5 Things Every Traveler Should Know Before Visiting Austin

Written by VIVA Staff

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Photo by Carlos Alfonso on Unsplash

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Everyone knows the basics about Austin: It’s beautiful, it’s a wonderfully weird, and the air in the city is constantly humming with the sound of live music.

But there’s a lot more to Austin than that.

Before you touch down in The Live Music Capital of the World there are a few more things you should know:

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Pack Some Orange Clothes

The moment you land in Austin, you’re going to start spotting people wearing t-shirts, sweaters, and hats of a very specific burnt-orange color. These are Texas Longhorns fans.

These fans are unlikely to give you any guff unless you’re wearing Oklahoma or Texas Tech gear—and even then, it’s unlikely. However, if you want to blend in and explore the city with the swagger of a local, throw on some Longhorns colors.

Beware the Purple Rita

Spend enough time in Austin, and you’ll find yourself staring into a Purple Rita.

A staple of the Austin drinking scene, the Purple Rita is a colorful blend of tequila, Everclear, blue Curaçao, crème de cassis, and lime juice—but be warned: this drink is as dangerous as it is delicious.

All but the most experienced drinkers will feel its affects after one drink. Even an elephant would start to feel its affects after two.

We’re not telling you to avoid these drinks—they’re great, and a definite part of the complete Austin experience—just proceed with caution.

Get Ready to Eat

Austin is a foodie's heaven.

Within the city limits, you'll find legendary Texas barbecue, mouth-watering Mexican, and plenty of vegan, gluten-free, paleo and keto options if you have dietary restrictions.

Of course, Austin's status as a food-filled city isn't exactly a mystery, but it's impossible to really comprehend the depth of the its culinary scene until you visit.

You will leave with a new appreciation of what it really means to eat.

Austin is Bat Country

Austin is famous for a lot of things. One of the city's most surprising claims to fame is its bat population.

Each year, from March to November, Austin's Congress Avenue Bridge becomes the home of more than 1.5 Mexican free-tailed bats. It's the largest urban bat population in North America.

While the sight of those bats taking flight in unison is definitely not for everyone, it's worth checking out if you're not creeped out by such things. The best views can be enjoyed from a kayak or boat on Ladybird Lake—the water under the bridge. Just don't forget your camera!

The City is Always Changing

Austin, like many cities in the United States, is growing at a rapid pace. It’s also changing quickly.

New businesses are always popping up, and many older, established spots are moving. Renowned blues bar Antone’s, for example, is now located on E. Fifth Street in Downtown Austin—and that’s just one of many local favorites that's changed locations over the last few years.

This is just something to keep in mind: The Austin you’ve heard about might be different than the one you arrive in, and the Austin you visited last time might be different than the one you get this time.

The city is always evolving—but that’s one of the things that makes it so special.

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