Austin is the state capital of Texas, an inland city bordering the Hill Country region. Home to the University of Texas flagship campus, Austin is known for its eclectic live-music scene centered around country, blues and rock. Its many parks and lakes are popular for hiking, biking, swimming and boating. South of the city, Formula One’s Circuit of the Americas raceway has hosted the United States Grand Prix.
The University of Texas at Austin, often referred to as UT Austin, UT, or Texas, is a public research university in Austin, Texas and the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, the University of Texas was inducted into the Association of American Universities in 1929, becoming only the third university in the American South to be elected. The institution has the nation’s eighth-largest single-campus enrollment, with over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 24,000 faculty and staff.
The Texas Longhorns women’s volleyball team represents The University of Texas at Austin in NCAA Division I intercollegiate women’s volleyball competition. The Longhorns currently compete in the Big 12 Conference
Tours of Austin
- Access ATX Tours
Access ATX Tours offers private Austin city tours and day trips to the Texas Hill Country and San Antonio. Also offers Austin food tours, Texas BBQ Trail Tours, and Wine Tasting/Distillery/Brewery Tours.
- Twisted Texas Tour
Austin’s wildest ride with a live band on board the bus. Twisted Texas offers Brunch/Food Tours and Brewery Tours with live music, starting at $64 per person. Tours depart on weekends.
- Segway Tours
Austin Segway Tours enable you to tour downtown Austin on the Segway. Learn to ride a Segway for $50 or tour downtown Austin for $75. Tours depart daily.
- Austin Tours
Offers scenic carriage and van tours as well as ground transportation to several area landmarks including Arboretum, Round Rock, and UT.
Offers half and full day tours of the nearby Texas Wine country. Rent a chauffeured sedan, limo or minibus, generally departing between 10AM and noon daily.
- Independence Brewery Tour
Austin’s local microbrewery, if you’re in town on a tour day they are worth the time to see (and sample).
Austin Things to do
- Bike Nation Tours and Rentals
- Rude Mechanicals
Original pieces are always engaging. Their production values are over the top (10-foot tesla coils on stage), and always make you interested to be watching theater.
- Pro Arts Collective
They do everything: theatre, dance, hip-hop, musicals, festivals and more.
- Teatro Vivo
Dedicated to producing quality bilingual theatre. Reflects the heart and soul of the Latino reality.
- Salvage Vanguard
Original musical pieces in conjunction with the Golden Arm Trio’s Graham Reynolds are not to be missed.
- Different Stages
One of Austin’s oldest repertory companies.
- Refraction Arts
They dabble in multiple mediums. Always interesting.
- the dirigo group
These critical darlings do original and established work.
- Loaded Gun Theory
- Paramount Theater
Feature a wide variety of plays and acts, from Broadway touring shows to Chinese acrobats to plays and unique dance companies.
- Esther’s Follies
Offers an entertaining Saturday Night Live-like comedy skits (Th-Sa). In the 6th Street entertainment district, it’s a great way to start an evening. Reservations recommended.
- The Hideout
Managed by the Austin Improv Collective. You can always find improv comedy there.
- The ColdTowne Theater
Plenty of comedy, ranging from stand-up to sketch and improv.
- Zach Theatre
Dave Steakley is artistic director. If you are looking for solid musical theatre, this is your venue. They also have a lock on Christmas plays.
- The Blue Theater
Managed by Refraction Arts and featuring theatre, music, film and dance.
- The Vortex
Bonnie Cullum is artistic director. Original musicals and operas and plays. Some of the most delightfully weird stuff you’ll see.
- The Mary Moody Northen Theatre
Sitting atop a hill with gorgeous views of downtown, this professional Equity house at St. Edward’s University allows college students and seasoned actors to work together creating exceptional theatre at a great value.
- Austin Poetry Slam
8:30PM, every Tuesday night at the 29th Street Ballroom.
