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USATourist News Magazine by Elizabeth Blair
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USATourist News Magazine

May 2009 - Austin, Texas

In this issue:

Welcome to the May issue of USATourist News Magazine. Austin, Texas is one of the most fun and entertaining cities in the United States. It is located about three hours south of Dallas and a little less than three hours west of Houston. If you're making a Texas road trip, this is one stop you must make.

Austin is a mix of cultures: hippies, tech geeks, college kids and just good ol' Texas folks. This eclectic group of people is what enhances the city and gives it such a diverse personality.

Bryan's Route

Here's the preliminary route that Bryan has planned.

New on USATourist

Before we learn about Austin, I'd like to tell you about a new feature on USATourist.com! On the Road with Bryan is a new Travel Blog. Follow Bryan as he travels up and down this great country from Los Angeles, CA to New York, NY. With a minimum of 3 months on the road, a small budget, minimal planning, a car and a tent, Bryan has set off on an adventure of a lifetime. While traveling he'll introduce us to the the people he meets along the way. He'll share stories of his triumphs and pitfalls as he travels following wherever his heart leads him. You can join in Bryan's adventure by following his blog here: (link removed). Join the USATourist Community and you can leave comments and questions for Bryan. Community Members can also post to our Travel Forums - a great resource for information sharing with your fellow travelers.

And now, on to Austin!

Blanton Museum

The Blanton Museum at UT Austin offers diverse programming and a broad range of displays.
ACVB Photo/2006 Emery Photography, Inc ©

A true college town with a great art scene

The University of Texas at Austin (UT) is what gives the city the "college town" nickname. The college spirit seems to rule the town, especially in the fall, when the town's competitive spirit comes to life during football season in support of UT's Texas Longhorns. The university goes beyond sports. It also offers quite a bit of culture, like Austin in general. The latest contribution is Blanton Museum with its inspiring collections, artist events, Blanton's signature Uncommon Commentary Acoustiguide Tour, yoga in the galleries, and the monthly B scene happy hour and of course occasional live music in the atrium.

While visiting the University of Texas, be sure to check out the dozens of mid- to late-twentieth-century sculptures scattered throughout the campus. The Metropolitan Museum of Art kindly loaned the university these pieces for the Landmarks public art program.

The Story of Texas

Austin is just one piece of the big Texas puzzle. Texas history can be sought at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in downtown. Three floors of interactive exhibits, the special effects show, The Star of Destiny, in the Texas Spirit Theater, and Austin's only IMAX Theatre, features Texas: The Big Picture. www.thestoryoftexas.com

One Fun City

As you may have heard, Austin's nightlife is fantastic - and that's why it's called the Live Music Capital of the World. Austin surpasses LA, Nashville and even New York City in having more live music locations per capita - over 200 venues. The most famous area is 6th Street which is lined with bars, clubs, and shops. Live music can be heard nightly here. The Warehouse District is a more sophisticated version of 6th Street. The area is filled with various trendy bars, sushi restaurants, cocktail lounges, wine bars and boutiques.

Austin Musician

No visit to Austin is complete without enjoying the music scene.
ACVB Photo/Andy Schrader ©

Great Eats

Texas is known for taking its food very seriously and it is true. Bar-b-que, steakhouses and Tex-Mex (Mexican with a Texas spin - known for margaritas and queso - a cheese dip with a kick) are just some of the great food options you'll find in this Texas city.

Tip: Many locations have outdoor patios which are nice when the weather is mild - which is often.

Looking for some good restaurant recommendations? Artz Rib House has a great reputation www.artzribhouse.com

If you want a really funky experience check out Shady Grove. www.theshadygrove.com

If you're not planning to travel to Austin for a while, consider visiting during the spring months. April and May are bursting with outdoor music and food festivals, such as: Art City Austin, Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival, Austin Reggae Festival, Austin Cinco de Mayo Music Festival, Old Pecan Street Spring Festival and Brew B Q (Beer and BBQ).

Other fun gatherings will be held later this year and are worth putting on the calendar, like the Ice Cream Festival and Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival in August and Salsa Festival in October.

Tip: If you're planning to head to Austin, Texas soon, be sure to price compare on our hotel reservation database. Don't forget that being flexible on your travel days can save you quite a bit of money when booking your hotel and airfare.

