© Sarah Maxwell/ Culture Trip

Insider Travel Guide to Austin

Despite being the fastest-growing city in the US, the Texas state capital has managed to preserve its offbeat spirit and live up to its “Keep Austin Weird” motto. With a vibrant creative community, flourishing independent businesses, underground venues and a thriving live music scene, the city has plenty to keep visitors happy and Austinites proud. Austin’s musical heritage can be felt – and heard – on every corner, with venues ranging from two-stepping honky-tonks and rowdy rock’n’roll bars to jazz clubs and concert halls. The “Live Music Capital of the World” is gaining a reputation as one of America’s top foodie cities, too, not only for its world-famous barbecue but also inventive Mexican fare, top-notch sushi and a brunch scene to rival the Big Apple’s. Pair your meal with a beer from the new crop of craft breweries and you’ll be ready for a night out in one of America’s greatest party towns.

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Austin attractions and sightseeing

No matter when you choose to visit, Austin’s cultural calendar is always brimming. The city hosts major events year-round, including the US Grand Prix, South by Southwest and Austin City Limits Music Festival. Its many entertainment districts mean there’s always something fun to do, whether you’re learning the cotton-eyed joe at legendary Texan dance hall Broken Spoke or playing chicken shit bingo (yep, you read that right) at the Little Longhorn Saloon. Austin’s urban liveliness extends to its natural environment. Outdoor spaces buzz with activity, with Zilker Park offering volleyball, golf and even swimming at Barton Springs Pool. Architectural highlights include the sunset-red granite Texas State Capitol building, the fairytale-esque Bloom House and the opulent Driskill Hotel.

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