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I’ve spent birthdays celebrating friends and family on the iconic 6th Street, heard live music at Austin City Limits, and eaten some of the best barbecue spots in Central Texas. Yes, stay weird, Austin – you beautiful Texan unicorn.
In a city that prides itself on being at the top of music, arts, culture, inclusivity, and weirdness, there is no shortage of adventure and awe waiting for every type of traveler who chooses to stay in Austin and turn the corner into this vibrant region of the Lone Star State.
- TL;DR – Best Places to Stay in Austin, Texas
- Areas to Stay in Austin
- Where to Stay in Austin, TX
- 1. Downtown Austin: Best Area for First Timers/Tourists
- 2. East Austin: Best Area for Budget Travelers
- 3. Travis Heights: Best Place to Stay for Luxury Travel
- 4. Hyde Park: Best Place to Stay for Safety
- 5. Zilker: Best Place to Stay for Families
- 6. Sixth Street: Best Spot for Nightlife
- 7. East Cesar Chavez: Best Area for Culture & History
- 8. South Congress Avenue: Best Area for Shopping
- 9. Red River Cultural District: Best Area for Entertainment & Music
- 10. North Loop: Best Area for University Students
- What are top-rated tourist attractions in Austin?
- What are some outdoor activities to do in Austin?
- Where is the best shopping in Austin?
- What are the best neighborhoods to stay in Austin?
- What are some of the best hotels to stay in Austin?
TL;DR – Best Places to Stay in Austin, Texas
Whether you are budget-conscious, living for luxury, roughing it in the great outdoors, or traveling with your four-legged best friend, Austin is home to several of Texas’s best hotels, hostels, and rentals. Here is a list of the best accommodations and places to stay in Austin.
- Luxury Hotel – Four Seasons Hotel Austin
- Mid-Range Hotel – Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown/Convention Center
- Budget Hotel – Firehouse Hostel
- Vacation Rental Option – This Downtown Loft on East 6th Street
- Camping Option in Austin – McKinney Falls State Park
- Pet-Friendly Hotel in Austin – Hotel Van Zandt
Areas to Stay in Austin
Austin is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 11th-largest city in the United States. With a steadily growing population, it is quickly becoming a hot spot in Travis County.
For travelers and tourists looking to stay in Austin, the area has many neighborhoods to choose from when visiting. Downtown, East Austin, South Congress, Zilker, Red River Culture District, and 6th Street are among the best neighborhoods to stay in Austin.
- Area for first-timers/tourists – Downtown Austin
- Area for budget travelers – East Austin
- Area for luxury travelers – Travis Heights
- Area for safety – Hyde Park
- Area for families – Zilker
- Area for nightlife – Sixth Street
- Area for culture/history – East Cesar Chavez
- Area for shopping – SoCo
- Area for entertainment & music – Red River Cultural District
- Area for University of Texas students – North Loop
Where to Stay in Austin, TX
1. Downtown Austin: Best Area for First Timers/Tourists
Downtown Austin is centrally located in the city and is considered the epicenter of all that is Austin. Whether it’s the middle of the day or the middle of the night, there is always an adventure around the corner in one of the best places to stay in Austin.
During the day, visitors can check out the numerous museums, art galleries, local food trucks, tourist attractions, and historic landmarks. At night, the city becomes a blur of bars, live music, and festivities. A bustling spot in the heart of the city, Downtown Austin is an open book waiting to be explored.
Guests can experience the history of the Texas capital by walking through the doors of the many historical museums including the Bob Bullock Museum of Texas History. View the historic late 19th-century Texas State Capitol Building and explore the surrounding historical landmarks including the Texas African American History Memorial. Those with a keen eye for the arts can check out the Blanton Museum of Art, The Contemporary Austin, or the Mexic-Arte Museum in Downtown Austin.
Downtown Austin is also home to dozens of music venues, giving Austin its title as the live music capital of the world. Some iconic venues include Austin City Limits Live, Nutty Brown Amphitheater, Broken Spoke, and Little Longhorn Saloon. Other notable places of interest Downtown include the Paramount Theatre, Frost Bank Tower, the Willie Nelson statue, and Austin City Hall.
When considering where to lay your head down after a busy day in Austin, downtown hotels of note include the Firehouse Hostel, Fairmont Austin, Hilton Garden Inn, and JW Marriott Austin.