Where the adventurous go

The outskirts of Austin is called Texas Hill Country - a true outdoors man's paradise. There are plenty of golf courses while lakes inspire fishing, boating and swimming. Acres of lush land draw hikers and bikers to explore miles of paved paths or dirt trails. A specific spot is Barton Creek Greenbelt which has 7.8 miles of natural surface hiking and biking trails and the cool part: it's a habitat for several endangered wildlife and plant species.

Austin Overtures Sightseeing

Tour Austin + Hill Country in 90 minutes - Get your bearings during "Austin in 90 Minutes" - a 30-mile tour which allows visitors to experience "everything Austin" in just 90 minutes. This excellent tour introduces you to the spectacular magic of Austin's urban scene, "hip" shopping districts, live music, history, culture, outdoors, local art, Hill Country vistas and lakes. They have been providing tours since 2003. The company is locally owned and operated. Tour narration was developed by a 4th generation Texan who is a certified tour guide. The regular scheduled tours use Mercedes Benz tour vans. Austin Overtures Sightseeing

This is a great introduction to the city. I suggest taking it your first day on the town. It will certainly whet your appetite for more Austin.

Congress Avenue Bridge

People gather at dusk to watch the bats take flight from the Congress Avenue Bridge.
ACVB Photo ©

In the bat of any eye

You may have already heard about one of Austin's most spectacular natural attractions: the world's largest urban bat colony residing under the Congress Avenue Bridge. Every summer evening 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from beneath the bridge for their nightly feeding. The bats consume 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of insects every evening - a natural pesticide. This is a site to behold.

Special Travel Deals and Discounts

Dallas-Austin-Abiline Bike Tour - EagleRider has a great 3-day, 2-night Self-Drive Guided Motorcycle Tour of Dallas, Abilene, and Austin.

Check out StubHub.com for everything from Texas Longhorns Tickets to Austin City Limits Tickets.

Motel 6 has 8 locations in the Austin area.one of which has the new "remodeled remarkable" rooms with the new modern European style rooms that include a 32-inch flat-screen TV and multi-media panel with plug-ins for mp3 players, video game systems and laptop computers, plus Wi-Fi internet access. Click here now to see Special Promotions updated EVERYDAY from Motel 6!

Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington - Buy Tickets

Shop and Spa: NorthPark Center, Dallas - Shopping in Texas is as big and exciting as its rich cultural history. Chocolates, Shopping and a Spa Treatment!

Hill Country Magic Tour - The tour begins in Stonewall, Texas where you will visit the LBJ Ranch located on the Pedernales River. Trace the history of the Johnson family in the area, beginning with the establishment of the ranch in the 1860's. You will also see several displays explaining life in the Hill Country and the cattle business. There's even a chuckwagon and longhorn cattle.

Alamo Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour - For total flexibility, the Alamo Hop On Hop Off Trolley is the way to go! Discover the best of San Antonio at your own pace. The trolley stops at all of the best places to see and you are free to stop and browse at your leisure. When you're done, simply board the next trolley that comes along!

Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Dallas - Travel back in time to the days of valiant knights, dramatic horsemanship and dangerous swordplay. Watch in wonder as brave knights do battle to win the honor of the king and queen. Enjoy a hearty medieval banquet as you cheer on your favorite champion to victory. An exciting evening of quality family entertainment based upon the glory of the Middle Ages.

Find more Texas tours, activities and entertainment here: http://www.partner.viator.com/en/5156/search/texas

Six Flags Theme Parks - Buy Online Now!

Check out Weekly Hot Deals from FunJet Vacations!
Great deals on vacation packages from your city. Hurry, limited time offers!

Westin - Get the Guaranteed Best Rates at Westin hotels. Book now!

Big City Vacations Sale!
$50 off vacations to NYC, Chicago, San Francisco and many more. Book by 4/30. Promo code: CITY

Find the Ideal Bed and Breakfast Inn on BedandBreakfast.com

Thank you for reading USATourist News Magazine. If you have any questions or would like to share your travel stories, be sure to stop by our USATourist forums. http://www.facebook.com/usatourist

Happy and Safe Travels!

Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair


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