Photo Credit: Getty Images | Ryan Martinez
Austin, Texas Travel Guide: Explore AfroTech's Home City
Austin, Texas is one of the most beloved cities in the United States. With its bustling downtown and vibrant culture, Austin is a great place to visit, work or live. There are plenty of attractions that make it an ideal destination for tourists and locals alike.
Austin, Texas, Quick Travel Facts
- Best time to travel: March through May or September through October
- Time Zone: Central Standard Time (CT)
- Noteworthy: SXSW (March 10 – March 19), Urban Music Fest (April 1), Trail of Lights (Decemeber)
- Best for: Solo Travelers, Young Entrepreneurs, Families
Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World because of its abundance of venues that showcase local, national and international acts. From big-name concerts to smaller music festivals, like South by Southwest, there’s something for everyone here.
In addition to having an amazing music scene, Austin is also a great food city. The city is known for its lively and diverse dining options, from classic Tex-Mex to inventive new restaurants. There are plenty of places to indulge in adult beverages with craft breweries, dive bars and trendy cocktail spots scattered throughout the city.
Austin is celebrated for its outdoor activities, like cycling and kayaking. With over 350 miles of trails and green spaces in the area, it is easy to take advantage of all that Texas has to offer.
The city is also home to many cultural institutions, including museums, art galleries and theaters where visitors can learn about local history or explore its creative side.
Play: Things To Do In Austin, Texas
Live Love Paddle
Take a break from the heat and embark on a kayak adventure with Live Love Paddle. Get up close and personal with a colony of friendly bats or listen to live music as you float underneath the moonlight.
No matter which activity you choose, Live Love Paddle has something for everyone. The company carries a selection of watercrafts for the utmost kayaking experience on Lady Bird Lake and Barton Springs. Exploring this stunning city by water is the ideal way to discover its hidden gems, while also capturing some unforgettable photos along your journey.
Come experience every corner of your mind at Wonderspaces, an exquisite fun house filled with light, mirror, technology and pure imagination. When visiting Austin, this magical destination is the perfect place to go for an unforgettable experience. It features 28,000 square feet of art installations from Hoshi by NONOTAK Studio and other breathtaking works that will captivate your senses.
This indoor wonderland provides ample space to explore with friends or family. However, be sure to purchase tickets in advance as they tend to sell out quickly.
Congress Bridge Bats
The Congress Bridge Bats of Austin, Texas is a famous site in the city and a popular tourist attraction. Every night from March to October, hundreds of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge for their nightly insect hunt. The spectacle is an awe-inspiring sight and a reminder of the natural beauty of the city.
The bat colony began living in the bridge more than two decades ago, with as many as 1.5 million bats inhabiting the area at peak season. They are the largest urban bat colony in North America and can be seen from far away, often appearing as a dark cloud against the night sky.
Lake Travis Zipline
Lake Travis Zipline Adventures is an experience of a lifetime. The company’s active outdoor ziplining adventure is sure to provide fun for everyone, young or old. It features five ziplines — the longest and fastest in Texas — that will undoubtedly deliver you an unparalleled world-class tour.
Take full advantage of your all day access to their private lakefront property, including picnicking, beach games and hammock lounging. Each aquatic journey comes equipped with all the essentials you need from boat transportation to unlimited bottled water.
Magic’s Theater and Museum
If you are ever in the mood for an enchanted excursion away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Austin, look no further than Magic’s Theater and Museum located in Southwest Austin. From fun-filled public magic shows to private close-up magic shows, this place has something for everyone to enjoy. The best part of this experience is that each act includes talent from renowned magicians.
Their expansive museum features various magical pieces and memorabilia to explore. Remember to show up early or stay after the performances, so that you can truly savor this magnificent experience.
One of the most anticipated events for Black and multicultural entrepreneurs and tech professionals— Afrotech… takes centerstage in Austin during the fall months. Over the last few years, this Blavity Inc. conference has been home to founders and top recruiting talent looking to take a 360-degree approach to how culture, innovation and tech truly run the world.
Gourmet: Best Black Owned Restaurants in Austin, Texas
Roots Chicken Shak
Born and raised in Beaumont, Celebrity Chef Tiffany Derry has come a long way since her days as an acclaimed Top Chef competitor and All-Stars finalist on Bravo. Her secret to success is frying up delicacies with duck fat.
