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Unfortunately for our livers, the Ritz’s screening room is called the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, an inspired venture that combines movie-watching with food and drink, provided by in-theatre waitresses. I surrender and drink margaritas throughout.

Stepping out of the Ritz, I am struck again by Austin’s distinctly village vibe – even the city’s busiest streets have a small town feel to them. Perhaps it’s the grackles, glistening blue birds whose crazy whizzing whistles follow you from the tops of trees across the city. “People in Austin hate them,” Beth tells me.

Grackles may be out of favour with the locals but the city’s other distinctive flying colony – the bats – are beloved and, every dusk, a crowd gathers on the Congress Avenue Bridge to await their appearance. Spanning the Colorado River – on which you can canoe, kayak and, further upstream in a hot spring, swim – this is a scenic place to take in the city. And when the bats arrive in a great cloud from under the bridge, it’s impossible not to be charmed by Austin’s country-city combo magic.

So, on my last evening, it’s far later than planned when I drag myself home. Yes, I’ll be cursing myself as I throw things in my suitcase tomorrow morning. Yes, I’ll have tinnitus for days. But Austin is completely, utterly worth it. 

Frankie Mullin travelled to Texas courtesy of American Airlines and stayed at the W Austin hotel.    


When to go: September to November and March to May, when temperatures are cooler than the scorching summer months.

Currency: £1 = $1.57 (US Dollars)

AccommodationThe Firehouse Hostel has rooms from £18.50pppn and is centrally located. Includes free breakfast, free coffee and tea and free wi-fi.  

The W is adjacent to the ACL music venue and is definitely worth splashing out on to give yourself a treat. Rooms from £166pn.  


Getting there: Fly from London Heathrow to Austin from £810 return with American Airlines

Photos: Getty, TNT,, MarQuito Molina


Leftfield Austin: the 'live music capital of the world'
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