Traveling to Texas: Taking Time to Tour Each of the Big City Attractions

Traveling to Texas: Taking Time to Tour Each of the Big City Attractions

Reading Time: 5 minutes

As the largest state in the continental United States, Texas is filled with big cities and iconic tourist attractions. With five of the fifteen most populated cities in the United States, it is easy to see that people enjoy Texas. From Houston to Amarillo and El Paso to Longview, there is plenty to do and to see in the over 268,000 square miles of the  Lone Star State

 

 

Austin touring austin texas

The capital city of Texas is a hip spot for people who love live music. Austin is known for being the Live Music Capital of the World and is the home to over 250 live-music venues. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and for a good reason: there is a lot to do in the heart of Texas in the city that enjoys being weird.

 

Places to Visit and Things to do in Austin

While in Austin, there are several places to see and things to do. Of course, the city is known for hosting the ever-growing SXSW Festival, but there is more to the city than that. There are natural areas that offer recreation and relaxation, and cultural events that showcase the local treasures in the capital city. These spots include:

  • The State Capitol and Visitors Center
  • Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art
  • Zilker Metropolitan Park Attractions and Barton Springs Pool
  • Lady Bird Lake
  • Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to see the Mexican free-tailed bats take flight

 

touring houston texas

Houston

The largest city in Texas is in Houston. Like Austin, people continue to move to the city for the opportunities it offers. The Bayou City is home to world-class professional sports teams, memorable museums, and the beautiful beaches on nearby Galveston Bay. Houston is also known for being the home of Johnson Space Center and Mission Control. 

 

Must-Visit Places in Houston

To get the most out of your time in Houston, these are some of the places tourists should see. Many of these spots are family-friendly and provide insight into the American experience in Houston. 

  • Johnson Space Center and Mission Control
  • Museum District in Houston
  • Galveston Beaches
  • Minute Maid Park
  • Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park

visting san antonio texas

 

San Antonio

San Antonio brings old and new Texas together in one vibrant city. It is filled with historic sites, natural beauty, and modern tourist attractions. The historic spots often bring the tourists to San Antonio, but it is the city as a whole that brings them back for more. Like Houston and Austin, San Antonio is also a growing city with many people moving in each day. 

 

Things to do in San Antonio

The historic spots in San Antonio are the most frequently visited places in the city. But, the River Walk offers delicious food and plenty of nightlife and entertainment. These are the spots you must see when you visit the home of the Alamo.

  • The Alamo and the historic mission and battlefield
  • El Mercado
  • Pearl District and Farmers Market
  • San Antonio Missions National Historical Park & Mission Trail
  • Natural Bridge Canyons
  • The River Walk

 

 

Dallastouring dallas tx

Even though all of these cities are in the same state, they could not be more different from each other. Dallas is a massive city known for its wealth from several lucrative industries like oil and finance. In the 1970s and 80s, the popular TV show Dallas showed the world the beautiful ranches and the vibrant downtown. But the city offers so much more than oil, horses, and money. It is a city filled with history, architecture, and cultural centers.  

Top Attractions in Dallas 

When visiting Big D, tourists can pay homage to the 35th president. They can also see the way that nature meets innovation in local parks, museums, and architecture. Check out these places when traveling to Dallas:

 

 

traveling to el paso txEl Paso

At the far western side of Texas is El Paso, which was once known for being the lawless gateway to the wild west. Now, the city is a popular spot along the Rio Grande across the way from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It is a busy port for good traveling back and forth between the two countries, and with that trade comes a vibrant culture that is unique to the city. Along with all of the features of a big city, El Paso also has a rugged mountain landscape that is ideal for outdoor activities. 

 

What to do in El Paso 

When in El Paso, take the opportunity to enjoy the Mexican and American cultural sites and sounds. With the proximity to Mexico, there is plenty to do in the city that you cannot do in other places around the United States. There are also several parks with awe-inspiring natural wonders. 

