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Katrina
South Australia

Texas, Austin

Best experience for 4 nights in Texas?

Planning our first trip to the States from Australia, for 6 weeks arriving in LA the last week of September.

Our first 20 days will be spent exploring California (LA, LV, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, San Fran, Santa Barbara) and we have allocated 4 nights to then spend in Texas before heading to KY, NYC, New England. Whilst I had my heart set on staying on a horse ranch in Texas, i've found this experience in some of CA's national parks. Also, by now, we will have spent a decent amount of time in national parks so not thinking Big Bend, but considering San Jose in Austin. Looks like a groovy little place to hang out for 4 nights? 

From here we can spend a day in the main city of Austin, see the Guadalupe River and have a few nice outings in the evenings, seems there's a bustling food scene! But perhaps we are better off staying in the heart of Austin and spending a day in San Jose or perhaps somewhere entirely different! 

Any changes, suggestions would be great! Thanks so much :-) Kat


6 Answers

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answered by
Gary from Scottsdale

I wonder if you don't mean San Antonio, rather than San Jose. There is a Mission San Jose in South San Antonio and at one time there was a little village there too, but no more. 

Texas is really five states, north, south, east, and west, + Central Texas. They all have different flavors and different cultures, and the driving distances are long, about a thousand miles from one side of the state to the other. I'm prejudice towards Central Texas because I lived in Austin for over 20 years. While there are things to see in Houston and Dallas, they are just basically Cookie cutter cities, which I'm sure the residents would take great exception to. Most all of Texas is really just small towns, and the ones in Central Texas are the most interesting. Places like Fredericksburg, Boerne, San Marcos, Johnson City, Luckinbach, Dripping Springs, etc are all west of Austin and north of San Antonio in the Texas Hill Country. You could do Austin for a day, although that's not really enough time for that wonderous city, do a day in the Hill Country, stay overnight in San Antonio and do the Riverwalk in the evening (I can recommend the Drury hotel right on the Riverwalk), the most fun time, then see some sites like the Alamo the next day, before driving up I 35 to Austin, about 2 hours, stopping in San Marcos on the way, also New Braunfels if you have a chance, for some great German food, many of these towns were settled by Germans. Lots of hotels near the Riverwalk, and the Alamo is right in downtown, too. Great Tex Mex and barbecue abound, including a branch of the County Line BBQ on the Riverwalk. The King William historic district is also right there, along with restored buildings from old San Antonio when it still belonged to Mexico. 

I have a long recommendation for seeing Austin on this site, too. if you do decide you want to see a real Texas dude ranch, a friend of mine owns the Silver Spur ranch just north of San Antonio in Bandera. It is where the last great Texas cattle drive heading north along the Chisholm Trail started. Ask for Kay or Garry. Have fun.


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answered by
Emily from Austin (Texas)

What a fantastic trip! Wish I could be in your suitcase. The parks will be amazing. I think Hotel San Jose is a great idea - South Congress is a great part of Austin to be in, and you can walk out from there to all kinds of fun shopping and great food. Stay there. Awesome location. We are foodies, and Austin has some of the best food. Look on yelp for ideas -there are so many great options. There are some good food trucks on South Congress and South First, too. So you should be all set. If you love sushi and don't mind a pricier night, Uchi is great (Paul Qui).  

So, I say any trip to Texas is incomplete without a trip to the Hill Country. Fredericksburg (Texas) is in the heart of it (CNN Named it one of the 6 most Romantic Towns in the US). I suggest staying a couple of nights in Austin and a night or two in Fredericksburg. I would visit wineries for tastings (and great Pizza at Grape Creek) and eat at Otto's German Bistro in Fredericksburg. Stay at one of the many cottages and B&Bs for rent near the cute main street or in the country. Hike Enchanted Rock. Check out the shopping on Main Street. Try real Texas barbecue at Cooper's in Llano on the way back. You could also go out a bit further and float the river at Garner State park in a tube, which is really relaxing and fun. Here's a picture of Enchanted Rock a couple weeks ago.


