers, 603 Barton Springs Rd, at First and Barton Springs. Great burgers, milkshakes. Better than the Whataburger next door. Great people watching. Their soft-serve ice cream is worth the lines.  edit
  • Wally's Burger Express, 8107 Mesa Dr (in Northwest Hills), +1 512-345-7441. Good fast food burgers and shakes.  edit
  • Waterloo Ice House, Several locations, [135]. Austin classic. Delish burgers, some of the best onion rings in town. Don't miss the Cinnamon Chocolate Shake!  edit
  • Casino El Camino, 6th street between Red River and Neches, [136]. Bar (over-21 only) that serves juicy 3/4 pound patties of certified Angus Beef. Also available: Chicken sandwiches, hotdogs, veggie sandwiches, etc. Everything is SLOOOOOW-cooked so expect 45 min to and hour waits for food at peak times, but it's worth it. Dark decor, eccentric jukebox, and nice back garden.  edit
  • Top Notch Hamburgers, 7525 Burnet Road. As seen in the movie 'Dazed and Confused'. An Austin burger institution. Dine in, carry out, or order and eat from your car. Charcoal-grilled burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, etc.  edit
  • Din Ho Chinese Bar-B-Q, 8557 Research Blvd, +1 512-832-8788. Open till 1AM most nights.. Lunch and dinner. Some of the most authentic Chinese fare in town, specializing in Cantonese and seafood dishes. Chinese BBQ pork and whole roast duck are available for take-out as well. Don't bring Caucasian friends who are squeamish about real Chinese food - take them to Chinatown instead.  edit
  • Chinatown, 3407 Greystone Drive, +1 512-343-9307. Authentic Chinese flavor with a modern twist. Not really fusion, not really traditional either, but very delicious. The restaurant is located upstairs in a two-story building; the bottom floor houses the Japanese restaurant Musashino  edit
  • Wanfu, 2400 E Oltorf St, +1 512-462-3535. Often open until 4AM. Smoked duck dishes to die for. Amazing lettuce wraps (tofu or chicken).  edit
  • T & S Chinese Restaurant, 10014 N Lamar Blvd (a few blocks south of Braker Lane), +1 512-339-8434. Traditional Cantonese fare - open late. Dim Sum on weekends.  edit


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 its 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. For Japanese fast food try Wiki Wiki Teriyaki on Congress a 1/2 a block up Congress from 6th street; they also have a location in the Arboretum shopping center in Northwest Austin.

Musashino Sushi Dokoro For the most authentic traditional and freshest Sushi/Japanese cuisine in Austin is Musashino Sushi Dokoro located on Mopac and Greystone. Everything is always extremely fresh and expertly prepared.

