There are definitely many factors to consider when researching the best places to stay in Austin. I mean, Austin is a city that continually tops the list of places to visit, thanks to the city’s reinvention of itself in recent years.
More and more, you see unique coffee shops, restaurants, and boutique stores opening up all around Austin as the city embraces its renewed gentrification. These businesses help to give each of Austin’s neighborhoods their own unique vibe and feel.
With this in mind, we have done our best to narrow Austin down into five areas to stay that will help you to know exactly where to stay in Austin, Texas based upon your needs.
As one of America’s fastest-growing cities, it is easy to get “lost” in the hustle and bustle that surround you in Austin. The city has over 59 neighborhoods, each with its own distinct personality. While you are exploring, be sure to check out several of Austin’s neighborhoods to get a good feel for what Austin is really about.
Austin is one of our favorite cities to visit. Surrounded by bustling nightlife, great food, and plenty of things to do, Austin really checks all of the boxes for a fun getaway. We especially love to visit Austin during Christmas to enjoy all of the fabulous lights.
Really, it doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a girl’s weekend or a romantic getaway, Austin has something for you. I mean, Austin is so close to so many of our Texas small towns that you can easily take a day trip to visit Wimberley to see the blue hole, or head to Fredericksburg to tour some fabulous wineries.
While you are visiting Austin, you will definitely want to check out the bats that emerge from the Congress Avenue Bridge and spend some time outdoors. Popular outdoor activities include spending the day at Lady Bird Lake or exploring Zilker Botanical Garden.
Those of you that love culture and museums will find plenty to do in Austin as well. Be sure to check out the LBJ Presidential Library, Bullock Texas State History Museum, and the quirky Museum of the Weird while here.
Really, Austin has it all!
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Best Places to Stay in Austin, Texas
Downtown is Great Stay in Austin For First-Timers
If you stay in Austin downtown, then you are staying in the heart of the city. We love staying here because you can easily walk to museums, restaurants, and bars. The downtown area really has so much to offer.
Since the downtown area is brimming with hotels, it is usually pretty easy to get a good price for a nice room in the downtown area as well. In addition to the good prices on hotels, the downtown area is very accessible to the other neighborhoods that we are mentioning in our guide, making downtown Austin an all-around winner!
Downtown is bursting with history, charm, and a unique atmosphere. No matter what time of day it is, you are bound to hear live music coming from somewhere in this area.
History lovers will enjoy visiting the Texas State Capital building and seeing the Paramount Theatre during their time in Austin, Texas. The Texas State Capital is open to visitors and is one of the free things to do in Austin as well.
Come to think of it, downtown Austin really has so much to offer. Loads of great galleries, museums, and unique shops call this area of Austin, Texas home. Head over to the Second Street District (just a few blocks from Lady Bird Lake) to get a feel for local living in downtown Austin. Here you will find places such as the cinema bar, Violet Crown Cinema, a great place to have drinks while watching a movie.
When night hits, head to the popular Rainey Street. Lined with colorful houses–turned-bars, Rainey Street thrives on outdoor patios made especially for drinking. Rainey Street is really like one big playground for adults. Many of the bars are old Austin homes that have been converted, making them perfect to hang out in.
Start your night out at Bangers, an Austin eatery specializing in beer and bratwurst. We enjoy sitting in their Biergarten sipping a craft beer and noshing on a delicious bratwurst before heading off to one of the bars on Rainey.
Don’t miss the speakeasy, Bar Illegal, while in this area. You will find Bar Illegal open Thursday-Saturday. It is located just behind Clive Bar.
Austin’s 6th Street in the downtown area is also a popular area for nightlife. Sixth street is lined with bars and nightclubs, so just take your pic. We love visiting the Iron Cactus for great Mexican food and margaritas. You will definitely want to check out Maggie Mae’s rooftop as well while in this area.
Downtown is one of the go-to areas to stay!
Downtown Austin Hotels
If you love being spoiled while traveling, then the Fairmont Downtown Austin is for you. Not only does the staff make you feel like royalty, but the fabulous pool and the luxurious rooms will make you never want to leave.
You can’t beat the location of the Fairmont as well. They are located right across the street from the Austin Convention Center and only a couple of blocks from both Rainey Street and Sixth Street.
The Fairmont is where to stay in Austin to be close to Rainey and Sixth Street!
Hilton Garden Inn
For travelers looking for a nice hotel at a reasonable price, then consider the Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown. This hotel contains 254 rooms, and an outdoor pool, a great workout area, and a delicious on-site restaurant.
Not only that, but the Hilton Garden Inn is in a great location to several of Austin’s attractions including Sixth Street and Rainey Street.
The W Hotel in downtown Austin, Texas is located right in the heart of downtown. Boasting modern rooms and spacious suites, the W might just be the perfect place to stay in Austin, Texas.