Fairmont Austin is a 1,048-room, 37-story hotel located in the Convention Center District. Its central location makes it ideal for tourists who want to stay close to the Austin scene.
The hotel offers five restaurants, a spa, a fitness center, and a heated swimming pool. A step above Fairmont is one of the best luxury hotels — JW Marriott.
The JW Marriott is the largest JW in the United States and hosts the most spacious rooms in the city. Located on 2nd Street, JW features a rooftop retreat with private cabanas, skyline views, and a rooftop pool.
For those visiting Austin on a budget, the Firehouse Hostel is available from $47 to $140 a night. The historic hotel is located in the oldest standing fire station in Austin and offers a hidden lounge with a speakeasy feel.
So, no matter what the vibe, style, or budget, the Downtown District is hands down the best area for first-timers visiting Austin. Here, tourists can get a feel for the vibrant city in one fell swoop as it truly captures the heart and soul of Austin. Here are a few of our favorite things to see in Downtown Austin:
- Texas State Capitol Building
- Bob Bullock Museum of Texas History
- Lady Bird Lake
- Austin Children’s Museum
- ACL Live at the Moody Theater
- SFC Farmers’ Market
- Street Art Tour
- Budget Hostel in Downtown Austin: Firehouse Hostel
- Mid-Range Hotel in Downtown Austin – Hilton Garden Inn
- Luxury Hotel in Downtown Austin: JW Marriott Austin
- Vacation Rental Option in Downtown Austin: This Downtown Austin Remodeled Historic Home
- Pet-Friendly Hotel in Downtown Austin: Hotel Van Zandt
See Related: Things to Do in Houston, Texas
2. East Austin: Best Area for Budget Travelers
Often considered one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in Austin, East Austin is known for its eclectic spirit throughout its trendy shops, bustling restaurants, unique vibe, and fun culture. It is close enough to Austin Downtown but doesn’t boast a high price tag, which makes it one of the best areas to stay in Austin for those traveling on a budget.
East Austin has grown into a hot spot destination over the years. Previously thought of as the rough part of town, it has transformed into a location for great food, music, entertainment, and cool tourist attractions. This part of town is home to one of the last remaining drive-ins.
The Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In first opened in 2011. The location offers limited concessions, but ordering your food or bringing a home-cooked meal is a good way to save money at this theatre.
The live music scene in East Austin is also alive with 10 different top venues, including the Historic Scoot Inn, which is known as the oldest bar in Central Texas.
East Austin is also home to several quirky museums and historical museums with minimal or no entry fees, including The Museum of Natural and Artificial Emphemerata, which is entirely dedicated to unconventional oddities like Marilyn Monroe’s lipstick-stained cigarette butt.
On the culinary side, East Austin offers a haven of cheap but delicious food trucks and gastro pubs offering everything from Asian delights, BBQ, Burgers, Cajun, and Creole to French, Mexican, Southern, and vegan options.
East Austin is a haven for weirdos, counter-culture fans, and kids on a budget, making it the perfect place to soak up Austin’s weirdness without breaking the bank. Visitors to East Austin can also stay in one of the best hotels in the area on a small budget.
The East Austin Hotel is a locally owned boutique hotel on East 6th Street with great amenities, a delicious onsite restaurant, free breakfast, and an outdoor pool. The Native Hostel is another great choice. This luxury hostel is the first of its kind, combining the feel of a luxury hotel with the typical hostel budget. Be sure to add the following spots to your East Austin itinerary:
- George Washington Carver Museum
- Pangea Lounge
- White Horse Saloon
- Austin Bouldering Project
- Sparky Pocket Park
- Austin Eats Food Tour
- Colorado River Wildlife Sanctuary
- Canopy Austin
- East Austin Murals
- Budget Hostel in East Austin: Native Hostel
- Mid-Range Hotel in East Austin: East Austin Hotel
- Luxury Hotel in East Austin: Arrive Austin
- Vacation Rental Option in East Austin: This Hidden Gem in East Downtown Austin
- Best Campsite near East Austin: McKinney Falls State Park
3. Travis Heights: Best Place to Stay for Luxury Travel
Travis Heights is one of the most beloved neighborhoods in Austin. Sitting between Austin Downtown and South Austin, this location is a prime spot for those wanting to stay in Austin with a laid-back vibe and all the luxury amenities. It is also a hotspot for business travelers.
