Austin, TX

Destination Location


Welcome to the city that never stops. Welcome to Austin, Texas. Known as the Live Music Capital of the World®, this city has a lot to offer. The essence of Austin is undeniable – you can taste it in local kitchens when you stop for some of the country's best barbecue or Tex-Mex. You can hear it at every sold-out show in one of nearly 200 music venues. You can even swim in it in Austin's Barton Springs Pool. With so many things to do, all you have to do it take a look around this beautiful city and create your own Austin playlist.

Whether at the State Capitol or the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, learning about Texas' past is a great part of any visit to Austin. Bring your camera as you stroll around the Capitol area. You'll want to capture the amazing architecture of the Visitor's Center, the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and the Library building. The Austin History Center and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center showcases priceless artifacts and fascinating exhibits.

If you want to experience a little Austin culture, just listen for the sounds of artists from all over the world. It's not just country music you'll hear. The Austin Symphony offers sounds of world's greatest composers year-round. The Blanton Museum of Art showcases the country's largest university-owned art collection and is well worth a visit.

How about a little nature? Austin gives visitors quite a few ways to enjoy the beauty of its more than 200 parks and – on average – 300 days of sun. Lady Bird Lake in the centre of town is perfect for those looking to get in a jog or go canoeing. If the great outdoors is your kind of thing, this area is known for its swimming holes, water parks and nationally acclaimed golf courses.

If all the adventure of Austin makes you hungry, you're in for a real treat. Austin's food scene is all about a return to great American cuisine. Whether you're looking for the perfect steak and wine pairing or the fresh fish and lobster tacos, eateries in Austin offer everything from upscale dining to casual eat-in favourites – perfect for any budget.

So get ready for a great time in Austin. You're only a hop, skip and a two-step away from a great getaway.

To learn more about this destination, please visit the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

WestJet is pleased to offer service to this destination through our code-share agreement with American Airlines, one of our great airline partners.

Airport served by: Austin, TX (AUS)

Destination basics

Austin offers travellers hot summers and mild winters. In the summer, the days and nights are hot and humid. In July and August, expect highs of between 34 and 36 C. This is perfect weather to bust out a great pair of sandals.

On average, Austin receives most of its rain in the spring. So if you're travelling to the area between March and May, it's a good idea to pack a light rain jacket.

Winters in Austin are mild and relatively dry. A light jacket or sweater will be all you need. For the entire year, Austin averages fewer than 20 days when the minimum temperature falls below freezing.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Austin, TX

Austin is a place where business professionals, artists, musicians, filmmakers and students all bring their passions to life. Even with its population growing rapidly, this city continues to welcome new residents with open arms. Over the past few years, several national magazines have touted Austin as a top place to live.

Sixth Street
To experience "The Live Music Capital" of the world, Sixth Street is a good place to start. Often closed to vehicle traffic on the weekends, this street is lined with dance clubs, live music venues, eateries and street musicians, plus several tattoo and piercing shops. Visitors can have their tarot cards read by a gypsy on a street corner, or buy handmade jewelry from artists and hippies. Music fills the air in this area every night of the week, and visitors can hear everything from country to hip-hop, blues to noise-pop.

If you venture north on Red River Street, you'll find some of Austin's best live music venues, including Stubb's and Red Eyed Fly.

The Capitol Building
Built in 1856 and 1857, the Capitol Complex Visitor Center is the oldest remaining state office building in Texas. In 1997, it underwent an enormous restoration and extension. The Capitol Building is a Renaissance Revival-style building made of Texas pink granite and native limestone, overlooking Congress Avenue. Guided tours are free and provide interesting information and anecdotes for visitors. Make sure to stand in the center of the Rotunda, look up, take notice of the Texas star and enjoy the beautiful architecture.

Congress Avenue
Walk along South Congress and cross Lake Austin, and you'll soon see a new side of the city. Starting with Güero's Taco Bar, you will notice that South Austin has a different kind of energy - relaxed and funky. Here, you will find antique shops, retro resale shops, vintage clothing and folk art. Stop by Terra Toys to check out their collection of tin soldiers and chemistry sets, then head over to Texas French Bread for soup and a sandwich.

Zilker Park is a 400-acre park home to natural, spring-fed Barton Springs Pool, a miniature train that circles the park for children to ride, a giant playscape, picnic grounds, rugby and soccer fields, a disc golf course and canoe and kayak rentals. At Christmas time, one of the city's moonlight towers serves as the trunk for the Zilker Park Christmas Tree. Thousands of colored lights are strung to form the shape, and each year locals and visitors twirl around underneath the enormous structure.