  • Korea House 2700 W. Anderson Ln. #501, 512-458-2477. Located in the Village Shopping Center and can be a little hard to find; the entrance faces towards the inner courtyard area of the shopping center. They have a decent sushi offering but the Korean dishes are delicious and authentic. Sometimes they have OB beer - but not recently.
  • Koreana 12196 North MoPac Expwy., 512-835-8888.
  • Korea Garden 6519 N Lamar Blvd ., 512-302-3149.
  • Shilla 6406 N IH 35 ,(512) 453-4111. Located in Lincoln plaza off I-35 access road near US 290 and Highland Mall. Standard korean dishes and bbq. This place also has Hite beer and Jinro Soju. I'd say this place is more authentic than Korea house based on the number of Koreans that actually go here.
  • Hai Ky. Consistent fresh, high quality Vietnamese food with great bowls of pho, delicious stir fries and noodle dishes, bubble tea and friendly service. At 1931 E. Oltorf about 3/4 mile east of I-35 in a strip shopping center on your right just past the Whataburger. Locals in the know and Asian students yearning for a genuine taste of home frequent this small restaurant. Great electronic music adds to the casual ambience. Best Vietnamese food in Austin. Very affordable and now serves imported beers. Great staff w/ mellow ambiance. Two thumbs up.
  • Lamar Blvd.. Several Vietnamese places are scattered in strip malls both north and south of US-183 on Lamar Blvd. Notably Le Soliel, Saigon Pho, and Kim Phung.
  • Sunflower Although it's in a strip mall in North Austin, this restaurant is notable for its amazing vegetarian options. Service is kinda spotty, and the staff tends to use extremely aromatic cleaning products (read: "potpourri"-fragranced cleaning spray spritzed on tables between customers), but it's well worth the trip North. Absolutely delicious, especially for the price.
  • 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?
  • T&N Cafe Located in the same plaza as the Oak Hill Burger Tex (6705 Hwy. 290 W.) near the Y. Excellent Vietnamese pho and bun dishes and few unusual items like curry. Popular for lunch with the nearby Freescale folks. Friendly family service. You can bring in your own beer. Highly recommended.
  • Frank and Angies. Pizza and Italian food. Supposedly Quentin Tarantino's favorite restaurant in Austin. Right next to Hut's Hamburgers.
  • Reale's Pizza and Italian Food. Northeasterners love Reale's, as it reminds them of family Italian restaurants from home. Good food. 13450 North US 183.
  • Hoeks Death Metal Pizza. Rock out and eat some of Austin's most delicious "metal" pizza. 511 E 6th St. Austin, TX 78701 (512) 474-6357


Austin is vegetarian-friendly, and many restaurants have a good selection to choose from.

