Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Austin, Texas

Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:12pm EDT
 
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By Corrie MacLaggan

AUSTIN (Reuters) - In Austin, flip-flop-wearing University of Texas students mingle with coat-tie-and-boot-clad state lawmakers and technology workers in jeans.

The Lone Star State capital prides itself on its slacker vibe, but it's also the place where a college student named Michael Dell once started a computer business and where Whole Foods Market started and has its headquarters.

This fall, Austin will attract Formula One fans from around the world, who will descend on the new Circuit of the Americas racetrack southeast of town for a November Grand Prix.

The city that calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World hosts blowouts like the Austin City Limits Music Festival and the South by Southwest music, film and interactive conferences.

But the ideal way to experience Austin, where the best weather is in the spring and fall, is just to hang out. Somewhere between the barbecue and the exhilaratingly chilly waters of Barton Springs, you'll find bliss, even if you visit during a sizzling Texas summer.

FRIDAY

5 p.m. - Check in to your hotel. You could stay in the heart of hip South Congress Avenue at the zen-like Hotel San Jose, or in East Austin at the Heywood Hotel, a modern boutique hotel. Downtown options include the W Hotel (a new bronze statue of Willie Nelson is just steps from the front door) or the historic Driskill Hotel, built in 1886.

Grab a drink at or near your hotel: sangria at San Jose's poolside bar, or a cocktail at the W or Driskill bars. From the Heywood, grab a free loaner bike and ride to Hillside Farmacy, a recently restored 1950s pharmacy that offers afternoon tea and plates of cheese and marmalade.   Continued...

 
Cyclists pass beneath the downtown skyline on the hike and bike trail on Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas September 18, 2012. REUTERS/Julia Robinson