A self-assured bastion of liberal thinking, the capital of Texas has a laid-back atmosphere. Things aren’t dull, though, as the edgy alternative arts scene and famous live-music venues keep things lively. It’s all here in the middle of the beautiful Texas hill and lake country, a hot and dreamy place where your inner clock may slow a little, and your sleep deepen a bit. The city motto, “Keep Austin Weird,” is instructive, so leave the wristwatch at home.
A car is the easiest way to get around, but Capital Metro Transit has Red Line rail service for 32 miles and nine stations between Leander and Downtown. They also have buses to get you around for a dollar a trip, or $2 per day, once you're downtown.
Broad acceptance in the general community means there’s no distinctively gay district, so business establishments here are spread about more than in most cities.
110 Carriage House Inn (1110 W 22-1/2 St; 512-472-2333) downtown convenience, restored wooden colonial, full breakfast.
Austin Motel (1220 S Congress; 512- 441- 1157) neon phallic logo beckons: 'so close yet so far out.'
San Jose Hotel (1316 South Congress; 512-693-9317) chic, renovated, central, hip vibe, patio bar and cafe.
Bars and clubs
Barbarella (615 Red River St) mixed video lounge and dance club.
'Bout Time (9601 Interstate 35 N) party bar with live music, campy drag, pool games, dancers.
Charlie's Austin (1301 Lavaca), a longtime gay party bar, closed September 2011.
Chain Drive (504 Willow) Levi/leather hangout, live punk and alternative music, huge patio.
Cheer Up Charlie's (1104 E 6th St, E Austin) young and queer, "backyard party vibe," vegan fare, fresh juice, organic wine, local brews.
Hush (408 Congress Ave) gay bar, rooftop patio, nightly DJs, spacious dance floor, midnight "BAREtenders."
Iron Bear (121 W 8th St) bear bar, 18+ events, DJs, special parties.
Oilcan Harry's (211 W 4th St) uninhibited collegiate men's dance bar, Thursday Strip Off, Friday Hip Hop, sports bar, blacklight underwear parties, after-hours.
Rain (217 B W 4th St) energetic and diverse crowd, Thursday 18+ male amateur strip, Sunday T-dance.
Rusty Spurs (403 E 7th St) newest country-western neighborhood dance bar, Sunday BBQ.
Town 'n Country (1502 W Ben White Blvd), GLBT country music dancing, pool tables, games, Wi-Fi access.
The Rainbow Cattle Company, Sister's Edge and Kiss & Fly Austin are closed.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (1120 S Lamar Blvd) dinner, drinks, movies, and events including G&L Film Festival.
El Sol y la Luna (600 E. 6th) all-day breakfast, Mexican bar and cafe with live music.
Jackalope (404 E 6th St) dogs, burgers; barbeque, chicken, steak sandwiches; po boys, veggie burgers, full bar.
Jo's (1300 S Congress; 242 West 2nd St) two locations for coffee, sandwiches, casual hangout with wi- fi.
Forbidden Fruit (512 Neches St; 108 E North Loop Blvd) 'keeping Austin kinky' with products for a body's needs.
Tape Lenders Video (1114 W 5th St) gay videos, gifts, cards, magazines, swimwear, underwear.
Saunas and gyms
Midtowne Spa (5815 Airport Blvd) complete workout, bathhouse steam/sauna and recreational facilities, with overnight stay options.
Gold's Gym (101 W 6th St) gay-popular gym, close by many gay establishments.
See our events & experiences lisitngs for Pride and other events in Austin.
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