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Austin, Texas

Austin exploded onto the national music scene in the 1970s with local talent like Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Cowboys, counter-culture people, and businessmen converged for live music and cold beer at iconic Armadillo World Headquarters. This quirky Texas town is cosmopolitan and unpretentious, high-tech and low-key, and a center of music and film. Discover also Austin's natural spring-fed Barton Springs Swimming Pool. And hike along beautiful limestone cliffs on the Barton Creek Greenbelt hill country trails.

The South by Southwest Festival draws 25,000 people to Austin each spring to hear 2,000 performers play music in 90 venues all over town. Look into the "Funniest Person in Austin Contest" at the Capitol City Comedy Club. Catch a music show any night at The Parish on historic 6th Street. Dance to country music at the Broken Spoke honky-tonk. Get your fried catfish and barbecue brisket Sunday Brunch, along with live Gospel, at Stubb's on Red River Street.

For a unique Austin ritual, watch 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats emerge around sunset from their seasonal home under Congress Avenue Bridge. Explore folk art of the Deep South at the Yard Dog Gallery. Experience the children's train that circles 400-acre Zilker Park Botanical Gardens. Enjoy a real Fried Green Tomato BLT from the Hey!...You Gonna Eat or What? food truck on South Congress.