Texas was founded in 1839, and it is the only state to have been a decade-long successful republic before it became a state. Compared to California that had a very brief foray as the Bear Republic before becoming a U.S. territory, Texas was a sovereign nation from 1836 to 1846.
In 1839 Austin became the capital of Texas and is the seat of Travis Country with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties. Among the cities in the United States, it is the 11th most populous and the 4th most populous in Texas.
There are lots of places you can visit when you go to Austin, Texas. For our trip, we had a 3 day weekend and wanted to enjoy the live music scene and the other delights of the city.
Embassy Suites by Hilton
We stayed at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Downtown which is located in the heart of Austin, Texas on South Congress Avenue. This is a great hotel that offers convenient access to a lot of attractions in Austin. It can be found opposite the scenic Lady Bird Lake and its surrounding hike and bike trail. If you will be spending some days and short breaks in Austin, this is an ideal place you can stay in.
Embassy Suites offers spacious and attractively furnished suites and executive rooms. All of the rooms they offer have private bedrooms and separate living areas with mini-fridges, microwaves, and coffeemakers. When you choose to upgrade to a Premium Suite, there will be some added amenities you can enjoy such as keyed floor access, complimentary Wi-Fi, snacks, water, and specialty coffees as well.
Since this hotel is located at the heart of all Austin has to offer, it will be easy for you to visit many of the city’s major corporations and sceneries. Aside from that, you can also enjoy many amenities in this hotel like their fitness center, indoor pool, and outdoor patio. You can also dine in at @SOCO Bar + Bites and enjoy the Southwestern cuisine they offer.
The only negative – the hotel feels a bit dated. It needs some style updating and a lot of fresh paint and some maintenance as well. Of course, the breakfast was great.
The Austin Live Music Experience
Austin is very popular because of its music scene that’s why it’s something that you shouldn’t miss when you visit the place. The place has over 270 live music venues, some are outside of downtown and tucked into neighborhoods. If you want to jam out to authentic live music all over the city, then you must try the Austin Live Music Crawl.
When you join this music tour, the pickup place is at the Starbucks in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel located at 500 E. 4th Street. Remember that you must be 21 years old and up to join this tour. The tour is available every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.
While on the way to the iconic venues and clubs, the guide, which is a local musician, will tell you all about the live music history in Austin. The Austin Live Music Crawl lasts for 3 hours where you will be able to visit 2 to 3 venues. It is indeed a great way to enjoy and get to know Austin’s music scene better.
We visited three very different music venues as part of our live crawl.
The White Horse Austin
The White Horse Austin is a bar located in 500 Comal Street, Austin, Texas. If you’d love to hear live bands playing real country music, then this bar is definitely a must-visit place for you. It is a fun place that is full of incredible music, as well as friendly staff and guests. It is indeed a great place if you want to check out the Austin music scene. Aside from listening to the band’s play, you can also dance along while enjoying cold beverages.
This honkytonk bar also holds dance lessons every week including two-step, Blues, Swing, and Cajun dance styles, making the night more fun. The White Horse Austin is open every day from 3 PM to 2 AM.
One of the things we liked best was the broad mix of people at the White Horse. There were some old timer two-steppers happy to help any novice get going as well as young people, cowboys and some of the “hipster” crowd as well.
The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company (aka ABGB)
The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company is another great place to visit in Austin especially when you’re a beer lover. It is located in 1305 W. Oltorf, Austin, Texas. They are open from Tuesday to Sunday and closed on Mondays.
Aside from drinking beer, you can also enjoy their fresh, hot pizza and nice big Muffaletta sandwich. You can definitely have a good time hanging out with your friends or family out in the shade of their beer garden, and of course a variety of live music.
The night we were there was frankly a terrible band playing. We weren’t quite sure exactly what their style of music and whatever it was pretty bad. It was early in the evening on a Saturday so we were sure the better bands were coming later but our live music crawl continued on.
Antone’s Night Club
Antone’s Night Club is located on Fifth Street, east of Congress Avenue. It is an iconic blues venue in downtown Austin. Through the years, this club has brought Austin a variety of blues and musicians from different parts of the country such as Jimmy Reed, James Brown, and Ray Charles.
All of the shows in Antone’s Night Club are 21+ only unless otherwise noted. They also have limited seating which is available on a first-come, first served basis, therefore, if you plan to visit the place and watch a show, you might want to arrive early for the chance of securing a table.
