What to Pack for a Trip to Austin?

Highlights and What to Pack for a Trip to Austin, Texas

Austin is booming, both as a place to live for the tech community and as a tourist destination worth the effort to pack for.

Millions of people visit each year. Some go for the SXSW festival, others for the music, food, and culture. Whether you visit Austin as a stand-alone trip or take it in as part of a tour of Texas, this guide is for you. You’ll find the best activities – along with an essential packing guide – on this page.

What I love best about Austin is that each visit uncovers more hidden gems.

Highlights of Austin, Texas

#1 – The Music and Bars of 6th Street

Downtown Austin is famous for live music venues, restaurants, and bars. While SXSW is the big-name festival, this is one of many music events throughout the year. Big venues combine outdoor stages with bars. All are within walking distance, covering handful of blocks based around 6th street.

Highlights include rooftop bars, where you can watch the action below. Weekends can see 6th street super-crowded, with the party continuing to the early hours.

6th Street Bars Austin

#2 – The Bats of the Congress Avenue Bridge

It is a quirk in the design of the Congress Avenue bridge which attracted bats. They live in tiny crevasses, nesting during the day.

At dusk, the bats appear, swarming over the river in spectacular swirls and patterns. This has become a major tourist attraction. People head to the bridge before dusk, getting a spot against the rail. Others gather in a park below.

While there are no guarantees that the bats will swarm every night, it is worth the wait for when they do.

#3 – The State Capitol Building

This is an active government building and a historical monument in one. You can wander the exquisitely groomed gardens, then head inside (though a security post) to see hundreds of years of Texan History.

You won’t need to travel far. Like all the attractions in Austin, it is within easy reach of the hotels of the business district and downtown.

Bat Bridge Austin

#4 – Activities on the River

Next to the Colorado river is a green belt park which spans 3 miles. There are multiple activities on the river to enjoy during the day. You can rent a boat, or even a rubber tube and paddle yourself along. For those that prefer to stay dry, take a boat trip or the combined boat / bus called the Duck.

For more excitement paddleboards are available. You can enjoy a zip line too. When the weather gets hot in the summer months, the river is a great way to cool off.

#5 – Bars and Restaurants at Rainey Street

Cool bars, varied restaurants and a party vibe can be found in the Rainey Street district. There are food trucks – many with unique themes and food options.

A highlight of Texas, including Austin, are the barbeque joints. You can choose meats, sides and sauces and sit outside to enjoy a feast like no other.

What to Pack for a Trip to Austin?

The weather in Austin is varied, with super-hot and humid summers and cool, fresh winters. Here is what makes my must-pack list:

  • Party Wear: Whether you are young enough to enjoy the clubs, or simply want to look your best when you hit a fancy restaurant, some elegant clothes will help you get the best from that famous Austin nightlife.
  • Sunscreen: Texas sun can be intense. Make sure you are covered with high SPF cream before you enjoy a day out by the river, or in the beautiful green park next to it.
  • Comfortable Shoes: Everything is in walking distance in Austin, which is a huge plus. Some comfortable shoes will get you from the bars to the museums and restaurants without sore feet.
  • What’s on Guide: Don’t miss out on the best bands by making sure you check a what’s on guide in advance. I also recommend hitting up Open Table in advance to book tables at the best (super-popular) restaurants.
  • Headache Remedies: It is hard not to overindulge in the culture capital of Texas. Pack some rehydration supplements, some pain killers and your favourite vitamins and minerals. I’m sure you won’t need them, but, you know, just in case!

Comfortable Shoes, Austin Style

 

Pack for Austin – Wrapping Up: The Tip of the Austin Iceberg

One visit to Austin is enough to convince me that it will not be my last. There are so many amazing venues, friendly locals and as much culture as you could wish for.

A final tip. If you are visiting during SXSW or any other big festival, get your accommodation booked as soon as possible – those events get super busy.

 

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