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The beautiful State Capitol's Romanesque dome

If you haven't heard a thing or two about Austin in recent years, crawl out from under your rock. In the early 1990s, Austin usurped Seattle's reign as Hip Town, USA. Austin has fewer developed tourist attractions than you'd expect from so vibrant a city, and that's its real charm.

As the 'Live Music Capital of the World,' Austin has hog-tied its competition by hosting the annual South by Southwest music industry love-in - as well as umpteen lesser known music fests - and become the de facto cultural center of Texas, if not of the entire Southwest.

Although the Texas State Capitol is impressive and the city's museums shine, they're outclassed by Austin's natural attractions: the natural pool at Barton Springs, the rolling green of Zilker Park and the nightly flight of over a million bats from beneath Congress Ave Bridge. Austin is a city for getting outside, getting busy and, when the day's done, getting down with one of the 100 or so bands that jam here nightly. After a bellyful of that famous mesquite BBQ, a few rounds of Celis beer and a couple of days living the Austin lifestyle, you'll be hard pressed to hold the locals' civic pride against them.

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