You will find the W attached to the iconic Moody Theatre. A great place to visit if you are a fan of the Austin City Limits Live! This hotel has you right in the middle of the action as so many attractions are within walking distance. The homey feel will make you never want to leave!
The W also has a tequila bar and a record room packed with vinyl to check out during your stay in Austin.
The Driskill Hotel
You can’t make a list of downtown hotels and not mention The Driskill Hotel. Built in 1886, this iconic Austin Hotel will have you feel like you have been transported back in time. The historic brick exterior welcomes you into the gorgeous lobby area.
Visitors enjoy well-appointed and recently renovated bright rooms that each pay tribute to the hotel’s history. Of course, you can enjoy the many hotel amenities also. One of our favorite traditions is to partake in The Driskill’s afternoon tea service. While visiting, don’t miss a slice of the famous 1886 chocolate cake when visiting the hotel’s 1886 Bakery and Cafe.
The Driskill is truly a delightful piece of history that is sure to spoil you during your stay in Austin!
East Austin is The Best Neighborhood for Food and Live Music Lovers
Away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, but still close enough to everything is the less refined neighborhood of East Austin.
One of the facts about Texas we love is that Austin is the music capital of the U.S. If you want to stay in Austin close to the live music and food scene, then East Austin, TX will be great for you.
In East Austin, visitors will find everything from speak-easy style bars to amazing food trucks, all within walking distance.
Less touristy than Sixth Street, East Austin is where locals go to hang out. It is in this funky area that you will find some of Austin’s best happy hours, gardens, and patios to pass your time away in Austin. This is definitely one of the areas to stay in if you want to explore if you are into these things.
For a great patio in the East Austin area, be sure and visit The Vortez. This funky bar has great cocktails, a fun eclectic atmosphere, and a great outdoor area.
East Austin is also home to loads of unique shops. Here you can find several vintage clothing and book stores, fun hand-made jewelry, even hand-made furniture. East Austin is one of the best neighborhoods to be immersed in Austin’s history and culture.
Best Hotels in Austin-East Austin
Located rightfully so, on Eleventh Street in East Austin, Hotel Eleven boasts spacious rooms and a great casual vibe. Guests can enjoy the great rooftop lounge and the hotel’s casual café. We love that so much of the hotel (like the woodwork, the hand-crafted metalwork, and more) were all crafted by local Austin artists.
On a late-night home, grad food from the food trucks that are located right across the street! A great place to check out during your stay in Austin.
Guild East 6th Street
Guild East is the place to stay if you want a bright and cheery modern property located in East Austin. Located near some of Austin, TX’s top tourist attractions, Guild East 6th Street houses an outdoor terrace, fitness center, and outdoor pool.
Heywood Hotel is a boutique hotel located in East Austin just off East Cesar Chavez Street. Guests staying at the Heywood Hotel enjoy uniquely decorated rooms in an area that is easily within walking distance of your desired attractions.
The Heywood looks more like someone’s home than a hotel, and honestly, that is what so many people love about it. If you stay here, you will find yourself surrounded by comfortable furnishings, fabulous bedding, and awesome mini-bar amenities. Really, they have a great mini-bar offering and the items are actually reasonably priced with the most expensive item being $5. I really think you might just be staying with a friend here!
South Congress is Perfect for Young Travellers
South Congress, ‘SoCo’ to the locals, is a funky neighborhood centered around South Congress Avenue in South Austin. This area has a fun artsy feel, making it one of the areas to stay in for young travelers. South Congress is one of the best neighborhoods for people who desire to meet people, eat, make connections, and absorb some of the trendy culture that is Austin.
Visitors love snapping photos of all of the murals and street art that is scattered around the South Congress neighborhood, including the “I Love You So Much” mural. Shopping the specialty stores on South Congress Avenue is also what draws visitors to the South Austin area.
You will also find some amazing food in the South Congress area. A must-visit spot is Home Slice Pizza. Home Slice has been an icon in this neighborhood for years. Trust me when I tell you that their pizza is worth waiting in line for. Another fun food establishment in this area is Big Top Candy Shop. Here you will find loads of carnival-style sweets that you can’t live without!
SoCo is also a great area to stay in if you want to rub elbows with the locals from Austin.
Best Hotels in Austin, TX-South Congress
South Congress Hotel
South Congress Hotel prides itself on catering to its customers. This luxury hotel will spoil you with its posh rooms that contain everything you need from comfy bathrobes to luxurious toiletries.
Don’t let all of that fool you though, this hotel is not a stuffy feeling. It is just the opposite. It is hip, modern, and sleek feeling. I guess that can be contributed to mid-century modern furniture and the minimalist style that you will find throughout the decor here.
Combine that with all of the hotel’s amenities and you might never want to leave. There is a sunroom, a clothing boutique, and six restaurants and bars on site.
