Gay Vacations in Austin, Texas

Austin Highlights

  • March is a great time to visit. It's when the SXSW Music Festival takes place, but it's also the start of bat-viewing season and when the city's cherry, plum, and peach trees are all in bloom.
  • Start your bar crawl at 4th Street. Even though it's not really a gayborhood, about half of Austin's LGBT bars are found here between Guadalupe and Congress avenues, and you're within walking distance of the live music venues on 6th Street.

Known as an isle of liberalism in a sea of conservatism, Austin is probably the most gay-positive city in Texas. This hip college town, home to the massive University of Texas, also benefits intellectually from a number of other universities in the area, as well as a booming high-tech sector. Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Austin is lush and green, with a vast municipal system of parks and preserves and an active hike-and-bike trail near downtown's Town Lake.

Austin owes its "live music capital of the world" moniker to more than 100 live music venues and the huge SXSW (South by Southwest) Music Festival and the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Sites worth visiting in Austin include the massive Lyndon B. Johnson Library & Museum, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center with its native plant landscaping, and the clothing-optional swimming hole of Hippie Hollow at nearby Lake Travis. Also, sit for a dusk picnic at the Congress Avenue Bridge to watch more than 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats (the largest urban bat colony in North America) make their nightly sojourn from April through to late October. The sunset flight of these creatures, blackening the dusk sky, is an awesome sight and a popular pastime of city residents.

There's no need for a gay ghetto in uber-tolerant Austin, but the area of SoCo (South Congress) is a hip, alternative district. The epicenter of the live music scene is 6th Avenue, where a long line of establishments offer everything from blues to punk rock for nominal cover charges, and frequent $1 drink specials let you party like a rock star. There are two hearty, queer, free-for-all Splash parties at Hippie Hollow, one in May and one in September, where tipsy guys and gals cruise each other from boats, jet skis, and anything else that floats.

Published: 17 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 7 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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