There is an old joke that circulates among Austinites about what to do with family and friends who come to town wanting to see the sights. Anytime someone mentions plans to take visitors sightseeing, another person present is supposed to ask, "So when are you taking them to San Antonio?"
It's not that Austin doesn't have places of interest; it's just that most of these aren't sights in the traditional sense. A trip here is more about absorbing the atmosphere than it is about sightseeing. Don't get me wrong: There are places to see, such as the state capitol and the LBJ Library. And there are plenty of local activities to indulge in, such as swimming in Barton Springs and watching the bats take flight from the Congress Avenue Bridge, though both of those can usually only be enjoyed seasonally. The following itineraries should allow visitors to take in the attractions and experience the laid-back Austin vibe. Day 1 hits all the major sights. Day 2 is more an exploration of city life -- a day of bohemian Austin, taken to its utopian extreme, in which you'll hit some of the centers of local culture. Day 3 gets you out of Austin to see some nearby towns, where you can enjoy a variety of activities.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.