Austin Convention Center
I wouldn't necessarily call this a Tourist Trap, but I wanted to put this tip under this title to make sure you do not waste all your time in Austin here. Although this is really an impressive building, you may spend more time walking around it then actually seeing the real town! This is just your run of a mill convention center, so go enjoy 6th St instead!
Unique Suggestions: http://www.austinconventioncenter.com/MainPage/index.htm
Fun Alternatives: 6th St, Zilker Park, Bob Bullock's Museum, etc.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
I had a hard time deciding to put this tip in a tourist trap, because it does support a good cause, but...
The LBJ Wildflower Center is not much of an attraction. The landscape is pretty, but not that pretty. It has one magnificent garden, a few obviously man-made streams, and a few learning centers. I'll admit that it would probably be great for a 5th grade field trip, but it falls short on the entertainment and fun factor for adults. At $5 per person, I think there are many better options. Anyway, it does support nature and that is a definite positive.
Unique Suggestions: Bring lots of water, as everything is outside in the heat. Having kids would definitely bring the value of this place up. To me it targets a much younger audience.
Seasoned veteran tips on bars downtown
Go to 6th street if you are 22-23 and under. You will stick out like a sore thumb if you are over 30 on 6th street. In response to the other tip about the uncertainty of whether its true that you get free shots on your 21st birthday...Yes this is true.. be prepared to show your id, and be prepared for a very nasty night ;)
Warehouse district is for anyone over 23... these are the bars on 5th and 4th street mostly west of Congress. Drinks are slightly more expensive.. but at least your feet don't stick to the ground from the gallons of alcohol spilled in bars on 6th. The crowd is still young enough and attractive. I remember when I went to UT, we would go down to 4th and 5th whenever it was a big night or somehow one of us broke rich for the night. So you'll get a mix of college students who come for a more sophisticated night out... all the way up to people in there early 40s. Recently, there's been a growing number of trendy NYC style lounges, but you can still find your more typical down-to-earth Austin bars.
If you are older than 20 years old-maybe 6th street isn't for you, unless you like silly, immature girls who tend to barf all over themselves by 10 pm, dirty streets, mediocre bands and thugs. 5th street is far more trendy with better clubs and restaraunts.
Unique Suggestions: A walk down 6th street is okay-just to windowshop. Head to 5th for a true Austin experience.
The Oasis - Austin Texas
Somone will try to drag you here to watch the Sunset.
Overpriced drinks, bad food, and long drive.
Unique Suggestions: Enjoy the sunset.
Fun Alternatives: Go to Mt Bonnell instead. Then have a beer at dry creek saloon.
- Adventure Travel
- Food and Dining
The largest concentration of bars and music venues is located on 6th street.6th street has turned into a place for drunken 21 year olds to go and get boozed up and then either throw up on one another of fight.To make matters worse the local police are overzelous and a bit too aggressive against non-drunk folks.
Unique Suggestions: Go to 6th street on a Friday afternnon.There are some great music venues down there and some very nice bars but the later the evening gets the more crazy it gets.Sorta like a small scale Bourbon street.
Fun Alternatives: Get yourself an Austin Chronicle which is available at most any pub or mini mart.The entire back section lists the weeks music schedule as well as club telephone numbers and addresses.There are bars and music all over Austin so 6th street is not a must do if you dont wanna get involved with the madness it produces.
Mount Bonnell - so not worth it
Aside from the view (which wasn't even what you'd call spectacular) there's nothing to recommend about this so-called tourist attraction. The path to the top is not lighted up, the top isn't even lit well and the area stinks!
Unique Suggestions: In its favor there's no entrance fee and there's ample parking. Be sure though to bring a bottle of water and prepare your body for the climb to the top. Those stairs can kill you!
- Hiking and Walking
i know it's been mentioned, but really... 6th street is just a lot of bars that a lot of fraternity/sorority girls think is the bees knees.
it's a lot of underaged kids and just turned 21 girls and boys pushing their way through bachelorette parties.
if you want to get a drink, and enjoy yourself... go up or down a few street numbers... or just go somewhere else completely.
Unique Suggestions: don't forget yoru credit cards. a lot of places will charge you "18%" or similar if you leave a tab open and come back the next day.
Fun Alternatives: hole in the wall, ego's, trophy's... there's plenty o' places that are far more enjoyable.
- Budget Travel
- School Holidays
Guadalupe Blvd close to UT
There are a lot of clothings stores on Guadalupe Avenue adjacent to the university. A number of these stores remind me of urban outfitters. They sell retro semi-recycled clothing. There is also a skater/ surf shop.
This area was ok to look around in but I can't see myself buying anything.
However, the UT co-op was a cool store. They have UT everything under the sun.
There are tons of homeless young people hanging out around there. (Gutter punk type)
Unique Suggestions: If you love to go shopping, I don't think you will be so thrilled with these stores. At least I wasn't.
Fun Alternatives: South Congress shopping is a little more interesting. There is a crazy costume store, boutiques, boot shop, and a thrift store. While I was shopping around I found a real Channel bag in good condition for $80!
However, the shops on South Congress are very expensive. (As all boutiques are.)
- Luxury Travel
- Women's Travel
The capitol in Austin is absolutely gorgeous. You can tell that Texas has spent a lot of money restoring it. It is like a palace!
I reccomend that everyone see it. It doesn't take too long. You are free to walk around or go with a tour. Its free too. They also have some good literature with pictures in the lobby.
The only thing I can say that might annoy some people are the kids there. Be prepared to share the building with a bunch of young kids on a field trip.
Unique Suggestions: GO!
Fun Alternatives: Make sure that you walk around the grounds too. A lot of the buildings are behind the capitol. The capitol is lovely, and the grounds are too.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
Hard Rock rip off
Don't go to the Hard Rock Cafe! It's too overpriced and it doesn't give Austin justice. Honestly, I got dragged in there for dinner one night and spent $20 for a cheeseburger and a beer w/ the tip. It doesn't match Austin's laid-back atmosphere and it's stand against corporate take over and it's sad that it's polluting 6th street. Besides once you've seen one, you've seen them all!
Unique Suggestions: Go and have a look, but don't spend your money!
Fun Alternatives: If you want a good hamburger go down the street to Hut's.
If you are over the age of 23,...
If you are over the age of 23, avoid 6th street. You will be annoyed with it. If you are between 18 and 21, then 6th street is a blast. I recommend hitting it on your 21st birthday because rumor has it that every bar will give you a free shot. I don't know if this is actually true, but it's worth a shot (NO PUN INTENDED!!!!!).
The Oasis, above Lake Travis,...
The Oasis, above Lake Travis, is a major tourist trap, but it is still worth going to if you want to sit high above the lake at sunset and have a drink. The food is really bad, although a friend tells me that the appetizers have improved. Go well before sunset to get a seat near the edge of the patio.
6th street is GREAT
Just wanted to be more specific on 6th street to counteract what the other people have said....There is east and west 6th street. The east side is a little more...trashy--where you will find the younger crowd...the west side is nicer and you will find older people--who havent just turned 21 years old. 6th street is NOT overrated and is NOT a waste of time...the only reason it would be a waste of time is if you don't drink...in that case, go there in the afternoon for lunch, its still (to me) fun to drive through/walk/and sit at a table outside and people watch...