Austin, the capital of the “Lone Star State”, is home to such Texas icons as the Texas Longhorns, Austin City Limits and Franklins BBQ. Austin is also firmly established as a tech city and is often referred to as “Silicon Hills”. The city is also known as the home of Whole Foods Market – “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store”. As well as Whole Foods HQ, you’ll also find the flagship store in Downtown Austin – a fantastic way to experience their natural and organic approach to groceries. It’s a great place to get a quick bite to eat, a drink, or have a meeting – definitely a unique social scene all of its own!

WHERE TO STAY

DOWNTOWN AUSTIN
Compact and flat (super walkable), staying Downtown means you’re in the heart of the action.

  • HYATT PLACE – our tip as the best-priced downtown hotel location with large, comfortable rooms and a hot breakfast included.
  • THE DRISKILL – a historic (apparently haunted) landmark hotel with an amazing story and loads of character. This delightfully classic hotel is located close to the party scene on 6th St. The Driskill Bar was recently chosen as the best cocktail bar in Austin.

SOUTH CONGRESS (SoCo)
Cool neighborhood on South Congress Avenue just a mile South of Downtown. ‘SoCo’ is a cultural district famous for eclectic small retailers, restaurants, music, art venues and a deliciously diverse collection of  food trucks.

  • SOUTH CONGRESS HOTEL – a new addition to the Austin hotel scene, recently featured on the Conde Nast Traveller 2016 Hot List. This boutique hotel has cool, minimalist-chic rooms, a sushi bar, coffee shop, two restaurants, a rooftop pool and 24-hour gym.
  • HOTEL SAN JOSE – an awesome boutique gem in the heart of SoCo. Enter through the secret garden-like door. The perfect place to hang out and sip on their signature frozen rosé. The ‘anti-chain’ choice if you like small independents hotels, oozing with buckets of character.

THE DOMAIN
Close to the high-tech corridor of North West Austin and home to an upscale shopping mall. A more affordable location in regards to accommodation rates. Approximately 20-minute drive to Downtown Austin (turn right on Freeway Loop 1) 

  • ALOFT AUSTIN AT THE DOMAIN – located across the street from The Domain mall, this fashionable, modern hotel is approx. 7kms  from Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park, and within close proximity of the Texas Capitol building in downtown Austin. There’s a heated outdoor splash pool and a gym, plus a hip bar with a pool table, an indoor/outdoor lounge, and 24-hour snack bar. Other amenities include meeting rooms, a business center and free valet parking.
  • THE WESTIN AUSTIN AT THE DOMAIN – Located 15-minutes away from downtown Austin and a short 4-minute walk to the Domain mall. Offers all of the room amenities you would expect from a Westin. Other amenities include a rustic grill restaurant and outdoor/indoor bar, heated outdoor pool and exercise room, multiple meeting rooms and best of all … free parking!

CO-WORKING

  • TECH RANCH – close to The Domain, the ‘Ranch’ is the home to many Tech start-ups.
  • TECH SPACE – huge multi-floor space in Downtown Austin with a large event/conference room and a fantastic outdoor terrace.
  • WEWORK AUSTIN – three central locations: Domain, Congress and University Park.
  • FIBERCOVE – an incubator, accelerator and co-working facility complete with its own barista.

COFFEE & KAI

FOR COFFEE

  • JUAN PELOTA – Located in “Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop”, also known as “Lance Armstrong’s Bike Shop”.
  • CAFE MEDICI – Austin’s original specialty coffee shop – offering a modern, contemporary vibe – is ideal for impressing clients or for some seriously cool hanging out.  Four central locations: South Lamar,  8th and Congress, Guadalupe and West Lynn.
  • MAÑANA – Nestled in the South Congress Hotel – their amazing cookies are a must!
  • JO’S COFFEE – Locations in South Congress and Downtown – both places offer fantastic coffee.