  • Aster’s Ethopian Restaurant. 2804 N. I-35. Aster has been delighting Austin with her Ethopian food for over a decade. The menu includes many vegan choices, both hot and mild: eggplant, two varieties of lentils, potatoes, greens, cabbage, and wonderful injera.
  • Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse. 1501 S. 1st Street. Great Coffeehouse with all Vegetarian Menu. [137]
  • Casa de Luz . 1701 Toomey Rd. Completely vegan restaurant. A meal which includes drink and it's all you can eat. They have several different types of specialty meals each week such as Guatemalan or Caribbean night. The atmosphere is fantastic as it's located right by Barton Creek surrounded by lush vegetation.
  • DaVine Foods . 1412 W. Oltorf St. This all-vegetarian restaurant offers mostly vegan options including a hummus wrap, tempeh chili, organic juices, smoothies and breakfast tacos that are served all day. Meals are priced from $2.95 to $10.95. [138]
  • Fire Bowl Café . 9828 Great Hills Trail, #100. Asian restaurant with a ’Stir Fry Your Way’ section, allowing for many vegan choices. The menu also denotes, by using a green leaf, which meals are vegetarian if ordered with tofu. Priced under $10. [139]
  • Hula Hut . 3825 Lake Austin Blvd. On their unique Polynesian- and Mexican-inspired menu (aka "Mexonesian"), you’ll find several vegetarian/vegan options. [140]
  • Kerbey Lane Cafe . 3704 Kerbey Ln. This popular eatery offers an extensive vegan menu that includes breakfast tacos, chai pancakes, tofu cheesecake, and more. [141]
  • Koriente . 621 E. 7th St. Asian fusion restaurant with many vegetarian and vegan options, including summer rolls, vegetarian curries, and sweet potato noodles. Tofu is available on most entrees.[142]
  • Leaf . 419 W. Second St. This eatery is focused on serving fresh, tasty salads. Choose from the menu or make your own! A few of their soups are vegetarian and/or vegan.[143]
  • Madras Pavilion . 9025 Research Blvd. #100. An all-vegetarian Indian restaurant offering a fabulous lunch buffet as well as a dinner menu. [144]
  • Mr. Natural . 1901 E. Cesar Chavez St. All-vegetarian Mexican restaurant, bakery, and health food store that offers breakfast, lunch & dinner as well as a popular buffet. Most dishes are or can be made vegan. A local favorite. [145]
  • Mothers Cafe & Garden. 4215 Duval St. Winner of several recent Austin Chronicle food awards, including Best Veggie Burger. Excellent vegetarian and vegan fare in a relaxing, pleasant atmosphere. Mothers burned down in 2007 but has been completely rebuilt and is as good as ever. [146]
  • Noodle-ism . 107 W. 5th St. This restaurant offers a variety of Asian- to Italian-inspired dishes in a fun, casual atmosphere. Vegan items are clearly marked. [147]
  • Satay . 3202 W. Anderson Ln. This restaurant serves fine South-Asian cuisine and has an extensive vegetarian and vegan menu available. Be sure to try the vegan silken tofu chocolate pie! Live music is featured on Wednesday nights on the patio.[148]
  • Shady Grove . 1624 Barton Springs Rd. Indoor & outdoor dining with a fun and eclectic atmosphere. Home-style foods such as frito pie & chili can be made vegan (even the Worcestershire is vegan). [149]
  • Spider House Cafe . 2908 Fruth St. IPopular local cafe with large outdoor seating area, occasional live music and film showings. Vegan cake and peanut buttercups are available as well as chili and burritos which can be made vegan.[150]
  • The Steeping Room . 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Suite 112. A café with a large selection of teas, chai lattes, and wines. Soy milk may be substituted for dairy. The menu changes each season and includes a variety of tea sandwiches, soups, and salads with vegetarian and vegan options. [151]
  • Tino’s Greek Café . 10515 North Mopac. "Cafeteria-style" Greek food. Vegetarian options include tabouli, dolmathes, and vegetarian mousaka. [152]
  • Veggie Heaven. 1914 Guadalupe St. Asian-inspired, all-vegetarian restaurant near campus offers popular dishes such as "Protein 2000." A local favorite. Taiwanese Vegetarian.
  • Wheatsville Co-op Deli . 3101 Guadalupe St. A well-known Austin health food store with deli that offers vegan and vegetarian items such as sandwiches, soups and desserts. [153]
  • Whole Foods Market Cafe . 525 N. Lamar Blvd. & 9607 Research Blvd. #300 Vegetarian-friendly grocery store with numerous food bars offering vegan and vegetarian options. This is Whole Foods flagship store [154]
  • Texas Chili Parlor. Get your red on. Serves the national dish of Texas, chili, in all heat ranges, as well as other great Texan-American fare. This downtown neighborhood chili parlor is reportedly the local Republican hangout, when "The Lege" is in session. Near the Capitol, and South of UT at 1409 Lavaca Street. Featured in Quentin Tarantino's movie "Death Proof." [155]
  • Threadgill's has two locations, one just south of downtown and one on North Lamar. 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. [156]
  • Amy's Ice Cream has several locations around town. 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. [157]
  • Pacific Star Oyster Bar, 183 North, just past Anderson Mill. Best oysters and catfish in town. Parking is scarce, but well worth while.
  • Catfish Parlour, 4705 E. Ben White, +1-512-443-1698. 11AM-10PM every day. All-you-can-eat catfish with hushpuppies on the side is a true Southern experience. $15-20 ($12 all-you-can-eat special). [158]
  • Thundercloud Subs A local Sandwich deli with over 27 locations around town. Known for its 'Keep Austin Weird' atmosphere and 'Thunder sauce.'
  • Most supermarkets such as HEB, Fiesta and Randall's offer inexpensive prepared food. Don't forget about the downtown Whole Foods HQ and its extensive food court.

Austin is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.


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).