Location-wise, Travis Heights residents are in the central home base of Austin. It is within walking distance of the South Congress Avenue strip with local shops, dining, and live music. In the other direction is Town Lake, home to many outdoor activities.
While Travis Heights is one of the most affluent Austin neighborhoods to stay in Austin when it comes to luxury entertainment, dining, and activities, there isn’t just one location that stands out, but several.
Some of the best luxury activities to test out in Austin include racing at one of the fastest Formula One racetracks this side of the Atlantic: the Circuit of the Americas. Here, visitors can get behind the wheel of an Audi RS 3. Sure it’s a fair bit slower than an F1 car, but it’s much safer and far more comfortable! If F1 isn’t your jam, there are also NASCAR and motorcycle events that take place here too.
If a birds-eye view is on the itinerary, try out a helicopter tour with Helo Austin, but if you’d rather trade in rest for adrenaline, the Texas Wine Trail has an Access ATX VIP option that stops at 52 Texas wineries.
After a long day spent in the city or hill country, indulge in luxury culinary feats at some of the city’s best restaurants. Uchi Austin is home to James Bears award winner Tyson Cole. He serves up deliciously-crafted Asian food with a Japanese flair.
Uchi offers a 10-course om sake menu. Jeffrey’s of Austin is another staple for fine dining. This steakhouse features a 42-ounce Beeman Family Ranch porterhouse, Gulf fried oysters, and an extensive caviar menu.
After dinner, return to one of the most popular luxury hotels in the area. Most hotels are within a two-mile radius of Travis Heights, ranging from South Congress to Downtown. Two best options near Travis Heights and Downtown include the Four Seasons Hotel and the Travis Heights Modern I vacation rental.
Located on San Jacinto Blvd., Four Seasons embodies luxury. The stunning rooms and suites offer lakeside views, a flat-screen TV, free parking, a swimming pool, a state-of-the-art spa and fitness center, and in-room dining. For those with larger families, the Travis Heights Modern I is one of the best vacation homes in Austin, Texas. Some of our favorite must-see attractions in Travis Heights include:
- Circuit of the Americas
- The Contemporary Austin -Jones Center
- Uchi Austin
- Travis Heights Art Trail
- Austin Boardwalk
- Budget Stay in Travis Heights: Aiden by Best Western @ Austin City Hotel
- Mid-Range Hotel in Travis Heights: Kimber Modern
- Luxury Hotel in Travis Heights: Four Seasons Hotel Austin
- Vacation Rental Option in Travis Heights: This Travis Heights modern vacation home
See Related: Best Things to Do in San Antonio, Texas
4. Hyde Park: Best Place to Stay for Safety
Hyde Park is a residential area tucked away behind tree-lined streets, bordering the North Loop neighborhood. As an inclusive and up-and-coming location lined with coffee shops, gyms, ice cream parlors, museums, and markets, it is one of the most enjoyable and safest places to stay in Austin. Visitors can enjoy time outside the hustle and bustle of Austin’s busy city limits.
Austin’s Hyde Park is discovered best by bike or foot. It’s easy to find an Austin Bike Tour that guides cyclists around city streets, showcasing the best landmarks, restaurants, and shops.
The Flightpath Coffeehouse is one of the oldest coffee houses in Austin. It is often frequented by college students and artists for its tranquility. Hyde Park Theatre is an arts center and hidden treasure full of actors, producers, writers, and artists.
Down the street is Hyde Park Market, a local shop with a quirky spin. Be sure to stop in The Flag Store, which sells a mix-and-match six-pack, desserts, cigars, flags, and snacks.
Yet another museum in an Austin neighborhood, the Elisabet Ney Museum, is housed in the former studio of sculptor Elisabet Ney. It showcases her life and work.
Noteworthy hotels around Hyde Park include the five-star Commodore Perry Estate, Origin Hotel Austin, and Moxy Austin University. Although technically located on Red River Street, Commodore Perry Estate is a European-style resort tucked away behind 10 acres in Hyde Park.
