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Texan capital, Austin is known for being laid-back and creative - and possibly even a little bit ‘hippy’, in the friendly, colourful, artistic kind of a way - plus it also has the reputation for being the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’. But Austin isn’t all music and ‘Keep Austin Weird’ bumper stickers: Austin has a rich history - it was founded in 1839, along with the Republic of Texas - and occupies a beautiful position, centre state, with abundant natural resources. If you’re coming for one of the big music festivals then you’ll need to book a long way in advance if you want to put up in one of the best places to stay in Austin. But there’s plenty of live music going on here every night.
Our Guru’s list of the best places to stay in Austin recommends properties across town, but if you’re here for the music then the best places to stay in Austin can be found in the Downtown area. This is also where you’ll find the coral pink granite State Capitol building, a key local landmark, and many of Austin’s varied museums and galleries.
You’ll find everything from the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum (which features everything from a re-imagining of Texas during Native Indian times to exhibits about the wild west in Hollywood and country music), to the Thinkery, a museum designed to inspire young minds with its hands on exhibitions unpicking ideas within the fields of science, technology and the arts.
Downtown Austin is also where you’ll find several excellent art museums. And of course many of Austin’s restaurants, bars and music venues.
Austin’s location in central Texas also means the weather is fine and warm most of the year - although in summer it’s fine and extremely hot. And unless it’s extremely hot you certainly won’t want to be spending all your time here indoors.
Barton Springs is a famed local natural swimming pool, in Zilker Park, a vast haven of shady green, run through with biking and hiking trails. Zilker Park is also where you’ll find the Zilker Botanical Gardens, spreading for 30 lush acres beside the Colorado River is a lovely, cool place to stroll. If you’re interested in the local flora then head out to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Centre.
Our Guru's pick of the best places to stay in Austin range from budget boutique to luxurious guest house - something for every taste and budget.
For a taste of classic Texas
- Right in the heart of things, The Driskill is a wonderful old world charmer which has just recently undergone a significant renovation. The public spaces are grand - think stand glass domes, magnificent staircases and a legendary bar - and the rooms are a generous size, modern and comfortable.
- The Hotel Ella is an elegant boutique hotel right by the University of Texas and the centre of town. The facade welcomes with grand columns and a huge porch, and the contemporary rooms have marble bathrooms and private balconies. Plus there’s an innovative restaurant and bar.
- The Hotel Saint Cecilia is a luxurious guest house with a small collection of suites and private villas. The colours are bold and the decor quirky. There’s a 70s inspired bar and an outdoor pool with a hot pink neon sign.
- The Heywood Hotel has just seven rooms, but they’re modern and light and decorated with classic Texan art. There are free bikes, complimentary coffee and you’re within walking distance of restaurants and music venues.
For city chic
- Kimber Modern is a seriously chic option, in the centre of town. Come here for stylish modern accommodation in the heart of the action.
For great value
- The Hotel San Jose is a 1930s motel turned minimalist, modern boutique hotel with 40 rooms set around a courtyard and pool. There isn’t a restaurant but you’re just across the bridge from Downtown Austin, and there’s a breakfast room which is light and comfortable. Rooms start from around £130 per night.
Just out of town
- The Travaasa Austin is perfect for those who want proximity to the city centre but a country location. Here you'll find spectacular views, spacious accommodation and a raft of activities from cookery classes to mountain biking.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Austin for you?
