If you asked a traveler to name cities in Texas they wanted to visit, then the chances are they would return the same select group of answers: Dallas, Houston, San Antonio. Some might mention Austin, but not as many as you might expect – especially given that Austin is the Texan capital.
Austin is far from alone in being the capital of its state but not the most well-known city (how many travelers have Albany or Sacramento on their bucket list over NYC and Los Angeles?), but it is perhaps the most unfortunate. In a state the size of Texas, it’s all-too-easy for the capital to be somewhat overshadowed by more famous sister cities – which is a real shame, for both the city, but also for the tourists who miss out on the delights that Austin has to offer.
In an effort to redress the balance, below, we’ve put together a guide to the best and brightest Austin has to offer. So if you’re looking to pack your bags and experience a Texan city that is quite unlike the rest of its state, you’ll know exactly where to go for the best experience possible.
1) Visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum
As the capital of Texas, Austin has a role to play as the keeper of Texas’ history – and there’s no better place to explore that history than via a visit to the Bullock Texas State History Museum. The museum features a huge wealth of information on the history of the formation of Texas, with interactive exhibits and artefact displays that will really deepen your understanding of the Lone Star State.
2) Tour the Austin distilleries
Austin is a city that boasts a wealth of different types of distilleries, from gin distilleries, whiskey distilleries, and even sake companies, so you’re sure to be able to find an Austin distillery tour that suits your personal preferences.
3) Visit Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake – named for the former First Lady – is a sea of tranquility in the heart of a bustling city, and is well worth a visit if you prefer to add a little nature to your city breaks. There’s a particularly well-regarded hiking trail that is well worth following, as well as kayaking and canoeing options; alternatively, if you’re looking for a more peaceful experience, you could just sit on the banks and admire the view and the local wildlife.
4) Visit a food truck
Visiting a food truck is perhaps the single most “touristy” thing on this list, but it’s an essential experience that no visitor to the city will want to miss out on. There are a wealth of options available throughout the city, so you can either wander and see what you find, or select a vendor from this list of the best food trucks in Austin and intentionally seek them out. Either way, you’ll be indulging in the quintessential Austin experience, which should really help to round out a fantastic visit to the Texan capital.
It may not be the most well-known city in Texas, nor is it the most stereotypically “Texan”, but if you choose Austin for a city break, you’re sure to have an incredible time.