The hotel offers many luxury experiences, including Mansion Wine Wednesdays, botanical drawing, and chef-prepared picnics on the grounds. To recap, our favorite spots in Hyde Park include:
- Elisabet Ney Museum
- Flightpath Coffeehouse
- Vino Vino
- Hyde Park Theatre
- Hyde Park Market
- Capital Plaza Shopping Center
- West Lake Beach
- Walking Tours
- Budget Hotel in Hyde Park: Moxy Austin University
- Mid-Range Hotel in Hyde Park: Origin Hotel Austin
- Luxury Hotel in Hyde Park: Commodore Perry Estate
- Vacation Rental Option in Hyde Park: This Hyde Park Historic District Apartment
5. Zilker: Best Place to Stay for Families
Zilker is a neighborhood Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, families with small children, and nature lovers. Often referred to as the “jewel in the heart of Austin,” it is a 351-acre park with natural spring-fed swimming pools, miles of hiking trails, and the famous Lady Bird Lake. Zilker Park boasts an unbeatable view of the Austin skyline day and night, and this is why it is known as one of the best places to stay in Austin for families and nature lovers.
You’ll have to spend 99 percent of the day outdoors to get the most out of Zilker. Zilker Park is situated along the banks of the Colorado River and is home to just about every type of outdoor activity.
It also hosts some of the best major live music festivals that tourists from around the world experience, including ACL, ABC Kite Festival, and the Trail of Lights – three major Austin celebrations.
The park also holds playgrounds, picnic spots, volleyball, and a hike and bike trail. The Botanical Gardens and Sculpture Gardens are two can’t-miss sights with fossilized dinosaur tracks to explore, a Japanese garden, and many outdoor exhibits.
Aside from being able to run amuck safely outdoors, Zilker is also one of the best places for children because of its educational tourist attractions. The Austin Nature and Science Center allows children to play in the sand and dig up fossils. Another fun adventure includes riding the miniature train.
When visiting in the hot summer, Barton Springs Pool is the perfect spot to spend with families diving in the spring-fed outdoor pool, whose temperature is regulated year-round.
When choosing where to stay in the Zilker neighborhood, it all comes down to the best views and central location. The Loren at Lady Bird Lake is one such hotel that offers both.
This brand-spanking new hotel opened in October 2022 and is steadily gaining the love of visitors who choose to stay in Austin, Texas. With unparalleled views, luxury amenities, a fitness center, and an outdoor swimming pool just outside of the bustle of downtown, it’s not hard to imagine how it gained favor so fast. If you’re staying in the Zilker area, be sure to check out:
- Zilker Park
- Umlauf Sculpture Garden
- Terry Black’s BBQ
- Zilker Botanical Garden
- Austin Nature and Science Center
- Lady Bird Lake
- Zilker Eagle Miniature Train
- Barton Springs Pool
- Zilker Hillside Theater
- Colorado River Bend State Park
- Budget Hotel in Zilker: Aloft Austin
- Mid-Range Hotel in Zilker: Carpenter Hotel
- Luxury Hotel in Zilker: The Loren at Lady Bird Lake
- Vacation Rental Option in Zilker: This Barton Heights Home with Kayaking access across the street
See Related: Things to Do in Dallas, Texas
6. Sixth Street: Best Spot for Nightlife
6th Street is one of the most iconic streets in Austin and hands down the best spot to stay in Austin for nightlife. Filled to the brim with bustling bars, live music venues, colorful restaurants, and vibrant entertainment centers, no trip to Austin is complete without at least one night out on what locals call the “dirty 6th.”
Closed to through traffic Thursday through Saturday nights, the street is perfect for bar hoppers to dance the night away with more than a dozen options and genres lined from wall to wall just a short walk from each other.
Those looking for low-key bars should visit The Driskill Bar, Firehouse Lounge, and Midnight Cowboy for a low-lit speakeasy feel. A local favorite includes The Jackalope, which offers affordable drinks with a diverse crowd. Other notable club options include Maggie Mae’s, a 1978 bar with seven bars and three stages, Antone’s for the blues, and Cielo Nightclub for salsa and Latin music.
In addition to the classic bar scene, entertainment venues provide more than music but comedy, theatre, and bizarre musings. Esther’s Follies, according to the website, is a modern-day vaudeville theatre.
Shows incorporate acts of juggling, dancing, magic, and comedy. Any street in Austin also wouldn’t be complete without an eclectic museum — Museum of the Weird boasts bizarre and freaky showings.
