by Jackie Shannon
Photo courtesy of Pexels
Football season makes autumn the perfect time to head down to Austin, but there is plenty to do in Texas’ capital year-round. Just four hours and 20 minutes after taking off from Boston Logan International Airport, travelers will touch down in one of America’s liveliest cities, immersing themselves in a vivid musical, social and natural environment. The temperature stays in the 90s throughout September and cools to just above the 60s in December, making Austin a desirable location to escape Boston’s frigid weather. Follow the guide below for a fantastic weekend in the South!
Check into a hotel before exploring the city’s culture. Hotel Ella is a historic boutique hotel located only a short walk from the University of Texas at Austin. The W Hotel offers guests a trendy experience with an active pool deck and is a couple of blocks from the Colorado River, which runs through the city. Travelers looking for an elegant stay should consider checking into the Four Seasons Hotel in Downtown Austin, which looks over the Colorado River and Lady Bird Lake Trail. For those looking for a more affordable option, consider renting an Airbnb with friends, or bunking with a pal in the city.
Next, head to the South Congress neighborhood. Grab a quick coffee or sandwich at Jo’s Coffee, which is famous for their Iced Turbo. Walk past local vendors and make your way to Allens Boots. Here, you can deck yourself out with cowboy boots, hats, belts and other southern apparel.
En route back to your home for the weekend at dusk, watch the bats flying over the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, colloquially known as Bat Bridge.
“The population under the Congress Avenue Bridge grew to be the largest urban bat colony in North America. With up to 1.5 million bats spiraling into the summer skies, Austin now has one of the most unusual and fascinating tourist attractions anywhere,” stated Bat Conservation International.
End your first evening in Austin with traditional barbeque at Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que or at Lamberts for upscale barbecue dining and live music.
Upon waking, head to Irene’s for Saturday brunch that lasts from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Be sure to try out their famous iced coffee. Spend the morning walking around and window shopping at the nearby boutiques, including Longhorns Fashion and C.Jane.
Check the UT Austin football schedule and cheer on the Longhorns at a home game. Go to University Co-Op––the two-story on-campus apparel shop––and deck yourself out in burnt orange. Tailgate before the game with the UT Austin Alumni and be sure to stop by the fraternity houses surrounding campus to listen to live music and eat more barbeque.
After the game, walk down Rainey Street and stop by houses-turned-saloons. For dinner, stop in one of the Rainey Street joints or head over the Colorado River to South Congress to enjoy live music outside at Guero's Taco Bar. Do not miss out on their Queso Flameado dish.
The final day in Austin it is a good time to explore leisurely activities in the area. Start your morning at Tiny Boxwoods’ Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Later, make your way to UT’s campus to visit the LBJ Presidential Library. There are multiple exhibits ranging from Civil Rights to LBJ’s Presidential Limousine. Before leaving campus, stop by the Blanton Museum of Art.
Walk or jog around the Lady Bird Lake Trail. Visitors can also rent a paddleboard. Lastly, head to Barton Springs Pools, located in Zilker Metropolitan Park. Visitors can go swimming, so be sure to bring your bathing suit.
“The pool itself measures three acres in size, and is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 68-70 degrees, ideal for year-round swimming,” according to Austin’s government site.
End the long weekend by relaxing under the stars while watching a movie at Blue Starlite Mini Boutique Drive-In. Audience members do not need a car, but be sure to bring a blanket or towel to sit on the ground.
If music is more your scene, check out the Austin City Limits Music Festival from October 4 to 6 and October 11 to 13 at Zilker Metropolitan Park in the fall and the SXSW Music Festival in the spring of 2020.