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do I need a car

Los Angeles
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do I need a car

Hi I am driving a rental car from San Antonio to Austin, and I have read parking is terrible and expensive. Do I need a car in Austin for the "popular" tourist things. Are there trolleys in austin to get to tourist spots Like they have in San Antonio. So bottom line keep the car or turn it in, I'll have my wife and two kids with me ages 7 and 4. thanks

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1. Re: do I need a car

It really depends on where you are staying and what you want to see. Personally, I would have a car so I could go out to Lake Travis and Mt. Bonnell. I am assuming you are talking about downtown when you say parking is terrible and expensive. I don't really think it's that bad. There are free trolleys downtown, called the Dillos, and you can get around downtown easily with those. There really isn't a designated "tourist" spot in Austin like in San Antonio but there's still plenty to see. Again, I would still have a car. Have you checked with your hotel for parking rates? Where are you staying?

Los Angeles
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2. Re: do I need a car

Thanks for the reply, we are staying at the austin hilton convention center. we are also staying at hotel contessa in san antonio and am inquiring about the need of a car their.

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447 posts
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3. Re: do I need a car

Howdy! IMHO parking is more expensive in Austin than it is in San Antonio. Have you ever been to Austin before? If not, you can find plenty to do within a relatively compact area in downtown Austin: between the Interstate (east) and Lamar (west), the river (south) and Martin Luther King (north). In this area you'll find the Capitol, the Austin Children's Museum, the Bob Bullock Museum, the Blanton Art Museum (just north of MLK, and brand new -- it opened last weekend), the Governor's Mansion, plus plenty of good shopping and restaurants. The O. Henry House is right next to your hotel, as is Carmelo's, an old style Italian restaurant. We do have trolleys in Austin; they're called "'dillos". There's a route on Fifth and Sixth Streets (Fifth runs eastbound and Sixth runs westbound). You can also find city buses stopping frequently on Congress Avenue.

Certain "touristy" things are outside of the area I just described, and it might be better to have a car if you have small children. For example, if you're wanting to visit Barton Springs, you can get there by bus, but it might be better logistically with a car. Barton Springs is in Zilker Park and yes, parking there is a nightmare on the weekends, but once you get to the Springs it's worth it. There's also a playscape in the park next to the bathhouse, and the "Zilker Express" is a little train ride, if it's up and running. And you would have to have a car to get to Lake Austin, Lake Travis, or the Arboretum area.

When are you coming?

San Antonio, TX
Destination Expert
for San Antonio
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7,580 posts
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4. Re: do I need a car

Parking prices are about the same for SA and Austin, that said, I always recommend having a car - I always enjoy the freedom of being able to come and go as I please. I'm willing to pay the extra for that convenience.

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5. Re: do I need a car

I'd take the car. I can never catch a trolley when I need one, and though I enjoy walking when I'm visiting a town (I walked all over downtown San Antonio last weekend with my girlfriends), dragging two youngsters along with in 90 degree high and equal humidity is enough to kill any fun weekend. Parking can be a pain downtown, but parking on the street is free on weekends, and you can find lot parking for about $7/day.

Like someone mentioned, there are some great spots to visit that are far from one another. You'll find that many of them outside of downtown have free parking, too. So you'd only have to pay the hotel parking fee (I'm assuming they allow in-and-out parking).

And the car has AC, which is always a blessing when you've got hot, sweaty kids to cart along.