Austin is a far more nature friendly city than you might think. The city has set aside thousands of acres of nature preserves parks and lakes for residents and tourists alike to enjoy. Its easy to miss that aspect of Austin however when you are on the city's busy freeways. Downtown is busy and bustling, but the greenery of Town Lake is only a few blocks away from some of Austin's largest office towers. Indeed what sets Austin apart from other major US cities, and what helps put it on the top of "most livable" lists year after year is all this green space. The number of outdoor activities is immense. Austin has more to offer the fresh air enthusiast then most major cities.

These days downtown Austin has the polished, glitzy look that many major cities have, and the sight is amazing. South Austin however still retains most of the counterculture aura that the city as a whole was once famous for.

In North Austin you can find some of the most opulent mansions you will ever encounter, and East Austin is developing rapidly. What was once flat farmland is becoming a popular residential area.

A trip to Austin is not so much about sightseeing as it is about absorbing the cities great atmosphere. There are places to see of course, such as the State Capitol and the presidential l library of Lyndon Johnson. You can also visit the Blanton Art Museum, which houses a great collection of both renaissance and Latin American artworks.

Austin has a very well renowned nightlife, and many of the greatest names in music past of present have graced the stages in the various music venues that are all over Austin. The music does not just play at night however. In dozens of coffee shops you can catch a live performance of great music at almost any time. Every August, the city places host to the Austin City Limits Music festival, when over a hundred different bands take to eight different outdoor stages in Zilker Park.

The fact that the University of Texas is located in Austin affects a lot of the attitude of the city. It probably accounts for a large part of the laid back atmosphere that the whole city exudes.

One of the more unusual must see tourist attractions in Austin is the Town Lake Bat Flight. The largest urban bat colony in North America lives underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge, which is located right in the heart of downtown Austin. A special “Bat Hotline” lets callers know the approximate time every day that this huge colony will take flight for the night, so that they can make sure to get a good spot on the east side of the bridge, which is the best place to view this unusual phenomenon from.

There are plenty of places to stay in Austin ranging from the very opulent Driskill, which allows you to indulge your cattle baron fantasies to the very laid back and funky Austin Motel.