Kick off your short getaway in Austin with a leisurely stroll around the University of Texas campus. Spend some time inside the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, a massive marble structure honoring the man who took over the presidency following the assassination of JFK. Walk east past Texas Memorial Museum, where a huge Texas pterosaur – the largest flying creature ever found – swoops down from the ceiling. Continue east past the elegant bronze, three-tiered Little Memorial Fountain, then north through the oak tree-lined canopy to the Beaux Arts clock tower. Climb the staircase to the stone balustrade for a dramatic view of the eastern campus.
Start: LBJ Library and Museum
As hunger pangs kick in, take a quick taxi ride to Güero’s on South Congress Avenue. Faded brick walls provide a homey vibe for relaxing with a plate of pork tortillas, deliciously flavored with onions and coriander. After lunch browse the funky folk art shops, art galleries and bargain boutiques that line South Congress, before heading back to your Austin hotel.
Start: Güero’s, South Congress Avenue
A night of Austin music beckons. First take a short taxi ride to Central Austin for Threadgill’s for a heaped plate of chicken-fried steak, black-eyed peas and garlic-cheese grits. Then it’s back in the taxi, and down to the legendary Continental Club in SoCo for a rocking night of live music. You might even hear the hottest band of tomorrow.
Start: Threadgill’s, North Lamar
Start your day at the University of Texas by choosing one of Austin’s finest museums. Marvel at the Blanton Museum of Art’s impressive Renaissance collection, or head across the street to feel the high-speed whoosh of the great Galveston hurricane inside the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, a treat for kids and adults.
Start: University of Texas, North Congress Avenue
If the weather’s nice, head out to the Salt Lick in Driftwood, south of Austin, for some of the sauciest barbecue in Texas. Bring along some cold beer, grab a picnic table and have barbecued meats served right out of the pit. If you want to stay in Austin, Artz Rib House serves up tasty plates of ribs and sausage. After lunch, walk off the calories while browsing the music, souvenir and clothing shops on Sixth Street, before heading back to your Austin hotel.
Start: The Salt Lick, Driftwood, or Artz Rib House, South Lamar
Round off an Austin short getaway with a sunset dinner and bat-watching cruise. Capital Cruises plies Town Lake, serving up fajitas, while waiting for the hundreds of bats that stream out in a fluttering black cloud from beneath the South Congress Avenue bridge.
Start: Hyatt Regency boat dock