Music capital

Discover Austin Texas, the live music capital of the world with Virgin Atlantic

Tracy Schaverien

It’s known as the live music capital of the world, with more venues per capita than anywhere else in the United States, so it’s no wonder Austin has become a magnet for travelers eager to dust off their cowboy hats and let loose.

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The Texas city – the capital of the Lone Star State – now rivals Las Vegas as America’s favorite stag and hen destination, but there’s plenty on offer too for those who prefer a more relaxed trip. .

Immerse yourself in a variety of live music like the Abiba Band Saxon

Virgin Atlantic recently launched direct flights from Heathrow to Austin – with daily service to follow next spring – and invited HELLO! aboard the inaugural flight to join Sir Richard Branson and explore the city. Hollywood stars Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Elijah Wood and James Van Der Beek all call Austin home, along with podcaster Joe Rogan and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, owner of Mellow Johnny’s bike shop in the historic Downtown warehouse district. And, with big companies like Google, Facebook and Elon Musk’s Tesla now based in the city, Austin has also become a hub for the cool, young and tech crowd.

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In the meantime, it stands out from other cities with its slogan “Keep Austin Weird” – a commitment to supporting independent businesses, rather than letting business chains dominate. The result is a city full of quirky charm, especially when it comes to its eclectic music scene.

that you like blues, jazz, rock or progressive country – the genre that put Austin on the music map in the 1970s, thanks to resident music legend Willie Nelson – there are plenty of gigs, events and festivals to try, including South by Southwest (SXSW), The Urban Music Festival and Austin city limits – inspired by the television series of the same name.

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Among Austin’s 250 venues, which offer live music every night of the week, we find C-Boys for retro blues and soul, Speakeasy in the Warehouse district, with its 20s style decor and rooftop terrace, Elephant Room for jazz and the Continental Club, where you can hear everything from rockabilly to country. Meanwhile, no trip to Texas is complete without a line dancing spot and, if you’re up for two-step lessons, look no further than the iconic country music venue The Broken Spoke on South Lamar Boulevard, where Terri White, who appeared on weird eyewill show you the way.

The epicenter of Austin’s bustling nightlife is the city’s entertainment district, Dirty 6th Street, a loud and colorful strip filled with dive bars, restaurants, food trucks and, of course, live music. Here you’ll also find The Driskill, Austin’s oldest hotel, which was built in 1868 by cattle baron Colonel Jesse Driskill, who set out to create “the best hotel south of St. Louis.” The bar, with its cowhide rugs and authentic artwork, is definitely worth a visit for a taste of Texas history.

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Another Dirty 6th attraction that is sure to be a hit with kids who don’t panic easily is the Museum of the strange, a treasure trove of curiosities and curiosities, including shrunken heads, a 3,000-year-old mummy and the ‘Creature of Ice’ – a frozen ‘ape-man’ that was once displayed at freak-show-style carnivals. The city also has a zoo, as well as the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

The State Capitol building, which holds free tours

If you really want to immerse yourself in the local cowboy culture, head to Lone Star Ranch, a short drive from the city. Here you can ride a horse, learn cowboy techniques like lassoing, and try your hand at skeet shooting or tomahawk throwing before enjoying a barbecue and a cold beer. And, if you want to watch the game and take home a souvenir, Allen’s Boots on South Congress sells cowboy paraphernalia ranging from shoes to hats.

There are several ways to explore the city, either by bus, by Bicycle or duck tour by road and on Lake Austin. Among Austin’s highlights are the iconic murals that brighten the city walls, the statue of Willie Nelson on 2nd Street, and the distinctive domed building of the Texas State Capitol, the seat of government of Texas. the state, which offers free tours.

At dusk between April and October, head to Congress Avenue Bridge – nicknamed “Bat Bridge” – to watch the nightly spectacle as North America’s largest urban bat population awakens and takes off below the bridge , forming an eerie dark cloud over Lady Bird Lake as thousands of bats disappear into the night sky for their nocturnal adventures.

Dive into Barton Springs

You certainly won’t go hungry in Austin, with its mix of upscale restaurants and authentic chop shacks. For a traditional Texas barbecuePopular spots include Terry Black’s on Barton Springs Road and Franklin’s on East 11th, where customers line up for hours, with their camp chairs and cans of beer, waiting for his famous slow-smoked brisket. Another local specialty is the breakfast taco, consisting of combinations of warm tortillas, corn chips, scrambled eggs and avocado, served at places like Granny’s on East 7th and Torchy’s on South Congress.

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Austin’s summers are hot and dry, but there are plenty of water activities to help keep you cool, including kayaking and paddleboarding trips on the lakes and rivers and Barton Springs Pool, a natural spring of three acres in the city’s Zilker Park. Meanwhile the luxury hotel the Fairmont Austin Hotelwhere we stayed, has a fabulous rooftop pool — though sunny afternoons often involve sipping ice-cold margaritas more than swimming.

For more information and to book, visit Return economy class fares start from £516 per person.

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