Austin

The Dryftwell Guide to

Austin

Introduction

Austin is funky, vibrant and weird….and it’s loved for that. One of the best parts though, is how many awesome things it packs into a small city. Even if you only have a few days to explore this one-of-a-kind place, you can eat your heart out, go line dancing, window shop, and even fit in a hike or two. There's actually a shocking amount of lush, beautiful greenspace around the city, making it an outdoor lovers dream. You could easily fill your time in Austin with swimming, paddle boarding, hiking, and outdoor dining. And of course, if you're up to it, you can relive your college spring break days by drinking your days away by the pool and bar hopping around the city. But no matter what you decide to do in Austin, the country music will be playing so you better enjoy it and start learning two-step.

When to go

Spring 

Most locals will quickly identify spring as the best season in Austin. The energy is buzzing in the air. Everyone is so happy in the spring -- time to hit the pool, dine outside with friends and chat about which shows folks are going to for SXSW. The only curveball in the spring is the weather; thunderstorms can be unpredictable and unrelenting as rain and lightning can pop up in a moment's notice. If you’re ok with rolling with the punches for the weather, spring could be the ideal season to visit Austin. 

Summer 

Summer in Austin is hot and steamy. Walking outside quite literally feels like walking into a sauna. It’s consistently 100+ degrees with high humidity. And even though the locals often gripe about the relentless summer weather, Austin actually makes for the perfect summer getaway for  many folks. It’s perfect for hiking and swimming, pool parties are in full swing, and everyone is outside at night. Life is good during an Austin, TX summer. Just make sure you don’t want to spend a ton of time outside midday (unless you’re in or near a body of water) and you’re ready to drink a lot of water and margaritas. Oh, and pack shorts and tank tops -- you won’t need anything else. Except maybe SPF 50+. 

Fall

Fall in Austin feels like the forgotten stepchild of seasons. Locals love the spring, but the fall has a very similar climate as well. Temperatures are cooling and usually Austin City Limits (not in 2020 though) happens bringing thousands of people from around the world to listen to some of the greatest and most popular musicians from around the globe. If you want a low-key Austin experience, fall is the best time to see the city shine in its full glory. 

Winter

Austin has a humid subtropical climate -- which means winters are super short. It’s actually kind of embarrassing to refer to them as winters. On the coldest days in winter, it can dip into the 50s. And that’s chilly for Austinites! So life keeps on in the winter. Fewer people enjoy outdoor dining, but that’s really the only lifestyle change during this season. Austin puts up Christmas lights in Zilker Park every year that are gorgeous. It’s a fun way to get into the holiday spirit since we don’t have snow or freezing temps. 

Neighborhoods

East Austin

East Austin is the most happening part of the city. Its youthful and carefree vibe makes it such a fun area to live and stay in. It's perfect if you're looking to make the most of your time in Austin by eating tacos, drinking beer and dancing the night away to country music. Lazarus is a local favorite for tacos and live music. You're also close to Town Lake, the lake downtown, so can go kayaking or run around the water.  

Cherrywood

Cherrywood is this quaint tree-lined neighborhood just east of UT. It’s the perfect neighborhood if you have a family or a larger group. Check out Airbnb for the best lodging options for this neighborhood. Start your mornings by walking over to Thunderbird Coffee on Manor. And end your days with a delish italian meal at Patrizis, a food truck within an outdoor music venue. 

South Congress

South Congress is the heart of “Old Austin.”  It’s hippie and wild -- yeehaw! And has amazing window shopping. Get your stetson hat or a new pair of cowboy boots at Allens Boots for a unique souvenir from Texas. Hop between shopping and enjoying a fresh cocktail on an outdoor patio at Perlas. If you walk to the end of South Congress, grab a taco at the original Torchy’s taco and pro trip: order from the secret menu, it’s incredible. 

Map

Transportation

Driving / Parking

Texans love their cars! Most folks in Austin do own a car. It’ll make your trip a lot easier to zip around the different neighborhoods with a rental car. But if you want to go carless, that’s totally possible too. Just plan on budgeting money for a few Lyfts around town especially in the summer months when you don’t want to be walking outside much. Parking around Austin is easy -- lots of spaces and most of it is free except for downtown. 

Public Transit 

Buses are your friend in Austin. They’re really the only public transit option to get around the main areas of the city. The buses are very clean and frequent, especially the ones in downtown. Also scooters are everywhere in Austin and people either love them or hate them. Hop on if you’re willing to take the gamble -- but watch out, there are a lot of potholes in Austin! 

Biking / Walking

The smaller size of Austin makes it a fairly walkable city. But the heat during the hotter months makes it impossible to get around by foot. You’ll be able to easily walk around specific neighborhoods like East Austin or South Congress. But unless you want to crush your number of steps while on your trip, you’ll probably want to drive, take a bus or Lyft between neighborhoods.