Like travelers to Rome and Greece, those who visit Austin aren’t necessarily coming to see any one thing in-particular; they’re coming to absorb Austin’s essence, to live as the Austinians do, to feel the heat on their skin, to dive into Barton Springs, to eat some good Mexican food and see some foot-stomping good music. Be that as it may, if you’ve only got three days to do it, here are some tried-and-true methods for full immersion.
Day 1: Get Oriented
The best thing to do when touching down in a city is to come to know it and make it your own. To do this in Austin, consider familiarizing yourself with its essential parts. Head on over to South Congress Avenue (SoCo) and see what makes this young, hipster area tick. Here you can go shopping at second-hand consignment stores, grab some great and cheap Mexican food at the Habanero Mexican Café and even spot some local talent in one of the area’s galleries. Consider breaking up the day with a visit to the enormous and ornate State Capitol, or the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum to learn about your host town while seeing the sites.
Day 2: Relax Into Austin
Day 2 is dedicated to doing what all vacationers should do more easily: relaxing. Take the day today to nourish yourself. Wake up in the morning and consider a jog around Lady Bird Lake, or spend the day in Zilker Metropolitan Park where you can bike, canoe, swim, or play Frisbee golf to your heart’s content. After lunch consider admiring the blooms at Lady Bird Johnson’s Wildflower Center, then, come nightfall, watch the 1.5 million bats emerge from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge – the largest colony of its kind in the world.
Day 3: Go Into the Night
Austin is a wonderful town, but to truly experience it like the locals do, you must go beyond the wonderful museums and attractions to see what makes Austin the town it is. A great way to do this is by heading out at night and see Austin’s world-class live music scene. 6th Street is great for this – the area is roughly eight blocks and is so jam-packed with historic music clubs and restaurants that it has made the National Historic Register. Head to Stubb’s to grab some tasty BBQ and live music, or swing by Antone’s for an all-ages event. If, however, 6th Street is too busy for your blood, consider the Continental Club over in SoCo a good place to start your night. Who knows? You just may want to stay for good.