Central Austin is essentially a residential and recreational support system for the vast university that it surrounds. West Campus is densely packed with student-filled apartment complexes, casual eateries and coffee shops. North of campus is quieter, featuring a few laid-back bars with patios, and tree-lined streets with 1920s Craftsman bungalows.
With a rich sense of history and a thriving entertainment scene, Downtown is Austin’s beating heart. Late-19th-century architectural landmarks, including the iconic Texas State Capitol (1888) and the Driskill Hotel (1886), mix with modern museums. Music lovers flock to celebrated venues like Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater and Stubbs BBQ, while revelers hit the high-energy bars along East 6th Street.
South Austin is an expansive district of leafy residential suburbs and green spaces like the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a botanic garden showcasing native Texas plants. Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park has hiking trails and a disc golf course. Among the area’s several malls is Southpark Meadows, with big-box stores and a cinema, while clusters of eateries include taquerias, BBQ joints, and sushi spots.