Austin: The Place for Art, History, and Overall Well Being
One of the first things people think of when they hear Austin, Texas is an active music scene with live performances all year round.
That’s how it got its name as the Live Music Capital of the World. The city embraces art and creativity, making it more than a music hub. It has become a center for dance, history, fine arts, and so much more.
Every style of music can be found in Austin, from punk rock to country. Be sure to check out The Broken Spoke, the “last true Texas Dance Hall” and the best place to take in the top country acts.
Stop by the Continental Club for blues, rock, and folk. The venue has been showcasing acts since 1957 and is known as the “Granddaddy of Austin music venues.”
Everywhere you turn in Austin, you will stumble upon a world-class museum. Blanton offers the nation’s largest university-owned exhibit. The Harry Ransom Center features the first photograph and Gutenberg Bible. Museums and other venues like the Contemporary at the Jones Center offer a look at the local art scene, featuring top Austin painters and sculptors.
Austin is also the home of prolific writers, filmmakers, and other creative individuals expressing themselves in their favorite media. The strong arts presence demonstrates how diverse Austin is, displaying examples of the different cultures that have come together and influenced the area.
Besides an impressive art and music scene, Austin also boasts a healthy athletic side. Cycling is a popular sport, making it one of the top-rated bicycling cities in the country. The Ironman 70.3 Austin Triathlon is just one of many cycling events one can encounter.
The topography of the area alone makes it a great place for cycling enthusiasts to test their skill, with many hills and open-road courses for any level. And while you ride, take in the beautiful scenery along the way. Try Barton Creek Green Belt for mountain biking or Rocky Hill and Pace Bend for a more scenic tour.
There’s also a three-mile course in South Austin called the Veloway, a hot spot for cyclists, rollerbladers, and skaters alike. Stop by Lance Armstrong’s bike shop while you are there.
If cycling isn’t your thing, but running is, the Austin Marathon attracts 20,000 runners from all over the globe. The area also is home to stand-up paddle boarding, water-biking, and canoeing.
It has many trails for hiking like the 10-mile Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. With so many outdoor sports and activities, it’s no wonder Austin is one of the fittest cities in America.
Foodies also love Austin. The Austin Food and Wine Festival draws food lovers and chefs from across the nation, giving them a platform to experience and showcase innovations in cuisine. Try The Clay Pit Indian Restaurant, an eatery housed in a Victorian feed store.
Of course you can’t go to Texas without trying authentic Tex-Mex. Güero’s Taco Bar, another restaurant established in a historic building, also provides some of the best margaritas around. In addition to food, Austin offers visitors a unique shopping experience, with one-of-a-kind specialty boutiques in its retail areas like 2nd Street District.
For history lovers, stop by the Texas State Capitol building or the Bullock Texas State History Museum that shares the “Story of Texas” by way of special effects shows and exciting interactive exhibits.
Don’t forget to check out Barton Springs, an outdoor recreational pool in the heart of the town that was first discovered by Spanish explorers in the 17th century. Today it is filled with water from nearby natural springs.
For more history, head over to the William Sidney Porter House, also known as O. Henry. The late 1800s dwelling offers not only a museum but an annual O. Henry pun off every May, with fans lining up to celebrate the author with as many puns as they can come up with.
With all that creativity, history, and outdoor activity, a visit to Austin can transform both your mind and body for the better.