There are many hotels within a mile of 6th street, and navigating which hotel is the best for you can be daunting after a long night out at the bar scene. Three of our favorites are the Canopy by Hilton Austin Downtown, Omni Austin, and The Driskill – at any of those, you can’t go wrong.
The Driskill, built during the 1880s, is one of the city’s oldest, and most iconic, hotels. Built on history, but assembled with elegance, the hotel is a true timeless charm. The Driskill is also in a prime location as one of Austin’s downtown hotels just around the corner from 6th Street.
Some of the best things to see in Austin’s 6th Street District include:
- Museum of the Weird
- Iron Cactus
- Esther’s Follies
- The Hideout Theatre
- Midnight Cowboy
- The Driskill Bar
- Maggie Mae’s
- Voodoo Doughnuts
- Budget Hotel on Sixth Street: Canopy by Hilton Austin Downtown
- Mid-Range Hotel on Sixth Street: Omni Austin
- Luxury Hotel on Sixth Street: The Driskill
- Vacation Rental Option on Sixth Street: This Entire All-Suite Hotel on 6th Street
7. East Cesar Chavez: Best Area for Culture & History
East Cesar Chavez is where the old and new unite to create an area that oozes history. Just east of the historic Rainey Street District, this is the best place to stay in Austin for culture, authenticity, and history.
This area of Austin has many local and family-owned restaurants and businesses. Nestled away from the main streets of Austin, East Cesar Chavez is known for holding onto its heritage and bringing life to the city’s many Latin American residents.
Some of the city’s most unique, and old, restaurants and shops reside in East Cesar Chavez. Central Machine Works, a beer hall, was converted from a 1940s machine shop used to build airplane parts during World War II.
The neighborhood also has the first cat café to open in Austin. Blue Cat serves a vegan-inspired menu. Guests can enjoy food, coffee, and tea while playing with friendly, adoptable cats.
The shops are just as distinctive as the local eateries, with various vintage and whimsical options. One is Coco Coquette, a wig shop featuring glittering jewels, vintage costumes, and over-the-top party dresses. The area is also home to two unique art galleries and studios: The Electric Church, a DIY venue and art studio, and the grayDUCK. This frequently rotating gallery displays unique artistry.
East Cesar Chavez Street also houses the Austin Convention Center. The Austin Convention Center is home to the Texas Rollergirls, the state’s roller derby league and the sport’s spiritual home.
East Cesar Chavez neighborhood visitors should also consider venturing to Rainey Street after sunrise. Born from a small neighborhood of historic bungalow-style homes, Rainey Street is now one of the best low-key strips in Austin.
Rainey Street is often considered a more laid-back version of 6th Street, with over 20 bars and dozens of restaurants sporting happy hour and a good time. Farther away from the water, there are more shops, bars, and restaurants, plus a unique community event space called the Fair Market.
When considering where to stay on East Cesar Chavez check out the Heywood Hotel, or one of two Austin staples, ARRIVE Austin and HK Austin, which all over the basic amenities with fitness centers and free wifi. Each restaurant also has its delicious on-site restaurant.
Searching for cool places to see in Austin’s East Cesar Chavez area? Here are our top picks:
- The Electric Church
- Cesar E. Chavez National Monument Visitor Center
- Tejano Walking Trails
- Fair Market
- Imagine Art
- Rainey Street Historic District Walking Tour
- Budget Hotel in East Cesar Chavez: Holiday Inn Austin – Town Lake
- Mid-Range Rental in East Cesar Chavez: Sentral East Austin at 1614 E. Sixth
- Luxury Hotel in East Cesar Chavez: Heywood Hotel
- Vacation Rental Option On East Cesar Chavez: This Downtown Loft on East 6th Street
See Related: Things to do in Corpus Christi, Texas
8. South Congress Avenue: Best Area for Shopping
South Congress, also known as SoCo to locals, is one of the best spots for those visiting Austin briefly and who want to experience the best shopping, street art, restaurants, food trucks, and live music in the city. SoCo’s unique and diverse offerings make it one of Austin’s best places to stay.
Music Lane is one the newest developments in Austin, home to a diverse collection of boutiques, restaurants, and hotels; this is a great location to wine, dine and shop till you drop. Shops include jewelry stories such as Kendra Scott, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, and Oak Armstrong.
