Austin is the capital of Texas, located in the central part of the state. Among large cities in the U.S., Austin is the fastest-growing. It has close to a million residents, with that number increasing regularly. The city houses a diverse community of residents and is known as "The Live Music Capital of the World." Whether visitors are coming for one of the many live music festivals or just to learn more about the history of the capital of Texas, renting a car can make it easier to get around the city.
Finding a Rental Car in Austin
When arriving at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, travelers can choose from the 11 on-site rental car companies. An elevator goes from the arrival terminal to the rental car facility. Hertz, Dollar, and Thrifty are on level one, while National, Alamo, Enterprise, and Fox are located on level two. Level three houses Avis, Budget, Advantage, and Payless. The rental car desks are past the covered parking garage. Each company has its own selection of vehicles, making it easier for visitors to select a car, SUV, or minivan that works for their group.
Driving in Austin
Although Austin is a fast-growing city, it's not as densely populated as other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. As a result, the traffic isn't quite as overwhelming for visitors. Traffic increases during the rush hours, which take place from 6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Rush hour is especially bad on the Mopac and I-35. When leaving the airport, follow the signs to East 7th Street, which goes directly into downtown Austin. With heavy foot traffic throughout the city, drivers should always avoid blocking crosswalks and watch for pedestrians when driving, especially in downtown.
Austin is also a bike-friendly city, so visitors will see many people on two wheels. Bike lanes are prevalent throughout the city so it's important to watch for cyclists when driving in a rental car. The public transportation system, Capital Metro, operates throughout Austin so drivers must also look for buses stopped ahead and allow them back into the lanes.
What to Do in Austin
Most visitors enjoy catching at least one live music performance during a trip to Austin. Top venues include Elephant Room, Paramount Theatre, Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon, and Hole in the Wall. When the weather is warm, locals and tourists love taking a dip in the Barton Springs Pool, a three-acre swimming area with water that comes from underground springs. The pool remains at 68-70 degrees throughout the year. Robert Redford even learned to swim here when he was five years old.
After a long day of swimming, visitors can grab a bite at Franklin Barbecue, a world-renowned Austin restaurant. It was voted the #1 BBQ in Texas and famous people, including Anthony Bourdain, have talked about the food. When visiting Austin with children, a trip to Zilker Metropolitan Park is always a favorite. Amenities include five volleyball courts, the Austin Nature and Science Center, a disc golf course, a playground, botanical gardens, and the Zilker Hillside Theatre.
It's easy to find rental cars at great rates in Austin on Skyscanner.