- The Cactus CafÃ©
A great place to hear many local artists. Much of the music that is played there seems to be singer-songwriter. It’s musically akin to Austin City Limits and unlike Austin City Limits you can probably get in to the Cactus CafÃ©.
- Austin City Limits
The venerable PBS show was filmed at Studio 6A in the Communications Building B at the University of Texas from 1976 to 2010. In February 2011, it moved to the Moody Theater at 310 Willie Nelson Blvd in Downtown Austin.
- Stubb’s BBQ
This BBQ restaurant has some of the best selection of live music in Austin, thanks to Charles Attal, one of the owners, who is recognized nationally for his music booking business. Crowded on Sundays.
An Austin original that has survived despite many hardships. Considered by USA Today to be one of the best Blues clubs in the nation, Antone’s continues to be a launching pad for dozens of new artists each year.
- The Saxon Pub
An awesome live music venue. The Saxon hosts live music throughout the week and even has a “no cover” happy hour until 7PM. Look for the giant knight and neon guitar.
- Hole in the Wall
Unique UT campus area club. Great Live Music. Usually no cover. Unique mix of students and z’s, craftsman and construction workers, gays, and professionals.
Voted Best Dance Club 2003-2008 in the Austin Chronicle Readers’ Poll.
Live music venue featuring local and national tallent. 8PM-2AM live music everyday. 5-9PM weekday happy hour featuring local ales on tap.
- Broken Spoke
Longtime honky tonk, family friendly with great music. One of the “last true dance halls in Texas,” according to their website.
- The Alamo Drafthouse
Four locations. A movie theater with full restaurant service. Downtown always has an eclectic array of cult and foreign films and a good beer and food menu, and serves liquor. They also have a dizzying number of specialty shows and film festivals. Their other locations show more first run movies with the same excellent food and beer menu.
- Regal Cinemas Arbor 8 at Great Hills
Even though it is owned and operated by mainstream Regal Cinemas, the Arbor 8 shows art and foreign films.
- IMAX Theatre
Huge screen, 400 seats, with 2-D and 3-D capability.
- Austin Film Society
Various theaters. A membership organization bringing the best of cinema to Austinites. Many screenings open to the public. Check the website for current programs and community film annoucements.
- Town Lake Boat Rental
Rent a canoe or kayak and enjoy the natural world in the heart of the city.
- Tubing the San Marcos River
San Marcos, 25 miles south of town on I-35. There is no more quintessentially Central Texan thing than enjoying a summer afternoon lazily floating down the river. The Lion’s club of San Marcos rents tubes at around $8/person or canoes at $10/each. They take you to the river and pick you up.
- Town Lake Hike & Bike trail
A big loop around Town Lake, beautiful scenery while getting a good workout. Runs alongside Zilker park. A good place for biking, running, walking, or taking the dog out for a nice run. Relatively easy hike.
- University of Texas Longhorns
Austin is a university town and Texas sports are taken very seriously. Home of the 2005-06 National Football Champions. UT also has strong basketball and baseball teams, in particular.
- Professional sports
No major professional sports team plays within the city limits (at least until 2021); four minor-league teams, plus one top-level team in a minor US sport, play in the suburbs. The H-E-B Center, in the suburb of Cedar Park, is home to and teams. In basketball, the play in the NBA G League, serving as a farm team for the San Antonio Spurs. In hockey, the play in the American Hockey League as the top affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. The , a team affiliated with the Texas Rangers, play at Dell Diamond in another suburb, , in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. In soccer, the city has been home to two separate teams in the league now known as the USL Championship. The first, the Austin Aztex, folded after troubles securing a new stadium site; the second, , began play in the USLC in 2019 at a new stadium on the grounds of the Circuit of the Americas. Bold FC is a prelude to an even bigger soccer developmentâ€”the arrival of in Major League Soccer. That team is preparing to break ground on a new stadium in northwest Austin, and is set to begin play in 2021. Finally, in , competes in Major League Rugby, the top level of that sport in the US; that team shares Dell Diamond with the Express.