  • Spider House, 2908 Fruth St (just north of the UT Campus), +1 512-480-9562, [159]. 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.  edit
  • Genuine Joe, 2001 W Anderson Ln, +1 512-220-1576, [162]. M-F 7AM-11PM, Sa-Su 8AM-11PM.  edit
  • Green Muse Cafe, 519 W Oltorf St, +1 512-912-7789. Try the Middle East plate, even if you're not a vegetarian, you'll enjoy the hummus with the warm, toasted pita bread squares. There is free wi-fi too if you'd rather surf the net somewhere else other than your couch. Perfect for writing on a Saturday morning. M-F 7AM - 12AM & S-SU 9AM - 12AM.  edit
  • Texspresso Cafe, 2700 W Anderson Ln, +1 512-467-9898.  edit
  • Little City, 916 Congress Avenue, +1 512-476-2489, [163]. M-F 8AM-Midnight, Sa 9AM-Midnight, Su 9AM-10PM.  edit
  • Ruta Maya, 3601 S Congress Ave (turn off So. Congress at the strip joint and go uphill), +1 512-707-9637 (, fax: +1 512-472-9639), [164]. M 7AM-11PM, Tu-Th 7AM-1PM, F 7AM-2AM, Sa 8AM-2AM, Su 8AM-11PM. An Austin tradition. Located at the Peen Field complex in a cavernous space with classes, entertainment, and events. Be aware that the service can be haphazard, but always friendly.  edit
  • Teo, 1206 W 38th St, +1 512-451-9555, [165]. M-Th 7AM-10PM, F 7AM-Midnight, Sa 8AM-Midnight, Su 9AM-10PM.  edit
  • Mozart's Coffee Roasters, 3826 Lake Austin Blvd, +1 512-477-2900 (, fax: +1 512-477-1971), [166]. M-Th 7AM-Midnight, F 7AM-1AM, Sa 8AM-1AM, Su 8AM-Midnight.  edit
  • Cafe Caffeine, 909 W Mary St, +1 512-447-9473, [167].  edit
  • Jo's, 1300 S Congress Ave, +1 512-444-3800, [169].  edit
  • Flipnotics Coffeespace, 1601 Barton Springs Rd, +1 512-480-8646, [170]. M-F 7AM-Midnight, Sa 7AM-1AM, Su 8AM-11PM.  edit
  • Lava Java, 2901 Medical Arts St, +1 512-495-9228. M-Th 7:30AM-Midnight, F 7:30AM-10PM, Sa-Su 9AM-10PM.  edit
  • Anderson's Coffee Company, 1601 W 38th St, +1 512-453-1533, [171].  edit
  • Trianon the Coffee Place, 3201 Bee Cave Rd, +1 512-328-4033.  edit
  • Halcyon Coffee Bar & Lounge Cafe, 218 W 4th St, +1 512-472-9637 (), [172]. M-W 7AM-1AM, Th 7AM-2AM, F 7AM-3AM, Sa 8AM-3AM, Su 8AM-1AM. More of a bar than a coffee more smores sadly  edit
  • Progress Coffee, 500 San Marcos St, +1 512-493-0963 (, fax: +1 512-493-0964), [173]. M-W 7AM-8PM, Th-F 7AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-9PM, Su 8AM-8PM. Best Iced Toddy in town!  edit
  • Pacha, 4618 Burnet Rd, +1 512-420-8758. M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa-Su 8AM-7PM.  edit


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, 512-477-3308, [174]. 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.  edit
  • Maudie's, 2608 West 7th Street, 512-474-7271, [175]. 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.  edit
  • Trudy's, 409 W 30th Street, 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.  edit
  • Draught House, 4112 Medical Parkway, 512-452-MALT, [176]. 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.  edit
  • The Ginger Man, 304 West 4th Street, 512-473-8801, [177]. 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.  edit
  • Barfly's, 5420 Airport Blvd (above Burger Tex), (512) 452-6455. Dark and dive-alicious. Great juke-box, super-cheap and STRONG drinks. Guaranteed interesting crowd of locals. Excellent bartenders.  edit

Local Beer

Most grocery stores (especially HEB and their Central Market) carry a variety of Texas beer. There are five microbreweries operating in Texas, and you can expect to find their beer at outlets with moderate to wide selections:

  • Independence Brewing Co. [178] relatively new, and in Austin.
  • Spoetzl [179] has several brews, including the Texas staple, Shiner Bock.
  • Rahr & Sons [180] out of Fort Worth
  • Real Ale Brewing Company [181] is based in Blanco, about an hour west of Austin.
  • Saint Arnold Brewing Company [182] from Houston is fairly established and has a near-cult following.
  • Live Oak Brewing [183] is another Austin microbrewery. You can find their beers on tap all over town.

