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By annaheekang
January 20, 2016
Boy Wonder perform in front of a mural on 6th Street during SXSW
Boy Wonder perform in front of a mural on 6th Street during SXSW
Jay Janne/Newscom

See the 2016 Travel Calendar at a Glance

Why now
The “live music capital of the world” is humming with festivals (SXSW, Austin City Limits) most of the year, but they taper off come November, when hotel prices fall by 10% compared with March or October peaks.
What to do
South Lamar Boulevard has some of the best local specialty shops. At Mockingbird Domestics, you’ll find Austin-made furniture and house decor items, while the new Aro sells contemporary American jewelry.
In Austin boots are a staple.
Austin is also a great food city. Breakfast tacos are almost the culinary mascot, so grab a few at Tacodeli—the Vaquero with corn and poblanos is a favorite ($2.75)—before a walk around Lady Bird Lake. Some of the best restaurants offer happy-hour specials. From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., sit at the bar at elegant Jeffrey’s for half-off appetizers, such as the grilled serrano ham and cheese (regularly $12) and hamachi carpaccio (regularly $18). If you want to go casual, Donn’s Depot, in a converted train station, features live music and $2.50 Lonestar beers from 2 to 8 p.m.
How to save
The city has a handful of new hotels, including the centrally located, 366-room Westin Downtown, and rates start at $279 a month, 30% less than in October ($399). But Austin is also the headquarters for vacation-rental company HomeAway, which features 1,670 properties with four-star-plus user ratings. Average November price: $218.
Local's tip
The Harry Ransom Center (free admission) is a bookworm’s paradise. It houses the manuscripts, diaries, and drafts of writers Graham Greene and James Joyce, as well as a Gutenberg Bible, one of only 21 complete surviving versions.

December: River Cruise for a European Christmas