Photo Essay: A Tour of Austin, Texas in Photos

I have a confession to make: I had never been to Austin until last week. I know! I've been to 47 U.S. states and love everything that Austin stands for, namely BBQ, beer, and good music, yet had never been. So what's my verdict? Well Austin, Texas has now moved into my top five list of favorite U.S. cities. Boom! I think what makes Austin so great is that it does so many things well that other cities don't. Sure, so just about every city in America is doing craft beer right now. But not every city (in fact few cities) does barbecue well, and of all of the destinations I've visited, no place does BBQ like Austin. And I grew up in North Carolina, so I should know. Salt Lick alone, just outside of Austin, is like the Disney of barbecue, and has the parking lot to prove it. At Franklin Barbecue in Austin you won't wait any less than 3-4 hours before you eat. But if you don't want a long wait, however, may I suggest Terry Black's Barbecue. All this is without even mentioning the tacos, such as Torchy's, which are among some of the best tacos I've had.

But the music! Austin hasn't adopted the slogan the "Live Music Capital of the World" for nothing. I remember vividly as a kid watching Austin City Limits on PBS (in part because we only had five channels, but still) with my parents and being so drawn to its music culture (I played the banjo at that time after all). And in Austin and the surrounding areas, you have things to do which are unique to Austin, like natural springs and swimming holes, including Barton Springs right in Austin, and just outside, Hamilton Pool Preserve, which is a collapsed grotto with a waterfall flowing inside.

Not convinced yet? I'll just let the photos do the talking from here.