Austin offers so much for visitors to see and do, whether traveling for work or play. If you're planning to include ESTO Austin in your 2019 budget, make sure to experience the best of the city in your downtime. Here are 10 of the top things to do in the Live Music Capital of the World.
- Listen to live music. Austin's celebrated live music scene includes more than 250 live music venues with just about every genre represented. Check out one of Austin's iconic music venues. A few favorites include ACL Live at the Moody Theater (where the famed public television show is filmed) The Saxon Pub, Antone's and the White Horse, for a little two-steppin’ fun!
- Take a tour. For a fun Austin experience, take off with a local tour company. Get a taste of the best food trucks in town with Austin Eats Food Tours, see the city from two weels with a Rocket Electrics electric bike tour, go behind the scenes at ACL Live at the Moody Theater or see the top sights in 90 minutes with AO Tours.
- Get outdoors. The Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail is just steps from the JW Marriott and is a great way to catch a stunning sunrise or sunset. Or, spend a sunny afternoon in a kayak or stand up paddleboard on the lake, hike the Barton Creek Greenbelt, take a refreshing dip in historic Barton Springs Pool or play 18 holes at one of Austin's many scenic golf courses.
- Visit a film location. Austin was recently named by Moviemaker magazine as one of the "Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker." Visit locations from movies and shows filmed in and around Austin including Boyhood, Dazed and Confused and True Grit. Keep an eye out, you may even spot a big names filming around town!
- Enjoy one of Austin's many bars for cocktails, Texas wine or craft beer. Make a new friend and get to know each other over a margarita or locally distilled craft cocktail. From grapevines to hops, Austin serves up libations sure to please every palate. Visit a craft breweries on the weekend for a pint and tour, or spend an afternoon exploring the scenic Hill Country wine trail.
- Relax at a local spa. Treat yourself to some quality time at a local spa, where you can rejuvenate before heading home. Start fresh with a facial from Milk + Honey Spa in the Second Street shopping district, lounge in the comfy armchairs during a pedicure at Lacquer luxury nail studio or find your balance with a signature massage at the Spa by JW.
- Shop Local on South Congress. Vintage shops, used bookstores and unique gift shops abound in this eclectic, funky stretch studded with casual eateries, cafes and bars. Marvel at the costumes at Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, shop Mexican folk art and jewelry at Tesoros Trading Company, find your next staple piece at Sunroom and pick up a pair of cowboy boots at Allens Boots.
- Go bat watching. Austin has the largest urban bat colony in North America. Park yourself near the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk or take a sunset cruise on Lady Bird Lake from April to October to witness more than 1.5 million bats spiral into the summer sunset.
- Eat barbecue and Tex-Mex. You shouldn’t visit Austin without trying some BBQ and Tex-Mex. Wondering where to begin? Here’s a good rule of thumb: the longer the line, the better. Many restaurants around town also serve vegetarian and vegan options but, remember, vegetarians can eat queso too!
- Explore Texas history. Go for a stroll on Congress Avenue to see Mexic-Arte Museum, the Texas State Capitol (open 24 hours a day with regular, free tours) and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. From there, head to central Austin’s Cultural Campus, around the University of Texas at Austin. This area is home to world-class museums like the Blanton Museum, the LBJ Presidential Library, the Harry Ransom Center and more. For a more casual history lesson, explore some of Austin’s historic districts and sites.
Want more recommendations? Head over to www.visitaustin.org for more things to do and itinerary ideas.