FOR LUNCH AND DINNER

  • HOPDODDY’S – In South Congress, has a relaxed casual vibe. We’ve been told they have the best burgers in the US!
  • SWIFT’S ATTIC – In Downtown, has great lunch specials and excellent food. Swift’s also has a cool lounge space for small/medium events (can accommodate around 20 guests).
  • SWAY – Comes highly recommended, especially for lunch, as it’s never too crowded.
  • SECOND BAR & KITCHEN – Fantastic for lunch with a great outdoor patio area – an excellent venue for a business lunch.
  • UCHI – A classic Japanese restaurant located close to South Congress.
  • LA CONDESA – Arguably the best Mexican food in Austin. They have a great happy hour and excellent cocktails.
  • LENOIR – Amazing food and ambiance, however, dining is at shared (intimate) tables – something to keep in mind if considering Lenoir for business meetings. Call ahead to book and also ask about their beautiful wine garden.

NIGHTSPOTS

  • FIREHOUSE LOUNGE – Located in a hostel behind a bookcase. Firehouse is a vibrant bar serving the best Old Fashioned in town. Great music, excellent bartenders, quirky vibe – definitely not the typical hostel crowd.
  • WHISLERS – East Side rustic-chic bar with a fantastic range of cocktails and an awesome patio offering live music shows.

COOL HUNTING

COOL HUNTING AUSTIN

  • Austin’s most famous area for nightlife is sixth street (West of I-35). A huge 4 x 10 block area with everything from college bars, “yuppie” bars and clubs, the streets close on weekends to create a festive atmosphere that is perfect for bar hopping.
  • Live music is one of Austin’s primary claims to fame. Music events happen year-round. Some of the best live music venues include EMO’SMOWHAWK, and STUBB’S – (located on 6th Street). Rainey Street is another area known for its nightlife, however, the venues tend to offer a more upscale/hip vibe, very popular with the day-drinking scene.
  • South Congress (“SoCo”) is very well known for its eclectic FOOD TRUCK  scene.
  • Austin is also proudly known for Texan Barbecue – a must-do experience. FRANKLIN’S (beware the lines can be long) is possibly the most famous BBQ in the US. Other Famous BBQ places include RUDY’S BBQa chain restaurant attached to a gas station (totally legitimate and awesome), and THE SALT LICK, 30-45 minutes outside of Austin with a very Texan BYOB family style of eating, complete with live music.
  • For days out, Zilker Park is close to downtown and is connected to Lady Bird Lake/Town Lake which has paddle-boarding, kayaking and other water activities. Barton Springs is a popular fresh spring swimming-hole in Summer. Outside of Austin, other places include HAMILTON POOL, Lake Travis and New Braunfels – all a short (American short!) drive away.
  • Finally, Austin locals love their tacos so make sure you visit TORCHY’S before you leave.
  • For more information on local events, activities and experiences check out AUSTIN TOURISM.

GETTING AROUND

NAVIGATING AUSTIN

  • Air New Zealand fly five times per week from Auckland to Houston, so hire a car at Houston airport (IAH) and take the 3-hr drive to Austin. If you can, try to avoid ‘Mopac’ and I35 at peak hours – generally 6-10am and 3-7pm.
  •  Austin doesn’t have Uber or Lyft instead it has its own apps – FARE and FASTEN so download these apps before you arrive. (Fasten tends to be the more affordable option) Downtown Austin is walkable and calling a local taxi is easy enough too.
  • Checking out all of the major Texan business hubs is an easy drive. Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston are all a straight shot from each other, within 3-hours apart. We have been told that most Kiwi companies can blitz all four by road in just a few days.
  • Depending on where you’re doing business, you’ll be staying in Downtown, South Congress (don’t stay any further South than this!) or The Domain located 20-mins North of Downtown. Our hot tip on ‘where it’s at’ for fun and entertaining is South Congress (‘SoCo’) around 5mins South of Downtown.

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