Austin, long-known as the Live Music Capital of the World®, is a hub of progressive culture and home to a strong LGBT community. Texas’ capital city boasts a state-of-the-art convention center; entertainment districts with shopping, music and award-winning dining; a walkable downtown; and a host of annual events such as Austin PRIDE, Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF), Gay Rodeo and Splash Day celebrations.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, named one of the world’s best by Airports Council International, serves nearly 40 nonstop destinations and is located just 20 minutes from downtown. There are 6,000 hotel rooms within a short walk of the Austin Convention Center and unique restaurants, lively bars and upscale, trendy retail shops.
Plan Your Meeting
The 900,000-square-foot, downtown Austin Convention Center is recognized as one of the most technically-advanced convention facilities in the country, and recently achieved LEED EB certification. The four-story Center is equipped with a 246,000-square foot, column-free exhibit hall, seven ballrooms and 54 meeting rooms.
Playing host to smaller events is the award-winning Palmer Events Center. The two-story facility offers two exhibit halls and five meeting rooms, for a total of 131,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor space.
Austin continues to grow as well. A 1,003-room Marriott Marquis facing Congress Avenue is slated to break ground in 2012 and open in 2015. Southeast of the city, Circuit of the Americas, the nation’s first purposed Grand Prix track, is under construction. The Formula 1™ United States Grand Prix takes place here in 2012, and MotoGP and V8 SuperCars arrive in 2013.
The Westin Austin at The Domain joins the Renaissance Austin Hotel to anchor meetings in north Austin. Downtown, the new Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater venue shares space with the just-opened W Austin Hotel. And the renovated Arthouse at the Jones Center offers a great rooftop patio with unmatched skyline views. To book your next meeting in Austin, visit www.austintexas.org/meeting_professionals.
Experience Area Attractions
Austin is home to the State Capitol, standing at 302 feet tall – 14 feet higher than the nation’s capitol in Washington, D.C. Check out the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum and experience interactive exhibits, an IMAX® Theatre and the multi-sensory Texas Spirit Theatre.
After brushing up on Texas history, head over to the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge where some 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats take flight at dusk from April to October. Or make your way to Lady Bird Lake where you can jog along the 10-mile hike and bike trail or rent a kayak and paddle out onto the water. Visit the beloved Zilker Park, which is also home to Barton Springs Pool, a spring-fed swimming hole that is 68 degrees year-round.
Austin is recognized as one of the top golf destinations in the country. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy world-class resorts and daily-fee courses such as Barton Creek Resort, Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa and Grey Rock Golf Club. Book your rounds of golf, hotel accommodations and activities through Austin Golf Trail, www.austingolftrail.com, an online golf travel package “concierge.”
For the shopaholic, South Congress Avenue offers eclectic boutiques, antique stores and an assortment of restaurants. High-end shops can be found in the 2nd Street District, a six-block stretch of stylish clothing and jewelry boutiques, trendy furniture stores and casual dining surrounding Austin City Hall. For a complete list of Austin attractions, visit www.austintexas.org/visitors.
Tune In to Live Music
Austin is known for its thriving music scene, with nearly 200 live music venues. The Warehouse District invites visitors to discover the best in gay nightlife. Hip and chic, Rain on 4th is where you can dance to the latest rhythms and club music spun by popular DJs. Oilcan Harry’s has been revered as one of the top gay bars in Austin, and in America, for more than 15 years. The upscale club is home to cutting-edge music, karaoke nights and a friendly staff.
Popular festivals add to Austin’s music landscape each year. Check out two of the city’s biggest music events, Austin City Limits Music Festival (September/October) and South by Southwest (SXSW) Conferences & Festivals in March. Additional festivals include Urban Music Festival, Pachanga Latino Music Festival and Fun Fun Fun Fest. Get more information on Austin music at www.austintexas.org/musicians.
Partake In Cultural Arts
Don’t miss the Capital City Men’s Chorus, Austin’s premier gay ensemble. Hear ethereal musical renditions throughout the year as these men entertain around town. Find out about upcoming events and purchase tickets online at www.ccmcaustin.org.
Catch performances by Ballet Austin, Austin Lyric Opera and the Austin Symphony at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, the city’s first true community performing arts venue. Or visit the ZACH Theatre for locally-curated national hits and regional favorites; the new Topfer Theatre at ZACH is slated to open in 2012. For a taste of ethnic music and multicultural shows, check out One World Theatre, Austin’s premier world-arts venue. Visit www.austintexas.org/now_playing/events for a complete list of area events and performances.
The Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) is the Southwest’s oldest and largest GLBTQI film event. This widely popular festival features more than 150 films spanning topics that include culture, race, immigration status, class, gender identity and expression, age and region. Check the aGLIFF calendar of events at www.agliff.org for the latest volunteer opportunities, monthly film screenings and independent filmmaker labs.
The Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC) provides extensive information on GLBT-friendly businesses and events in the Austin area. An online directory points people in the best direction to find places to eat and shop, and offers tips on where to find Austin’s best events. In addition, a large number of local nonprofit organizations are active in the GLBT community and provide resources for visitors. For more information, visit www.aglcc.org.
To see what else is playing in Austin, check out www.austintexas.org/welcome or call 866-GO-AUSTIN. To book your next meeting in Austin, visit www.austintexas.org/meetaustin or call 800-926-2282, ext. 7269.