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Your guide to Austin
The Texas capital is a mecca of everything the state does best: inventive cuisine served from its food trucks; live entertainment celebrated at festivals touting music, tech, and extreme sports, and of course the all-essential SXSW; and plenty of outdoor experiences that call for biking, hiking cycling, swimming, bouldering, and kayaking year-round. Downtown Austin is the center of it all, with a thriving arts and shopping scene by day and lively nightlife after the sun sets, especially on Sixth Street and in the Warehouse District. Take a step back in time in South Austin, where beloved restaurants and classic architecture surround the biggest city park. The fast-growing neighborhood of East Austin, an eclectic enclave of food and boutiques, is another great spot to explore.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Austin
Austin boasts 300 sunny days a year, but there’s no denying that the city sizzles in the summer, with July being the hottest month. Average high temperatures are in the 90s Fahrenheit from June through September, with lows only getting into the 70s. Winter is a far more temperate season, with highs in the upper 50s to low 70s and lows dipping into the upper 30s. Spring and fall are the most pleasant seasons for a vacation, with highs usually in the 70s and 80s and lows in the 50s to 60s. The clearest skies arrive between July and November, with the highest average days of rain in May.
Top things to do in Austin
The Texas state house is as grand in stature as the state is in size, earning a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and being declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Made of sunset red Texas granite, the three-story capitol building is the largest in the nation — yes, it’s more than 14 feet higher than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. But the true beauty is in the details, such as the ornate oversized brass door hinges and chandeliers with light bulbs that spell out “T-E-X-A-S.” Take a free half-hour tour or pick up a map to take a self-guided tour.
Congress Avenue Bridge Bats
No bat signal needed! One of the most stunning sights in town is this fascinating natural phenomenon as between 750,000 and 1.5 million bats — the largest urban colony on the continent — fly out from under the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge every night at dusk.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Founded by Lady Bird Johnson and actress Helen Hayes in 1982, the 284-acre University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to preserving the state’s native plants, with more than 900 species on site. There’s also an arboretum with more than 70 kinds of Texas’ native trees.