Destination Discovery: Austin, Texas
In the city known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin’s spa and wellness scene hits all the right notes. Check out hotspots we think your travel itinerary should include when you visit this hip and eccentric city!
Where to Stay
Savvy travelers seeking a personalized stay can tune in to some of Austin’s wellness destinations that tend to be on the boutique side, like the 70-room Travaasa Austin, where mind-body experiences marry with a marvelous landscape: shimmering Lake Travis views and 210 acres of Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. Days revolve around distinct aims—adventure, culinary, culture, fitness, and spa—for which the Travaasa brand is renowned, accentuated by farm-to-table fare at the signature Preserve restaurant and a recently renovated spa (if traveling with your significant other, request the new couple’s treatment room, which has a steam shower, private outdoor courtyard, and vitality pool).
The lovely Lake Austin Spa Resort is another option—the 40-room property borders Lake Austin and features cottage accommodations and healthful, seasonal fare. Among its highpoints is the Hill Country-style LakeHouse Spa. There’s a spa café and stone-walled gardens surrounding sauna, steam, and whirlpool areas; as well, choose from 100-plus treatments, many of which use organic herbs and vegetables grown on site.
Where to Spa
Paying tribute to Austin’s musical roots, Spa Django at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines takes its name from guitarist/musician Django Reinhardt (it should also be mentioned that “django” means “I awake”). Treatments are designed to harmonize the senses through aspects like music, art, nature, and touch—and you’re welcome to make your own music selection during services like the Texas Two-Step Massage, Lost Pines Lavender Wrap, and Django Pear and Green Apple Body Scrub.
Where to Snack
Foodies can head to Qui, which dishes up inventive cuisine, courtesy of executive chef and Top Chef: Texas winner, Paul Qui. Don’t expect stereotypical Texas delights here—the menu celebrates East Fusion fare (though libations include “the official drink of Austin™,” made with tepache, balcones rumble, honey, Thai basil, lemon, and mint).
What to See
Or should we say, what to hear? Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Music, Film, and Interactive Festival, one of the world’s biggest music festivals, hits the downtown area every year, while the three-day Austin City Limits Music Festival occurs annually in Zilker Park. Music lovers not visiting during the festivities can hear musical acts in the nightclubs that line 6th Street. Additionally, a visit to trendy SoCo, with its quirky boutiques, galleries, and coffee shops, is an excellent way to embrace the local spirit and charm. Those interested in athletics may want to take in a Texas Longhorns game. (Side note: Austin is also the place that holds Eeyore’s Birthday Party, an annual festival that dates back to 1963 and, yes, is named for one of Winnie-the-Pooh’s adorable sidekicks.)
Where to Sweat
Austinites can get their exercise fix on in a big way: Biking is huge (Austin is ranked among “America’s top 50 bike-friendly cities” by Bicycling Magazine, and there are 80-plus miles of bike lanes here), plus, the many parks are ripe with recreational sports opportunities; Lake Austin provides water sports fun like waterskiing and standup paddleboarding. Here’s another fun fact: The city has 50-plus public pools (the man-made Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park, filled with water from Main Barton Spring, is popular).
(Prefer a gym setting? Click here for a list of local businesses!)
Packing tips: It goes without saying, but pack depending on when you’re traveling: Austin has a temperate climate (annual temps average 65° F), with typically mild winters and hot summers; pleasant springs and autumns round out the remaining seasons. Other items to add to your suitcase: comfortable shoes (you’ll be grateful when walking the city or when there’s standing-room only during a concert), and perhaps your guitar?