Austin is awesome. Where the heart of rock & roll beats, keep company with bands like Spoon, Roky Erikson, Okkervil River and Ghostland Observatory in a scene hotter than the Texas heat. And W Austin is right in the middle of it, fronting the stylish, sophisticated set in the city’s most happening neighborhood, the 2ND Street District.
What’s that sound? Why, you don’t have to go too far to find out—you’re next door to Austin City Limits, the legendary home to some of the most storied rock performances. Or step out into the world-renowned live music capital of the world, where independent rock, punk, garage, New Wave, Tex-Mex, Americana, alternative and progressive genres mash up on stages all around, culminating in the annual South by Southwest festival, one of the most important events in entertainment. But there’s a lot more playing around here than just music. The 2ND Street District energy sends good vibrations around the clock—immerse in the rhythm of more than 50 specialty boutiques, dining destinations and nightlife hot spots in the country, almost all locally owned.
After partying with the in crowd, get out to make a splash at Lady Bird Johnson Lake, circled by the Hike and Bike Trail. Whether you’re kayaking, rowing, running, biking or strolling, you can’t stop the music—the lake also hosts the Austin City Limits festival, one of the major music events of the year, as well as the Austin Reggae Festival, Spamarama, and many more open-air concerts. Then do it all over again at Zilker Park, home to the Barton Springs Pool, Botanical Gardens, Science & Nature Center, a miniature train and a disc golf course. On Lake Travis, sail off into the sunset where you can sip a cocktail against yet another one of the city’s spectacular settings.
“Keep Austin Weird” all the time. Take flight just a few blocks from the Congress Avenue Bridge and visit North America’s largest urban colony of Mexican free-tailed bats, with as many as 1.5 million critters in the summer when you can watch the dramatic sight of the bats streaming out at dusk—you’re not the only creatures of the night in town.
If the live wire in you is still sparking, do the Texas two-step to the Warehouse District for more restaurants and music. SoCo is a haven for retro boutiques and funky finds where shops open late for shopping, dining and music on the first Thursday of every month.