Heritage Boot Company and Allens Boots will outfit any native or non-native Texan wanting to complete the classic Lonestar State’s signature look with boots and jeans. Music Lane also includes a handful of candy parlors, gift shops, and clothing and houseware stores.
After shopping, visitors can spend the afternoon chasing some of Austin’s most iconic murals and street art or head to Congress Avenue Bridge where people come from all over to watch the world’s largest bat colony.
Other Congress Avenue activities include stopping at one of the avenue’s many bars or joining the block party on the first Thursday of the month. Many stores, restaurants, and bars participate in First Thursdays on South Congress by staying open late, offering drink specials, and blaring live music.
The South Congress neighborhood is also home to some of the best hotels in Austin. The neighborhood is home to the Austin Motel, South Congress Hotel, and Hotel Saint Cecilia.
It also houses some of the best boutique hotels in the city, including Hotel Magdalena, which offers a 1970s vibe. The hotel is located within walking distance of the avenue. Hotel San Jose is also a great option for those looking to spend a peaceful night in with a drink on the outdoor patios or margaritas at the outdoor swimming pool.
Need ideas for your days in South Congress? Check out these few Austin, Texas, must-see attractions:
- Music Lane
- Congress Avenue Bridge
- Lonestar River Boat Bat Cruise
- Shop in SoCo
- First Thursdays
- Budget Motel in South Congress: Austin Motel
- Mid-Range Hotel in South Congress: South Congress Hotel
- Luxury Hotel in South Congress: Hotel Saint Cecilia
- Best Boutique Hotel in South Congress: Hotel Magdalena
- Vacation Rental Option in South Congress: This Luxury Guesthouse, just two blocks from SoCo
9. Red River Cultural District: Best Area for Entertainment & Music
Many neighborhoods in Austin can battle for the best area for live entertainment and live music venues. While each stay in Austin is different, there isn’t anything quite like the Red River Cultural District.
The eleven-block stretch in downtown Austin, between 4th and 15th streets, is known as the Live Musical Capital of Austin. Maintaining its rough and tough rock exterior as Austin’s music scene, the district is a place where tourists can see music, comedy, and entertainment acts across all genres.
The Red River Cultural District is one of the best Austin neighborhoods because of its great location to see new and big-name artists from country and rock to ’80s and EDM.
To name just a few of the many stunning bars and music venues visitors can stop by, some of the best include Elysium, Mohawk, Cheer Up Charlies, Swan Dive, and Empire Control Room. These venues offer horror-themed drag shows, outdoor stages, and rooftop patios with distinctive styles and flair.
Red River Cultural District also offers plenty of tasty food options within proximity for stray nightlife goers looking to fuel up before or after a show. Arlo’s Food Truck is a big hit, offering delicious vegetarian and vegan options.
In contrast, Stubb’s BBQ is a meat-lovers paradise. Known for their satisfying fried green tomatoes and Post Oak brisket, this location hosts a Sunday gospel brunch. Hoboken Pie offers the district’s visitors a quick and hearty pizza option.
Although known for its combination of live music and food, the Red River Cultural District does offer a glimpse of Texas history with the German-Heritage Society. This non-profit organization shares the history of German Texans. Whatever the vibe, the Red River Cultural District is the coolest neighborhood to stay in Austin, Texas. What are the coolest spots in Red River? We think the following places are worth checking out:
- Cheer Up Charlie
- Stubb’s BBQ
- Arlo’s Food Truck
- Hoboken Pie
- German-Heritage Society
- Budget Hotel in Red River Cultural District: Hotel Indigo Austin Downtown
- Mid-Range Hotel in Red River Cultural District: Hyatt House Austin
- Luxury Hotel in Red River Cultural District: Hotel ZaZa
- Vacation Rental Option in Red River Cultural District: This Walker VR Loft
See Related: Things to Do in Lubbock, Texas
10. North Loop: Best Area for University Students
North and South Austin are often at odds with each other. While South Austin is known for its familiar catchphrase of “keeping it weird,” Northwest Austin provides more of your typical suburban atmosphere.
The North Loop, however, hosts the usual hoard of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks synonymous with Austin but with a more old-school and easygoing feel. The neighborhood is located just northeast of the University of Texas and is among the best go-to spots for locals and students.
