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Transport to downtown from different areas?

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Melbourne
posts: 179
reviews: 1
Transport to downtown from different areas?

I'll be visiting Austin from March 7-10 next year which falls on Friday to Tuesday. Basically i'd like some advice on transport to downtown from 2 different areas. I'm not sure if i can post a link here but the first hotel is the Double Tree hotel by Hilton at 6505 IH-35 North and the second is Habitat Suites further north up the road at 500 East Highland Mall Boulevard.

In a perfect world i'd love to stay downtown but given i'm traveling solo (for the most part) for 7 weeks across the States and prefer to stay in hotels on a budget of between $120-$150 a night at the most, that price bracket is just not feasible in Austin DT in that price bracket.

I can get Habitat Suites of a few other properties in that vicinity around $200 cheaper of more than the Double Tree. That said basically i'd just like to know what the transport is like from both areas to DT and is it worth paying more money and staying a little closer as opposed to staying further away and paying less?

Another thing that might help and i'd like to ask is what eating/drinking options are there in and around those two areas? After a big day of walking around taking in DT options i enjoy a good feed and a few quiet beers at a nice pub or the like so that would also be very helpful in my decision. Again in a perfect world i'd stay DT and have many more options to do that but if i stay at further out it'd probably just easier to eat and drink near where i stay so as to not worry about having to get transport back at night.

8 replies to this topic
Austin, Texas
posts: 562
reviews: 33
1. Re: Transport to downtown from different areas?

Are you certain about the dates? In 2015 march 7 is a Saturday. You are arriving just as sxsw (film and interactive) is starting up, which explains why you're unable to find a decently priced hotel near downtown.

WIll you have a car? Habitat Suites and that Doubletree are actually located pretty near each other, they're just divided by a highway. There really aren't to any restaurants close the Habitat Suites, there are a few oriental food, and Quality Seafood, but nothing walking distance. At the Doubletree, you could at least walk to Papasitos or Pappadeaux (both owned by the same Houston-based chain) , but it isn't as close to the light rail Highland station which would at least give you an easier way to get into downtown. Capital Metro is our transit, which is buses and 1 light rail line, with a station convenient to the Habitat Suites. http://www.capmetro.org

Cap Metro has a very limited schedule (compared to most metropolitan areas) but has finally learned to run extended times during events like sxsw, so that's a decent option to get around from the Habitat Suites. Also, even though Highland Mall was a real shopping mall at one time, it's now a mostly- dead mall.

I guess there's no possibility of shuffling your dates to arrive in Austin before all the sxsw stuff starts up?

Austin, Texas
Destination Expert
for Austin
posts: 3,847
reviews: 169
2. Re: Transport to downtown from different areas?

Neither of those are ideal for a solo traveler without a car. You should check out Firehouse Hostel in downtown Austin - http://www.firehousehostel.com/ . It's a more "upscale" hostel, but still very reasonably priced, and it's right in the middle of downtown Austin, giving you access to bars, restaurants, and other travlers.

As djr noted, your dates coincide with the beginning of the South by Southwest Festival, which brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to Austin, and causes hotel rates to skyrocket. If you can modify your schedule to arrive earlier, or after March 22, you will find that you have more options.

Austin, Texas
Destination Expert
for Austin
posts: 1,113
reviews: 41
3. Re: Transport to downtown from different areas?

I'm going to echo what the previous two posters said. If possible please try to arrange a time before or after SXSW. You are not going to enjoy Austin with stays at either of the two locations you mentioned. We can't say it loud enough, they are for someone with a car.

Rather than stay in those places I'd say just skip Austin on this trip. You want to enjoy Austin, right? Neither of those locations is worth what you will be paying and then trying to figure how to get to town and then back to the hotel. What bus and train options exist are reduced substantially on weekends.

I realize that sounds strong but please hear that we want you to experience and enjoy Austin especially since you're coming all the way from Australia!

Welcome to Austin!

Melbourne
posts: 179
reviews: 1
4. Re: Transport to downtown from different areas?

Firstly thank you guys very much for the replies, they've been very helpful and the festival obviously explains why the hotels DT are more expensive that weekend.

