Welcome to the first stop in BCD Meetings & Events, "Re-Imagine: Event Destinations," series: Austin, Texas!
In this series, we're sharing travel guides of prominent cities to consider as destinations for your next major event. Here, we're taking you on a tour of the Lone Star State's capital, complete with tips and insights from a BCD M&E local. In our Austin, Texas travel guide, you'll discover where to go for the best BBQ, how to fit in with the locals and the one thing you must pack for the trip!
Re-Imagine: Austin for your next event
Austin, Texas has evolved into a melting pot mecca of innovative thinkers, frontiersmen, hippies, music “scenesters”, and corporate connoisseurs. The Texas state capital has morphed itself into a new meeting and incentive “hot spot,” while simultaneously holding on to its’ eclectic, small town feel. Once known mainly for its prestigious title as the “live music capital of the world,” travelers are now experiencing exponentially more! Unique shops, champion grade golfing, inspiring cuisine, world-renowned events, and state-of-the-art, innovative meeting space fill the city limits.
Best time to go
Weather: 70s-80s°F (20s-30s°C)
Where to stay
The Driskill is a legendary landmark settled in the heart of downtown Austin. Opened in 1886 by cattle baron Jesse Driskill, the hotel exemplifies historical elegance and has deep roots that truly portray “old-school” Austin. Notable figures like President Johnson were seen staying at The Driskill whenever they made their way to Austin, Texas. Whether you’re dining at the signature Driskill Grill or winding down in a one-of-a-kind eclectic suite, the aura of “old school” Austin awaits.
The Fairmont Austin opened its doors in the beginning of 2018 and truly depicts the essence of “new school” Austin. Located directly in the Central Business District, this 37-story hotel is perfect for high capacity business coming to Austin. With 1,048 guest rooms, 140,000 square feet of meeting and event space and connection to the Austin Convention Center, the Fairmont is destined to open a tremendous amount of opportunity for downtown Austin!
What to do
- Plan a Street Festival of Your Own
Host your own, personal Austin Street Festival at the city's one-of-a-kind event venue, Fair Market. Implement the best of Austin with food trucks, live music, pop-up bars, line dancing lessons and creative festival games for your guests to enjoy. This event is sure to portray the famous, "Keep Austin Weird," environment that the city embraces!
Enjoy the flavors that have been long known in Austin as you take a day in the city’s scenic Hill Country. Start the experience with mouthwatering BBQ at Salt Lick. Continue the trip with a journey to two of the top wineries in Central Texas. With Texas being the 5th largest wine producer in the United States, the wine tastings in Hill Country will create a timeless Austin experience.
Meet our Austin expert
Get to know: Linda Elliot, Web Developer at BCD Meetings and Events
Years working in the meetings and events industry: 4+
Linda's Austin Travel Tips
One meal or dish we must have while in Austin
The Tex Mex is amazing (Chuy’s) or the chipped beef BBQ (The Salt Lick, which serves homestyle). I know that’s two, but you cannot miss either! (Vegetarians see Threadgills!), oh and Kerby Lane Café (on Kerby Lane) for breakfast burritos or blueberry pancakes.
Tips for traveling like a local in Austin
Shorts, sandals, and water bottle. We are very casual-I’ve seen shorts at the Austin Opera. Our “business casual” includes jeans and cowboy boots, dressing up means you are not from around here.
Top 3 things we must see or do in Austin
- The South Congress Bridge bat colony
- The Pecan Street Festival or sunset at the Oasis (since the festival is not year-round)
- SoCo District (South Congress) “oozes homespun character and boasts the story of Austin’s yesteryear in its boutiques, eateries, galleries and music venues”, and if it’s too hot for SoCo, a swim at Barton Springs
Surreal spots or views that take your breath away in Austin
The bridge on loop 360 is pretty and the drive on 2222 to get there is lovely; the view from Mount Bonnell is gorgeous; taking 1431 out to Marble Falls is a great drive (stop at the BlueBonnet Café for pie); the botanical gardens at Zilker Park.
Day trips or ancillary trips we should take if we have extended time in the area?
Texas Hill Country/LBJ ranch near Johnson City, on the way to shopping/wine tours in Fredericksburg; San Antonio Riverwalk and the Alamo; if you drive out to Marble Falls, swing by Hamilton Pool on the way back.
One thing we need in our suitcase when traveling to Austin
Sunscreen and a little fan (the kind that folds up). It’s hot here, but worth it.
Download our complete Austin travel guide