Keep Austin Weird” and Austin City Limits have long defined this state capitol city. Now with explosive growth (1,000 people a day move to Austin), it’s beginning to look like another Texas mega-city. It’s still an interesting area of Texas where plants from the east, south, and west all reach their limits. Palms, live oaks, and desert species are all found here. Just west of the city is Lake Austin and the notorious Hippy Hollow Beach. It’s a fun young crowd in everyone’s favorite city.


Take a walk or run along the Town Lake Trail along the river downtown. Watch the bats fly out of the Congress Avenue Bridge nightly at sunset. Take a tour of the beautiful state capitol building with its red granite known as Texas Sunset Granite. Have a taco in the Capitol Café. The Texas State Capitol is the largest in the country. Learn about the identity that shapes the Lone Star state. The Capitol Grounds features a display of the trees of Texas.

Make the Bullock Texas State History Museum your next stop and learn about this interesting state which was under Spanish Rule from 1519 to 1821. The state then was part of Mexico but after a revolution became its own Republic. After that, Texas became the 28th state before withdrawing during the Civil War to become part of the Confederacy. Did you know? The French also settled Texas for a time. Across the street is the Blanton Art Museum ( It includes art of the American West, Modern American Art, and European Art and Art of the Spanish Americas.

Walk through the beautiful University of Texas campus. Stop by the Harry Ransom Center for interesting exhibits.Then hop on over to the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library. ( President Johnson’s legacy goes beyond Vietnam and includes Medicare, Medicaid, and the Great Society as well as the Civil Rights and Voting Acts. His wife, first lady Bird Johnson, was an avid environmentalist but also had other roles. Indeed, a new exhibit, Lady Bird Johnson: Beyond The Wildflowers highlights her many other achievements.


Lots of Tex Mex and BBQ. Sweetgreen on Second Avenue is a healthy option. Antones has great drinks and barbeque.Lamberts is another Austin staple for barbeque and a fun bar. Coopers Old Time Pit Barbeque is excellent and has a nice bar. Torchys Tacos is a local chain favorite.


You will find the bar scene in the Warehouse District on 4th Street off Congress downtown. Oilcan Harry’s features drag shows every night. Rain on 4th fourth does too and has dancing and an outdoor patio. Sip drinks on the outdoor rooftop patio at Coconut Club. The Highland Lounge is also a lot of fun. Details at


Upon arrival, hop on the #20 bus for $1.25 for a quick trip downtown. It runs every 15 minutes. Skip Uber or Lyft.


I highly recommend JW Marriott. You can’t beat the service and great amenities including a huge fitness center and outdoor pool. The service is top notch, and they clean your room every day. Get a quiet room facing the pool (west). It’s right downtown and walkable to all the attractions. Plus no annoying resort fees. The historic Driskell Hotel is another option.


The Austin Chronicle, the city’s alternative weekly, has a queer news and events section  Do512 is another option for events. Also check out the official Austin Tourism site and their LGBTQ+ microsite. There’s also this handy Travel Guide.

About the Author

Bill Malcolm is the nation’s only LGBTQ+ syndicated value travel columnist. Residing in Indianapolis, he travels with a focus on the local and value orientation.