If you’re looking to spend a long weekend away from home this summer, consider heading down and hanging out for a few days in Austin, Texas. Despite its home in the Lone Star State, Austin, on the Colorado River, is all about the arts. It’s also got a thriving night life, top notch food and one of the country’s best festivals. Of course, you won’t be able to do everything in three days, but unlike seeing New York or Paris, you won’t leave feeling you’ve only just scratched the surface.
Austin is full of food trucks and trailers, as well as conventional restaurants, with lots of organic choices. The New York Times recommends a trip to Gourdough’s, in a trailer on South 1st Street. Specifically, try the Mother Clucker: fried chicken strips on a giant glazed doughnut covered with honey butter. For dinner, try the Noble Pig in the north part of the city, which took the top honors for Best Catfish Sandwich this year, from the Austin Chronicle.
Once the sun sets, there’s even more to do. Head to a live taping of Austin City Limits for some live country or to the Broken Spoke for dancing. To know what’s going on any night, head to 6street.com for live music listings.
In addition to the Austin Museum of Art, the Blanton Museum of Art and the MexicArte Museum, Austin is full of galleries, some of which are rather out of the ordinary. Roadhouse Relics is a collection of vintage style neon signs, made from scratch by Todd Sanders.
Texas may be all about oil, but Austin provides lots of green ways to get from A to B. A one way ticket on Capital Metro, the city’s bus service, costs just $.75- making it one of the cheapest public transportation systems in the country. You can check out a bike from Austin’s Yellow Bike Project, and ride down the 4.6 completed miles of the Lance Armstrong Bicycle Highway, which is still being built.
The best time to head to Austin is definitely in early March, when South by Southwest comes to town. Among the best American festivals, SXSW is actually a collection of festivals, including music, film and the newly added SXSW Eco, held in October.