The Lone Star State offers many travel places. Our favorites are Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. MilitaryFares can help you book special deals on hotels and air fare to the visit all these great cities.
Why Austin is Great Place to Visit
The Texas capital has many things to offer. From live music to great tex-mex, Austin offers something for everyone.
Great Place to Live
Austin was recently named the best place to live in the USA. The ranking compares quality of life and job markets across the country. Austinites take particular pride in differentiating themselves from bigger cities like Dallas and Houston. The city’s unofficial slogan, ‘Keep Austin Weird,’ stemmed from a campaign in 2000. An effort to protect local businesses against larger, national chains.
Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Apple, eBay, Facebook and Google all have headquarters or regional offices in Austin. This unique blend of big-city opportunity with small-town charm creates a sense of unity in diversity. It also generates sarcastic local idioms like ‘Don’t Dallas My Austin.’ Visitors to Austin can enjoy all the amenities of a big city. However, the charm of neighborhood restaurants and quirky local businesses.
Music is the heart and soul of Austin. The city rightfully earned the slogan Live Musical Capital of the World in 1991, when music critics discovered Austin had more live music performances per capita than anywhere else in the nation.
From blues to indie rock, country to jazz and more, Austin’s musicians really get into the groove on stage. Legendary artists like Willie Nelson, Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughan all got their start here.
Austin is a beautiful city surrounded by amazing scenery. One of the best ways to take in all of this beauty is by exploring its parks and trails. There are over 200 miles of parkland and green space in Austin. There’s plenty to keep in mind from the moment you start looking for cheap flights to the capital of Texas. Some of the most popular parks include Zilker Park, Barton Springs Pool, and Lady Bird Lake. In addition to parks, Austin also has many trails for hikers and cyclists. Some of the most popular trails include the Barton Creek Greenbelt and the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail. Lastly, in case you didn’t know, it turns out that Austin is also home to a wide variety of beautiful and challenging public and private golf courses. Not a surprise, considering its lovely weather!
Hands-down, Austin’s most famous boulevard is Sixth Street. Home to the urban nightlife scene, fascinating bars and restaurants, it’s also one of Austin’s most historic districts.
The Driskill, a Romanesque-style structure completed in 1886, is Austin’s oldest operating hotel and a landmark of Texas hospitality. Even for those not staying there, just stepping inside to witness its grand columned lobby with marble floors and stain-glassed dome is a feast for the eyes.
Maggie Mae’s, located in a beautifully restored 1850 building, is Sixth Street’s oldest bar and the epitome of everything Austin. An authentic New Orleans-style courtyard features a staircase extending to a rooftop offering spectacular views of downtown Austin. And of course, again, there’s live music.
Austin is one of the best cities in America for foodies. Over 400 restaurants and cafes serve delicious meals and a cold beer. Austin includes some of the most popular eateries in North Texas. One thing that makes Austin such a great city to eat at is its diversity.
Downtown Austin, for example, is the place to go if you want to experience authentic Tex-Mex delicacies. You will find everything from high-end steakhouses to hole-in-the-wall taco joints here. In addition to these multi-course gourmet dinners, dozens of street vendors around town sell tasty snacks for low prices (like tacos or ice cream). If you love good food and craft beer, be sure to explore the local restaurants and food trucks when you visit!
And no city makes the list for best destination weddings without having a plethora of swanky hotels. There’s something for everyone. From historic landmarks like the Driskill Hotel and Hotel Ella. To stylish South Congress escapes such as Hotel Saint Cecilia and Hotel San Jose.
And for locals, pools at the W Hotel and South Congress Hotel offer day passes for just $20. C omplete with complimentary valet parking and pool towels. Just one more way Austinites love to soak up the sun. If you’re visiting Austin on a shoestring, there are also some great cheap hotels and hostels to satisfy any budget traveler. We are happy to help you gain the best deal at MilitaryFares!
History of Austin
Anson Jones would succeed Sam Houston as the fourth President of the Republic of Texas. In 1845, he called for a constitutional convention meeting in Austin. It was there that President Jones would approve the annexation of Texas to the United States. He also made Austin the temporary state capital. This was supposed to last until 1850, when Texas voters were to decide on a capital in a general election.
On February 19, 1846, authority of Texas was formally transferred from the republic to the state, and Austin was made the official capital. However, Austin’s status as capital would remain in doubt until 1872. That year, a statewide election was held, and Austin won out over Houston and Waco to secure itself as the capital of Texas.
So why is Austin the capital of Texas and not Houston? Ultimately, it was the voters in the Lone Star State that cemented Austin as the capital of Texas.
Weather in Austin
In Austin, the summers are hot and oppressive; the winters are short, cold, and windy; and it is partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 43°F to 97°F . It is rarely below 30°F or above 102°F.
Based on the climate, the best time of year to visit Austin for hot-weather activities is from mid May to late September.
I know what you’re thinking: What is so cool about bats? Really, you just have to see it for yourself.
According to Bats in Austin, nearly 1.5 million Brazilian free-tailed bats call the South Congress Bridge home between November and March.
