While going to the University of Texas at Austin, I fell in love with the memorable city. With its live music, quirky culture, finger-licking good BBQ, and beautiful outdoor spaces, the city was an ideal place to come into adulthood.
Austin has grown tremendously since I lived there, but the morning breakfast tacos, Salt Lick BBQ, kayaking on Lady Bird Lake, and wanderings in Hill Country are still there for me. The mix of new businesses and nostalgic spots makes return trips all the more fun for me. Here’s how to experience the best of Austin in three days.
Humidity, which is the worst in summer and fall, will be one of your few weather concerns.
If you only have time for one thing, make it going to see live music.
The greenbelts in and around Austin are beautiful, and Barton Creek Greenbelt—crowned by a spring-fed pool—is a city favorite. Nearby is Chuy's, a quirky Tex-Mex restaurant perfect for refueling.
Lake Travis is a short distance from the city and a favorite place to relax. Great for paddling, cruising, or unwinding, you'll see how the setting inspired Christopher Cross's 1979 song "Sailing." Alternatively, spend the first half of the day exploring Austin’s incredible food scene.
Later in the day, head to Lady Bird Lake to hike, bike, or catch the city skyline at sunset from the boardwalk (part of the Ann and Roy Butler trail). If you’re visiting March-November, you may even get to see Austin’s famous bats.
Austin lies in Texas Hill Country, where bluebonnets cover rolling hills in the spring and delicious food and drink abound all year long. Spend half a day tubing down the San Marcos River (if it’s summer), strolling through Dripping Springs, feasting on Salt Lick BBQ, and sampling wine in Driftwood or Marble Falls.
Every night in Austin is a live music night. Return to town to enjoy honky-tonk, alternative country, indie rock, or lounge. You'll find iconic venues across the city, but South Congress, Sixth Street, and Rainey Street offer the best variety of nightlife options.