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Hotels in Austin

Its official slogan declaims that Austin is the live music Capital of the World – and the Texan capital has certainly always had a vibrant music scene. But its long-running unofficial slogan Keep Austin Weird – often invoked by campaigners against unwanted development in the city – sums up perfectly the individuality on which Austin prides itself. Book one of our Austin hotels and enjoy music, fresh air and conviviality in this quirky city.

Shopping

The SoCo shopping district stretching down South Congress Avenue is full of independent stores, coffee shops, restaurants and music and art venues. From here you can also get a good view of the Texas State Capitol, the seat of the state government and a tourist attraction in itself. On the first Thursday of every month, businesses in SoCo stay open until at least 22:00 to celebrate the neighbourhood and its boutiques, restaurants and galleries.

Parks

If you like the outdoors, head to the 416-acre Lady Bird Lake, which is a popular spot for canoeing and kayaking, and surrounded by a ten-mile walking and cycling trail. Next to the lake are two parks: Auditorium Shores, one of the venues for South by Southwest, and the 351-acre Zilker Park. Here you can have a dip in the Barton Springs pool, a manmade three-acre pool where Robert Redford reportedly learnt to swim. The Barton Springs themselves, which supply the pool with water, are the only known habitat of the endangered Barton Springs salamander.

The park also contains the Zilker Zephyr miniature railway and the Zilker Botanical Garden, home to cacti, a herb garden and oriental garden, a rose garden and a butterfly trail. The Emma S Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Centre promotes Mexican American, Native American and Latino culture, arts and heritage through visual art, theatre, dance, literature and more. For animal lovers, the Ann W Richards Congress Avenue Bridge over the lake is home to North America's largest urban colony of Mexican free-tailed bats. Some 1.5 million of them congregate here in summer, and locals and tourists alike turn out to watch them all emerge at dusk in search of insects.

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