Austin might be the capital of one of the southernmost states, but the variety and blend of the culture creates an environment you might not expect. As the center and capital of Texas, expect Austin to be a beautiful melting pot.
Keep reading as we explore the location of Austin and some quick facts about the city. We also look at what each of Austin’s entertainment districts offers both visitors and residents on a rolling basis.
Where is Austin Located on the Map?
Austin is nestled in central Texas along the bank of the Colorado River. This is the southernmost state capital of the contiguous United States, and it sits south of Dallas, northwest of Houston, and northeast of San Antonio.
Austin is topped by the Balcones Escarpment on the Colorado River, and the Balcones Fault contributes to a flatter topography on the eastern part of the city.
The city is at the center of four major ecological regions, so the climate ranges from temperate weather to a hot green oasis. This contributes to a diverse ecological and biological population for millions of visitors to witness every year.
Quick Facts about Austin
Austin is much more than the capital of Texas. The city is one of the most populous in the United States, and it attracts quite a crowd.
Austin is also known for things like:
- A pleasant climate
- A wild live music scene
- Keeping all the sights within walking distance
- Diverse cultural experiences
These set the foundation for any trip to this central Texas metropolitan area.
Austin has plenty of people, and it ranks as the:
- 11th most populous city in the United States
- 4th most populous city in the United States
- 2nd most populous state capital
The city remains one of the fastest growing large cities in the United States with a population on the rise since 2010. The city has a population of over 961,000 residents, and it gets an average of 30 million visitors every year.
Dramatic Weather Changes
One thing to know about any city in Texas is that the weather rarely stays the same. You may hear the phrase “if you don’t like it, just wait 5 minutes”, and that might not be an exaggeration. The weather can easily lead from a sweaty afternoon to freezing temperatures.
Austin gets the effects of coastal weather and fallout from the Tornado Alley.
You still get the benefits of an average temperature around 78°F and over 300 days of sunshine. Just prepare to dress in layers, focusing on shorts, tanks, and lightweight jackets or cardigans.
The Live Music Scene
Austin hosts two of the largest music festivals in the United State (South by Southwest and Austin City Limits), but that is just where it starts.
The city is known for its eclectic music scene, attracting thousands of aspiring and on the rise musicians. You can expect a grand variety of genres out at venues, dive bars, coffee shops, and more.
While Austin has plenty of ridesharing providers and public transportation methods, you can expect pretty much everything to be within walking distance. While the city and surrounding areas are large, the sights and attractions are so dense you can fill a trip without venturing far.
Austin also has electric scooters all over the city that you can use to get a break from walking without relying on bus schedules or Uber availability, and they are the perfect solution for short distance travel.
Language and Culture
Austin definitely has a local language that might be hard to catch onto, but you can expect to hear plenty of “y’all”s. The city is a melting pot of culture, and you will find plenty of evidence through art and eateries.
Austin soaks in and encourages cultural output from all its residents. This manifests in beautiful murals, extensive museum collections, ethnic cuisines, and an all-around blended community.
Austin’s Entertainment Districts
There are a variety of regions in Austin, including cardinal entertainment districts. You could easily settle down in any of these areas and fill every minute of your time in the city.
Take a moment to explore the differences and major attractions of each area and figure out which spots are calling your name.
Central Austin is home to the University of Texas campus, so you can expect the surrounding area to be complementary to college culture. There are countless restaurants and dive bars.
The campus itself is a great place to visit and walk around, soaking up some of the history. The region is also home to the Harry Ransom Center (where you can see the first photograph and the Gutenberg Bible) and the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum.
Downtown Austin can be broken down into even small regions, including:
- 2nd Street for downtown shopping
- Rainey Street, where you will find houses converted to bungalow bars
- Red River and its rich night scene and concerts
- Sixth Street, which is closed Thursday through Saturday night and full of people
- The Warehouse District with antique warehouses converted into grunge bars
- West Sixth Street and it’s more upscale appearance, topped off with craft beers and indie stores
This is a more densely populated area, and your only problem with finding a place will be deciding which one to choose.
East Austin has some of the fastest growing neighborhoods, and it serves as a good middle ground between old and new cultures. You will have no trouble finding a place to grab some authentic Mexican snacks or stop by to listen to blues and soul.
They nest sixth Square into east Austin and hosts the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center.
For a more vibrant experience, travel to north Austin. This is where you will find plenty of outdoor shopping centers like the Arboretum.
This area also has a greater concentration of hotels, including:
- Aloft Hotel
- Archer Hotel
- Lone Star Court
You will find plenty of family friendly features tucked away here, including hiking and bike trails.
South Austin is full of older aspects, including:
This region is less crowded, but you can still run over to the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. for live shows and house brewed beers. The Long Center for the Performing Arts has acts ranging from operas to contemporary dancers.
For a nice breather in the city, stop in to lie on the grass at Zilker Park. For more greenery, consider the Zilker Botanical Garden.
West Austin gives you more of a local experience, and it is located close enough for a venture out to the Hill Country. You will find more nature oriented attractions here, such as:
- Dinner on the lake at The County Line on the Lake
- Star gazing at Oasis Restaurant
- Cafes and boutiques in the Clarksville Historic District
West Austin is also home to Lake Austin, the most accessible water feature in the city. Even residents love to come here to boat, ski, and fish.