Enjoy a number of musical, dance and theater events at the Zilker Hillside Theatre, where the Austin Shakespeare Festival is held each year. Or, visit the Zilker Botanical Gardens, where visitors spend the better part of a day enjoying the cactus, succulents, roses, butterflies and special gardens - all for free.

Originally an African-American community half a mile outside of the city limits, Clarksville remains a melting pot of art and culture. Houses have increased greatly in price due to the location of the neighborhood and all it has to offer. Jeffrey's resides here, a restaurant for fine dining. You may also enjoy a visit to Nau's Enfield Drug, where you can order an old fashioned malt.

The Drag
The strip of business along Guadalupe Street, bordering the University of Texas, is lovingly called "The Drag." Many of Austin's coolest shops are here. Stop by the outdoor 23rd Street Artists' Market, where you will find jewelry, clothing and gifts made by Austin artisans. If you're looking for live music any night of the week, head down to the Hole in the Wall. This small dive hosts live music seven nights a week, with free Sunday night shows. The back room is full of pool tables and pinball games, and the crowd features many regular customers.

Hyde Park
Take a leisurely walk or drive through this Central Austin neighborhood and view its historic homes. You will likely see many residents working in their yards, walking pets or riding bikes. Duval Road runs through the neighborhood and is home to the popular Hyde Park Grill. This unique area, the city's first planned suburb, has its own small grocery store, and boasts a theatre in its name - Hyde Park Theatre. Stop by Dolce Vita Gelate and Espresso Bar for sweet Italian ice cream or check out Quack's 43rd Street Bakery for a cappuccino and a homemade muffin.

As the "Live Music Capital of the World," Austin hosts a variety of concerts every night of the week. The multi-faceted arts scene offers traditional works alongside the avant-garde, and is growing as rapidly as the city itself. Filmmakers have taken an interest in Austin, realizing the town has more to offer than just an attractive setting. As a whole, the city is overflowing with creative and talented people ready to share and entertain.

Whether you are a music fan searching for that up-and-coming band, or a musician looking for the perfect sound, you can carve out your niche here. The music scene has something for everybody: blues, jazz, fusion, house/techno, pop/rock, noisepop, twee-pop, reggae, trip-hop, hip-hop, hard rock, country, Latino, classical, folk, experimental, garage and psychedelic. With 100 or more venues to choose from it may seem like a daunting task; for help, pick up The Chronicle, Austin's free weekly entertainment guide, and you will find information on all of the music venues and what acts will be gracing each stage.

Visit Stubb's, Red Eyed Fly, or Emo's to catch top local acts and independent touring musicians. Stop by Hole in the Wall for live music seven nights a week, or the Flamingo Cantina to sample a variety of bands. Live music in Austin is not limited to the club scene though; frequently musicians are found performing in record stores, coffee shops and art galleries.

The Austin Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria is a beautiful place to enjoy diverse artwork created by 20th-century artists from around the world. The Mediterranean-style villa that is home to the museum was built in 1916 and is surrounded by lush gardens and quiet paths. The Art School at Laguna Gloria is also on the grounds, offering classes for children and adults in sculpture, graphic arts, painting, jewelry-making and more.

For a multicultural Latin American experience visit the Mexic-Arte Museum, featuring three galleries that exhibit works from Mexic-Arte's permanent collection, along with touring and self-curated shows. The museum also presents theatrical, musical and performing arts events on weekends.

Sculptor Elisabet Ney moved to Austin in the late 1800s and built Formosa, her home and studio. This Greek/Gothic building, now the Elisabet Ney Museum, is dedicated to the life and works of the artist. Ney sculpted the figures of Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin that stand on the Texas State Capitol grounds today.

If it's a beautiful day in Austin, you must visit the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. Charles Umlauf's work is showcased here in the outdoor Xeriscape garden, where visitors linger by the pond. This casual setting is home to 62 bronze and cast pieces.

Austin offers big Broadway shows in legendary theaters like the Paramount Theatre or the University of Texas' Bass Concert Hall. For an interesting change of pace try the experimental, Off Broadway-type shows presented by one of the 70 theater companies thriving in Austin.

