Where to Stay in Austin: Best Areas & Hotels
Some of Austin's prime destinations are along the shores of Lady Bird Lake (a section of the Colorado River), where visitors can enjoy the quiet trails and gather to watch the thrilling sight as thousands of bats cross the water at dusk. Downtown hotels in Austin are also among the more expensive but luxurious options central to sightseeing.
Just south of the river, the trendy SOCO area is named for the concentration of restaurants, unique shops, galleries, and entertainment along South Congress Avenue, and it has some great family hotels.
These neighborhoods are all among the best areas to stay in Austin. Less expensive hotels still conveniently located along major routes can be found north of the city center and close to the airport to the southeast.
Where to Stay for Luxury
The Four Seasons Hotel Austin lives up to its reputation as a top luxury hotel in Austin, with extras like twice-daily housekeeping, children's activities and babysitting, a saltwater pool, and an excellent concierge. The hotel's garden-filled grounds are adjacent to the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail and are across the water from the Statesman Bat Observation Center.
The iconic InterContinental Stephen F. Austin sits downtown, just off Congress Avenue, where visitors will be awed by historic buildings and drawn to the multitude of unique shops, just one block from the Austin Museum of Art and four from the State Capital. If you don't have a chance to stay here, be sure to stop by to admire its Art Deco façade and grand lobby with twin staircases. Guests of this five-star hotel will enjoy amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center complete with lap pool.
The gorgeous rooftop pool at the W Austin is an ideal place to relax, cool off, and sunbathe, while those who prefer the A/C can get snug on a comfy couch in the record room and listen to one of the hundreds of vinyl albums available. This hotel is next door to the famous Austin City Limits and just two blocks from the water and the Willie Nelson statue.
In north Austin, adjacent to The Domain, the Archer Hotel Austin is surrounded by excellent restaurants, high-end and boutique shopping, and recreation for the whole family. Amenities include an outdoor pool, in-room fridge, fitness center, and free Wi-Fi.
Where to Stay for the Best Value
The Hyatt Regency is an ideal place to watch the flocks of bats head to their evening meal, sitting on the shore of Lady Bird Lake between the City Nature Preserves and the Statesman Bat Observation Center. Guests will enjoy very clean, modern rooms with mini-fridges and amenities such as a pool, hot tub, and gym facilities.
At Crowne Plaza Austin, there is also free parking, a tennis court, and self-serve laundry. North of the city, near the Highland Mall and at the intersection of I35 and 290, the hotel also offers a shuttle service to the airport as well as the city center for the convenience of its guests.
Just off I35 to the south of downtown, the Best Western Plus is a newly renovated hotel with a large outdoor pool and guest laundry. Guests can also stretch their dollars by taking advantage of the generous complimentary hot breakfast and convenient in-room fridge and microwave.
The brand new Holiday Inn Austin Airport includes a micro-kitchenette in their spacious and spotless rooms and also provides a shuttle to the city and the nearby airport.
Where to Stay on a Budget
If you are looking for cheap hotels, there are several budget options for travelers close to the airport, many of which exceed expectations for their price range. Nearly all of these lodgings provide free shuttle transportation for guests. The Super 8 Austin/Airport South has clean and moderately sized rooms that come with mini-fridges, microwaves, and gift baskets with snacks and water. Facilities include a self-service laundry, fitness center, and hot tub. Breakfast is included in the price, and you can make Texas-shaped waffles to start your day.
The Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham Austin Airport features an outdoor pool and tennis court as well as breakfast. The Comfort Suites provides a dependable place to rest, with full amenities including microwaves, breakfast, a shuttle service to downtown, and also a tennis court.
Conveniently located north of the city on major routes, the Rodeway Inn & Suites offers affordable rooms with a computer workstation, fridge, and microwave, and has an affordable family suite complete with a family room and dining room. This hotel also provides free parking, complimentary breakfast, and a pool big enough for the whole crew to enjoy.
Where to Stay for Romance
Couples will not want to leave the southern fairy-tale that is the Hotel Ella, a classic Greek-Revival mansion with Corinthian columns and wrap-around porches on both the first and second floors. Just outside the city center, it is convenient to the many restaurants on Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard as well as Guadalupe Street's shopping.
Austin's SOCO area is a popular place for couples to enjoy the trendy side of Austin. The Fairview is just four blocks from the action, but tucked away in a lovely and safe residential neighborhood that is filled with historic homes. This converted historic home goes the extra mile, providing a complimentary breakfast with healthy choices and options, including gluten-free items. Privacy is safeguarded with the thoughtful addition of white-noise machines in each room, and those who are feeling social can relax for hours in the rocking chairs on the front porch.
Even closer to SOCO is the Kimber Modern Hotel, a boutique lodging with seven rooms that include a fridge, breakfast, Wi-Fi, and parking, as well as a central kitchen stocked with snacks and beverages. The yard sits under a peaceful canopy of 200-year-old oak trees, and on hotter days, you can lounge in a hammock by the fountain in the hotel's atrium.
In downtown Austin, just off the shopping of Congress Street and the live music on East 6th Street, The Driskill is a landmark, historic southern mansion built in 1886. The lobby interior is stunning, and the spacious rooms are equally elegant yet comfortable and inviting, making this hotel truly a destination itself.
Where to Stay for Families
Hampton Inn & Suites Austin at The University/Capitol is in a great location, within walking distance of SOCO and just four blocks from the Texas State Capitol. It is a popular, good-value hotel for families as it offers a number of kid-friendly amenities. The suites here are roomy and come with comfortable custom beds and lap work desks. Wi-Fi is free, and so is the daily hot breakfast. On-site amenities include a rooftop swimming pool with fantastic city views, and a fitness center. The hotel staff is friendly and happy to help with family activity suggestions like adventuring in nearby Zilker Park.
For a more upmarket family hotel in the heart of SOCO, try the South Congress Hotel. This chic boutique property features 71 rooms and 12 suites, the latter of which have plenty of space for families to move around — some even come with bunk beds. All are done up in contemporary style. There is a rooftop swimming pool, a 24-hour gym, and a number of dining options on-site.
Hyatt Place Austin Downtown is another option. It is right downtown in a very central location just three blocks from the 6th Street entertainment area. The rooms are great for families as they come with a slightly separate sitting area with a sofa-sleeper for the kids. They are also spacious, modern, and clean. If the kids need to let off some steam, there is an indoor swimming pool and also a 24-hour workout room for parents. A hot breakfast is available from the on-site cafe, but it is not complimentary.
Finally, a little farther from downtown, in The Domain center in Austin's tech corridor, is the family-friendly Lone Star Court, A Valencia Hotel. This boutique hotel is designed to remind you of the motor court motels of the Route 66 era. Rooms feature vintage decor, and families like the extra sitting spaces. They also come with fridges, which are handy if you're traveling with small kids. Parents will also like the wraparound porches with rocking chairs for relaxing. Away from the rooms, you'll find a swimming pool, outdoor fire pits, and a workout room. A continental breakfast is included in the rate, and there is an on-site restaurant serving Texas Hill Country fare.