Allow the staff to cater to you while you lounge around the gorgeous pool soaking up some Texas sun before you wander out to explore the great South Congress neighborhood during your stay in Austin.
SoCo Hideaway is a two-bedroom holiday home is perfect for a couple or for families visiting SoCo. Visitors love the keypad entry, safe property, and spacious digs in this hip neighborhood.
Red River District is Perfect For Austin Nightlife Lovers
It is a well-known fact that many people spend time in Austin for nightlife! The Red River District consists of about 3 blocks that are jammed packed with nightclubs, bars, and diners. This thriving community prides itself on its lively music scene, making it one of the awesome areas to stay in Austin, TX.
It is here that you will find everything from rock to cabaret. During the day, you are close to downtown Austin, TX, and Zilker Park, so there is plenty to keep you busy during daylight hours as well.
Of course, you are going to need to eat while staying here, so don’t miss Stubb’s Bar-B-Q for sure. Stubb’s not only has a melt-in-your-mouth barbecue, but they also have an outdoor stage that showcases some great live music. For some awesome Southern comfort food, you have to go to Moonshine. Moonshine serves up unique southern dishes that pair perfectly with their extensive cocktail menu.
Other local favorites in the Red River District include Barbarella. People especially love Barbarella’s theme nights and multiple dance floors.
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Best Hotels in Austin-Red River District
This colorful, modern hotel makes guests feel right at home from the moment they walk in the door. Located a short walk from the State Capital building, guests will find cozy rooms, a fun cocktail bar, a fitness center, a rooftop pool, and a great breakfast.
Guild Red River
The Guild Red River is an apartment hotel located 5 minutes away from all of the fun on 6th street. Guests here love the hotel’s hip vibe as well as the living/dining room rooms, kitchens, and washer/dryers.
There is an outdoor pool with a sundeck, a lounge, a gym, and a picnic area complete with BBQ grills! What more do you need?
Zilker is Great for Families
Notated as one of the best neighborhoods in Austin, Zilker’s abundance of outdoor activities makes it a great place in Austin for families.
The main attraction in this area is Zilker Park, an urban oasis that covers more than 350-acres. Zilker makes it easy to hike, bike, kayak, or just enjoy a lazy day outside. Tucked inside of Zilker Park is the Zilker Botanical Garden. Encompassing more than 26-acres, the botanical garden has a rose garden and many native Texas plant species. It is also here that you will find the Japanese Garden which houses Japanese maple trees, a tearoom, and more!
Don’t worry though, there is more to Zilker than just a great park. Zilker is home to numerous shops, restaurants, and cafes. One of our favorite spots in Zilker is Chuy’s. Chuy’s is the place to go for delicious TexMex and cold margaritas. Be warned though, their portions are HUGE!
Zilker is also close enough to other major Austin tourist attractions that you can easily visit anywhere you would like, making this one of the fabulous areas to stay in Austin, Texas.
Best Hotels in Austin-Zilker
Guild Lamar Union
The Guild Lamar Union is an ultra-modern property that will provide you with the ideal location for exploring Austin. Close to Zilker Park and the local attractions, this apartment-style hotel is fitted with everything you need, including a pool and free wifi, making this a great place to stay!
The Carpenter Hotel
The Carpenter Hotel is a short walk to Zilker Park and the train station. Guests find themselves surrounded by hip bars and restaurants when staying at The Carpenter. Their bright rooms feature minifridges, balconies, and sitting areas.
The property boasts a pool, restaurant, and a furnished terrace and garden along with free parking and free wifi.
Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Austin
Austin is just an overall cool city! The hip, trendy culture exudes out of every ounce of Austin.
Whether you choose to immerse yourself in awesome music, fun nightlife, amazing food, or just get to know Austin, Austin has something for you!
Choosing one of the areas to stay in Austin is half of the battle as each neighborhood is unique and brings its own personality to the city. No matter where you choose to stay, be sure to venture into all of Austin’s neighborhoods to get a true feel for the city! You will notice that throughout the city, there is a distinct hip vibe that seems to permeate everything. This is one of the many reasons so many people are attracted to Austin.
No matter what you choose, always remember to ‘Keep Austin Weird’!
Suggested Tours in Austin:
Don’t forget to check out some of our other Texas:
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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight:
We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best prices on flights. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines all over the world to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.
Book Your Vacation Package:
If you want to book an entire vacation package, then we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.
Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!
For full guided vacations including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all of your needs while ensuring that you have a great experience.
Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop-shop.”
Book Your Accommodations:
We always begin our search by checking out the honest review on hotels at TripAdvisor. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site as well!
There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it gives you a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.
Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!
If you are looking for a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, then consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.
Tour Companies We Trust:
We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!
CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.
Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.
Looking to Save Time and Money?
Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!
About The Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.