The capital of Texas has more than its vibrant live music scene to thank for keeping Austin cool
It’s not only the barbecue joints and music haunts that make Austinites so dang happy. They know how to appreciate the great outdoors, too. Go local by camping out near South Congress Avenue, which is lined with the town’s coolest shops, clubs, and restaurants. The tranquilly stylish Hotel San José is right on the avenue, and the five cute, bright houses managed by socospaces are within walking distance in Travis Heights. Between stops at Güero’s Taco Bar (cantina Mexican), Botticelli’s (cozy Italian), and Perla’s (fresh oysters and seafood), rent a canoe to glide along the beautifully restored Lady Bird Lake, the reservoir along the Colorado River that bisects Austin. Bikes are also available if you want to circle the ten-mile shoreline. On hot days a $3 dip in Barton Springs Pool at Zilker Park is mandatory before sampling another kind of cool: the cheap beer (and dependable lineup) at the Continental Club.