The Texas state capital is quickly becoming known as a center for independent arts culture and the nationxs premiere city for live music, not to mention a great place to get your BBQ on (thatxs beef brisket in Texas, just so youxll know). Austin plays host every March to one of the countryxs hippest and most respected arts festivals: South by Southwest (known as SXSW). Each year this three-part festival showcases some of the edgiest films, bands and internet sites, as well as some that will become tomorrowxs must-haves/must-sees.
The University of Texas also has a big influence on the city. Austin has one of the highest levels of education in the United States and is also a leader in the field of technology.
With beautiful rolling hills overlooking Town Lake right in the heart of the city, miles of hiking trails, lush greenery in the gardens of Zilker Park, a rich cultural heritage and an independent spirit, Austin is also considered to be one of the United States ""most livable cities"". Following are brief descriptions of Austin's most visible neighborhoods:
Sixth Street is the center of activity and fun in Downtown Austin. Many of the best hotels, restaurants, shops, bars, and music clubs are found on Sixth Street, which is often closed to traffic on weekends for festivals, craft shows, street dances, or parades. Nearby is the State Capitol building on Congress Avenue, where visitors can get a free guided tour.
East Austin is the area east of I-35 that lies between Martin Luther King Boulevard to the north and Cesar Chavez Street to the south. East Austin is home to many African-American and Hispanic communities. There are a number of African-American heritage sites, including the George Washington Carver Museum.
North Austin and the University of Texas
Locals call the popular shopping strip along Guadeloupe Street that borders the west side of the University of Texas campus, ""The Drag"". This area has hip shops, music stores, coffee shops and trendy clubs. There are also several Bed and Breakfasts nearby.
A more laid back atmosphere, South Austin is home to the Zilker Hillside Theatre and a number of vintage clothing shops, antique shops, and several great restaurants.
Many of the upscale restaurants and affluent residential developments are in West Austin and along the shores of Lake Austin.
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