Travel like a local.


Barton Springs, Sam’s BBQ & Broken Spoke in Austin, Texas

Best things to do in Austin TX - Evan Stern - South 1st St. Bridge photo by Carlos Alfonso on Unsplash

South 1st St. Bridge. Photo by Carlos Alfonso on Unsplash.

I’m really excited to interview Evan Stern host of Vanishing Postcards about Austin, Texas. Evan’s tips for the best things to do in Austin are awesome because he grew up there and travels home every chance he gets. He loves Austin’s natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities. Although traffic is increasing as the city grows, you can still be in the country in 20 minutes if you know what you’re doing.

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Best things to do in Austin TX - Evan Stern - Barton Springs photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash

Barton Springs. Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash.

Austin, Texas

Austin is the state capital of Texas. It’s known for its amazing food, live music, and a technology hub for many businesses. The city hosts Austin City Limits and SXSW, which are very popular music festivals. Thousands of people arrive for these shows, but locals tend to leave during this time to avoid the additional traffic.

Evan says that there are two seasons in Austin – “summer” and “not summer.” It gets hot in the summer but is mild, temperate, and lovely the rest of the year. He recommends visiting in March or April for Bluebonnet flower season or October when it is still warm, yet the crowds have died down. You can even plan your trip around Eeyore’s Birthday (a local tradition since 1963), which is the last Saturday in April.

During your stay, Evan recommends visiting some of the historic theaters (Paramount Theatre), old school music venues (Broken Spoke, The Continental Club, Tom Sefcik Hall), and his favorite restaurants (Cisco’s, Sam’s BBQ, Terry Black’s). Since Austin is the state capital, the Capitol Building is a good place to tour. And you should visit some of the local swimming holes (Barton Springs, Krause Springs, Hamilton’s Pool) and hike or bike to Ladybird Lake.

We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Visit Austin, the local visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.

If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.

Best places to eat in Austin TX - Evan Stern - Minetta Tavern

Evan at the Minetta Tavern.

Getting around Austin

The local airport is Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), which is a 15-minute drive to downtown. Use our Expedia tool below to find flight, hotel, and rental car options.

Evan says that you should rent a car when staying in Austin. Although parking can be a pain downtown and along South Congress, he says that public transportation is unreliable. Click here to get the best offers on rental cars from Avis, Budget, or Hertz.

If you’re staying downtown, Uber and Lyft are excellent ways to get around and to avoid dealing with parking.

When you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.

Best things to do in Austin TX - Evan Stern - Sefcik Hall

Tom Sefcik Dance Hall Pub

Places we talked about on the podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Evan Stern about Austin, Texas. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in Austin, Texas
  • Green dots = best things to do in Austin, Texas
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in Austin, Texas

Who is Evan Stern?

Born during the driving rainstorm that inspired Stevie Ray Vaughan to record the classic “Texas Flood,” Evan Stern is one of the proud few who can claim Austin as his legitimate hometown. Having caught the performing bug early on, he first gained attention at age 11 with a second-place finish in Austin’s famed O. Henry Pun-Off, and has since appeared on the stages of New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the British American Drama Academy, whether acting Shakespeare, or charming audiences with the turn of a Cole Porter phrase, Evan is first and foremost a storyteller, with sincere love and appreciation for history, travel, and the art of raconteurship. He is now honored to return to Texas for the first season of the Vanishing Postcards podcast, an ambitious project that represents a synthesis of these passions through the form of an audio essay.

Best places to eat in Austin TX - Evan Stern - taco shop

Evan at a taco shop

Check out his podcast below along with a few articles about Vanishing Postcards:

You can connect with Evan on his website and on Facebook and Instagram.


Click here to download our one-page guide of Evan’s tips for Austin.

Big thanks to today’s affiliate partner – AwardWallet

This episode is brought to you, in part, by AwardWallet. Using airline miles and hotel points makes travel affordable, but keeping track of all of those loyalty programs can be a challenge. That’s why I use AwardWallet to track my miles and points balances, reservations, and special goodies like free hotel night certifications and airline companion passes.

Having everything in one easy-to-use dashboard helps ensure I don’t let any rewards expire and makes logging into my accounts super easy. Go to to start your free account.

Best things to do in Austin TX - Evan Stern - Bluebonnet flowers photo by Roberta Guillen on Unsplash

A field of Bluebonnet flowers. Photo by Roberta Guillen on Unsplash

Stay tuned for our next episode

Best things to do in Washington DC - JoAnn Hill_Secret Washington DCListen to the next episode when JoAnn Hill author of “Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure” shares the best things to do in Washington, D.C. In this episode, JoAnn and I talk about the significance of the carousel in the National Mall, how a 400-year-old bonsai tree that survived the Hiroshima bombing got to DC, and the Barbie Pond on Avenue Q. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of Austin? Send us a Tweet, let us know in the comment section below, or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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To see which cities we’ve interviewed and scheduled, please visit If you’d like to be a guest on the show, please submit an application at

Related episodes

To learn even more and get different perspectives on Austin, Texas, please listen to our other episodes on the city:


  1. SR

    Your title photo is of the South 1st St. bridge, not Congress Ave.

  2. SR

    Your photo of Barton Springs is actually the outflow area below the dam that forms Barton Springs pool. Some locals call this Barkin’ Springs because dogs are welcome here. Your Austinite blogger needs to go home more often.

    • Comment by post author


      Thanks for the comments. Per the photo credits, I pulled some of these pictures from Unsplash, so the photographers must not have tagged them properly. I appreciate your clarification so we can be as accurate as possible for the readers.