Indie music, street food and speakeasies have tempted us to trial a Texan city-to-city road trip, so this month, we mosey to edgy Austin and historic San Antonio in the Lone Star State, where everything is bigger – the tunes, the tastes, the tales.
Austin is a city for the ears as much as the eyes. Follow the foot-stomping strains of rock, country and blues wafting from Sixth Street’s dance halls and bars. Named after the patron saint of music and inspired by Warhol and the Stones, Hotel Saint Cecilia is a tranquil Texan boutique stay that’s a leafy swerve off the beaten SoCo strip.
Spend your days like a local: graze on southern-style street food from a shiny silver Airstream trailer – try Torchy’s Tacos on South First Street. Westernise your wardrobe with yeehaw-fabulous cowboy boots and plaid shirts from Allen’s Boots on South Congress Avenue. Gorge on modern culture at the Blanton Museum of Art, then feast on barbecue fare that would make Fred Flinstone’s eyes boggle. Jump in your rented car and drive 40 minutes southwest to Driftwood for Salt Lick’s six-napkin, falling-off-the-bone brisket affair.
Cruise next to the River City, just 90 minutes south down Interstate 35. San Antonio is sprawling, but much of what you need is downtown. Its River Walk, the pedestrianised canal route that cuts through the city’s oldest streets, draws folks at all hours for burgers, burritos and ’ritas. Right on the water, Hotel Havana is a hymn to vintage Cuban glamour with a sexy basement bar. Snack on zingy fajitas at Southdown dive bar, Taco Heaven, and schedule a visit to San Antonio Museum of Art for local and international works that are ancient and contemporary. If 18th-century landmark the Alamo – the most famous of the missions – is too crowded, try a tour of San Jose. And finally? Head back home proud that you’re now an alumnus of one heck of a state…
Way to go Fly to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the more international hub, with JetBlue, American Airlines or Continental Airlines. We suggest you rent your own wheels; ‘Drive Friendly’ is a Texas state motto so exploring by car is generally a stress-free experience. It’s almost always sunny in Texas: temperatures swelter in summer but there are plenty of pools, springs and lakes in which to plunge yourself cooler.
ROAD TRIP ADDRESS BOOK: WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Saint Cecilia Austin, Texas
Style Hip house and beatnik bungalows
Setting Secluded SoCo estate
Named after the patron saint of music, this groovy getaway exudes rebellious rock ’n’ roll character, with sensual, sultry decor and a tranquil (but surprisingly central) setting.
Doubles from US$ 295. More details
Hotel Havana San Antonio, Texas
Style Retro Cuban remix
Setting Sight-studded River Walk
When a hotel bar stocks its sodas on the basis of bottle design, you know you’re in good hands. All soft pastels and wrought-iron retro, it’s a time-worn look that wears its age ever so well.
Doubles from US$ 149. More details
Book hotels online or call Smith’s NYC Travel Team on 1 (800) 464-2040 to plan your own road trip…