Show up to the bridge before sundown and you can catch a pretty cool show. On summer nights, between about 8 and 9 p.m., the bats begin flying from underneath the bridge. While watching, you can’t help but think, “Where are they all coming from?” They just keep coming and coming, giving folks a show for almost an hour.
They fly about 2 miles high at 60-plus mph.
The SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival is known to hit downtown Austin. It brings nine days of entertainment from everywhere.
Typically, everyone who lives around Austin knows when SXSW is going on, so unless you’re actually going, you’ll want to stay away from the area. The traffic is crazy because it is so incredibly packed! For those days, it is the place to be.
The music festival is the largest of its kind in the world, with more than 2,000 acts. It’s like the biggest smorgasbord of artists you can imagine. You can see big-name artists, or you can meet a band from a small town in Idaho that you’ve never heard of before.
The first moon landing, a World Series triumph, scrumptious culinary scene, and Queen Bey’s hometown. Houston needs little introduction to the connoisseurs and gourmands. The largest city and heartland of Texas, Houston vibrates with life and passion of a cosmopolitan crowd.
Houston, Texas is incredibly diverse and spills wonderful culture. Due to this, it also gives you a reason to explore multiple cuisines. At present, the city holds thousands of restaurants and food places where you can enjoy diverse food varieties.
Whether it is Peruvian, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, or Lebanese- there are places where you get the best quality. The food is insanely affordable. Thus, Houston is considered the best place to enjoy the food of different countries.
The Space Center Houston, located at the Greater Houston area, pays homage to everything space. The human quest for the extraterrestrial has been documented here and is a must-visit for anyone in Houston. The Space Center Houston remains the city’s top draw. With over 400 space paraphernalia on display, the most interesting and expansive collection of moon rocks win adulation. From educational programs to meeting an astronaut, this Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center will easily charm inquisitive visitors.
Houston has hot summers, mild winters, and great weather the rest of the time. With only around two weeks of below 32 degree weather a year. Half the year is usually somewhere in the 70 or 80 degree range. Three hot summer months and the coldest month on average being January. It has average highs of 62 degrees and lows of 41 degrees. Unlike other more extreme cities like the cold winters in New York or the scorching summers in Los Angeles. Houston is a happy medium (albeit humid) where year-round travel is still pretty enjoyable.
Houston’s incredible diversity superbly flows into its arts scene. The innumerable art exhibitions across its many museums cannot be missed at any cost. The buzzing theater district, sporting events, and music performances big and small are taking place anytime around the year.
History is strewn around the lanes of Houston. An architecture-inspired trip across the city exploring its heritage location is necessary to understand its narrative. The Brochstein Pavilion, the expansive Houston City Hall, and the Houston Cotton Exchange are some of the renowned places.
Though the place holds the ancient cultural shops where you can see the ancient collectible items, there are many more things to enjoy. Houston also has massive luxurious boutiques and malls from which you can buy modern stuff. The place also has new state-of-the-art buildings and luxury shops such as Celine, Tods, and La Perla.
Here, you can easily find high-end contemporary brands such as Berluti, Alexander Wang, Givenchy, Chloe, and Valentino. However, these are not the only brands you get from here. You can enjoy both retro style and modern-day concept fashionable items at just one place.
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
At a sprawling 14 acres, this museum is the largest cultural institution in the Southwest. Thanks to a $450 million expansion. Which will be completed sometime in 2020, it’s going to get even bigger. It will include a 164,000-square-foot building for modern and contemporary art.
But travelers don’t need to wait for this project to be finished to make a visit because there’s already plenty of renowned art to see.
The museum’s collection of more than 70,000 objects comes from all world cultures, dating from antiquity to present. It includes notable American art such as Georgia O’Keefe paintings. European paintings including works by Rembrandt and Goya. Pre-Columbian and African gold, photography, prints and drawings, 20th- and 21st-century paintings and sculptures and Latin American art. General admission is $17.
Holocaust of Houston
The nation’s fourth largest Holocaust Museum will more than double in size from, 21,000 to 57,000 square feet. It reopens on June 22, following a nearly $50 million expansion. It’s going to be the country’s first fully bilingual English and Spanish Holocaust museum. Furthermore it will grow from one to four permanent galleries.
In addition to its already existing Bearing Witness Holocaust gallery, which is full of artifacts from before, during and after the Holocaust (a 1942 railcar that transported Jewish people to concentration camps in Germany is a highlight), a new human rights gallery will have displays of all UN-recognized genocides.
Livestock Show and Rodeo
One great reason to visit Houston in the winter is that you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy the famous Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. This is the largest livestock exhibition and rodeo in the world. It starts at the end of February and runs until mid-March. During the event, you can watch the parade. Enjoy a barbecue competition, see some outstanding concerts. Check out all the action at the rodeo competitions, watch the livestock shows, and more.
Winter in Houston offers the perfect weather to practice your swing on the golf course. One of the best municipal courses in the city is the Memorial Park Golf Course. The 18-hole course offers a par 72 that will challenge golfers of all levels. The course also has a lighted driving range and chipping and putting greens.
