Austin City Guide

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Visiting Austin

Whether you prefer pedaling among high-rise buildings of downtown, clocking fast miles on a paved veloway, exploring a gravel trail along the lake or cruising separated bike paths alongside creeks and streams, Austin’s trail system beckons. The city may be best known for its network of single-track mountain biking and off-road running trails along Barton Creek, but it’s quickly making strides with its urban trails, too.

Accordion

The most prominent, the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, circles Lady Bird Lake in the heart of downtown. On blue sky days, tourists, commuters, runners and locals, many of them with leashed dogs in tow, flock to this wide path.

Highlights? Exercise stations, quaint wooden bridges, scenic pullouts, views of logs stacked with turtles, access to Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool, and, best of all, a 1.4-mile stretch of over-the-water boardwalk, with railings decorated with bronzed belts engraved with the lyrics of songs written by beloved musicians.

Stray a few blocks from that bike and pedestrian thoroughfare, and you can hop on the cross-town Lance Armstrong Bikeway, zip north on the Shoal Creek Trail, or head east on the Southern Walnut Creek Trail, a separated-from-motor traffic paved path that spans 10 miles and offers access to one of the local YMCAs.

Austin prides itself on its weirdness, and you can get a glimpse of that via its trails. Keep an eye out for colorful murals (the famous I Love You So Much mural adorns a coffee shop on South Congress, just a few blocks south of the Butler Trail), a larger than life statue of musician Stevie Ray Vaughan gazes over passers by at Vic Mathias Shores, and plenty of bars, restaurants and coffee shops make perfect stopping points along the way. You might even encounter the Downtown Cowboy, who occasionally moseys through the city on horseback. (We’re not kidding.)

The twisty Veloway in South Austin caters to cyclists and roller skaters who don’t want to tangle with traffic, and it’s adjacent to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, where visitors can learn about local flora and explore acres of gardens planted with native species.

Other trails and mixed-use paths provide quick, functional ways for cyclists to link trips to grocery stores (don’t miss the flagship Whole Foods store at Lamar Boulevard and Fifth Street downtown), shopping areas like South Congress Avenue and recreation hubs including Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool.

Planning your visit

weather

Weather

With temperatures that can rise above 100 degrees, it’s best to avoid the summer months and plan your visit for late fall or early spring. March and April are ideal, and as a bonus that’s when wildflowers bloom, so cyclists and hikers get rewarded with fields of bluebonnets or Indian paintbrushes. Freezes are rare and don’t last long, so even a winter visit can be pleasant.

transport

Public Transportation

Fly into Austin Bergstrom International Airport. Capitol Metro provides bus service and limited rail service. Buses are equipped with racks to carry bicycles and they are allowed on rail cars. Ride sharing services including Uber and Lyft are available. Car2Go offers car sharing and Austin B-cycle operates a low-cost bike share system.

bicycle

Biking Tips

Cyclists must stop at traffic lights. Cyclists are allowed on sidewalks except on a stretch of Guadalupe Street alongside the University of Texas campus known as The Drag, and in the core of downtown that includes Congress Avenue.

bicycle

Bike-Share Program

Austin’s bike-sharing program is B-Cycle, offering 24/7 availability to bicycles throughout the city’s downtown. Visitors can purchase a 3-day Weekender Pass online (austinbcycle.com) or 24-hour access at any B-Cycle station, both good for unlimited checkouts of up to 60 minutes during the purchased period.

transport

Getting There

If flying, you’ll arrive at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), about 6 miles from downtown. From there, the MetroAirport bus (capmetro.org/airport) is a low-cost way to reach the city center. If coming by train, the Austin Amtrak station (250 North Lamar Blvd.) is located close to downtown.

Travel Resources

Check out these helpful websites for planning your travel in Austin.

Self-Guided Tours

Things to see and do in Austin

W Austin

200 Lavaca Street, TX, Austin,
www.whotelaustin.com

Modern full-service hotel with bars and restaurant located in heart of Second Street entertainment district.

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W Austin

200 Lavaca Street, TX, Austin,
www.whotelaustin.com
Modern full-service hotel with bars and restaurant located in heart of Second Street entertainment district.

JW Marriott

110 E. Second Street , TX, Austin,
marriott.com

New downtown hotel and convention center.

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JW Marriott

110 E. Second Street , TX, Austin,
marriott.com
New downtown hotel and convention center.

Driskill Hotel

604 Brazos Street, TX, Austin,
thedriskill.hyatt.com

Historic downtown full-service hotel with bars and restaurant, located on Sixth Street, a popular entertainment district.

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Driskill Hotel

604 Brazos Street, TX, Austin,
thedriskill.hyatt.com
Historic downtown full-service hotel with bars and restaurant, located on Sixth Street, a popular entertainment district.

Guero's Taco Bar

1412 S. Congress Avenue, TX, Austin,
gueros.com

Interior Mexican food and margaritas located on bustling shopping strip.

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Guero's Taco Bar

1412 S. Congress Avenue, TX, Austin,
gueros.com
Interior Mexican food and margaritas located on bustling shopping strip.

Threadgill's World Headquarters

301 W. Riverside Drive, TX, Austin,
www.threadgills.com

Hometown southern food served up with a helping of Austin¿s vibrant music scene.

