3 days in Austin

Oct 14th, 2009, 01:00 PM
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3 days in Austin

Going to be in Austin for 3 days (M, T, W) at the end of October..... Want to really experience the "Austin Experience." Never been before.... coming in from Boston with my girlfriend.... Want to eat good food, bike around the lake, walk around UT, see the bats, walk around So. Congress and 6th Street and take in some good live music shows..... How far is it really from the University to the downtown area? Trying to guage how hard it would be to get to the downtown sites and possibly staying nearer the campus or Lake. Any ideas or suggestions on great Austin restaurants and experiences?? How about good hotels?? Might be interested in a B&B.... don't need to stay in a 4-star....

Any ideas would be helpful and appreciated


Jim2003 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2009, 03:14 PM
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stay in downtown. Hilton Austin is a good hotel, accessible to a lot of places, short cab ride to others. Homewood suites on San Jacinto isn't bad either.
maria_so is offline  
Oct 14th, 2009, 05:45 PM
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You're coming at the end of "bat season", so you might not get great bat viewing. You can call the Bat Hotline (512-416-5700, ext 3636) to get updates on the bats.
longhorn55 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2009, 06:51 PM
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Jim2003, Are you bringing your bike? Austin is pretty bike friendly and you should be able to get around the downtown area and UT campus easily on a bike. If you haven't been to Austin before, you may be confusing the bodies of water there. There is a hike and bike trail around Town Lake aka Lady Bird Johnson Lake, that is very popular, but it is actually the Colorado River, not a lake. There is also Lake Travis, where lots of posters here talk about going for sunsets, sailing etc. You might want to look for an Austin city map. If you want the whole Austin experience, you'll want to check out Barton Springs Road for good local food, a great park and wonderful spring fed swimming pool. And look at some of the posts and trip reports here for music and restaurant ideas. Have a great trip!
saige is offline  
Oct 14th, 2009, 07:58 PM
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Hi Jim, I just got back from a few days in Austin, and I decided if I were to go again I would use Priceline. There are loads of hotels right downtown and I think this would be a great city for a hotel bargain. Check out betterbidding.com for an idea of what people are bidding.
You'll want to check out Sixth Street, especially if you are young! Lots & lots of bars and lots of live music. We went to Emo's for a great show. They get a lot of really good bands, but it is a dive so be prepared if you go.
My husband rented a bike from Mellow Johnny's and hooked up with a group to to take a ride. The coffee place in the store makes a killer cappacino. Have fun.
Suki is online now  
Oct 15th, 2009, 05:24 PM
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Great advice from all!! Thanks.... anything else out there?
Jim2003 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2009, 09:13 AM
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Jim2003 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2009, 09:56 AM
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Try to get tix to a show on 6th Street called Esther's Follies. You will spend 2 hours laughing your butt off. If you are over 30 the bars in the Warehouse District will be more to your liking than 6th St. The Warehouse District is on 4th Street and it's east of Congress Ave. Ask anyone in town where it is.

I agree it's best to stay downtown, preferably north of the river. The University isn't terribly far from downtown but depending on where you are, it might be too far to walk. But that's OK, there are a gazillion buses. Ask anyone at your hotel for help but if you get lost call 512-474-1200 for bus info.

At the south end of the Campus you will find the Bob Bullock Musuem and the Blanton Art Museum. On campus you will find the Ransom Center, which is a small but free museum. Among other things the Ransom Center has an original Gutenburg Bible and the oldest photo in the world. For a fantastic view of the city go up to the observation deck of the UT Tower. And of course I recommend seeing the majestic TX State Capitol. The last I heard tours are still free.

If you will have a car here's an Austin fave:


This is a restaurant on a pier over the lake. It's a cross between TexMex and Polynesian food. Yes that's a strange combination. They have killer mango margaritas. I only go there when the weather is nice and you can sit outside, so pick a sunny day.

I'm sure I'll think of more later so I'll post back.
P_M is offline  
Oct 16th, 2009, 10:36 AM
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I haven't read all the posts, so I may be duplicating, but we did a fun tour with Capitol Cruises and got to see the bats. The view from Mt. Bonnell is great. We loved the botanical gardens. Also love Hula Hut and the Oasis; the Oasis has great views of Lake Travis, lots of decks on the side of the cliff - good spot for a drink at sunset and sometimes they have live music.
volcanogirl is offline  
Oct 16th, 2009, 10:36 AM
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you guys are all awesome!!
Jim2003 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2009, 10:55 AM
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Oasis is a great suggestion if you have a car. If not it's way too far for walking or biking, and it is an expensive cab ride. There are no buses or public transport to the Oasis. But if you have wheels then definitely go there.

If you stay just south of the river (meaning South Congress area) that's OK too, it's just a little farther from the entertainment such as 6th St and the Warehouse District. If you don't want to walk at night it's a cheap cab ride downtown. It's also little farther from the campus but still doable by bus.
P_M is offline  
Oct 16th, 2009, 11:12 AM
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In agreement with all the posts. Would add some recs for hotels - Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inn are together around 4th Street just a couple of blocks off Congress Ave. Very nice, pretty new hotels. Hilton is also there and is a great hotel,tho more expensive. Hampton Inn is also a lesser priced choice. Just south of the river on Congress is a Hyatt and an Embassy Suites. Obviously all of these hotels are close to 6th St. Tons of restauarants all over the area.To give you some perspective on distances the UT campus area is just north of MLK (19th Street), so you are in walking distance. State Capitol is just north of 12th. Town Lake would be where the numbering system starts so any of these hotels are no more than 5 blocks from your biking/walking area around the lake.
LarryRGV is offline  
Oct 16th, 2009, 01:22 PM
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I've heard good things about this B&B, south of the river:
It is certainly in a wonderful 'hood! And it's a few blocks from the So Congress area. See my post here for some other live music ideas:
Best bat viewing I ever had was halloween weekend a few years ago, so it's not over yet. Don't really recommend 6th street unless you just want to get really drunk, or be around people who are. There are a few good music places there, but mostly crap. Hard to be more specific without knowing whether you'll have a car -- it's Texas, we love our cars! Many bus lines don't run very late outside of the downtown area so you'd need to be within walking/bike riding distance of your hotel. Or cab. We also have a lot of pedicabs around downtown, which is easy if you are tired and don't want to walk downtown.
RondaTravels is offline  
Oct 16th, 2009, 01:42 PM
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I'm from Houston; I can't quite wrap my head around not having a car - lol.
volcanogirl is offline  
Oct 16th, 2009, 07:30 PM
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Larry - thanks again for all of your insight.... we won't be hitting SPI this trip - Only coming in for 5 days but I am very interested in getting there soon now.... thanks again to all Fodorites as well
Jim2003 is offline  
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