This was without a doubt the highlight of our evening. We had the chance to hear Soul Man Sam Evans play a great set of blues, soul and even some contemporary music with a blues theme. The crowd loved it.
One of our favorite places in Austin is the Clay Pit and their contemporary Indian cuisine. It’s truly a treat and something different than Texas steaks and Tex-Mex.
The Clay Pit is located in the historical Bertram building in downtown Austin. If you love Indian cuisine or you’d like to try it, visiting this place is a must for you. They serve traditional Indian dishes such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Saag Paneer, and Tandoori favorites. Aside from that, they also have contemporary menu items like Curried Mussels appetizer and as well as signature entrees like the Khuroos-E-Tursh which is a stuffed chicken breast in a cashew-almond cream sauce.
Aside from the traditional and contemporary Indian cuisines they serve, you can also enjoy eating desserts and drinking wine in this restaurant. It is a really nice place that the whole family will enjoy dining in.
Shopping at The Domain
The Domain is one of the best places to visit in Austin if you want to eat or go shopping. It is located in a beautiful park-like setting in Century Oaks Terrace. This place features 100 upscale and mainstream retail stores and restaurants. Some of the retailers you can find here are high-end boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., David Yurman, and Austin’s only Neiman Marcus. There are also more traditional retailers here such as the Banana Republic and American Eagle Outfitters. If you’re looking for some places to dine in, you can try restaurants like Maggiano’s Little Italy, Kona Grill, Grand Lux Café, and many more.
Aside from being a shopping center, The Domain also offers over 800 residential units and office spaces. This place indeed is located in an ideal location and it has exceptional amenities and amazing restaurant choices, making it a great place to shop, dine, live, and work.
Comfort Food at Threadgrill’s
Threadgrill’s is the first theme restaurant in Austin. It is located in North Lamar Boulevard, sitting next door to the site of the late, great Armadillo World Headquarters. It’s fun and inviting theme is Austin’s from the 1930s through 1960s. This restaurant also holds a large portion of memorabilia from the musical days of Austin in the 1970s. It features a jukebox that holds 100 albums of artists who played the ‘Dillo, and as well as a piano hanging from its ceiling that was played by different artists including Count Basie and Commander Cody, and Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles. Threadgrill’s aims to serve as a link between the new Austin and its past.
Threadgrill’s serves lots of delicious foods such as burgers and sandwiches. You must also try their world famous chicken fried steak and they serve other kinds of steaks as well. Aside from that, they also have seafoods, vegetable plates, and salads. For desserts, they offer homemade ones like pies, cakes, puddings, and ice creams. If you’re looking into experiencing Austin’s original music while eating sumptuous foods, then the Threadgrill’s is the place to be.
History of Austin
In 1836, settlers in Texas broke away from the governance of Mexico after a five-month struggle for independence. After three years, the Congress of the Republic of Texas appointed a commission to choose the site for a permanent state capital. The appointed commission purchased 7,735 acres along the Colorado River for the new capital and the tiny village of Waterloo was included in the purchase. The new capital was named for the Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin. However, there were many people who were dissatisfied with the capitol’s location. But despite these objections, the president of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar commissioned Edwin Waller to plan the new city.
President Lamar took up residence in the new capital in October 1839 and Austin began to grow rapidly. In 1842, Sam Houston became president of Texas and he tried to remove the state records to Houston, fearing they might be captured by the Mexican army like what happened to San Antonio. However, people in Austin did not agree for the records to be moved but Sam Houston moved his administration to Houston and Austin languished. The population of Austin during that time dropped below 200.
In 1846, Austin was restored to its capital status when Texas became a state. Since then, Austin experienced a surge of prosperity. In 1871, the railroad came to the city and Austin’s population became increasingly diverse with a mix of German, Mexican, Irish, and Swedish settlers along with its African American population. The University of Texas was founded in 1883 and it became a major part of Austin’s identity. There were major improvements done through the years and through the 1920s to 1940s, the Austin music scene grew. There are several music venues opened on the Sixth street in the 1960s and 1970s.
Today, the growth of Austin, Texas continues, making it a pleasant, vibrant community to live in. It offers its residents wonderful opportunities for cultural and educational growth.