  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park
  • Franklin Mountains State Park
  • Chamizal National Memorial 
  • San Elizario and Billy the Kid Jail
  • Hueco Tanks Park & Historic Site
  • Magoffin Home State Historic Site
  • Big Bend National Park

 

Whether you visit all of the big cities in Texas in one vacation or you visit one at a time, you will not be disappointed. The five large cities in the Lone Star State offer unique opportunities that you cannot find in other cities. Texas has everything, from the modern Perot Museum in Dallas to the high-tech history at Johnson Space Center in Houston to old-world history at the Alamo in San Antonio to the awe-inspiring views of Big Bend National Park outside of El Paso. You won’t be disappointed when visiting the big cities in Texas

 

Keeping Things Weird: What to Do in Austin, TX

Keeping Things Weird: What to Do in Austin, TX

Reading Time: 5 minutes

You know the saying – “Keep Austin Weird”? Well, Austin, TX is undeniably cool, and if you’re looking to visit or move to the city, there are tons of things to do from food trucks to music festivals and swimming holes. Whether you’re on a budget or looking to splurge, there is something for everyone to do in Austin.

 

 

What To Do in Austin, TX

Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake is a gorgeous area for outdoor rec, hiking, biking, and adventuring. It’s not a swmmin’ hole, but you can go kayaking, rowing, or stand-up-paddle boarding. Explore the whopping 468 acres of land and take the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail for exercise with trees and lake as your backdrop. 

 

Forget Peloton, come here for motivation to exercise! The best part? Admission is free!

 

 

Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum

For an after-hours experience, this is the place to go. Every day from 6 pm-8 pm, the museum holds a free “after dark” experience for the whole family. Enjoy a lit-up sculpture garden, gallery exhibits, themed activities, food, and entertainment. 

 

It starts in May and goes through the summer, along with free evening yoga classes and refreshments from local vendors. This is an event the entire community enjoys. Come for a taste of what it’s like to live like a local Austinite and do something out of the ordinary.

 

 

things to do in austin txTexas State Capitol

For a taste of Texas beauty and history, step inside the capitol building. It’s free to enter, and docent-led tours are offered every 20-30 minutes. Learn about the history of Texas and the beautiful building itself by experienced and knowledgeable guides. If you’d rather take a tour at your own pace, self-guided options are available for the whole family to enjoy.

 

 

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Explore the astounding garden at the University of Texas and immerse yourself in the native fauna and flora of the Lone Star State. The center has regular family programs for children to get hands-on experience with gardening. 

 

Older kids will love the available magnifying glasses, books, and binoculars to take their garden adventure to the next level. Be sure to call ahead so you can plan to experience everything the center has to offer.

 

 

Barton Springs Pool

They say everything is bigger in Texas. Well, folks, it’s true – even for swimming pools! If you’re looking for a family-friendly swimmin’ hole, this is it! Barton Sprints is an outdoor recreational swimming pool that measures a whopping three acres in size. 

 

The pool is fed entirely with warm water from nearby natural springs and stays at a consistent year-round temperature of 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

 

 

The Continental Club

The Continental Club has been in operation since 1957 and holds a well-deserved reputation as a premier music club. They play a delightful variety of Americana and Texan tunes. It’s a favorite hot-spot for locals, but visitors and tourists are welcomed in gladly. 

 

If you want to live like a local Austinite for a few hours, this is the place to come. Grab a drink and turn to a neighbor for delightful discussion about life in Texas.

 

 

Franklin Barbeque

You can’t have Texas without BBQ and BBQ wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for Texas. Franklin Barbeque is a legend in Austin and beyond, often boasting hours-long lines because they’re just that good. The chef and food celebrity, Aaron Franklin, cooks up sausages and beef ribs that are to die for. 

 

One taste of his “Q” and you’ll never go back to eating regular barbeque again. Bring a folding chair, a hungry stomach, and a friend to hang with while you wait for your mouthwatering grub.