Whether you want to enjoy the beautiful weather or check out a fun festival. It’s easy to see why you’ll have a great time in Houston when you visit during winter.
When you want to spend some time outside, check out a great park in Houston. One of the most popular parks in the area is Hermann Park. Located in the heart of the city. Hermann Park is home to an incredible variety of things to do.
You can head to the Houston Zoo to see over 900 species in their various habitats. If you’re looking for a soothing place, take some time to stroll along the stone paths of the Japanese Garden. The park also has several lakes, a miniature railroad, trails, playgrounds, and more.
San Antonio recently celebrated its 300th anniversary as a city of rich history. Settled by Spanish missionaries in the 18th century, over 1.5 million people from all over the world have since made the city their home.
You can still see signs of the city’s original settlement when you visit the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The San Antonio Missions are a group of five frontier mission complexes. Situated along a 7.7-mile stretch of the San Antonio River basin in southern Texas. The park includes the city’s four southernmost Spanish colonial missions . Concepción, San José, San Juan, and Espada – plus the world-famous Alamo.
In the 18th century, Spanish priests established these five Catholic missions along the San Antonio River. Today, the missions – walled compounds encompassing a church and buildings where the priests and local Native Americans lived . They represent the largest concentration of Spanish colonial missions in North America. The San Antonio missions collectively were named the first World Heritage Site in Texas by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science, and Culture (UNESCO) in 2015.
The River Walk
The world-renowned urban waterway called the River Walk is a public park open 365 days a year. Welcoming over 14 million people annually. Home to countless special events, the River Walk extends about 15 miles. After the San Antonio River flooded the downtown district in 1921, San Antonio native and architect Robert Hugmansubmitted his plans for the River Walk for flood control of the river.
Through the following decades, the River Walk has been improved and extended. The popular downtown stretch is where you’ll find cafes, restaurants, shops, hotels, and other entertainment. In 2009, the city opened the River Walk expansion. Called the Museum Reach, a river lock connects the downtown section to this portion, featuring local attractions such as the San Antonio Museum of Art and The Pearl Brewery. By 2016, the River Walk was connected with another linear urban walkway, the San Pedro Creek Greenway. The greenway joins with the River Walk at the confluence of the San Pedro Creek and the San Antonio River near Mission Concepción.
Home of Many Cultures
San Antonio is a city of many cultural traditions. Stop by the Mexican market in Market Square, where mariachi bars face the historic plaza. Market Square is a three-block outdoor plaza lined with shops and restaurants in downtown San Antonio. The largest Mexican market in the United States, the “El Mercado” section has 32 specialty shops, while the “Farmer’s Market Plaza” section has 80.
On the city’s eastside, you’ll find the Carver Community Cultural Center. Founded in 1918 as a community center for African Americans. Today, the location hosts performances. The University of Texas’s Institute of Texan Cultures in HemisFair Park has galleries describing the immigrant experiences. Representing many ethnicities living in modern-day Texas. The campus hosts the Texas Folklife Festival. Celebrating the music, dance, and food of more than forty cultures from Syria.
Did you know UNESCO designated San Antonio a Creative City of Gastronomy in 2015? San Antonio is only the second city in the U.S. to earn this distinction and the first in Texas. San Antonio’s culinary heritage is significant for its confluence of many world cultures such as Mexican, Spanish, German, and French and its geology and geography. We’re known as the birthplace of Tex-Mex cuisine, for starters. However, innovative cuisine continues to take root in San Antonio with the influx of new chefs.
The 2007 opening in San Antonio of the third campus for the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA). It has led to many chefs trained in the foundations of culinary instruction. Specializations in Latin cuisine who stay in the Alamo City to open food trucks and restaurants. This CIA campus takes advantage of San Antonio’s cultural influences and access to indigenous ingredients. It is located at the Pearl Brewery district. A 22-acre indie food haven developed on the property of a German brewery built in 1883.
Climate in San Antonio
In San Antonio, the summers are hot and oppressive, the winters are short and cool, and it is partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 43°F to 96°F and is rarely below 31°F or above 101°F.
Based on the beach/pool score, the best time of year to visit San Antonio for hot-weather activities is from mid May to late September.
Natural Bridge Caverns
Around a 30-minute drive from the Alamo, the Natural Bridge Caverns are really easy to visit for a half-day trip from Downtown San Antonio.
Now, you’ll likely find loads of caves in Texas but the Natural Bridge Caverns are some of the largest (easily accessed) caves in all the state. We totally loved our visit and spent a good few hours underground!
It’s incredible inside, especially when you see all the towering formations on the Discovery Walking Tour. Although relatively easy to access, there are some inclines to consider once you’re in the cave.
A three-block outdoor plaza lined with restaurants, shops and produce stands is the largest Mexican market in the United States. Specialty stalls sell everything from leather boots to hand-embroidered dresses, with more than 80 shops alone making up the Farmers Market Plaza. Colourful paper “picado” Mexican flags add a cultural atmosphere, so too musicians, dancers and working artists.