The Loop has plenty of restaurants, shops, and bars catering to the typical college student, which means lots of quick bites, local coffee shops, bookstores, and dive bars. One of the most popular student hangouts is Epoch Coffee, a 24/7 coffee shop serving espresso, lattes, and assorted bakery items.
Right next door to the outside area is East Side Pies, one of two pizza joints in the outdoor space. Tyson’s Tacos is another 24-hour eatery for students and staff working late nights.
As for shopping, Austin locals love vintage clothes, boots, and records. Blue Velvet, Ermine Vintage, and Room Service Vintage offer an array of clothes, shoes, jewelry, furniture, and knick-knacks dating back from the 1950s to the 80s.
To keep the vintage vibe alive and well, this street is also home to one of the few all-vinyl record stores left — Breakaway Records. Breakaway Records has thousands of selections, including albums from iconic 50s, 60s, and 70s singers, as well as R&B, Soul, Jazz, Punk, Rock, and more. They even sell vintage turntables.
For those not looking to take the music home, visit one of the Loop’s local dive bars or pubs. Workhorse Bar and Tigress Pub are both great options for beer on tap.
Workhorse Bar offers over 30 rotating options, and Tigress Pub serves only local-Austin taps. The Barfly, a low-key dive bar, and DrinkWell, a gastropub, are also good options for cocktail lovers or those wanting to hide and drink in peace.
Outside of coffee shops, bars, and vintage thrift stores, The Loop offers one entertainment venue. The ColdTowne Theatre is a comedy club and a massive hit among local students who need a laugh after a stressful school week. The theatre also provides improv classes.
Since locals most frequent the area, the hotel options within the boundaries of the North Loop fall under a modest budget and minimalist design. Hotels under $100 a night, depending on the time of year, include basic chain hotels such as Best Western Plus, Super 8, Motel 6, and Courtyard by Marriott.
If you want to stay in a luxury hotel, the Commodore Perry Estate is about a five-minute drive outside the loop. Some of our other favorite attractions in the North Loop of Austin include:
- The ColdTowne Theatre
- Breakway Records
- Epoch Coffee
- East Side Pies
- Blue Velvet
- Tyson’s Tacos
- Workhorse Bar
- Tigress Pub
- Budget Hotel in North Loop: Super 8 by Wyndham Austin/University Downtown Area
- Mid-Range Hotel in North Loop: Holiday Inn Austin Midtown
- Luxury Hotel in North Loop: Commodore Perry Estate
- Vacation Rental Option in North Loop: This Rosedale Hideaway vacation home
What are top-rated tourist attractions in Austin?
There are many famous tourist spots to see in Austin, but if you only had one or two days in the city, here’s what you should do — kayak on Lady Bird Lake, visit the Texas State Capitol Building, watch the bats fly on Congress Avenue Bridge, catch a musical performance anywhere, dance on 6th Street, and go on a food truck or sightseeing tour.
What are some outdoor activities to do in Austin?
Austin is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, and out of the many parks, hiking trails, and lakes, these are the best outdoor activities. Fish, kayak, or paddle board at Zilker Park or Lady Bird Lake, dip in Barton Springs, or hike at McKinney Falls State Park.
Where is the best shopping in Austin?
Depending on your wallet size and aesthetic, the best shopping in Austin can be found at The Domain, South Congress Avenue, North Loop, and 2nd Street.
What are the best neighborhoods to stay in Austin?
You can’t go wrong visiting any of these Austin areas: Austin Downtown, East Austin, Zilker Park, Hyde Park, Cesar E. Chavez, Travis Heights, South Congress, 6th Street, Red River Cultural District, and the North Loop.
What are some of the best hotels to stay in Austin?
These hotels are a selection of the best places to stay in Austin because of their style, amenities, and range in prices: Austin Proper Hotel & Residences, Arrive Austin, Four Seasons Hotel Austin, The Driskill, Fairmont Hotel, Hotel Saint Cecilia, Austin Motel, Native Hostel.
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- About the Author
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Cassie Jenkins is a travel writer and journalist who’s ultimate goal in life is to visit every corner of the world. Based in Texas, she has a special affinity for good food, new cultures and views that take your breath away.