Texas is the second biggest state by land mass in the United States, the biggest state being Alaska. There are a number of big cities here, including Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and the capitol of Texas, Austin, but also many smaller towns and cities too.
The State of Texas has Mexico on its south western border on the Rio Grande River, and also bordered by New Mexico to the west, Oklahoma and Kansas to the north and Louisiana to its east, while it also has a long coastline on the Gulf of Mexico where Galveston and Corpus Christi are located.
There's a lot to see in Texas and each of the Cities have their own special style, while the country also has prairies, lakes, rivers, mountains, canyons and wilderness areas too as well as the coastline to enjoy.
On these pages we have set down some information for you about Austin –
AUSTIN – is the Capitol of Texas and has a city population of around 885,000. It is both the center of Government for Texas, and also a University City with claims to be "the live music capital of the world" and there are said to be about 250 different places where you can hear live music. Along with the music these are great places for theater shows, food, drink and meeting people.
The City is located next to Lady Bird Lake, a large reservoir of water created on the Colorado River. The name Lady Bird relates to Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of former President Lyndon B Johnson (LBJ), and her name is also associated with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, located at 4801 La Crosse Avenue, where there are over 650 different Texan plants and flowers to see. There is also an Arboretum here, ponds, butterflies, birds and you can climb up the San Antonio Tower to get great views.
On each side of the Lady Bird Lake there are 10 miles of trails, named the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail with a long Boardwalk crossing over a part of the lake off Lakeshore Boulevard, while on the lake itself you can kayak, paddle Board and boat.
There are over 200 parks in and around the City for biking, hiking, sport and recreation, along with some great fishing, boating and swimming places too.
The city itself was named in Honor of Stephen F Austin, said to be the father of modern Texas, and the City dates back to 1839 to a time when this was a small village called Waterloo. The City center was planned on a British grid system, as opposed to a Spanish planning system, reflecting the fact that the Republic of Texas was instigated by American settlers of British origin and not Spanish.
A Capital Square was also established with a wide Avenue roadway leading away from the Square to the riverside, and named Congress Avenue, much like the one in Washington, and in 1888 the Texas Capitol Building was built here in Red Granite. It is a stunning building both inside and out and looks much like the Capitol Building in Washington DC. There are also 22 acres of grounds around it and here you will be able to see 20 monuments dedicated as tributes including to the Heroes of the Alamo, Volunteer Firemen, Confederate Soldiers, the Texas Rangers, Texan Pioneer Women, Texas Children, World War Two, Korean War and Vietnam Veterans and the Tejano Monument – a tribute to the early Spanish settlers when Texas was a district of the Mexican State of Tejano. Each one of these monuments is inspiring to see, and if you get a chance to see inside the Capitol Building this is also something quite special. There are virtual tours of the building on-l ne. See www.tspb.state.tx.us
Austin City Hall – 301 W. 2nd Street is just a few blocks away from the Capitol Building, and is a very different architectural style with geometrical shape using limestone wall sections and a copper roof. Also close by is the University of Texas that has an enrolment of around 52,000 students. The University and its technology work have resulted in a number of high tech and start-up businesses to locate in Austin, and this too is creating a degree of excitement in the City.
The Governor's Mansion – 1010 Colorado Street is also very close to the Capitol Building. The mansion was built in 1856 in a Greek Revival Style with six massive Greek columns at its front. Inside the rooms are furnished in early American furniture, and there are limited tours of the Building but you must book a week in advance – Tel: 512 305 8524 and see www.gov.texas.gov/mansion/tours
Another Mansion in the Greek Revival Style is the Neill-Cochan House Museum located at 2310 San Gabriel Street. It was built in 1855. See www.nchmuseum.org Tel: 512 478 2335.
Other places to see in Austin
In Austin there are many places to stay, and if you want to be close to the City Center, choose a Hotel or other accommodation that is close to Congress Avenue, 2nd or 6th Streets.
There are the museums along Congress Avenue with the Capitol Building at the top end of the historic Avenue, but also lots of shops, theaters and places to eat. In South Congress, there are more quirky shops and also food trucks. 2nd Street also has lots of shops too, while E. 6th Street is where there are lots of music venues.
When you visit Austin also put on your list to do is eat some Pulled Pork, Brisket or Ribs at Franklin Barbecue located at 900 E.11th Street. This is the famous restaurant of Chef Aaron Franklin, who specialises in barbecue. You may need to queue, but it is worth it. See www.franklinbarbecue.com
I hope you have a great time in Austin and hear some great music.