For original cutting-edge performances visit the Vortex Theatre in East Austin. Once an abandoned warehouse, this building has been converted into an intimate, comfortable, 80-seat venue that showcases contemporary theater, nationally known performance artists, multi-media performances, musical theater and ritual theater.

If you are looking for a place where you can order great food and have it served to you while you take in a film, try the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, where visitors can catch old B-movies, historic silent films and more.

One of only three professional ballet companies in Texas, Ballet Austin showcases dancers from around the world. The company presents five seasonal ballets, including the popular Nutcracker every December. Ballet East is a community of dancers from many ethnic backgrounds, with a strong emphasis on Austin's Latino dancers.

Political satire is especially strong at Esther's Follies, a campy comedy venue located on East Sixth Street that has become part of the fabric of Austin. Just next door is the Velveeta Room, where local and visiting comic talents take the stage and try the outrageous. If you're looking for big-name comics, look no further than the Capitol City Comedy Club; nationally known comics like Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Foxworthy and Bobcat Goldthwait have all taken this stage in support of their art.

Visitors often think they will only find a plethora of Tex-Mex and barbecue restaurants in Austin. While these abound, you will also find a good selection of Japanese, Middle Eastern, Thai, Italian and vegetarian restaurants. Of course, this is only a sample of the diversity of food this town has to offer.

If you are downtown, try Manuel's for fine Mexican food or Clay Pit for a contemporary Indian dining experience. Hickory Street Bar and Grill is a popular downtown destination, not far from the Capitol on Congress Avenue, known for its outdoor patio dining, extensive salad selection and weekend brunches. Stop by the Elephant Room for drinks and a variety of live jazz music. For a more upscale drinking atmosphere try Speakeasy, which along with live music, offers swing dance lessons and musical standards from the 30s and 40s. Visitors and locals alike seem to enjoy the view of downtown from the rooftop deck.

Not too far from downtown is the Clarksville District, filled with upscale restaurants, vegetarian establishments, bistros, bakeries and more. Corazon at Castle Hill offers a rotating menu of worldly gourmet dishes. Jeffrey's is popular among the upscale dinning crowd for its culinary panache. Visit Sweetish Hill Bakery for a variety of sandwiches, homemade soups, salads and pastries. Or, for an old-fashioned drugstore experience, stop by Nau's Enfield Drug for a hamburger and a malt shake. With a booming take-out business, Pok-e-Jo's Smokehouse serves mesquite-smoked and barbecued meats, including pork, beef, sausage, pork loin, ribs, chicken and turkey.

Congress Avenue
South Austin is home to Barton Springs Road, which houses a row of restaurants spanning several blocks. Indoor and outdoor seating is available at Shady Grove where they serve hamburgers, Frito Pie, chili and Hippie Sandwiches for vegetarians. Chuy's has become somewhat of an Austin institution when it comes to Tex-Mex food. The colorful atmosphere offers an entertaining option for families or out of town guests. On South Congress, Guero's Taco Bar offers a Tex-Mex/Mexican dining experience and an occasional celebrity spotting. Threadgill's offers diner-style entrée options such as chicken-fried steak and meatloaf.

The Warehouse District offers several upscale options, as well as casual, laid-back eateries. Sullivan's serves Hollywood stars and politicos top-quality steak with an air of confidence. If you're looking for an Irish pub, look no further than Fado. You'll often find Gaelic football on the television and a menu filled with Irish-inspired appetizers. Oilcan Harry's is a large bar and dance floor playing host to Austin's diverse gay community, although the straight set can also often be found dancing the night away.

Hyde Park
Not too far from the downtown area lies the neighborhood of Hyde Park, boasting a small cluster of wonderful places to dine, drink and grab your morning cup of coffee. Quack's 43rd Street Bakery offers a good selection of baked goods and a welcoming atmosphere in which to enjoy your cup of tea or coffee. For an exquisite dessert and liquor date indulge in Dolce Vita Gelato and Espresso Bar. Mother's Cafe and Garden offers vegetarian, lowfat and vegan menu items in a casual environment. Sit inside and enjoy the music, or head out to the peaceful patio, with its small fishpond and lush greenery. Hyde Park Bar & Grill is a bit more upscale in décor, but is famous for its Texas take on battered fries served the European way. ASTI Trattoria, with its modern design, is the newest addition to this area of Hyde Park. Specializing in dishes from Northern Italy, it offers delicious and creative desserts and upscale service.


