Airport Full Name
The airport is situated eight miles (13km) from downtown Austin.
Postal services are available at the airport, and there are several ATMs in the terminal. Shops include newsagents and a gift shop, and there are numerous restaurants and bars to choose from. The Business and Technology Center in the East concourse offers foreign currency exchange, standard airline trip insurance and Internet access.
A Super Shuttle minibus taxi service operates from the airport, and several local taxi companies are represented. Public bus services run by Capital Metro serve the airport on a regular daily schedule. Bus journeys to downtown Austin take about 45 minutes; taxis take about 20 minutes.
Tel: +1 512 530 2242.
Climate Details (C)
Travel Guides: Austin
Capital of Texas, the city of Austin lies almost in the centre of the state, a big city with a small town feel, young population, casual lifestyle and reputation as a Mecca for live music shows.
Home of the University of Texas campus, Austin life is closely entwined with the energy and enthusiasm of its students, but this city that has been a state capital since 1838 does not ignore its history. Young people are drawn here too by the array of live concerts that are held frequently around the shores of Town Lake. Most famous of these events is the annual South by Southwest music festival-conference held each March. Visitors wanting to tune in to Austin's live musical repertoire, which spans everything from blues and country to reggae, simply have to drift down the famous Sixth Street strip of pubs and clubs any night of the week.
Austin's laid-back attitude lends itself to the great outdoors, and the city has miles of hiking and biking trails linking parks, preserves and greenbelts adding to the ambience of its leafy streets.
The excellent public transport system in Austin provides cheap public buses and vans that cover all neighbourhoods, including downtown and the university campus, for a flat fare. Transfers between buses are free and valid for three hours. The Armadillo Express, known as 'the Dillo', provides free trolley rides through the historic downtown area. There is also a free Yellow Bike Program that makes bicycles available to the public - yellow bikes can be picked up anywhere, ridden to one's destination and then left for the next rider. Taxis can be expensive and are best ordered by phone, although they are on hand outside most downtown hotels. Driving in Austin can be very confusing, with a lack of clear east-west routes through the city centre and the fact that locals tend to refer to highways by unofficial names. The city centre can become congested at rush hour.
Governor's Mansion, Austin
The opulent plantation-style mansion that is home to the Texas State governor is one of the oldest buildings in the city, dating from 1856. Although it is still very much lived in when the governor is in town, the mansion is open to the public for limited hours each day and many historical artefacts are on display, including portraits of Davy Crockett and Sam Houston, and a collection of mementoes from each administration. Guided tours are offered every 20 minutes during which interesting anecdotes are related about previous governors. The Governor's Mansion closed on October 1, 2007 for up to 18 months for maintenance work. Unfortunately a fire broke out in the building less than a year later, damaging most of the building quite badly and resulting in the need for much more extensive renovations lasting several years. Information regarding the new opening date of the museum and its new hours will be posted on the webiste when tours resume.
Due to structural restoration, the Governor's Mansion is currently closed to visitors. Information for tourists will appear here as soon as tours resume.
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin
Texas hill country is renowned for its glorious spring blooms, and former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, founded this centre dedicated to the study and preservation of native plants in 1982. There are 72 hectares (178 acres) of wildflowers in display gardens, which includes a garden designed to attract butterflies. There are also some interesting indoor displays featuring some novelties, and the centre offers free lectures and guided walks at weekends. The centre's exhibition area hosts displays of artwork and photography inspired by nature, especially flowers. In 2006, the centre was made an Organized Research Unit for the University of Texas at Austin. Throughout 2012, the centre is celebrating Lady Bird Johnson's centennial with a variety of special exhibitions, shows and other events, including a memorabilia auction and a tribute day. A new feature at the centre is the Mollie Steves Zachry Texas Arboretum, where visitors are invited to learn more about Texas' trees all in an easy-to-navigate, compact space. The focus is on the Texas oak, but many other species are included.
