Make no mistake, this is Texas. Visitors planning to come here for business will find a unique combination of state government, academia, and culture, all tied to a campaign that’s been circulating for years: “Keep Austin Weird.” The Austinites, as they are called, love it, thank you very much.
Austin has 20 million visitors a year for both leisure and business. For meetings and conventions, Austin offers thoughtful infrastructure, unique meeting spaces, and world-class hotels, all just blocks from the Austin Convention Center. From small corporate meetings to large association conferences, Austin can handle events of any size – in grand Texas style. After hours, the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail offers plenty of recreational activities, great music and some of the best barbecue in the country.
Austin is a city that celebrates creativity – a community of musicians, artists and entrepreneurs. Think Michael Dell. Sandra Bullock. Willie Nelson and Matthew McConaughey. It’s a city for tekkies, and there’s a vibrant energy that pervades the city.
Austin Hospitality Facts
- 30,000 hotel rooms in the city
- 6,000 hotel rooms in the city center
- Choose from bed and breakfast inns, historic hotels like the Driskill Hotel, or luxury hotels like the Omni with the latest contemporary amenities
- Nearly 200 concert halls
- World-class art collections and museums
- 32 public golf courses around – “The best golf town in America”
- Orbitz names Austin a 2012 travel hotspot (January 2012)
- Newsday calls Austin a foodie and family destination. (January 2012)
- Travel + Leisure ranks Austin in the top 3 most technological cities in the United States. (January 2012)
The Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is available to work with meeting planners to create a successful event.
The Austin Convention Center
Built in 1992 and renovated in 2002, the LEED® Gold certified Austin Convention Center offers the best in Texas hospitality for business meetings:
- 900,000 square feet of high-tech meeting space in the heart of downtown
- 246,000 square feet of column-free contiguous exhibit space; 2 ballrooms of 43,000 and 23,000 sq. ft. each; and 54 meeting rooms
- One of the most technologically advanced convention centers in the country, capable of moving voice, video and data at over a billion bits per second
- Free wireless internet service
- A new 1,012-room convention-style JW Marriott just opened
Conventions that have been held in Austin include Formula4Media’s 2012 Running Event, DELL Incorporated’s DELL World 2012, and the US Green Building Council Central Texas. Austin COMIC CON is coming in November 2013.
Easy access from all parts of the United States
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is less than 20 minutes from downtown
- One of the newest airports in the country
- Serves over 70 direct, non-stop destinations
The Live Music Capital of the World®
Austin is a heartbreaking city. A visit to the bustling 6th Street entertainment district on any night will show visitors that music is king here, with everything from country to bluegrass to jazz.
Business travelers lucky enough to visit in October should try to time their visit when Austin City Limits comes to town. This three-day, eight-stop live event takes place at Zilker Park, the jewel in Austin’s crown. This festival hosts more than 130 artists from all over the world as well as incredible local dishes, lots of activities and much more. With hundreds of venues, the music blares until the wee hours of the morning.
For interested event planners, Austin City Limits festival organizers offer a range of sponsorship packages and VIP ticket options.
A taste of Austin
Austin prides itself on being a food city where visitors can find almost anything their palate desires. Steak and seafood, Asian fusion and French reign supreme among the city’s restaurants. The kitchens of the best Tex-Mex and barbecue restaurants in the country can be found here, as well as a wide selection of local organic restaurants. And Austin is vegetarian-friendly.
Whole Foods is headquartered in Austin, and a trip to their flagship store is food heaven. There are many different food stations all over the place, and visitors will get lost trying to decide what they want. When they finally do, they can take it all outside and enjoy the Texas sun.
Go for it !
No visit to Austin is complete without seeing the urban bats that take flight every night from mid-March through November. Crowds of people line the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to see more than 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from under the bridge to cover the sky as they head out to search for food. Travel tip: Another way to see bats is via boats on the water. Don’t miss it.
The Texas State Capitol – Standing tall and proud
Located at the foot of Congress Avenue, this ornate building is an extraordinary example of late 19th-century public architecture and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most distinguished state capitols. In 1970, it earned distinction on the National Register of Historic Places. A stop at the Capitol Visitor’s Center, 112 E. 11th St., is a good place to start. Free tours of the Texas Capitol are available daily and contain information about the Capitol, Texas history, and the Texas Legislature. Texas is one of the few states in the country whose Capitol building is actually taller than Washington, D.C.
Imagine what an awesome event you could have at the Texas State Capitol. Various rooms are available in the Bob Bullock State History Museum of Texas which can accommodate up to 1,400 people. Events can take place in the large hall or in the meeting room overlooking the rotunda. .
Check out the Capital City Event Center, located just ten minutes from downtown, perfect for large or small groups. The Texas Star in Austin is an ideal location for Texas-sized meetings for up to 250 people.
See it all… and quickly!
Catch all of Austin’s top sights with Austin Overtures. This 90-minute tour takes you to over 30 major historical and cultural points of interest, including Historic Downtown, University of Texas, Texas Hill Country, and more.
Travel advice goes digital
Austin visitors now have a new digital tool to use. The Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau just launched #TrueAustin, an interactive program that lets visitors ask local experts for their tips on the best restaurants, and more. and get answers quickly.
In Austin, the people are friendly, the food is fantastic, and the music doesn’t get better.
Originally published on January 15, 2013.