Contrary to what you might think Texas looks like, its capital city, Austin, is known for its gorgeous rolling hills and plethora of natural green spaces. This is why the area to the west of Austin, the spot in central Texas that’s best for camping, is known as the “hill country.” The parks in Texas Hill Country are home to flowery meadows and flowing rivers, and traveling from the outskirts of the city and moving inward, you can look forward to excellent private and public campgrounds like Krause Springs, the Colorado River KOA, Guadalupe River, Colorado Bend, and Pedernales Falls.
Known as the "Live Music Capital of the World," Austin is no stranger to great music, culture, foods and festivals. The city is home to almost every nationality imaginable, with thousands of students settling in the city to attend the University of Texas or St. Edward's University. Students from every continent head there for a world-class education, but many working adults also flock to Austin to take advantage of the town's wealth of technology companies, start-ups and entrepreneurship opportunities. As a result, Austin is a hub for diversity and this flows out through its rich culture and easy-going atmosphere. During your trip, you can look forward to plenty of opportunities to explore the city's art-landscape, with galleries like the Mexic-Arte Museum, Women & Their Work, Yard Dog Art and the Austin Art Garage drawing large crowds each year. You can also depend on the various galleries like The Contemporary Austin - Jones Center, The People's Gallery and the SprATX to display not only traditional art pieces, but also host newer works and art-related events, celebrating the creativity of the people and travelers that some point called Austin home.
Austin has a thriving music scene and a world of music venues for locals and visitors to explore. Whether you love honky tonk saloons, contemporary jazz, orchestras, big name country singers or rap, this city has a steady flow of world-class sounds. You're guaranteed to find live music playing somewhere in Austin every night, and the city draws huge crowds for annual music festivals like Fun Fun Fun Fest and Austin City Limits (ACL). Plus, the city hosts South-By-Southwest each year which has a huge focus on revealing new and upcoming musicians each year, and the event is also a hub for knowledge exchange, industry, great food and entrepreneurship. With music pumping through the streets, and crowds advancing to each new event location during the event, the music scene in Austin really does make the city come alive in a unique way. Some of the most popular venues for live tunes include: The White Horse, the Sahara Lounge, the Elephant Room and Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon. And of course, there's the historic Paramount Theatre, the Hole in the Wall on the UT drag, Victory Grill, Beerland and plenty of record and music stores for vintage and new age discs. Soak in the easy-going vibe outside of festival season or explore the authentic tunes of the Live Music Capital of the World during your Austin adventure.
Dance and the Performing Arts
The city is also home to a world-class dance and performing arts landscape. Ballet Austin is a local favorite, hosting not only excellent ballet performances, but also hip hop dance and ballet classes for every skill level to enjoy. The University of Texas Theater and Fine Arts department is also a great hub for talent and performances, as well as Zach Theater, Hill Country Community Theater, TexArts and the Bob Bullock Museum. On a more light-hearted side, you can look forward to local and regional humor at the city's long list of comedy venues and improv houses, offering weekly performances and even jump-in improv classes. On a continual schedule, the performing arts scene fills Austin with live musicals, symphony orchestras, dance shows and comedy performances. In love with the performing arts? You'll absolutely love the city of Austin.
Events and Festivals
Thousands flock to Austin each year to enjoy the city and camp near the downtown area for access to local attractions, but many more head there to be close to the city's world-renown events! Apart from ACL, Fun Fun Fun Fest and South-By-Southwest, the city's local groups and organizations hold a rotating list of weekly, monthly and annual events. Whether you enjoy gaming with fellow gaming enthusiasts, great farmer's markets to sample local barbecue sauces and foods or movies in the park series for summer fun with the kids, you're sure to find events to suite your preferences. Some popular events include the Texas Monthly Barbecue Fest, the Texas Tribunal Festival and the Polar Bear Swim.
As a city with strong international influences, Austin has a strong culinary footprint in Central Texas, offering flavors from places like the Caribbean, Italy, Greece, Mexico and France. Some well-known restaurants include the TRIO Restaurant, Cisco's Restaurant, Fixe and The Carillon. Plus, the city is known for its food trucks, offering creative, tasty on-the-go foods. Veracruz All Natural Food Truck, Chi'Lantro, The Mighty Cone and the Kebabalicious are some of the most well-known trucks and some are even parked in 'food truck villages' throughout the city. Known as a hipster-city with deep urban roots, Austin is home to a long list of excellent breweries, micro-breweries and wineries, offering excellent central Texas brews and tastes. Of the dozens of breweries and wineries, the 4th Tap Brewing Cooperative, Oskar Blues Brewery Austin, Guns & Oil Brewing Co., the Red Room and The Austin Winery.
The Live Music Capital of the World is also known as an oasis of green spaces mixed in with old and new world architecture. The city boasts thousands of combined acres of fields, hiking grounds and lakes, and boardwalks surrounded by thriving oaks and central Texas greenery. This is the perfect camping city for an outdoor adventure, so grab your hiking shoes, paddle boards and swim trunks for an authentic camping experience. The city boasts several bodies of water, including manmade pools like Barton Creek Springs and picturesque spots like Lady Bird Lake, each offering great opportunities for swimming, city-organized movies by the waterside, paddle boarding, canoeing, swimming and kayaking. There's also excellent spots like the Austin Nature & Science Center, Zilker Park and the Zilker Park Botanical Gardens, Texas Skydiving Center and a ton of boat rentals and cruises for a seaward tour of the city-scape. There's also high peaks and low valleys for challenging hiking and mountain biking; some common community spots include Walnut Creek, Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail and the McKinney Falls State Park.
Campgrounds and Parks
The city is home to private and public campgrounds, and of the private camping spots, La Hacienda RV Resort is the most-visited. The park is picturesque, clean and well-managed, with great amenities and an excellent location near a number of local attractions. From the park, you can head to local swimming holes, Westcave Preserve, Krause Springs, Hamilton Pool & Parks, Yaupon golf course and the One World Theater. Amenities at the campgrounds include: pull thrus, back-ins, full hookups, cable TV, WIFI and each site is spacious and neat.
If you drive into the city from the city's state parks, you’ll eventually reach Lake Travis. This lake is actually a reservoir built into the Colorado River to mitigate flooding risks. Several trails loop around Lake Travis, such as those within the Pace Bend Park, and each provides excellent views of the sunset at dusk. To give you an idea of the amenities offered there, the lake’s official motto is “if it’s on a lake, it’s here!” Visitors can look forward to an easy, comfortable stay each trip.
Moving in even closer to the city, Mckinney Falls State Park is located within 10 miles of downtown Austin. It’s too close to the city to stargaze or to feel like you’re out alone in nature, but it offers places to swim, fish, hike, bike, and picnic. There's also tons of local, Austin attractions around the campground, giving you a chance to enjoy the spirit of the city during your stay. Still have energy for more outdoor activities? Visit Barton Springs, Lady Bird Lake and Zilker Park. Between these attractions you can swim, kayak, paddle-board, hike, play sports, and more.
Hope to see you soon!