- Formula 1
Formula 1 has added Austin to its series of races. A must see for auto enthusiasts, the COTA also hosts other racing events such as Moto GP; it hosted a round of the Australian Supercars series in 2013, though that race didn’t return. The complex also houses the soccer stadium used by Austin Bold FC.
Austin TX Festivals
- Lunar New Year Festival
- ABC Kite Festival
March. The oldest continuous kite festival in the USA. Hundreds of kites will dance in the sky the first Sunday in March (10AM to 5PM). Admission is free. Everyone is welcome whether they fly a kite or just enjoy the spectacle that must be seen to be believed. Kite flying demonstrations will be held all day and delicious food of all kinds will be prepared fresh at the event. See kite ballet, kite battles, kite buggies and giant kites over 50 feet long. Come compete in both youth and adult kite contests with your homemade kite. Trophies are awarded to the winners. Proceeds from vendor sales go to break the cycle of child abuse. Free parking and shuttles. Come on down to Zilker Park and enjoy “Kite Day”. Zilker Park is at 2200 Barton Springs Road. Rain date is the following Sunday.
- Austin Chocolate Festival
March. The festival will include up to 20 vendors including chocolatiers, bakeries, patisseries, restaurants, hotels, caterers, authors, and resorts. The participating vendors will offer samples to festival guests. Guests will also enjoy and participate in chocolate competitions and demonstrations. It was founded in 2006 and benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Tickets for the Austin Chocolate Festival are available for purchase online in advance at the festival website. For more information, volunteer, vendor or sponsorship opportunities please visit the website.
- South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival
March. Beginning before and overlapping the SXSW Music Festival. SXSW Film is a significant industry conference, but also hosts many film screenings.
- South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival
March. Spotlighting cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, SXSWi features five days of presentations and workshops, networking events and special programs.
- South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival
March. One of the biggest music festivals in the United States, with more than 1,400 performers playing dozens of venues around Austin for four days. The wrist bands are loved by college students here, but be warned that you’ll be turned away at the door at many of the venues even with one. You can still get into some of the larger venues without a wristband if you’d simply like to sample a band or two and check out the atmosphere; you can usually pick one “official” venue where you think you’ll like all the bands, and then go early and pay the cover. Hardcore music fans usually make a week long calendar and plan to arrive at different venues for different acts.
- Wildflower Center Art and Artisans Festival
March. The annual Wildflower Days celebration begins with the Art and Artisans Festival devoted to arts, crafts and nature. This early spring event features the work of local artists and artisans, all working with a nature theme. You will find watercolors, metalwork, pottery, jewelry, photography, woodwork and more, all lovingly made by hand. Highlights include children’s activities in the Little House as well as book signings and special discounts at the store. Then, add some leisure to your arts – dine on tasty cuisine at the Wildflower Cafe and enjoy entertainment provided by local musicians.
- Texas Round-Up & Street Festival
April. The Texas Round-Up 10K, 5K and Family Mile is held annually in Austin on the last Saturday in April. Race weekend begins with a health and fitness expo showcasing vendors and sponsors. The race is followed by a fitness festival where families can enjoy live music, food, fitness demonstrations and family-friendly activities. Many participants spend months training for Texas Round-Up, and for several participants, the Texas Round-Up is their first race, making the events a very special accomplishment and a true celebration of healthy living.
- Dragon Boat Festival
April. Running since 1999 with growing participation and attendance; held centrally on Town Lake. In addition to the friendly, competitive races, the festival will include many other cultural exhibitions, vendors, and kids activities. Free admission to the public.
