I spent 4 days in Austin last week and had a great time. I was mostly on my own since my DH was attending a conference. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Town Lake.
The weather was perfect, not too hot or humid, and I was able to wear shorts most of the time.
Austin is made for walking and that's just what I did. The city is small enough to see everything in a couple of days. There was a lot of street and building construction going on, which is probably good for the Austin economy but not so good if you wear contact lenses. Lots of dust in the air, so I tried to avoid streets with construction.
Austin did it right with the Lady Bird trail (I wish San Diego had done something like it with our river). What a wonderful treasure. I was amazed at the number of joggers, walkers and bikers. The Pfluger pedestrian bridge across the lake was great because it allowed me to hike to the other side of the lake and inspect the Congress Bridge bats.
Sadly, the bats must have already departed for Mexico, because on my first evening I waited for them but they never showed up. The riverboats made a big show of lighting the Congress Bridge eaves but eventually left after it was clear that there would not be any bats. The next day I checked underneath the Congress Bridge, and there was no sign of any bats (other than the lingering smell).
The live music scene in Austin is great! Many places have live bands, playing anything from rock to country and blues. I spent part of an evening at the Cedar Door where they had two different bands. They were both very good and played originals as well as covers. 6th Street was a little too loud for me. It reminded me of Spring Break or of college students away from home for the first time. I did find a small no-cover bar that had a blues band that was excellent. I don't remember the name of the bar but it was somewhere in the middle of 6th st on the north side of the street.
My hotel was near Rainy Street, which was a very interesting experience. Having walked through it at midday and finding it a bit of a rundown and sleepy little street with many old houses converted into pubs and small restaurants, I was pleasantly surprised to see it completely come to life at night. Is this where the local young people who don't want to deal with the madness of 6th Street tend to congregate?
As a vegan, I was surprised to be able to have some real meals other than the usual iceberg lettuce and a slice of tomato that people think vegans eat. Manuels Mexican Restaurant, Bess Bistro and Leaf were great.
Some other highlights of my trip: a visit to Whole Foods and Book People.
I have to say that the people of Austin are amazingly friendly, and go out of their way to help and talk to me. I had to get used to the constant "Ma'am" but miss it now that I'm back home.