Thinking about moving to the epicenter of Austin, or did you just land? Either way, here are the best things to do right off the bat.
Moving to Downtown Austin
Home to a vibrant art scene, robust food culture, and 250 music venues, the capital city of Texas holds seemingly limitless options for entertainment and fun. Austin is a college town with an exceptional nightlife, beautiful outdoor attractions, and unparralled history around every corner. Moving to Downtown Austin assures excitement and leisure. Whichever area you choose in Austin, whether it be the growing and trendy East Side, the quieter suburbs on the West Side, or the hip SoCo neighborhood, Downtown Austin will be sure to tug your heartstrings.
Austin is a melting pot, offering the best of laidback Texan culture in an environment that is open and friendly to all. Keep in mind that Austin is a city with subpar public transportation options, so it’s ideal to own a car. Like most southern cities, Austin is spread out and sprawling. Before you pack the moving van, consider packing a new car if you’re moving from a city where you didn’t need one before.
Because Austin is home to The Univeristy of Texas, it attracts droves of young people. That said, college students aren’t the only ones who can appreciate low living costs and affordable housing options. It’s important for anyone to know how far a paycheck can stretch, so take comfort in the fact that Austin is one of the most affordable of cities its size. Austinites pride themselves on their unique culture, popularized by the phrase, “Keep Austin Weird”.
Booze and Barbecue
To kick off your boozy escapades in your new city, visit Austin’s Warehouse District for a hip feel. The Warehouse District features renovated antique warehouses that now boast neighborhood bars and restaurants. Encompassing half of Downtown Austin, the Warehouse District hosts a diverse range of live music, eateries, and world-class attractions.
After settling in, get familiar with the 2nd Street Shopping District. This district of downtown holds more than 50 locally-owned specialty stores and restaurants in the heart of the city. Visit TRACE, a restaurant specializing in organic eats with a sophisticated ambiance and generous happy hour. Wherever you go around Downtown Austin, live music can be found in virtually every open venue. Ease your way through Austin’s music scene with Beerland, the Carousel Lounge, and Cheer-Up Charlie’s to get you started.
Head over to 6th Street for a mix of high-end bars suited for young professionals. Just west find hipster havens and to the east, entertainment spots for every taste. Be sure to make your way over to the historic Driskill Hotel. Here you will find killer cocktails and live music almost every night. Built in 1886 and located in the heart of downtown, the gorgeous restored architecture is reminiscent of classic Texan grandeur. Along the 6th Street strip, visit Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar and make a stop by Easy Tiger for specialty breads, cookies, made in-house meats, and over 30 local beers on tap. In order to become a true Austinite, accept barbecue as a means to live. Austin boasts some of the country’s best barbecue spots as a substantial point of pride for the city. Lamberts, Freedmen’s, and La Barbecue top the charts for mouth-watering meats. Each spot offer its own unique, meaty superstar and a range of outdoor and indoor dining options.
Free Sights and Sounds
Every Austinite transplant should take the time to view the firework show over Lady Bird Lake or Lake Austin from a tiny boat and head to the gorgeous natural swimming grotto at Hamilton Pool. For more free must-sees, take a free guided tour of the Texas state legislature located on 10th and Congress or pick up a brochure on the first floor for a self-guided tour. The pink-granite building is the largest of all state capitol buildings and is second in size only to the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Hop over to the newly remodeled Texas Governor’s Mansion for free 20 minute guided tours during the week. However, keep in mind that reservations must be made at least a week in advance to allow for background checks. Visit the People’s Gallery at Austin City Hall and gander at the displays crafted by local artists. The Austin City Hall atrium holds an extensive art exhibition with nearly 150 contemporary works on display. The exhibit is open and free to the public with brochures located on the second floor of the lobby.
For a truly unique experience, the Alamo Drafthouse is an Austin staple. Cold beer, one-of-a-kind eats, and the latest flicks all under one roof. Voted the best movie theater in the nation and across the globe, the Alamo Drafthouse provides an exceptional experience for movie lovers and beer lover alike. The drafthouse takes you back a century; simply write down your order using the paper and pen provided on the table in front of you. During the pre-show, your waiter will greet you and go over your order. During the feature you are free to order food and brews as often as you like by simply writing down another order and then clipping your piece of paper to the front of the table as a flag for your waiter.
There’s no question that moving to Austin will have you feeling proud to be a Texan. Be sure to adventure to each of these places, but know that there is a hidden gem around every corner. With endless opportunities to endulge in the food, art and history scenes, you will never get tired of keeping it weird.