March 12 to May 31, 9am to 5:30pm
$9 (adults); $7 (seniors aged 65 and older); $7 (students aged 13 and older); $3 (children 5-12); free for members and children under 4 years old
Zilker Park, Austin
The 140-hectare (347-acre) Zilker Park, donated to the city by the German immigrant who gave it its name, is Austin's most popular public recreational area, dominated by its ancient spring-fed natural swimming pool, known as Barton Springs, which Native Americans believed to have healing properties. The pool is about the size of a football field with water at a constant warm temperature all year round. Zilker Park has other attractions, too, including a botanical garden which features dinosaur tracks, a nature preserve, the Umlauf Sculpture garden and museum, canoes for rent and eight miles (13km) of biking and walking trails. There are sports facilities aplenty and amusements for children like the Zilker Zephyr miniature train and paddleboat rides. The Zilker Hillside Theatre hosts musical concerts throughout the year, and the park also plays host to the Austin Nature and Science Center where exhibits and workshops run throughout the year. The Zilker Park's annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony is a popular event, boasting a tree that stands 155 feet tall and is made up of 39 streamers each holding 81 lights, making for a grand total of 3,309 lights.
Texas State Capitol, Austin
Austin's impressive pink granite capitol building is rivalled only by that of the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Encircled by its original wrought-iron fence topped with gold Lone Stars and standing proudly in a hectare (three acres) of ground, the domed building was constructed in 1882 out of granite quarried from Granite Mountain 75 miles (121km) away. The design used the Renaissance Revival style and is an excellent example of late 19th century public architecture. The building was expanded with an added wing in 1993, and throughout the 1990's both the building and its park-like grounds were given extensive renovations and restoration work. Events and exhibits are regularly hosted at the Capitol Building. Visitors can take guided tours of this interestingly designed building, or attend legislative sessions, which are open to the public. The grounds are also open to the public and are well worth a visit, filled as they are with seventeen monuments including those to the Heroes of the Alamo, Volunteer Firemen, Confederate Soldiers and Terry's Texas Rangers.
Monday to Friday 7am to 10pm, weekends 9am to 8pm
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Austin
The rugged wilderness of the Guadalupe Mountains in west Texas was originally a barrier reef under the waters of an ancient sea. Today fir trees and pockets of lush vegetation cling to this mountain range rising from the desert. Formerly the home of the Apache nation, the National Park is now occupied by hundreds of plant and bird species, 60 species of mammals and 55 varieties of reptiles and amphibians. Visitors can traverse more than 80 miles (129km) of trails on foot or horseback, or take the 4WD route provided. There are several historic sites in the park including Frijole Ranch History Museum and the ruins of a stagecoach station. McKittrick Canyon in the northeast corner of the park is regarded as the most beautiful spot in Texas, where oaks and maples make a colourful display in fall. There is a Junior Ranger program available to keep children entertained. Horseback riding is allowed in the park, although not provided by the park.
No public transportation is available
The park is open year round. The Headquarters Visitors Center opens 8am to 4.30pm (until 6pm in summer).
$5 per adult for a seven-day pass
Congress Avenue Bridge, Austin
One of the more unusual tourist attractions in Austin, or in fact anywhere, is the nightly flight of millions of Mexican free-tailed bats when they emerge from their roosts under the Congress Avenue Bridge. The bridge was revamped in the 1980's and regarly spaced crevices underneat the new structure inadvertently created a perfect resting spot for thousands of bats. The bat colony takes up residence under the bridge in mid-March each year and returns to Mexico in early November. There can be up to 1.5 million bats living under the bridge at the height of bat season. During their sojourn in Austin visitors are amazed by their mass evening emergence from their roost, which generally takes place at dusk. The Congress Avenue Bridge is 10 blocks south of the State Capitol building, spanning Town Lake. A Bat Observation Center is located on the southeast side. During bat season hundreds of people gather on and around the bridge each evening to witness the spectacle.
Dusk daily. Bat season is mid-March to beginning of November, but the best months are July and August
Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin
A major stop on national art circuit tours, the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas in Austin is ranked among the top 10 university art museums in the country. Highlights here are the Suida-Manning Collection of European paintings that features 250 works by the Continental masters and the collection of 20th-century American Art assembled by novelist James A. Michener. Michener's wife Mari made the current museum building a possibility with her five million dollar donation. There is also a large collection of Latin American Art consisting of more than 500 key works. The permanent exhibitions on show at the museum include Stacked Waters by Teresita Fernandez, a piece of installation art in the museum's atrium. Changing exhibitions often have themes that focus on aspects of American history and scenery as depicted in art, as well as displays of current artists' work.
