A bustling city that manages to give the impression of a tight-knit small town, the ever growing and heat-ridden Texan centre of Austin lives by the motto ‘Keep Austin Weird’, an off-hand salute to the anti-conservative outlook of this increasingly trendy and non-conformist town.
Austin also dubs itself the ‘Music Capital of the World’, finding a sweet harmony through its impressively mixed race background and love of the alternative lifestyle. There’s a vibrant and welcoming mix of nightlife to delve into, encompassing everything from a prominent gay scene to ample annual festivals and parades. You can explore the backdrop at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, which takes you through several angles on the diverse background of the southern state, while the ‘Austin bats’ provide a more unique natural experience, in which you can ride a boat to under the ‘bat bridge’ in the early evening and watch endless streams of the flying rodents stream over your head and off into the night.
Another quirky draw is the city’s ‘duck vehicles’, which cruise the roads and lakes of the town on a thorough tour, driving directly from the city streets into the neighbouring lake for a quick drift around along the way. You’ll see that centre fluctuates between an enticing take on the Internet age to the still run-down but strangely enticing suburbs that crop up in between the newfound and much loved designer apartments. Of course, that heavy Texan accent and the overwhelming influence of the University of Texas won’t go unnoticed, either.
You’ll do well to stumble across a more laid-back city, or one with more of a focus on happiness above wealth. Austin has a fun loving take on life, one that sucks in visitors and even new residents by the bucket load, and it’s the atmosphere that makes an already intriguing city more attractive even than it seems on paper. Hunt down the new Janis Joplin in a cowboy bar somewhere, sup a few pints and take in the natural spring water pools in the morning as a perfect hangover cure. Cheers!
Lakeway is a small town just west of Austin.
Dripping Springs is in the Texas Hill Country. It is a small city southwest of Austin.