Now, the celebrity chef is at Roots Chicken Shak serving up flavorful dishes like crispy chicken sandwiches and duck fat fries that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
Hestia is an innovative Austin eatery that is sure to awaken your taste buds with its twelve-course tasting menu and live fire.
Anchored by a 20-foot hearth, much of the inspiration behind their dishes comes from the kitchen and dining room. You can explore both a la carte options or a multi-course tasting menu, from smoked crab tarts to Berkshire pork chops.
Beyond the assortment of food choices, there is also a robust wine program with over 250 selections and curated pairings to further enhance your culinary journey
After relocating from Chicago, Bonita Allen longed for her beloved food back home. This desire for an authentic Chicago hot dog inspired James and Bonita Allen to open Midway Dogs in 2006.
Now, you can experience the deliciousness of Chicago classics, such as a Chicago Dog, Italian Beef and other glorious treats in Austin that will satisfy your tastebuds.
Marlon Rison and Ericka Dotson are passionate vegan chefs and the co-owners of the Community Vegan. The duo is proud to offer nutritious food that not only tastes amazing, but also has a positive impact on the community.
With dishes, such as The Too-Nah Salad Melt, Beer Battered Cauli Chikn Sandwich and Crab Cake Totchos, they are serving healthy plant-based options that taste amazing. Be sure to check the Community Vegan out on your trip for an unforgettable culinary experience!
Oatmeal and Company
Oatmeal and Company is on a mission to revolutionize mundane bowls of oatmeal with carefully blended combinations of fruit, organic oats and premium spices. The company wants to transform the most finicky eater into a passionate fan of oatmeal.
Every artisanal bowl is crafted with the utmost attention to detail and devotion. From mixing every spice to packing each packet by hand, Oatmeal and Company proudly strives for your breakfast experience to be not only nourishing, but also incredibly delicious.
Stay: Best Places to Stay In Austin, Texas
East Austin Hotel
The East Austin Hotel is a locally-owned and operated boutique hotel tucked away in the heart of the vibrant East Austin. Its 75 mid-century Scandinavian style guest rooms provide fabulous options for all travelers.
The hotel offers many things to do. Step into one of their European-inspired shared bathrooms or settle into one of the roomy poolside suites that are minutes from downtown Austin. Explore a world of relaxation and nostalgia with the courtyard pool, inspired by the vintage Palm Springs atmosphere. Indulge in mouth-watering dishes made from local ingredients at Second Bar + Kitchen.
Featuring custom robes and towels, along with Casper mattresses sure to lull you right into dreamland, this hotel has everything you need for an unforgettable stay.
The LINE Austin
The LINE hotel is a sophisticated luxury destination, boasting 428 modernist mid-century rooms. Once the home of the Crest Inn jazz recording studio, this fancy hotel provides an intimate and unforgettable atmosphere.
A big draw for guests is undoubtedly its location, which is right in the downtown center. The rooms are decorated in neutral earth tones and complete with original works from local artists. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience you do not want to miss.
Experience a part of history at Native Hostel. Through the years, this limestone building has been redesigned for multiple purposes from a boarding house for railroad workers to a brewery and factory.
Native Hostel includes accommodations that are more modern and sleek with creative and stylish accents. From oriental rugs to velvet wingback chairs, each detail has been carefully thought out to provide an elegant atmosphere that is ideal for restful sleep. Additionally, the beds are all oversized, so everyone can enjoy these luxurious spaces without worry.
Get Away: Getting To and Around Austin, Texas
Getting to Austin, Texas, is easy. The major airprt in the city is the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), which offers regular nonstop flights from many major cities in the United States.
Once you get to Austin, there are many options for public transportation in the city, including buses and the CapMetro rail service. The bus system is extensive and covers a large area of Austin and its surrounding suburbs. It can be an affordable way to get around town without having to rent a car.
The CapMetro rail system also provides convenient access throughout most of the city. It operates from 5:00 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday and 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Sundays and holidays. This makes it easy for visitors to explore historic neighborhoods, attractions, restaurants, bars, shops and more during their stay in Austin.
Other Forms of Public Transportation
In addition to these public transportation options, visitors can also explore the city by bike or on foot. There are plenty of sidewalks, bike lanes and trails that make it easy to get around. Austin also offers several options for ridesharing services, such as Uber and Lyft.
No matter how you choose to get around, Austin is an amazing city with lots to see and do. With its convenient public transportation options, getting around is a breeze.