The free Dillo has a stop outside the campus. The Museum is also directly served by regular bus routes 1, 5 and 7
Tuesdays to Fridays 10am to 5pm (9pm on Thursdays), Saturdays 11am to 5pm, Sundays 1pm to 5pm. Closed on major public holidays
$9 (adults), $7 (seniors of 65 years and older), children under 12 are free. Other concessions available. Admission is free on Thursdays
Old Pecan Street Festival
It is said everything is bigger in Texas, and it is hard to imagine a bigger or better arts and crafts street fair than the one that takes place in Austin's Sixth Street (originally named Pecan Street) in May and September every year. For 32 years this lively event has drawn the crowds and now 250,000 are expected to browse among the wares of more than 300 crafters from all around America. Some of the crafts that will be available to look at and buy are clothes, candles, ceramics, mosaics, toys, glass art, pottery, sculpture, plants, leather goods and much, much more. The crafts are judged by panels of experts, and prizes are given to the winners of each category. In addition there is plenty of live musical entertainment on three stages and a host of food and beverage stalls. In addition to the festival stalls, Sixth Street itself has many very good restaurants, bars and cafes that add to the general feel of festivity. Austin's central buses and trains run special trips for the duration of the festival, staying open later into the night than is usual. The festival recently announced that it is now a green festival. For more information, call the festival hotline on (512) 443 6179.
29 - 30 September 2012
East 6th Street
11am to 10pm
Austin Food and Wine Festival
Austin becomes a cuisine and fine wine destination towards the end of March and beginning of April with some of the best chefs in the US culinary scene descending upon the town at the behest of many of Texas's local masters to educate and indulge a hungry and thirsty public. The festival is organised by some of texas' well-known foodies, namely Tim Love, Tyson Cole and Jesse Herman. Cooking demostrations, wine tastings and cocktail seminars are ongoong for the duration of the festival. A Grand Tasting Pavilion enables visitors to taste a wide variety of food and drinks, with over 80 exhibitors represented at the pavilion. Brand new cook books can be bought and signed by their authors. Live music is also on offer throughout the festival to keep visitors entertained. The festival is a 21-plus only events, which means that small children and babies can't attend along with their parents. For more information, call (512) 249 6300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2013 dates TBA
Main venue: Four Season�s Hotel, downtown Austin
One of the biggest carnivals staged outside Brazil, and undoubtedly Austin's biggest and reportedly wildest party, is the euphoric Carnaval Brasiliero, a tradition in the city every February since it was started on a small scale in 1975 by a group of home-sick Brazilian students at the local university. Carnaval was adopted enthusiastically by Austinites and today the crowds of more than 5,00 partygoers pack into the Palmer Events Centre to samba, march and drum the cold winter night away. Live Brazilian bands provide music for the duration of Carnaval, and visitors are encouraged to dress up as much as possible, showing as much skin as you dare! Face and body painters are available to add to costumes for a small fee. Cash bars are scattered throughout the venue for easy access and quick service, and the ballroom foyer is set up as a quieter decompressing and resting area. There is no food available at the event, and visitors are not permitted to bring in their own food or drinks. The doors open at 8pm and the party starts with a vengeance right away, lasting until 1:30pm.
2 February 2013
Palmer Events Centre
8pm to 1:30am
South by Southwest
The largest and most important of the many live music events for which Austin is renowned is the annual South by Southwest festival, held at more than 50 venues around the city and drawing performers from around the world. The festival started in 1987 as an extension of the New Music Seminar in New York City, andhas since grown and become entirely its own entity. The festival programme includes 1,000 performances on more than 50 stages over a six-day period. In recent years the festival has expanded to encompass film and multi-media, both these categories now forming separate extravaganzas to make South by Southwest a convergence of entertainment and media. The multi-media conference runs for five days, and the fild conference and festival runs for nine days throughout the duration of the other two festivals. The festival has been influential over the years in the discovery of many musicians, such as John Mayer, James Blunt and Hanson, and a new film genre, mumblecore, was reportedly coinded at South by Southwest. In 2007, the social media tool Twitter gained a lot of popularity throughout the duration of the festival. Call the South by Southwest Headquarters on (512) 467 7979 or email email@example.com more information.
8 - 12 March 2013
Austin Convention Center
Austin City Limits Music Festival
Rated as one of the largest music festivals in the United States, the three-day Austin City Limits event in a 15-acre city park grew as an offshoot from the popular television series of the same name. The Festival draws young and old to a series of stages where 130 bands give ongoing performances on eight stages over the course of three days, and draws more than 70,000 people every day. The music played at the festival covers a broad spectrum, from indie to country to jazz to pop to electronic and everything else in between. The park hosting the festival is Austin's Zilker Park, itself a famous lanmark of the city.
12- 14 October 2012