To add a bit more background my plan was to fly from Vegas to San Antonio on Monday the 2nd of March and stay until Thursday morning. I was then going to hire a car and drive to Gruene to spend the afternoon/night there, drive to Fredericksburg to have a look around, have some lunch and spend a few hours there and then drive to Lockhart to spend one night there and sampling some of that famous BBQ before driving to Austin on Saturday morning (got my days mixed up djr) before dropping off the car at the airport and heading to my hotel to spend Saturday to Tuesday morning in Austin.

I didn't really want to keep the car in Austin as i always rely on public transport when i'm in bigger cities. While it sounds like it'd be handy during the day to get around from the two hotels mentioned, given there's not a great deal around those places in the evening i don't really fancy getting taxi's to and from the hotel and DT as i wouldn't be able to drive after having a few beers. I checked the Firehouse on those days MrTed but unfortunately it's fully booked.

My only other option would be is to swap San Antonio/Austin around and fly to Austin first from Vegas and spend from Monday arvo to Thursday morning there and work my way down visiting the other places mentioned after hiring a car in Austin. The only 'problem' if you can call it that is that i would've preferred to spend the weekend in Austin as opposed to SA hence why i planned it that way first. There's no particular reason for that and not really a deal breaker so to speak, it was just a preference.

If i do change the days from Monday-Thursday i've found a place to stay at La Quinta Inn which is located at 300 East 11th Street and from the looks of things it'll be much easier to get around from. While it aint the Ritz it's within my budget and i only ever view hotel rooms as a place to stay/shower and as long as it's in a decent location i'm happy.

Short of paying a great deal more on the weekend of the festival it looks like i don't have much of a choice other than to take the earlier option. As you mentioned yankeetransplant, given i'm coming all the way from Australia i'm not sure when i'll get the chance to go back again so i really want to visit Austin this time and while i'd rather come on the weekend, at least this way i can still see it. I've always really wanted to visit Texas and especially Austin/SA. From what i can gather from Texans they seem to be friendly, easy going, enjoy a good time and not dissimilar to Aussies in many ways so i'm really looking forward to it.

Sorry for the long posts, i just wanted to put all the info forward to make it easier for you guys to give advice as opposed to being vague and having you try and guess what i'm after. Oh and i hope nobody took offence to the comparison to us Aussies! lol

Edited: 4:13 am, July 04, 2014
Austin, Texas
posts: 562
reviews: 33
5. Re: Transport to downtown from different areas?

Even though it's not a weekend, you'll probably be happier staying at the LaQuinta on 11th. You're right around the corner from the state capitol building which is nice to tour and the grounds are beautiful. You'd also be within walking distance to 6th (just remember going back to your hotel is going to be uphill). You're close to the music venues on Red River (The Mohawk is at 10th and Red River, Stubbs at 8th). There's still plenty to do on weekdays, and really the weekends when sxsw are going on are really not normal days for Austin.

Austin, Texas
Destination Expert
for Austin
posts: 1,113
reviews: 41
6. Re: Transport to downtown from different areas?

The La Quinta on 11th is a good location. Glad you found it and I'm glad you'll still be able to enjoy Austin as its pictured by the various media mentions. Your two other hotel would have left you wondering what was special about Austin!

We're frequently a destination for Aussies and we're very happy to welcome you!

Travel safe and welcome to Austin!

Melbourne
posts: 179
reviews: 1
7. Re: Transport to downtown from different areas?

I bit the bullet and booked La Quinta on 11th for the Monday to Thursday. As mentioned they aren't my preferred days it's certainly not a deal breaker and i've absolutely no doubt i'll have an excellent time in your fair city so i can't wait!

Thanks again for your advice guys it's very much appreciated. I'm sure i'll have more questions to ask about Austin when my travel dates get closer.

Austin, Texas
Destination Expert
for Austin
posts: 3,847
reviews: 169
8. Re: Transport to downtown from different areas?

I think you'll be much happier at the La Quinta than either of your prior options. Don't worry about being in town during the week. There is music every night of the week, and people are always out at the bars and restaurants downtown.

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