Best Hotels in Austin
Lone Star Court 123 rooms from $169Austin (10901 Domain Dr)
Lone Star Court is situated in the outskirts of Austin. It features colourful, retro and quirky rooms whilst also boasting an outdoor pool. Be sure to enjoy a meal at the on site restaurant serving up local grub or try something from their own food truck! A fun and low-key option for a city stay.Local exploring - Make the most out of the free bikes on offer to ride around checking out the areaLively - There are live bands frequently featured every Weds-Sat in The Water Trough bar and Happy Hour every day!Sights nearby - Wander over and explore the diverse array of work on display at the Austin Art Space GalleryGreat walks - Take a stroll through Austin getting your bearings and take in the city's unique atmosphereRecommended by - Tablet
Hotel San Jose 40 rooms from $185Austin (Texas)
1930s motel turned minimalist modern boutique with a courtyard and pool. The light rooms are comfortable with all mod-cons and breakfast. No restaurant but a stone's throw from Downtown Austin with live music and film themed evenings in the courtyard. Cheaper than most, offers great location.Sights nearby - The Paramount Theatre for showsing of old films and live music.Fishing - Lake Austin for fishing.Great walks - Lady Bird Lake.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Tablet
The Driskill 189 rooms from $249Austin (Texas)
Old world charm oozes from the marble lobby, stained glass dome and magnificent staircase of this hot spot boutique, which has undergone a significant renovation. The large, classic rooms are comfortable with designer bathrooms. Award-winning Driskill Grill is popular, a legendary drinking hole.Sights nearby - Texas State Capitol is within walking distance.Kayaking - Spend the day kayaking on Barton CreekRomantic - Good for couples.Views - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Tablet
Kimber Modern 7 rooms from $265Austin (Texas)
Chic with a huge dollop of zen makes up this boutique on South Congress Avenue. Modern, light with splashes of colour found in the upholstery and the luxurious bathrooms. Head to the kitchen for a fine spread for breakfast, and relax on the deck with a book or around a firepit. Prime city location.Fishing - Lake Austin offers a great day fishing.Restrictions on children - Children over 15 years old.Full of characterOpulentRecommended by - Tablet
Hotel Saint Cecilia 14 rooms from $285Austin (Texas)
A trendy, luxury guest house with private villas and suites. Bright bold colours, quirky furniture and antique features are scattered throughout. Relax at the outdoor pool with it's unique hot-pink neon sign or in the 70s inspired bar. A swanky spot that is classically Austin.Great walks - Zilker ParkDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.Full of characterSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
Heywood Hotel 7 rooms from $330Austin (Texas)
Texas vibes can be seen in the art, the architecture, and the music, even down to the complimentary coffee. Modern and light rooms have white cool tiled bathrooms. Free bicycles available so exploring Austin is easy. This Adult only hotel has restaurants within walking distance. Great spot!Great walks - Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool.Sights nearby - Texas State Capitol 2 miles away.Full of characterRestrictions on childrenRecommended by - Tablet
South Congress Hotel 83 rooms from $449Austin (TX)
A hip hotel in the happening SoCo neighbourhood. Beautifully designed throughout, rooms have an industrial feel with high-ceilings, tiled walls, polished concrete and floor to ceiling windows. The bathrooms are uber luxe and feature Aesop products. Well located for city exploring. Fabulous.Local exploring - Well located to explore the city's main attractions from live music venues to its stunning parks.Great walks - Unwind on a long ramble through picturesque Zilker Park.Sights nearby - Be sure to make a trip to the impressive State Capitol.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.Recommended by - Tablet
Travaasa Austin 70 rooms from $525Austin (Texas)
This bright and airy hotel sits in 210 acres of Balcones Canyon lands with infinity pool and spa treatments. Rooms offer big beds, modern bathrooms and views. Organic restaurant offers locally sourced produce. Hiking, riding, biking, zipping are available for a fun-filled weekend or family holiday.Cooking classes - Basic Culinary Skills from the culinary team at the hotel.Great walks - Sunrise Hike and Hill Country Hike are both great walks.Secluded setting - For escaping.Full of characterRecommended by - Tablet
Hotel Ella 47 rooms from $559Austin (Texas)
Elegant boutique in the hot spot that is Austin city centre. Guests are welcomed by classical columns, wrap around porch and pool. Contemporary rooms are the epitome of comfort with marble bathrooms and private balconies. Dine at Goodall's Kitchen and Bar with mouth watering innovative dishes.Fishing - Head to Barton Creek for some 'back to nature' activities such as fishing and leisurely walks.Sights nearby - The 307 ft clock tower at the University of Texas.Lively - Hip and happening.Full of characterRecommended by - Small Luxury Hotels