Austin is the capital city of Texas, in the south of the United States. It's become something of a centre for alternative culture, due in part to the large number of live music venues in the city. "Keep Austin weird" is a slogan which you will frequently see on bumper stickers and t-shirts, and there are festivals throughout the year from the Chinese New Year Festival at the start of the year through to the Austin Chocolate Festival in March, and of course Eeyore's Birthday Party, a celebration of alternative culture which takes place each April. With all this variety and quirkiness, Austin is a great place for a family holiday, and the holiday budget will go further if you take advantage of some of the many rental homes in and around the city.
There is a bewildering amount to do in Austin, one week may not be enough. For basic exploring, the city's downtown area is just about compact enough to navigate on foot, but you must not miss attractions such as Lyndon Baines Johnson's Presidential Library, with a continually updated series of exhibitions and displays. The University of Texas at Austin has a beautiful campus to explore, including the Texas Memorial Museum of Science and History. And if you're in the city between March and November, you must go to the bridge on Congress Avenue at dusk, to watch the huge colony of Mexican free-tailed bats which live there. Depending on the time of year there will also always be an arts festival or other cultural event in full swing in the city, and you should sample any events which take place while you are there.
With a wide range of rental apartments and condos available in Austin, there are some great deals to be had on amazing self-catered properties, and with prices starting from around £500 a week for a condo large enough for a family of at least four, it can be a real money saving way to experience life in Texas's state capital. The condos come fully equipped with all modern comforts, often including HDTVs, broadband, air conditioning and hot tubs, and make for a comfortable and private place to unwind after a hard day's exploring the South of the United States. They are also great for kids - condos are a lot more spacious than the average hotel room and so there's plenty of room for them to run around and let off steam without getting under the feet of other tourists or the locals!