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If you appreciate good food, live music and natural beauty then you need to get yourself over to Austin ASAP. The Texan capital is one of America’s friendliest and most dynamic cities, which is why I picked it as one of my top US cities for a luxury staycation. If you fancy spending a couple of days in the Live Music Capital of the world, this guide is here to take you through all the most luxurious things to see and do in Austin.
Ordinarily, I focus on sky bar cocktails and gourmet restaurants in my luxury city guides, but Austin’s a little different. This city is all about live music and craft beer, so I thought it was only right to guide you through an authentic Austin experience.
Texas is famous for its hospitality so it comes as no surprise than Austin is home to a spectacular range of luxury 5* hotels. Three of my favorites are:
The Driskill perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Texas with its warm southern hospitality and grand decor. It’s an impressive property that does a great job of recreating the glamor of times gone by. This hotel is the perfect place to indulge and get a real feel for Texas.
It’s worth mentioning the excellent dining facilities at the Driskill, too. You can enjoy a delightful selection of cakes, pastries and petit fours at the 1886 Cafe or tuck into a juicy steak at The Driskill Grill.
This luxury boutique hotel pays homage to the patron saint of music and poetry, so it’s a very appropriate choice given Austin’s strong artistic scene. You can even rent a guitar to try out a little jamming yourself. The luxe suites and bungalows are themed mainly around the 60s and 70s, taking your back to the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll.
This resort is 23 miles from downtown Austin but to be honest, it’s a destination in its own right. Conde Nast named Lake Austin Spa Resort as the premier destination spa in North America. It’s spectacularly lavish with a myriad of thoughtful details that make it feel like a (very luxurious) home away from home. If you want to come back from Austin feeling reborn, this is the place for you.
Austin is known for its beautiful pockets of greenery. Since the city enjoys such good weather, the parks provide a scenic backdrop for lots of outdoor activity, which contributes to the city’s sociable character. You should definitely stop by some of the following parks for a spot of sunbathing, hiking or people-watching.
Zilker is Austin’s best-loved park and it’s easy to see why. It’s home to the Ann and Roy Butler hike trail, Barton Springs Pool and several sports fields. The annual Austin City Limits festival takes place in Zilker Park and you can catch a local production at the Hillside Theatre.
If your legs are up to the task, the steep climb to the top of Mount Bonnell is well worth it for the spectacular panoramic views of Austin and the Colorado River.
This wildlife refuge in northwest Austin has many nature trails to offer visitors. You should also check out the Hamilton Pool Preserve, a gorgeous natural pool into which a 50ft waterfall flows. It’s a scenic spot to swim and spot unique wildlife.
If you love live music then oh boy, are you in for a treat. Austin is known as the live musical capital of the world, with over 100 shows taking place every night. Here are the hottest spots to check out:
The majestic Paramount Theatre has played host to many great performers in its hundred-year history, from Harry Houdini to Billy Joel. Its theatrical architecture is one of Austin’s most iconic sights and the warm, welcoming atmosphere makes every show an event to remember.
The Broken Spoke claims to be the last true Texas dancehall left. Head to this honky tonk bar for a fun night of dance lessons you’ll never forget!
This intimate, atmospheric jazz bar puts on live shows every night of the week. It’s a friendly venue that will most definitely put a smile on your face.
Austin’s got an incredible craft beer scene. If you love relaxing with a pint (or three) in a hipster brewery, you’ll feel right at home in this city.
This is one of the oldest craft breweries in Austin, having opened its doors in 2010. So no, it’s not that old but Austin’s amazing beer scene is relatively new. They have so many beers on offer that it’s difficult to pick, but the staff are really friendly and will be happy to help you find your perfect pint.
This European-style brewery and beer garden is the perfect place to hit up on a sunny Austin afternoon. It’s also unique in that it makes smoked beer, which I didn’t even know was possible!
Adelbert’s has a large range of award-winning beers and plenty of seasonal brews to try, too. You can enjoy video games, giant jenga, foosball and board games inside the taproom. It’s a really fun place to hang out and they sell some pretty delicious bar snacks, too.
Barley Swine is known for its experimental dishes and for this reason, I highly recommend opting for the Chef’s tasting menu. It’ll be an unforgettable night of new culinary experiences.
This restaurant places a huge emphasis on local ingredients, so if you want a juicy steak from a local ranch, this is a great place to satisfy that urge. It’s a relaxed and elegant spot with a touch of true old Texan glamor.
Enjoy French-American classics at Jeffrey’s. The menu is based around dry-aged steaks and changes daily, so there’s always something new and exciting to try. This Austin institution is particularly well known for its top-notch martini cart, which is bound to impress whether you prefer your drink shaken or stirred.
In 1980, the Congress Avenue Bridge was renovated and became an ideal habitat for Mexican free-tailed bats. Now, from March through to October, hundreds gather on the bridge to watch the bats fly off for the night. The nightly “show” begins at around 7.30pm but it’s best to get there a little early to claim your spot. It truly is a spectacular, spine-tingling Austin experience.
Given Austin’s millennial, hipster vibes it should come as no surprise that there’s some pretty amazing street art in the city. As you can see, I took full advantage of the ‘Welcome to Austin’ mural at 1702 South First.
This isn’t just another shoe store. Allen’s Boots is the place to try on cowboy boots in Austin. Even if you have no intention of making a purchase, it’s so much fun to go and check out all of the western wear – and you might just spot a musician or movie star whilst you’re at it, as celebrities love to frequent the store.
Have you been to Austin? I’d love to hear about your experiences, so drop me a comment below! And for more on US travel, why not check out my guide to the best hotels in New York City?
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Your Luxe Lifestyle was founded by luxury world traveler Isabella Garofanelli bringing you the very best the globe has to offer in travel, lifestyle, and wellness.
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