The best time to visit, generally, is during the spring, when the surrounding Hill Country explodes with wildflowers and the temperatures start warming up without threatening heat stroke. Though March and April can bring showers, the weather is consistently agreeable, making it a breeze to enjoy Austin’s plentiful bike paths (the six-mile Lance Armstrong Bikeway, named for the notable local bike racer, was completed in 2010). The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, started by the late first lady, is a little bit south of downtown and makes for an excellent field trip.
The ridiculous summer heat starts to cool down around mid-September, and October is an outstanding month to be deep in the heart of Texas. Fall in Texas means football, so planning around the University of Texas football schedule—whether you want to take in a game or have nothing to do with it—is crucial. In a different vein, the city hosts the Austin Record Convention—a huge music memorabilia, record, and tape sale—twice a year, with its largest gathering drawing international attendance in October. The newest music festival in town, the Fun Fun Fun Fest focused on alternative genres, is now a major three-day concert event held every November.
Music is a big part of life in Austin. Even so, unless you’re a die-hard scenester, consider bypassing the major festivals—the weeklong SXSW music and film festival in March, and the three-day Austin City Limits, generally in September or early October. But if huge crowds, long lines, and endless traffic don’t put you off, then make sure to line up tickets and accommodations way early. Throughout the rest of the year, local clubs such as the Broken Spoke, the Continental Club, Emo’s, and Antone’s boast an ever-evolving roster of both local up-and-comers and established acts.