With street musicians providing the soundtrack, Austin truly is alive with the sound of music. An urban orchestra, Texas‘ singing city overflows with eclectic restaurants, bars and clubs – a testament to the creativity which flows through the liberal capital’s ever-pumping veins. Surrounded by the Colorado River and under the watchful eyes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Austin’s green spaces and vibrant history provide endless possibilities for filling your days in the Lone Star State. We’ve picked out some of our old favourites and the new kids on the block which are helping to “keep Austin weird”.

1. Antone’s Nightclub

Austin has been the home of the blues since 1975, so it’d be rude not to drink and dance in the club of legends. Having hosted the likes of B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, the walls of Antone’s forever echo the melodies of the past as contemporary musicians take to the stage. One of the most iconic blues and R&B venues in downtown Austin, we don’t think Antone’s starry lights will ever fade.

2. Austin City Limits Music Festival

With over 130 acts, the Austin City Limits Music Festival is an event to plan your trip around. Bringing rock, indie, country, folk and electronic music to eight stages, headliners this year include Jay-Z, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Killers. Taking place in Austin’s beloved Zilker Park over two weekends in October, it’s hard to beat a music festival in the live-music capital of the world.

3. Formula 1 US Grand Prix

Buckle up because Austin is yet again hosting the Formula One US Grand Prix this October, which involves three intense days of racing and yet more live music. Held at the Circuit of the Americas, it’s not just for adrenaline junkies – Taylor Swift kicked things off last year, while this year sees Justin Timberlake and Stevie Wonder taking centre stage.

4. NLand Surf Park

Austin may not have a coastline but surf’s up thanks to NLand, an inland surfing park which opened at the end of 2016. It’s already making waves as the latest cool-kid hangout, so whether you’re a world-class competitor or total novice don your gnarliest surf gear and head on down.

5. Allens Boots

It’s hard to think of Texas without conjuring up images of John “Duke” Wayne in the Wild West, complete with a cowboy hat, leather boots and characteristic scowl. While the days of the Mexican stand-off and saloons are (largely) over, Austin remains steadfast in retaining its western image with many residents sporting traditional cowboy boots, usually from iconic leather retailer, Allens Boots. The perfect souvenir, these are the real deal and will serve as a lifetime reminder of your weird weekend. If you’re in the market for an all-American shopping mall experience, head to include Barton Creek Square, The Arboretum or The Domain.

6. Finger Lickin’ Food

Austin is a mecca to meat and the home of barbecue soul food: ribs, pork, brisket, you name it. The legendary spot to fill your (cowboy) boots has got to be Franklin Barbecue – and then there’s Tex-Mex. Check out La Condesa for some of the best tacos in town and look out for the hot sauce festival in August, date TBA). If you’re after something a bit more cutting edge, Launderette and Emmer & Rye are among the coolest eateries town.

7. Rainey Street

Austin is a party city and this is their version of New Orleans’ notorious Bourbon Street. Lined with converted bungalow bars and street-food trucks and strung with fairy lights, this is the only place to be when the weekend lands. Frat boys, cowgirls, creative types, hipster honeys and music nerds mingle on this hedonism highway, so arrive in high spirits and get let the good times roll. Our tip? Hit up the food trucks first and for goodness sake pace yourself – The Blackheart whiskey bar is a firm favourite.

8. Natural Beauty

Known for its scenic landscapes, in particular the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Austin is ripe for adventure thanks to miles of trails begging to be explored via hiking, swimming, rock climbing or biking. Never one to fall into one category, Austin offers a blend of urban cool and the wholesome outdoors making it ideal for holidaymakers keen for a bit of everything.

9. Breweries

Austin is home to countless breweries and distilleries, so immersing yourself in the extensive craft beer scene goes without saying. Hops & Grain and Austin’s Beer Garden Brewing Company are award-winning otpions, while Craft Pride on Rainey Street showcases the best of Texas beer. The Ginger Man is known to have the best international selection.

 

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Texas: A Road Trip Across the Lone Star State

 

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