Austin, Texas is an upbeat and lively city. Known for its country, blues, and rock live-music scene, to its parks and lakes, there’s something here for everyone. Use this guide to help navigate your next visit to this energetic city!
Top 3 Neighborhoods/Districts
1. Warehouse District
The Warehouse District is a small area in Downtown Austin with a larger-than-life atmosphere! It’s filled with refurbished warehouses now home to a number of trendy cocktail bars and restaurants. This is also the location of some of the city’s best LGBTQ+ bars and nightclubs. If you’re looking to soak in some live music, you’ll find a stretch of venues hosting everything from jazz to hip-hop musicians.
2. South Austin
This neighborhood is where the old meets the new. What many locals call “a taste of old Austin”, South Austin has some of the city’s older boutiques and vintage restaurants. But you’ll be able to find many new, up-and-coming eateries, nightlife venues, and shops. For a change of pace, there are also many lush parks and green spaces.
— City of Austin (@austintexasgov) May 27, 2022
3. East Austin
Coined as the city’s most diverse area, East Austin is a great district to explore. It is rich in history and home to a beloved cultural museum. Like any other area of Austin, you can find many fantastic dining, nightlife, and shopping areas. But what sets this neighborhood apart is that it is an integral part of the city’s African-American community. The George Washington Carver Museum, especially, contributes to preserving the history and creating a space where all Black people are celebrated.
Top 3 Attractions
1. Texas Capitol, Downtown Austin
As a national historic landmark, the Texas Capitol is a must-see attraction for visitors. This granite and marble structure sits on 22-acres of ground and was built in 1888. Guests are welcome to see the visitors center and the grounds’ other monuments, like the Texas African American History Memorial and the Vietnam War Monument.
2. Zilker Metropolitan Park, South Austin
Zilker Metropolitan Park is a beautiful 351-acre green space in South Austin. This sprawling urban park has scenic written all over it! It has open fields, volleyball courts, picnic areas, and its most impressive Botanical Garden. Being a 10-minute drive from Downtown Austin, the Zilker Metropolitan Park is the perfect place to unwind and get a break from the city.
3. Mexic-Arte Museum, Downtown Austin
The Mexic-Arte Museum is a wonderful way to spend the day. The museum is in Downtown Austin and is home to a collection of breathtaking artworks. Its mission is to enrich the community by collecting, preserving, and sharing talented works from Mexican, Latino, and Latin American artists. They are a popular destination with a total of 75,000 visitors every year!
Top 3 Restaurants
1. Tamale House East
Price Range: $
The Tamale House is a familiar favorite for many here in Austin, serving the community since 1958! From its humble beginnings of Grandma Carmen and Grandpa Moses Vasquez serving authentic Mexican food out of a tiny kitchen, to becoming a beloved restaurant among many. Tamale House East is the place to be for homemade, delicious Mexican food made with love!
2. Elizabeth Street Cafe
Price Range: $$
This unexpected duo of cuisines is proving that out-of-the-box thinking leads to amazing creations. Elizabeth Street Cafe is a Vietnamese café and French bakery. The restaurants’ best-known dishes include their fresh bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwich), buttery croissants, and more! You can enjoy their food in their sunlit dining rooms or the shaded garden patio.
3. Emmer & Rye
Price Range: $$$
If you’re craving some change and delicious food, Emmer & Rye is the place to be! They are an innovative farm-to-table restaurant with stunning, chic interiors. You can be guaranteed a unique experience here as their menu changes daily. Their environmental impact is also very important for Emmer & Rye, so they focus on using seasonal and local ingredients and continuously work to offset their carbon emissions.
Best Way To Get Around
Unless you’re going from one end of town to another, walking is a great way to get around. Austin is known as being a pedestrian-friendly city, especially if you’re sticking to the downtown area. The streets are accompanied by sidewalks and bike lanes, meaning you can easily move about without a vehicle!
Capital Metro Transit is the public transportation system in Austin. They have trains and buses that cover the entire city, and even a MetroRapid bus for downtown. This is a convenient and affordable option for traveling distances that can’t be walked. Visit the CapMetro website for a rider’s guide, information on fares and passes, and to plan your trip!
Taxi & Rideshare
Cabs can be a pricier option, but it saves you the hassle of following bus schedules and renting a car. Getting one should also be no problem as it’s fairly easy hailing a taxi in the downtown area. Rideshare services like Uber, Lyft, and the local rideshare service, Ride Austin, are available in the city, as well.
Best Time Of The Year To Visit & Weather
September through November is definitely when you’ll want to make your way to Austin. At this time there’s still some leftover summer heat, with temperatures averaging at 90°F (32°C). Towards October and November, temperatures drop to a high of about 75°F (24°C). Seeing as festivals are a fundamental part of the city, you’ll definitely want to stick around for the famous Austin City Limits Music Festival in October. Or check out the famous SXSW (South By Southwest) in March. Overall, it’s best to avoid the summer season unless you’re willing to take on that Texan heat!
English is the main language spoken in Austin. Almost anyone you encounter will likely be able to converse in English. But, seeing as it is a large and diverse city, you may also come across people speaking Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and many more!
Currency & Tipping Customs
The currency used in Austin is USD (United States Dollar).
There are many service-based industries in the city, making tipping an important part of Austin culture. The lively service industry includes bars, restaurants, taxis, valet attendees, and more. 15 percent is a good baseline and the standard amount for tipping. With that being said, deciding to tip and the amount is ultimately up to you. It is a great way to show some extra appreciation and gratitude for their services!
Emergency Info & Local Pharmacies
For emergencies that require immediate assistance, or to contact fire, police, or EMS (Emergency Medical Services) departments, call 911.
There are many options for pharmacies in and around Austin. CVS and Walgreens have many branches throughout the city for your convenience. In the event that you need a COVID-19 rapid test, select CVS pharmacies will have free tests available.