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.

Gay and Lesbian

Most gay and lesbian bars and night clubs are located downtown with the highest concentration in the the Warehouse district.

  • Oilcan Harry's, 211 W 4th Street, 512-320-8823, [184].  edit
  • Charlie's, 1301 Lavaca St, +1 512-474-6481, [187]. Daily 2PM-3AM.  edit
  • Chain Drive, 504 Willow St, +1 512-480-9017.  edit
  • Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, [188].  edit

Austin is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

Note that many hotels sell out for Austin festivals, particularly South By Southwest. Book well ahead for anything downtown

  • Country Inn & Suites Austin-North, 7400 IH35 North, Austin North, (512) 380-0008 (fax: (512) 380-0046), [189]. Charming country style décor, convenient to Austin Airport, University of Texas for Business or Leisure Travel  edit
  • McKinney Falls State Park, 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, 512/243-1643, [190]. The McKinney Falls State Park offers camping just outside the city. Reservations can be made online.  edit
  • Motel 6 Austin Central-North, 8010 I-35 North, (512)837-9890, [191].  edit
  • Motel 6 Austin Central-South/University of TX, 5330 North Interregional Highway, (512)467-9111, [192].   edit
  • Studio 6 Austin Midtown, 6603 North I-35, (512)458-5453, [193].  edit
  • Suburban Extended Stay Hotel South, 2501 Interstate Highway 35, (512)712-9920, [194]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. This hotel offers free high-speed Internet access in all rooms.  edit
  • AmeriSuites Arboretum, 3612 Tudor Boulevard, (512) 231-8491, [195]. Spacious rooms with in-room microwave, refrigerator, separate workspace and free high speed Wi-Fi Internet access. Plus, free hot breakfast, fitness center and pool.  edit
  • AmeriSuites North Central, 7522 North IH-35, (512) 323-2121, [196]. AmeriSuites Austin North Central is centrally located north of downtown Austin and 14 miles from the airport. Three adjacent restaurants will deliver to your suite.  edit
  • Clarion Inn & Suites Central Austin Hotel, 2200 IH-35 South, (512) 444-0561, [197].   edit
  • Courtyard Austin Airport, 7809 E. Ben White Blvd. Austin, TX 78741, 512-386-7464, [198]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12 Noon. Airport hotel with breakfast buffet, free airport shuttle and free internet.  edit
  • Days Inn Austin Crossroads, 820 E.Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78752, (512) 835-4311, [199].  edit
  • Hawthorn Suites Austin Airport, 7800 East Riverside Drive, (512) 247-6166, [200]. Situated in good location, with Downtown Austin, 6th Street, the Austin Convention Center, the State Capitol, the University of Texas and the Frank Erwin Center all within minutes. Also offers a courtesy airport shuttle and car rental.  edit
  • Holiday Inn Austin Town Lake Hotel, 20 North IH-35, (512) 472-8211, [201].  edit
  • Hotel Allandale - NW Austin, 7685 Northcross Drive, (512) 452-9391, [202]. Formerly known as Northcross Suites, this hotel is very unique boutique all-suite hotel in Northwest Austin. Enjoy a beautifully-landscaped pool area, a fitness center, complimentary continental breakfast, live music every Thursday night, and fresh-baked cookies and milk every night.  edit
  • Hyatt Summerfield Suites Austin, 10001 N. Capital of Texas Highway, (512) 342 8080, [203].  edit
  • Hilton Austin North, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd, (512) 451-5757. This hotel is near the north shopping district, anchored by Highland Mall  edit
  • Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa, 575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road, (512) 308-1234 (fax: (512) 308-4800), [204]. A new resort near McKinney Falls and McKinney Roughs, between Austin Bergstrom International Airport and Bastrop, Texas, just southeast of Austin. The 405 acre resort features horseback riding, Django Spa, a small waterpark and river tubing.  edit
  • Hyatt Regency Austin, 208 Barton Springs, [205]. Downtown hotel.  edit
  • Lake Austin Spa Resort, 1705 South Quinlan Park Road, (512) 372-7300, [206]. The resort is one of Austin's finest, featuring extensive spa facilities & luxury accommodations. It combines the amenities of a destination spa & lake resort for the ideal Texas vacation destination.  edit
  • Omni Austin Hotel Southpark, 4140 Governors Row, (512) 448-2222, [207]. At I-35 and Ben White is South Austin.  edit
  • Renaissance Austin Hotel, 9721 Arboretum Boulevard, (512) 343-2626 (fax: (512)346-7953), [208]. Marriott's Luxury Hotel at the Arboretum near US 183 and Texas 360. It features Hill Country views and a nine story atrium.  edit
  • Free Austin area WiFi Hotspots: [209].

