Are you considering a travel nurse assignment in Austin, Texas? If you’re into live music, outdoor activities, and a vibrant dining, arts and entertainment scene, you should go for it! Austin is known as The Live Music Capital of the World, so the city is a paradise for music lovers. Some of the most popular music festivals in the world take place here, including SXSW, Austin City Limits (ACL), Urban Music Fest and many others. Additionally, numerous venues throughout the city feature live music nightly. But travel nurses on assignment in Austin will find lots more than music to fall in love with. Here’s our travel guide to help you get to know the culturally rich capital of Texas.
Texas is known for its barbecue, and you’ll have plenty of options to choose from in Austin. One of the most popular is Franklin Barbecue, run by award winning chef Aaron Franklin. The “Best Barbecue Joint in America,” according to Bon Appetit magazine, Franklin Barbecue features mouth-watering brisket, ribs, pulled pork, turkey and sausage by the pound, as well as sandwiches, sides and delectable pies to complete your meal. Everything good comes at a price, however, and at Franklin Barbecue, that price is a line out the door, which can form as early as 8 am. The restaurant doesn’t open until 11 and closes when the food runs out, typically by 2pm. Plan to get there early – bring a portable chair if you have one – thousands of online reviews insist it’s worth the wait!
The food truck craze is alive and well in Austin, and the city is currently home to a number of food-court trailer parks that feature a variety of menus to please every palate. With five locations throughout Austin to choose from, Veracruz All Natural gives you ample opportunities to sample their authentic Mexican food, smoothies and juices. This Zagat-rated taco truck is beloved by locals and tourists alike for its migas tacos, al pastor and other Mexican specialties created with local ingredients and homemade corn tortillas or locally made flour tortillas. Additionally, their all-natural, fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies are legendary in Austin. Hours vary by truck location, but all are open for breakfast and lunch, while others stay open through late night.
From flash-brewed iced coffees and lattes, to cortados and cappuccinos served by friendly baristas, this cozy coffee shop in East Austin is a coffee lover’s dream come true. Have you ever wondered, “Why doesn’t anyone make a latte with Oreo cookie or donut infused milk?” Wonder no more. These are the kind of caffeinated delights you’ll find at Fleet Coffee Company. Feeling peckish? Pastries from Sour Duck Market and breakfast tacos from Veracruz All Natural provide the perfect accompaniment to your beverage. The café may be small, but there is both indoor and outdoor seating available as well as free wi-fi AND power outlets, so you can relax and people-watch as you scroll through your newsfeed worry-free.
You probably aren’t accustomed to making a reservation when you go out for a drink or two, but in this case, trust us, you’ll want to make an exception. Located in Austin’s downtown Warehouse District, The Roosevelt Room offers one of the most interesting libation experiences you can have anywhere on earth. Offering cocktails exquisitely crafted and presented in spectacular fashion by talented mixologists, The Roosevelt Room lets you indulge in mixed drink selections from the following eras: Early Years (Pre-1880), Turn of the Century (1880-1919), Prohibition (1920-1933), Post Volstead (1933-1950s), Tiki (1930s-1970s), Dark Ages (1950s-1990s) and Modern Classics (2000s-present). Happy Hour and non-alcoholic options are also available.
If you want to spend some quality time outdoors during your travel nurse assignment in Austin, there’s no better place than Zilker Metropolitan Park. Home to the city’s annual Austin City Limits Music Festival, the park is open year round for hiking, jogging, biking, fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and more. The park features trails, botanical gardens with ponds, streams and waterfalls, volleyball courts, natural springs, a swimming area and other amenities spread out over 351 beautifully landscaped acres. Kayaks, canoes and stand up paddle boards are available for rent. The park also features an outstanding view of Austin’s skyline, and hosts a variety of popular family and entertainment events throughout the year.
Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the Texas State Capital Building is an architectural wonder, ornately constructed of stunning red granite, gigantic brass door hinges and inlaid marble floors capped off by an elegant dome. In addition to the historic halls within, the building is surrounded by 17 monuments and lavishly landscaped gardens, perfect for a leisurely day of exploring. Free, 30-minute tours depart every 30-45 minutes daily, with guides sharing a variety of interesting historical details. Be sure to stop into the Visitors’ Center and check out the fun exhibits, as well as the gift shop which features Texas-themed souvenirs and gifts.
Yes, you read that right – BAT bridge. As in real, live bats – 1.5 million of them to be exact! One of the greatest perks of being a travel nurse is the cool, unusual, unique or sometimes downright strange phenomena each new city has to offer. In Austin, it’s the largest urban bat colony in the United States emerging all at once from underneath this Austin bridge every summer night at sunset. Watching the spectacle has become so popular that The Austin American-Statesman created the Statesman Bat Observation Center adjacent to the bridge to give visitors a dedicated viewing area from which to watch. Search the hashtag #AustinBats to see some of the amazing photo possibilities of these fascinating and important creatures.
Street art is everywhere these days, and although Austin is no exception, it does have one spectacularly exceptional mural currently on display in the city’s downtown. Located on the corner of Brazos and 2nd Street, “Tau Ceti,” created by Transylvanian-born artist Josef Kristofoletti, stands an impressive 10 stories high. The colorful, multi-dimensional piece is Austin’s tallest public artwork, and according to the artist, was named after a star in the constellation Cetus. Just trying to fit the entire image into a frame will be an exciting challenge in itself. Search the hashtag #TauCeti to see this beautiful work of art and the numerous creative photos it has inspired.