Top-notch venues, South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, and Waterloo Records are why Austin is called the “Live-Music Capital of the World.” But the beat goes far beyond the music: It is simply everywhere, from the Whole Foods flagship to the city’s thriving food, cocktail, and hotel scene. A weekend here is good for the soul.
Music mecca Austin has live shows galore, plus museums, memorabilia, and tributes all over town.
TURNTABLE FOR TWO
Come to the tucked-away bistro Justine’s Brasserie (512-385-2900) for chef Casey Wilcox’s seductive take on French classics; stay for cocktails and a scene that revolves around an impressive vinyl collection. Special events attract musicians like Richard Hell, Sonny Rhodes, and Jello Biafra, and its New Year’s Eve extravaganza is debauchery at its finest.
Named after the patron saint of music, the luxury boutique Hotel Saint Cecilia (512-852-2400) features Rega turntables and Geneva sound systems in every room, with albums and rock bios available for checkout. Concierge programs include a private vintage vinyl shopping service courtesy of Breakaway Records and a guitar loan from Gibson.
Geraldine’s (877-202-2191), the restaurant at the new Hotel Van Zandt (which is named after beloved singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt), pays its respects to musicians with a top-notch bar program created by Jennifer Keyser. To get into the spirit, order Willie’s Cup, a playful spin on the mint julep, made with hempseed milk. The hotel also features live music nightly.
The 1960s and the legacy of Lyndon B. Johnson live on after 2012’s multi million dollar upgrade to the LBJ Presidential Library (512-721-0200) in the heart of the University of Texas campus. Through January 10, 2016, explore The Beatles’ impact on America at the impressive “Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles!” exhibit.
CITY LIMITS AND BEYOND
Experience live music as it should be at ACL Live at the Moody Theater (512- 225-7999), the home to tapings of Austin City Limits as well as more than 100 concerts a year. The highlight is always Willie Nelson’s New Year’s shows, which the country legend recently expanded to three nights. For the ultimate experience, book a package through the adjoining W Austin hotel.
SPIN SOME TUNES
Owner Kim Dowling moved to Austin from New York in part because of the music scene, so it’s no wonder her downtown spin studio, Ride Indoor Cycling (512-322-5252; rideindoorcycling. com), is centered around the slogan “Ride. Rock. Repeat.” Classes, featuring top-ofthe- line Schwinn AC Sport bikes, often fill up early, so book your bike online.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Summon your inner Red Headed Stranger and rent an original Willie Nelson & the Family Band tour bus from Vintage Innovations (512-524-1390). For about $2,500 a day, you can rent the 1983 Silver Eagle, named after Nelson’s 1985 album Me & Paul. The bus, whose interior has been preserved, holds up to 20 people.
Founded by Bill Collings, Austin-based Collings Guitars (512-288-7776) is one of the most respected manufacturers of guitars, mandolins, and ukuleles in the world; the instruments are still mostly handcrafted. See where the magic happens during tours of the 2,700-square-foot facility, offered only on Fridays; reservations are required.