Stay safe

Austin is a generally safe city. As with most American cities, credit cards are accepted nearly universally, especially for nightlife. Therefore, for convenience and safety, it's inadvisable to carry large amounts of cash.

The number for police, fire, and medical services is 911.

There is generally a large, visible police presence (mounted, foot, and cruiser) at night in the 6th St. area. They are quite willing to let belligerent drunks dry out overnight in the city jail. They do, however, provide a safe and secure area to enjoy yourself and Austin's famous live music.

Because surrounding hills concentrate the water, some streets in Austin and the surrounding area are prone to flooding during periods of heavy rain. These areas are typically marked as 'low water crossings' but in any event do not drive or walk across moving water. Each year several people are killed as they are swept away by flooding. You will also see many flood control structures built into the landscape. Small, dry low places with bounding berms during the dry season, these are dangerous places to be in, but keep Austin safer when the rains come.


Austin weather is generally nice year-round; activities are generally not limited by season. However, as Austin lies within Central Texas, be prepared to deal with the long, hot, and hellishly humid 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. 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 2009 was in February), and snow and hard freezes are rare. However, 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.

  • Chittamani Buddhist Center , 1918 Bissel Lane, Austin, TX 78745 +1 512-916-4444, [210]. Offers relaxation meditations and meditation classes to increase inner peace.
  • The Salt Lick, 3801 N Capital of Texas Hwy, +1 512-328-4957 (), [211]. Daily 11AM-10PM. About 30-40 minutes outside of town in Driftwood, you'll get to drive through some beautiful hill country before arriving at this sprawling and magnificent BBQ restaurant. It's BYOB, cash only, and the all-you-can-eat menu option that will have you staggering back to your hotel. A satellite restaurant is in the airport, and is a great place to eat. If you've got withdrawal symptoms, and need your maintenance dose, Salt Lick barbeque is available shipped worldwide! All-you-can-eat $16/5 (Adults/Children under 12).  edit
  • Hill Country Flyer, 512 477 8468, [212]. A scenic 2-hour train ride through the Hill Country to Burnet, where the train stops for shopping and dining. The ride especially scenic during mid-spring when the hills are covered in bluebonnets. The train is normally pulled by an old steam engine which is currently under restoration. In the meantime, the route still runs, pulled by a 60s diesel engine.
  • San Marcos (Texas)
  • New Braunfels
  • San Marcos River
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

There is more than one meaning of Austin discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Medieval vernacular form of the saints' name Augustine, Latin Augustinus, derivative of Augustus "majestic".


Rhymes: -ɒstɪn

Proper noun




  1. A city, the capital of Texas.
  2. A patronymic surname.
  3. A male given name, in modern usage transferred back from the surname.
  4. A former make of British motor car.

Related terms




Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Coe Finch Austin article)

From Wikispecies

(1831-1880) American botanist

External links

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