State: Texas

Country: United States

Austin By The Numbers
Population: 931,830 (city); 2,000,860 (metropolitan area)
Elevation: 489 feet / 149 meters
Average Annual Precipitation: 34.3 inches / 87.1 centimeters
Average January Temperature: 52°F / 11°C
Average July Temperature: 85°F / 29.4°C

Quick Facts
Electricity: 110 volts, 60Hz, standard two pin plugs

Time Zone: GMT- 6

Country Dialing Code: 1

Area Code: 512

Did You Know?
Austin is home to the biggest urban bat colony on the continent, with anywhere from 750,000 to 1.5 million bats in residence at any given time.

Known as the “live music capital of the world,” Austin has more music venues per capita than anywhere else in the world.

Austin is located in Texas Hill Country in Central Texas. The city is about 185 miles (297 kilometers) south of Dallas and 145 miles (236 kilometers) west of Houston.

Austin has a history of burgeoning growth beginning with the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. Soon after the founding of the Republic of Texas, the second president, Mirabeau B. Lamar, felt a new seat for the government was in order - one named for Stephen F. Austin, founder of the Republic. Lamar sent Edwin Waller to survey the beautiful land off of the Colorado River to found the new capitol. The city was planned in a grid pattern that still maps the downtown area. Congress Avenue was the center street, with the north/south streets named for Texas rivers. The capital was officially moved to Austin in 1839, with 50 ox-drawn wagons transporting archives and furniture from the previous seat of government in Houston, Texas.

This newly established country continued to be part of the frontier. The fierce battles of the Mexican-American War marked the following decade, and there was an attempt to move the capital away from Austin. But the residents of the city made sure that even if the government chose to move further away from the war zone, the archives and records remained in the city. As a result of their efforts - known as the Archive War - Texas joined the United States in 1845 and Austin was named the state capital.

The 1850s saw a period of tremendous growth. The first limestone Capitol building, the Governor's Mansion and General Land Office Building were erected. In 1888, structural problems and a fire destroyed the original Capitol, but a new Texas State Capitol building, made of Hill Country granite, was completed to replace the burned structure. The Governor's Mansion is still in pristine condition, and the General Land Office is one of the state's oldest surviving office buildings.

While surveying for the City of Austin, Edwin Waller also laid out 40 acres for the University of Texas at Austin campus. Over 40 years later, construction began on the Main Building at the center of the site. In 1883, the west wing was completed in time for the first class of 221 students. But 35 years after the building was completed, discussions began for expanding the library facilities on campus. After great debate, plans were announced to destroy the old building in order to construct a new administration and library facility. That new building is now known as the University of Texas Tower, standing 307 feet tall and boasting one of the best views of the city from the observation deck. 1871 brought a new era of success to Austin with the Houston and Texas Central Railway. This line was one of the westernmost railroads in Texas and the only railroad for scores of miles. Today, visitors can ride those same rail lines on the Austin Steam Train.

The population boomed. Education became a secondary industry. In 1881 Austin, became known as a seat of education with the opening of Tillotson Collegiate and Normal Institute, now known as Huston-Tillotson College. Just four years later, St. Edward's University opened its doors.

The turn of the century brought even more success to the bustling town of Austin. Elisabeth Ney blessed the city with her talents as a sculptress and William Sidney Porter (also known as O. Henry) wrote his celebrated stories. By the 1920s, the city had acquired Barton Springs Pool, adopted a council-manager government, and drew up a new city plan that included a focus on beautification, parks and recreation.

The Great Depression was hard-felt among the Austin population, but the city continued to grow. In 1941, Mansfield Dam was completed, creating Lake Travis. This, combined with the development of the Highland Lake system, created a wonderful recreation site that still attracts throngs of people today.

The 1950s brought on the realization that the city could not continue its massive growth with only academia and government as an economic base. The Chamber of Commerce began to attract high-tech companies to the city. By the mid-seventies, three of the largest high-tech manufacturing companies had plants in Austin. In the 1980s, two major research consortiums, Microelectronics and Computer Technology and Sematech, had been brought to the city. Now, Austin is known as one of the tech centers of the United States, with offices for hundreds of tech companies.

Austin's volatile past has created an exciting environment for its residents. The explosive growth has brought more than just people; theater, museums, film, music and the arts have become prominent aspects of the Austin lifestyle. City planning has preserved greenbelts and parks so residents can have easy access to natural habitats. The lakes provide fantastic water sports during the day, and Sixth Street offers nightlife, dining, and dancing.

Points of interest in Austin, TX

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