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answered first by
Peter from Munich

I can recommend to visit the Riverwalk in San Antonio. So many dining options along the river, it feels a little bit like Venice in Italy.

Another interesting place is probably Corpus Christi


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answered by
Bonnie from Austin (Texas)

We've had friends visit twice from Australia and we felt we could spend much time in Austin.  It too depends on what you like...educational?..outdoors?.. wandering? (my husband & I travel the world & we are more into meeting the locals, relaxing, etc. we can only go so far as to visiting lots of museums.)You have to see LIVE music.  Food trailers are great, the east side of Austin is up and coming and has some great restaurants like Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile (great food all organic).

Go see the bats on Congress at night in fact, take a Lady Bird Lakecruise and the boat stops on the lake for a good look at all the bats. (They give the times in the Austin American Statesman for when the sun is going down).  Kayak on Lady Bird Lake or rent a bike to explore the city. Congress Ave has great shopping as well as 2nd street district.  I would stay away from 6th street as it's really just bars & gets a bit creepy at night.  Our children are all in their 30's and no longer like that scene as you can feel more comfortable on Congress, etc.  GET BARBECUE, go to Mount Bonnell Viewing Platform. For sure stay close to downtown Austin as that's where so much activity is. Many, many things to do if you want to stay in Austin. Traveling to the other areas like Fredericksburg (Texas) are great, but it's about an hours drive from Austin & so is San Antonio.  


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  1. Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile (attraction)
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answered by
Roger from San Marcos (Texas)

One of  2 ideas:

You could tour I 35 Austin To San Antonio (rent a care with GPS) Lots of sites In New Braunfels & San Marcos along that road. Fun dining & out door activities . It can still be a bit warm that time of year. 2) Could focus on  big city Dallas/Fort Worth nightlife shopping or Houston has lots to offer like museums restaurants, night life- many different options in both towns. Houston has more international dining . Also Tex Mex & Steaks too! Again renting a car with GPS will be a major plus. Enjoy!


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  1. San Antonio (city)
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answered by
Gary from Scottsdale

I wonder if you don't mean San Antonio, rather than San Jose. There is a Mission San Jose in South San Antonio and at one time there was a little village there too, but no more. 

Texas is really five states, north, south, east, and west, + Central Texas. They all have different flavors and different cultures, and the driving distances are long, about a thousand miles from one side of the state to the other. I'm prejudice towards Central Texas because I lived in Austin for over 20 years. While there are things to see in Houston and Dallas, they are just basically Cookie cutter cities, which I'm sure the residents would take great exception to. Most all of Texas is really just small towns, and the ones in Central Texas are the most interesting. Places like Fredericksburg, Boerne, San Marcos, Johnson City, Luckinbach, Dripping Springs, etc are all west of Austin and north of San Antonio in the Texas Hill Country. You could do Austin for a day, although that's not really enough time for that wonderous city, do a day in the Hill Country, stay overnight in San Antonio and do the Riverwalk in the evening (I can recommend the Drury hotel right on the Riverwalk), the most fun time, then see some sites like the Alamo the next day, before driving up I 35 to Austin, about 2 hours, stopping in San Marcos on the way, also New Braunfels if you have a chance, for some great German food, many of these towns were settled by Germans. Lots of hotels near the Riverwalk, and the Alamo is right in downtown, too. Great Tex Mex and barbecue abound, including a branch of the County Line BBQ on the Riverwalk. The King William historic district is also right there, along with restored buildings from old San Antonio when it still belonged to Mexico. 

I have a long recommendation for seeing Austin on this site, too. if you do decide you want to see a real Texas dude ranch, a friend of mine owns the Silver Spur ranch just north of San Antonio in Bandera. It is where the last great Texas cattle drive heading north along the Chisholm Trail started. Ask for Kay or Garry. Have fun.






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