Austin is the capital of the Lone Star State not just in name, but also in terms of entertainment. There are so many things to do that you’re sure to find one that suits your interest. If you are the outdoors type, Town Lake and Zilker Park provide easy access to scenic hike and bike trails, canoeing up the Colorado River, the 3-acre Barton Springs Pool (fed from natural springs for a fantastic year-round temperature of 68 degrees), the Zilker Botanical Gardens, and the Zilker Hillside Theater live music venue.
Austin is widely known as the Live Music Capital of the World, and regardless of whether you are taking in a concert on 6th street or studying on campus, you are sure to catch a good tune. On a similar note, Austin is full of talented artists, so enjoy browsing markets of handmade arts, such as the Renaissance Market just off campusEven if you come prepared with a list of things to see, unexpected and equally interesting events are sure to pop up around you by chance.
Visit Austin’s official visitor’s site to find your niche in one of the country’s most diverse and exciting cities: http://www.austintexas.org/
Museums and the Arts
Not to be outdone are the many world-class museums available to Austinites. Check out the Blanton Museum of Art's exhibits and grab a cup of coffee in its new cafe. Then head to LBJ Library and Museum for an engaging lesson in US Civic History before spending an afternoon perusing the collections on display in the Harry Ransom Center. Other popular museum's include, but are not limited to, Austin Museum of Art, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, or the Mexic-arte Museum.
The University of Texas is located in downtown Austin, in the heart of all the city’s excitement. Taking advantage of the city’s and university’s bus systems (both free for students), you can always get to where the action is.
BUS: Download a map of the CapMetro and UT Shuttle bus systems here.
METRO: Visit the CapMetro website: http://www.capmetro.org/riding/schedulesandmaps.asp
BIKE: You can rent a bike for as little as $10 a day at Waterloo Cycles a few blocks from campus: http://waterloocycles.com/
Although the official Austin visitors' site has a great guide to the city's eclectic collection of restaurants, the best (and cheapest) eats around campus are also some of the best-kept secrets! Taking advantage of the above transportation options, make your way over to the Warehouse District for some sushi at Kenichi or some high-end surf-and-turf at Truluck’s. On Saturday night, don’t let the façade fool you, the food-carts around town offer some fantastic culinary options for everyone from the fast-food fanatic to the gourmet foodie in all of us. Austin offers way more than Tex-Mex, but don’t count it out: get your tortilla fix at El Mercado or head to East Sixth street for some authentic Mexican fare. Whether you’re a native Texan or a newbie, you’ll love the Texas-style barbeque offered at Ruby’s, just north of campus, or The Green Mesquite. Asking around for advice on places to treat your palate (or places to avoid unless you have an iron-cast stomach) is a regular practice, but here is a UT student's guide to some of the best tried and true places to get a good dish without having to dish out too much dough.