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The Insider Guide to Austin

With its fun-loving vibe, incredible live music venues and family-friendly ethos, it's no surprise that in 2019, for the third year running, the state capital of Texas was voted America's best place to live. Our local insiders take you underneath the skin of this unique American metropolis.

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Let’s go! The Main Attractions

If you're a fan of the outdoors, Austin's abundance of beautiful parks, trails and water features are probably already on your radar, and – if you're keen to spend at least part of your trip hiking, biking or birding – we suggest you start with McKinney Falls State Park. It's only 15 minutes by car from central Austin, but there are more than 80 campsites, so you'll easily find a spot to spend the night. If you're after something a little less strenuous, hike the 102 steps to the summit of Mount Bonnell, a 10-minute drive from the centre, for fantastic views of the city, or head for Twin Falls, an idyllic swimming hole reached by an easy hike. For the watersports aficionado, Lady Bird Lake and Lake Austin – both reservoirs on the Colorado River – offer everything from paddleboarding and kayaking to canoeing and fishing. If that all sounds a little on the wild side, spend a peaceful day at Barton Springs in Zilker Park. The Springs are a popular swimming hangout when the mercury climbs, and it's an added bonus if you can time your visit to coincide with one of Zilker Park's festivals or events. Austin only gets around 80 days of rain a year, but the Austin Aquarium makes a great indoor option should you need one – particularly as its 8,000 animals are guaranteed to keep energetic little ones rapt for hours. But if the sun shines, there's only one place to finish your trip: Circuit of the Americas, the city's iconic motor-racing track. Now you've hit off all the major players, it's time to get off the beaten track. Read on for our local insider tips.

Neighborhoods in Austin

FAQs About Austin

The best time to visit Austin is during its annual SXSW festival. Find out everything you need to know with

The Ultimate Guide to SXSW

Try stand-up paddleboarding at Lady Bird Lake, hiking through Palmetto State Park and canoeing the Lower Colorado, all found in this list:

The Best Outdoor Activities in and Around Austin

Within 90 minutes' drive of Austin, you can visit Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Hamilton Pool Preserve, Fredericksburg, Lockhart, and more. See our list here:

The 5 Best Day Trips From Austin

Electric scooters and bikes can be easily hired in Austin, and make getting around easy. Find out more here:

Discover Austin on an Electric Scooter

The must-visit attractions in Austin include Zilker Park, Barton Springs, Lady Bird Lake, Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Deep Eddy Pool. See a full list here:

The Top 10 Sights in Austin, Texas