- Located in Texas, Austin has a population of 820,000 spread out over 276 sq. miles.
- Sometimes dubbed “Silicon Hills,” for its high number of techcompanies.
- Known for its liberal values (in an otherwise conservative state).
- Official slogan: “The Live Music Capital of the World.” Unofficial: “Keep Austin Weird.”
- Nicknames: ATX, Music Capital, Silicon Hills, Bat City, Cap City, City of the Violet Crown.
- Currency: US Dollar (USD).
- Spoken languages: English.
- Best time to visit: from September to May. Gets extremely hot in the summer months.
- Arriving via airport: Capital Metro (public transit) runs the Airport Flyer for $1.00 every 30 minutes (on the hour and half hour). Taxi: minimum $12.85, plus $2.30 per mile.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotels in downtown, South Austin, and North Central Austin (near The University of Texas) are more upscale (and priced appropriately, ranging from $100-$400 a night). Hotels in Northwest Austin (near The Arboretum) average between $65-$150 a night. For a unique and local experience, you can find a hostel room for about $30 a night.
- Capital Metro is the local transit authority. A single ride costs just $1.00, while a day pass is $2.00. Tickets can also be purchased online, and at most HEBs and Randall’s grocery stores.
- Taxi companies: Yellow Cab: (512) 452-9999 and Austin Cab: (512) 478-2222. Taxis are available 24 hours a day.
- Renting a bike is one of the most enjoyable ways to see Austin – various rental companies are available downtown.
- Tip: If you choose to rent a car, look into ZipCar (there are over 12 pickup locations in downtown Austin alone).
- Drinking age is 21, last call is 2 AM (though some bars and clubs stay open till 4 AM).
- Most people go to Sixth Street for bars, stores, and music acts of all kinds. Sixth Street is a hot tourist destination.
- Hip/local scene: Rainey Street is a hot spot among the locals, with houses turned into bars. Start at one end of the street and just walk. You’ll find something awesome.
- Places to party with the locals: Lustre Pearl, The Whip In, Antone’s, Roadhouse Rags (a BYOB music venue and consignment clothing shop), Flipnotics, Elephant Room, East Side Showroom, and Brass House.