A little while ago I went to Austin for a conference. I stayed at the Hilton Austin Airport. If it wasn’t for work-related travel, I don’t think I’d ever stay in these expensive hotels 🙂 It’s a beautiful hotel, the hotel restaurant has delicious food, the rooms are quite large, and they are nicely decorated. However… everything costs extra: breakfast, internet, parking, etc. And even if you pay for internet, they don’t have wireless in the rooms. Even the much cheaper Holiday Inn Express we stayed in during our El Paso trip a few weeks ago was able to manage that! Anyways, the hotel was really nice, but I don’t understand why the conference organizers didn’t choose one in town. Austin is so beautiful and it would have been nice to be able to wander around a little between sessions. But maybe that’s why they chose the airport hotel to start out with 😉 At the conference in New Orleans I went to a few months ago, the sessions were pretty empty and I think the great location of the hotel and the city itself had something to do with it.
I didn’t have time for sightseeing this time around, but on previous visits I’ve walked all the way from the Capitol down Congress Avenue to Congress Avenue Bridge to see the largest urban bat population leave their home at sunset and another time I’ve admired the Austin skyline from Zilker Park. That was actually on our 4th of July trip to Austin in 2009.
This time I spent almost all the time at the hotel. Luckily I met another girl who was eager to get out for dinner at night. We hopped in the car and drove the 10 minutes or so to downtown. As always I really liked Austin. There seem to be people out no matter the day or time. It’s not crazy like Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but much more relaxed. It’s got a nice relaxed atmosphere. I also like the little hills within the city. And I am always speechless when driving up Congress Avenue and seeing the Capitol at night. The building is huge and the lighting is really pretty. We kind of just drove around downtown until we passed a restaurant that looked good from the outside. A little random, but we got really lucky! The Taverna has typical and very authentic Italian dishes. Their pastas and risottos looked great, but I couldn’t resist a pizza from their woodstone oven. I didn’t know at the time, but apparently they have locations in Dallas and Fort Worth as well. I’m totally gonna go when I’m in near one!
I’m hoping for another trip to Austin in March 🙂
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