Home to the Texas Longhorns, SXSW and Austin City Limits Music Festival, Austin is a true Texas gem. No matter what you love to do, you’ll find something that speaks to you in this beautiful city. There’s so much to do in and around Austin that you might not even know where to start planning your visit.

You need to determine when you’re going to visit first so that you can refine the list of activities and events in which you’re interested. Here are five key factors you should take into consideration when setting the date for your trip.

1. Know What You Want Out of Your Visit
Austin offers many possibilities for tourists. Knowing what you want to see and do before your visit will help you narrow down travel dates. For example, maybe your family wants to see a huge colony of bats fly out from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge. The bats only emerge between March and October. Perhaps you want to attend the world-famous SXSW music festival, which happens in March. Some attractions and festivals require you to travel at a certain time of year.

If you’re more into the outdoors and want to explore nature in and around Austin, you’ll need to take temperatures and weather conditions into account. You likely don’t want to be out exploring the desert during the rainy season. Check travel blogs or go to Visit Austin to get more information about the best time of year to experience your favorite things in the city.

2. Know When the Hottest Events Are Happening
Austin is known for its incredible live music scene and diverse arts community. Of course, the city is also home of the University of Texas Longhorns and many exciting sporting events. Every season brings a slate of great events to the city. A good balance of adults-only and family friendly events take place year-round. Some of the most popular annual events in Austin include:

  • SXSW
  • Sherwood Forest Faire
  • Austin Food and Wine Festival
  • Pecan Street Festival
  • Renegade Craft Fair
  • Bat Fest
  • Texas Craft Brewers Festival
  • Austin City Limits Music Festival
  • East Austin Studio Tour
  • Formula 1 and IndyCar racing events

Local businesses such as Live Oak Brewing also host a wide variety of special events throughout the year. Austin is a diverse city, so many of these events are centered around unique cultural traditions. Don’t dismiss local music events in Austin either, which is a mecca for musicians hoping to hit it big. Chances are good that you’ll hear one of music’s next big stars if you spend time visiting music venues while you’re in the city.

If you want to attend a special event in Austin, be sure that you plan well in advance. Lodging can be difficult to find during the big festivals. You’ll need to start looking at your hotel, motel and rental-by-owner options several months ahead of major events such as SXSW and the Austin Food and Wine Festival. If you’d like to plan a last-minute trip to Austin, it’s best to do so in the low tourist season. You’ll still find plenty of things to do in the city, but you won’t have the same struggle to find lodging as at the most popular times of year.

3. Get Familiar with Climate Conditions
Like any other southern city, Austin has a reputation for getting hot in the summer. Unless you really love hot weather, you probably don’t want to visit the city between mid-June and August.

Weather is very favorable from September through November, which is why the fall is often considered the peak season in Austin.

Visitors who live in colder climates often head to the city between March and May as well. Temperatures during these months tend to be in the 70s and low 80s, making the city a perfect retreat for visitors who are tired of winter weather at home. This is also a great time of year to visit if you’re interested in outdoors activities such as hiking and kayaking.

4. Decide if You Want to Visit During the Peak Season
March to May and September and October are considered the peak seasons for traveling to Austin. These are the times when lodging prices tend to be the highest and the city tends to be its busiest. November through February is considered the shoulder season. Visiting during these months is a smart choice for budget-conscious travelers who want to enjoy everything Austin has to offer at a cheaper rate.

June can also be affordable, though temperatures tend to get uncomfortably high towards the end of the month. The official low season in Austin runs between July and August, when scorching temperatures make it impossible to spend much time outside. You should only plan a trip to Austin during these months if you love intense heat or don’t plan on spending more than a few minutes each day outdoors.

5. Hunt for Airfare Deals
Austin is a popular travel destination. Airfare to the city can be pricey, especially during peak seasons. However, the city’s popularity also means that airlines frequently offer deals on Austin travel. Set up alerts for Austin airfare so that you can buy tickets when they go on sale. You can also check with travel agents in your area to see if they can put together an affordable trip package for you.

Live Oak Brewing is at the center of the Austin scene. Between participating in the Texas Craft Brewers Festival and hosting some of the coolest cultural events in the city, we always have something going on. Check out our events calendar before you plan your next trip to Austin.