- Eeyore’s Birthday Party
April. Held on the last Saturday of every April to ring in spring, there are few things that seem so “Austin” as Eeyore’s Birthday Party. It is a unique event: a free-form hang-out of several thousand people. sitting, walking, playing music, beating drums, eating, drinking beer, playing games. Be yourself. there are families, dogs, tattoos, costumes, hotties, hippies, gay, straight, black, white, brown, red, tan. and a statue of Eeyore dressed like the Statue of Liberty. The drum circle is massive and the beat vibrates throughout the central city. It ends when the sun goes down and everyone leaves peacefully.
- Moontower Comedy Festival
April. Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival brings to Austin some of the funniest, wittiest and oddest world-class comics from around the globe. This marathon of side-splitting nights throughout the city is slated to bring over 60 comedians doing everything from stand-up and sketch to improv and musical comedy. National headliners, up-and-comer and local Austin-based comedians ensure that there are options for every type of comedy fan, from die-hards to those just looking for a fun night.
- Old Pecan Street Festival
May & September. East Sixth Street (formerly Pecan Street) from Congress to IH-35 and adjacent streets are closed to traffic to host over 240 arts, crafts and other vendors. Several music stages offer live music.
- Austin Food + Wine Festival
April. A uniquely Austin 3-day Texas wine celebration – rain or shine! Wineries from Lampasas to New Braunfels and Fredericksburg to Dripping Springs have bloomed from a pioneering few, into an internationally awarded and recognized wine region. The number 2 wine destination in the nation, second only to Napa! Together they have created the annual Austin Wine Festival, the first of its kind in Texas.
- Austin Gay Pride
September. Austin’s single largest LGBT event includes a festival at Fiesta Gardens park and a parade that goes through the Warehouse District.
- Austin Bamboo Festival
August. Zilker Botanical Garden. This annual event features tours of the Taniguchi Japanese Garden, traditional dances, bamboo crafts and flute music.
- Austin City Limits Festival
October. An annual six-day (two weekends of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) outdoor music festival. It brings together more than 130 bands on eight stages, including rock, country, folk, indie, Americana, hip-hop, reggae, and bluegrass, and attracts a crowd of about 65,000 music-lovers each day. A great mix of big names and local acts, but be prepared to deal with the heat.
- Texas Book Festival
October. Has reached national prominence, in part due to support from Honorary Chairperson Laura Bush.
- Austin Film Festival
October. Conference and film showings.
- Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off
November. The annual vegetarian cook-off began in 1989. Its mission is to show a healthy lifestyle can be as familiar as traditional, homemade chili â€“ and a lot more fun! All of the chili is purely vegan (no animal products). The cook-off is open to all entrants. It is open to the public for tasting and mingling; admission enables you to taste all the different chili (and includes zoo entrance fee)! There will be lots of chili to taste, lots of interesting people to meet, guest speakers, great door prizes, live music, and many educational booths and exhibits. Half of the proceeds benefit the Austin Zoo, a rescue zoo providing sanctuary to displaced animals.
- Austin Jewish Film Festival
Takes place annually in January, presenting a cinematic examination of Jewish life and culture
- Cine Las Americas International Film Festival
Takes place in April, presenting the best in Latino and Indigenous cinema. The Festival presents approximately 100 films with screenings in theaters throughout Austin
- All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival
Takes place annually in September. aGLIFF (formerly the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival) is the oldest and largest gay & lesbian film festival in the Southwest and one of the Top 5 Film Festivals of its kind in the nation
- Austin Bicycle Film Festival
Takes place annually in September. The Bicycle Film Festival is a celebration of bicycles through film, art and music
- Austin Asian American Film Festival
Takes place annually. An innovative Asian/Asian-American film festival committed to celebrating the best in independent Asian cinema from around the globe. The festival highlights the complexity and vitality of Asian/Asian-American communities through cutting-edge narrative, documentary and experimental films.
Austin Radio Stations
- 89.5 KMFA
- 90.5 KUT
- 91.7 KOOP
- 93.3 KGSR
- 93.7 KLBJ
- 94.7 KAMX
- 96.7 Kiss
- 98.9 KUTX
- 99.7 KLBJ
- 101.5 KROX
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