Getting To and Around Austin

So, you're fixin' to come to Austin? This page is to give you some (minimal) information about travel to Austin and the AAPF Fellows meeting. If you have any questions, feel free to email Kurtis.

This page is still under construction.

Getting to Austin

Austin is served by the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). Several airlines fly into Austin; American and Southwest have the most daily flights.

If you don't want to rent a car, you can get downtown a few different ways. You can take the Airport Flyer Bus (cost: $0.50 each way), you can take a SuperShuttle bus (cost: about $13 each way), or you can take a taxi (cost: about $20).

If Austin is too expensive, you can also fly into San Antonio (SAT), which is about a 90 minute drive from Austin. Typical fares seem to be similar as flying to Austin, but may be worth a check. You'd probably have to rent a car to get to Austin, so figure the cost of the car and parking into any fare differences.

Getting Around Austin

Much of downtown, including 6th Street, is within walking distance of the Convention Center. If the weather is acceptable (in January it could be sunny and in the low 70s, or there could be an ice storm and temperatures in the 30s), walking is a great way to get around/

The Capital Metro Transit is Austin's public transportation. The buses run regularly and are cheap ($0.50 per ride, or $1 for a day pass). If you ride on the 'Dillo service (a trolley-shaped bus that runs popular tourist routes during the day), the ride is free!

Of course, every true Texan drives everywhere in their tricked-out truck (complete with gun rack). So, feel free to drive one of those around.

Lodging in Austin

If you were not lucky enough to get in on the AAS group rates, you may find that the hotel rates at the convention center hotels are a little pricey. Don't panic! There are many other hotels downtown, such as near the State Capitol, where the going rate seems to be around $120/night. If you make sure your hotel is on or near a bus route (or, better yet, a 'Dillo route), you will be able to get around just fine.

You may also want to consider a hotel further out and rent a car to drive in each day, if the price difference is good enough (just remember to figure the price of parking -- $7/day).

I haven't stayed in any hotels near downtown, so I can't recommend anything.

Dining in Austin

Austin is a cosmopolitan town, so we have all types of food. I'm not much of a restaurant person, so you may want to check out the Austin Chronicle's 2007 Restaurant Award Winners. But below are some personal favorites and some often suggested to me.

If you like barbeque, you've come to the right place.

  • Everyone's favorite BBQ is from The Salt Lick, but it is way out in the middle of nowhere -- a good, long drive. If you don't have a car in Austin, you can experience the Salt Lick at their restaurant in the Austin airport on your way into or out of town.

  • Downtown, the Iron Work BBQ is quite good, and within walking distance of the convention center.
  • Stubb's BBQ is also quite famous, and often has live music. It's at the corner of Red River and 8th.

If Indian food is your thing, the best around is The Clay Pit. Unfortunately, it is quite a hike from the Convention Center, near 15th St. on Guadalupe -- about 1 1/2 miles. But, if the weather is nice, go ahead and take the walk.

Vegetarians need to be careful in Texas; many restaurants don't have true vegetarian fare; check the menu. For example, Stubb's BBQ has a veggie plate that allows you to choose from their side dishes: cole slaw, house salad, and potato salad for dinner, anyone? But there are many exceptions to this, and a handful of good vegetarian and vegan restaurants.

  • Mother's Cafe and Garden seems to be a favorite, but it is 4 miles from the Convention Center, so you'll have to drive or find a bus.

  • Casa de Luz also seems to get high marks, offering vegetarian, vegan and macrobiotic fare, as well as acting as a community center for things like Tai Chi, Yoga, etc. About 1.5 miles from the Convention Center.

If you arrive before Sunday and want some Sunday brunch, you are in luck! There are several great options:

  • Manuel's is just 5 blocks from the Convention Center on Congress Ave.

  • Stubb's BBQ has a famous Gospel Brunch, where you can listen to live gospel music while chowing down on fried catfish, grits, and the Make-Your-Own Bloody Mary bar. Reservations are strongly suggested.
  • Moonshine Grill has a pretty decent Sunday brunch, too.

Music in Austin

Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World. Janis Joplin got her start here; Willie Nelson still prowls around town, and Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys are from these parts. God help us.

Your best bet to find music is to pick up a copy of the Austin Chronicle when you arrive. They list far more about the current music scene than you could possibly want. Many restaurants have daily live music. And while there is a lot of country in there, sometimes you'll hear some western, too. And just about everything else.

Several astronomers play in bands, but probably won't be performing during the AAS. But, just in case, keep your eyes open for:

and every other astronomer band I've forgotten and/or don't know the name of.