Austin's pink-hued Capitol building
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Austin's pink-hued Capitol building

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Austin travel guide

A creative university city and techie hub, Austin boasts phenomenal festivals and a wanna-have outdoor lifestyle thanks to balmy temperatures and 300 days of annual sunshine. It’s no wonder Americans are moving here in droves.

Whether you’re a cowboy, tech wunderkind, musician or retiree, the booming state capital of Texas seems to be every American’s dream city. This is the place to launch a start-up, kick-start a musical career or unleash your inner artist.

Music is king in Austin, the self-proclaimed ‘Live music capital of the world’. Arrive on a weekday afternoon, and you’re welcomed with live music before you’ve even left the airport. Then there are the 250 or so venues across town, staging a smorgasbord of rock, jazz, honky tonk and everything in between. Don your Stetson and cowboy boots and giddy up to the Broken Spoke dance hall for country jamming or listen to good ole American tunes at The Continental Club, entertaining fans for half a century.

Austin’s festivals are epic. Biggies SXSW and Austin City Limits Music Festival draw the crowds and big-name artists from across the globe, while movie stars converge on the city for the Austin Film Festival. Comedy, kites, fashion and bats all get their moment in the spotlight too.

When it comes to shopping, Austin embraces its ‘go local’ motto. The South Congress Avenue shopping strip, a straight shot south from the State Capitol, features Austin’s most beloved independent clothing boutiques and antique stores. Head into the arty district of East Austin, which is crammed with galleries, cocktail bars, food trucks and taquerias.

Want to grab a slice of the outdoors? Pedal or jog the 16km (10-mile) Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake, which includes a 2.2km (1.4-mile) stretch of boardwalk across the water where you can spot kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders. Cool off in Barton Springs Pool, a spring-fed swimming spot spanning 1.2 hectares (3 acres) in Zilker Park.

Don’t be alarmed if you hear chants of ‘Hook ‘em Longhorns!’. Just join the University of Texas’ 50,000 students in cheering on their college football team, the Texas Longhorns.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.