About This Place
In a state that oozes traditional Americana, Texas’ state capitol of Austin proudly rebels with its slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.” Where lawmakers convene in lively political debate, musicians converge in the self-proclaimed “live music capital of the world.” Music types vary just as much as the bands and the venues themselves. Whatever music moves your soul—country, jazz, rock, punk, Celtic, bluegrass, R&B or classical—an Austin band is playing it somewhere.
Situated on the Colorado River, Austin forms a triangle with San Antonio to the southwest and Houston to the southeast. Three man-made lakes offer plenty of venues for outdoor play.
On the south side of town, enjoy the hike-and-bike trails along Lady Bird Lake or canoeing at Zilker Park. Also within the park is a popular Austin attraction, the Barton Springs Pool, fed from underground springs. For additional scenic swimming, try Deep Eddy Pool or the clothing-optional coves of Hippie Hollow on Lake Travis, all developments along the Colorado River.
Towel off and head for downtown. The LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas at Austin houses 45 million pages of historical documents, 650,000 photos and 5,000 hours of recordings from President Johnson's political career. Also on campus is the Blanton Museum of Art, with distinctive collections of Latin American and Renaissance art. Across the street lies the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, beloved by Texans as well as tourists. Nearby is the State Capitol, where you can tour—no surprise—the biggest capitol in the U.S.
Take a load off at one of Austin’s extraordinary restaurants. Shady Grove combines a laid-back Texas menu and live music on a huge outdoor patio, home to its “unplugged” music series. The menu ranges from fried chicken to the Hippie Sandwich of grilled veggies. Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, famous for its sauce, is another Austin standby for serious barbeque and great live music. Matt’s El Rancho treats customers to extra hospitality with every serving of authentic Tex-Mex. Locals love La Condesa for eclectic Mexican fare and drinks such as the passion fruit and spiced-mango margarita.
New favorite Austin restaurants take their inspiration from a variety of cuisines: Uchi with palate-pleasing Japanese specialties, Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar with impeccably prepared seafood, and Parkside with New American cuisine and authentic artisan pizzas.
Austinites like to keep things “weird” by recognizing artistic individuality. The city is dotted with famous clubs that are a main Austin attraction. Part of the local music scene since the 1950s, the Continental Club features swing, rockabilly, country and retro roots music. Open to all ages, Antone’s is another revered venue that has hosted major acts such as Eric Clapton and Elvis Costello and made stars of Texas blues guitarists and singers, including the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. The Elephant Room serves up live jazz nightly in an intimate basement venue. If you need some real two-step country, the Broken Spoke is the real-deal Texas dance hall, dating back to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.