Hotel at a Glance: Holiday Inn Express and Suites Austin Arboretum
Holiday Inn Express and Suites Austin Arboretum is near some of the city’s best shopping: the Arboretum at Great Hills and The Domain are both just about a mile away. The latter offers 100 stores including Apple, Banana Republic, and Madewell. But you don’t need to leave the hotel to enjoy a relaxing day in Austin. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, the hotel offers a complimentary happy hour, where you can nibble on appetizers while enjoying a glass of wine or a cold beer.
- Toast your vacation: This stay includes a bottle of wine.
- Things to do at the hotel: After fueling up with a complimentary breakfast buffet of cinnamon buns, eggs, and bacon, you can lounge poolside in a private cabana with a TV, or grill up some dinner using the courtyard’s barbecue grills.
- Get some rest on your guest room’s Sealy Posturepedic Plush Pillowtop mattress. The sleek, modern room includes a microwave and fridge, as well as free WiFi and a 42-inch flat-screen TV. King suites are also outfitted with a sink, dishwasher, and sleeper sofa.
- Grab dinner at the many nearby casual and fine-dining restaurants; French, all-natural Mexican, and steakhouse fare are all just a short walk away.
- Explore downtown: Its many live-music venues, museums, and theaters are about 10 miles away from the hotel.
Austin, Texas: Proudly Offbeat State Capital and Live-Music Capital of the World
Built in 1888, the pink-granite Texas Capitol building in Austin is the largest state capitol in the country and even taller than the US Capitol in Washington, DC—proof that everything is, indeed, bigger in Texas. Yet Austin stands apart from the rest of the state politically and culturally, a fact that locals seem to revel in. “Keep Austin Weird” is a popular motto here, appearing on bumper stickers and T-shirts. The weirdness manifests itself all over town, where you’ll find a death-metal-themed pizza place, a cathedral made of garbage, and the Museum of Natural & Artificial Ephemerata, which displays an 1893 World’s Fair stereograph and one of Marilyn Monroe’s cigarette butts. Even nature plays along: each night at dusk (from mid-March to November), an estimated 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge to go hunting for food.
Austin has been dubbed the Live Music Capital of the World thanks to the city’s nearly 200 venues, where bands play everything from blues to punk rock. In fact, Travel + Leisure magazine named Austin one of America’s Best Music Cities, calling it the “mother ship for indie rock and alternative-country types.” Stubb’s Bar-B-Q books some of the bigger acts that come to town, including the White Stripes, Johnny Cash, and Snoop Dogg. In addition to the live entertainment taking place on a nightly basis, two massively popular music festivals—South by Southwest and Austin City Limits—draw in huge crowds each year.
The University of Texas brings its share of cultural attractions to the city as well. For starters, the sprawling campus is home to the Blanton Museum of Art, which boasts one of the country’s most impressive private collections of old-master paintings. UT-Austin is also where you’ll find the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, dedicated to preserving and exhibiting artifacts related to the 36th president.