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Threadgill's World Headquarters

301 W. Riverside Drive, TX, Austin,
www.threadgills.com
Hometown southern food served up with a helping of Austin¿s vibrant music scene.

Chuy's

1728 Barton Springs Road, TX, Austin,
www.chuys.com

Traditional Tex-Mex restaurant located near Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool downtown.

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Chuy's

1728 Barton Springs Road, TX, Austin,
www.chuys.com
Traditional Tex-Mex restaurant located near Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool downtown.

The Peddler

5015 Duval Street , TX, Austin,
Www.peddlerbike.com

Home-grown bike shop located in Hyde Park area.

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The Peddler

5015 Duval Street , TX, Austin,
Www.peddlerbike.com
Home-grown bike shop located in Hyde Park area.

Bicycle Sport Shop

517 South Lamar Boulevard, TX, Austin,
www.bicyclesportshop.com

Downtown bike shop with service department and rentals.

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Bicycle Sport Shop

517 South Lamar Boulevard, TX, Austin,
www.bicyclesportshop.com
Downtown bike shop with service department and rentals.

Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop

400 Nueces Street, TX, Austin,
austin.mellowjohnnys.com

Lance Armstrong¿s downtown bike shop, featuring bikes, gear, a coffee shop and training center.

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Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop

400 Nueces Street, TX, Austin,
austin.mellowjohnnys.com
Lance Armstrong¿s downtown bike shop, featuring bikes, gear, a coffee shop and training center.

Texas Memorial Museum

2400 Trinity Street, TX, Austin,
www.tmm.utexas.edu

Museum on the University of Texas campus that includes exhibits on dinosaurs, fossils, gems and natural science.

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Texas Memorial Museum

2400 Trinity Street, TX, Austin,
www.tmm.utexas.edu
Museum on the University of Texas campus that includes exhibits on dinosaurs, fossils, gems and natural science.

Zilker Park

2100 Barton Springs Road, TX, Austin, 78704
zilker100.org

The city's largest and most popular park, featuring Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Hillside Theater, Great Lawn and more.

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Zilker Park

2100 Barton Springs Road, TX, Austin, 78704
zilker100.org

The city's largest and most popular park, featuring Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Hillside Theater, Great Lawn and more.

LBJ Presidential Library

2313 Red River Street, TX, Austin,
www.lbjlibrary.org

Features collections related to 36th president of the United States.

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LBJ Presidential Library

2313 Red River Street, TX, Austin,
www.lbjlibrary.org
Features collections related to 36th president of the United States.

Texas Capitol

1100 Congress Avenue, TX, Austin,
www.tspb.texas.gov

The seat of government for the state of Texas; free tours.

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Texas Capitol

1100 Congress Avenue, TX, Austin,
www.tspb.texas.gov
The seat of government for the state of Texas; free tours.

George Washington Carver Museum

1165 Angelina Street, TX, Austin,
austintexas.gov

Museum that honors city¿s African-American history; theater, dance studio and library.

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George Washington Carver Museum

1165 Angelina Street, TX, Austin,
austintexas.gov
Museum that honors city¿s African-American history; theater, dance studio and library.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

4801 La Crosse Avenue, TX, Austin,
www.wildflower.org

Display gardens and education center that highlight Lady Bird Johnson¿s influence on the environment.

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Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

4801 La Crosse Avenue, TX, Austin,
www.wildflower.org
Display gardens and education center that highlight Lady Bird Johnson¿s influence on the environment.

Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center

600 Red River Street, TX, Austin,
www.austintexas.gov

Offers classes, arts and education related to preservation of Mexican-American culture.

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Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center

600 Red River Street, TX, Austin,
www.austintexas.gov
Offers classes, arts and education related to preservation of Mexican-American culture.

French Legation Museum

802 San Marcos Street, TX, Austin,
frenchlegationmuseum.org

Oldest building in Austin; collections include objects belonging to Alphonse Dubois and Robertson families.

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French Legation Museum

802 San Marcos Street, TX, Austin,
frenchlegationmuseum.org
Oldest building in Austin; collections include objects belonging to Alphonse Dubois and Robertson families.

Deep Eddy Pool

401 Deep Eddy Avenue, TX, Austin,
austintexas.gov

Spring-fed swimming pool.

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Deep Eddy Pool

401 Deep Eddy Avenue, TX, Austin,
austintexas.gov
Spring-fed swimming pool.
Accordion

Veloway Trail

Texas - 3.1 miles

The Veloway Trail is a 3.1-mile, 23-foot-wide loop trail, paved, through a quiet and secluded area of the Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park on the...

Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail

Texas - 14.5 miles

The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, named for a former Austin mayor and his wife, is a natural gem in the heart of the Texas capital. The...

Shoal Creek Trail

Texas - 3.7 miles

Although located in the heart of Austin, the Shoal Creek Trail shelters trail-goers from the bustle of the city as it meanders along the creek under a...

Lance Armstrong Bikeway (Crosstown Greenway)

Texas - 4.6 miles

So far 4.6 miles of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway (Crosstown Bicycle Greenway) is complete, with additional sections planned. The trail, which is...

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