Austin has done away with every preconceived notion of Texas you’ve ever had. It’s affordable, eclectic, and youthful—though it's still a place where you can don your cowboy hat and boots and kick back.
When in Austin, make like the locals and grab a drink in one of the unusual bars lining Rainey Street. Most of them are converted homes, and serve Austin’s unofficial drink, the Mexican Martini. Order this potent, margarita-style cocktail garnished with olives and limes—and pick regulars’ brains about what to do in Austin.
Later, check out one of the 250-plus live music venues or festivals (Austin City Limits, South by Southwest) that have helped Austin earn its reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World. We recommend a casual evening at Antone’s—everyone from Stevie Ray Vaughan to B.B. King has graced its stage.
If you can’t get enough of that honky-tonk country sound, learn the accompanying moves to the Texas Two Step at dance halls like the Broken Spoke. For more than half a century, Texans (and brave tourists) have learned this famous partner dance here. What’s more? It’s the perfect excuse to sport those shiny new cowboy boots.
Related: Austin Travel Guide
One of the most fun things to do in Austin is break every diet rule you’ve had. Feast on breakfast tacos and barbecue (or both, if you order Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ smoked brisket breakfast taco). After all, Austin’s won the crown as the country’s Next Great Food Town. For casual eats, hit up one of the city’s popular food trucks stationed at the corner of Sixth and Waller, or lined up along Lamar Boulevard.
Wash it all down with a glass of wine: just half an hour west of the city is one of the nation’s burgeoning wine regions, known as the Texas Wine Trail. There are 46 wineries scattered along it. At Becker Vineyards, which is surrounded by fragrant wildflower and lavender blooms come spring, you’ll want to stock up on rosé.