 

austin tx

 

Gourdough’s

This ain’t your regular, ordinary, everyday doughnut shop. This particular donut shop serves up Texas-sized donuts for Texas-sized appetites. They come in mouthwatering flavors like the famous “Mother Clucker” – fried chicken on donuts, and “Cache Me Outside” – Nutella, bananas pecans, and whipped cream. No matter what you choose from their one-of-a-kind menu, you can’t possibly go wrong.

 

 

Alamo Drafthouse

For a movie and good-eats, Alamo Drafthouse is the best there is. Snag a seat for your favorite flick and order from a menu that sports options like buffalo cauliflower, banh mi hot dogs, and bourbon milkshakes. 

 

Why settle for the plain old popcorn and soda when you can have your move and dine-out experience, too? Austinites really love their food. 

 

 

Driskill Hotel

Snag a room in this hotel that is quite literally old as dirt. It’s a true Texas landmark and is the oldest operating hotel in Austin. It’s also creepily haunted. Whose specter roams its halls? It’s rumored that a girl who fell down the stairs to her death and few suicide brides have never left the building.

 

 

Mohawk

If you’re looking for a live music venue, you can’t pass up Mohawk. Live music gets going every day from 8 pm-2 am and showcases some of Austin’s best creatives. Other live music venues to consider are The Continental Club, Antone’s Nightclub, ACL Live, and Elephant Room. Live music is essential in the Austin culture. 

 

 

Allen Boots

No trip to Austin would be complete without getting your very own pair of spur janglers – that’s right, we mean good old-fashioned cowboy boots. You’ll be sure to find a pair you love in Allen’s, where the Texas-sized store boasts over 4,000 pairs of boots for your choosing. 

 

You can also find cowboy hats, western duds, and plenty of accessories for a complete outfit. Walk in a visitor, walk out a Texan.

 

 

Uncommon Objects

If you’re already visiting Allen Boots, head on over to the next store – the greatest antique and vintage shop around. Peruse items of old, relics, and home goods grandma used. If you’re looking to pick up household items to complete that “Farmhouse” style, this is where you’ll find them!

 

 

Dirty Sixth

For nightlife lovers, this is the street where you’ll want to spend some time. It’s a local hot-spot and well-known icon in Austin. Why? It’s several blocks filled with bars and restaurants and endless options for grabbing a bite to eat, indulging in Texas grub, and drinking your fill of local and national brews.

 

austin tx

 

Congress Avenue Bridge

This bridge is famous for two reasons. One, it’s dedicated to the 45th governor of Texas, Ann W. Richards. Two, it’s home to the largest urban bat colony of Mexican free-tailed bats. Between 750,000 and 1.5 million bats call this bridge their home during the summer months. 

 

Here, you can join up to 100,000 tourists every year to watch the bats as they come out at dusk and fly around Lady Bird Lake looking for their nightly meal. 

 

 

Harry Ransom Center

If manuscripts, historical documents, and old photographs are your thing, you won’t want to pass this up. The center is home to one of the most extensive archives of original manuscripts and documents in the nation. 

 

Here, you can ogle at exhibits including The First Photograph – the oldest surviving photograph known taken in 1826 in France – and a first edition of the Gutenberg King James Bible.

 

 

Come Visit Austin!

These are only a few of the fun attractions that Austin offers. Want to learn more? Come visit this unique city that boasts a vibrant music scene, loads of food, and friendly people. 

 

Stated by the credit repair Austin experts, if you plan on moving to Austin, TX, make sure your credit score is high, and your debt is in check to get the best mortgage rate possible. If you need help with creating a customized financial plan to improve your credit score, contact the Phenix Group. 

The Austin Housing Market: Tremendous Growth in 2019 & Predictions for 2020

The Austin Housing Market: Tremendous Growth in 2019 & Predictions for 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Everyone wants to live in Austin! Since 2012, the housing market has continued to boom year after year, thanks to consistently ranking as one of the best cities to live in the United States. 

 

Add to the mix that many large companies, like Apple, Dell, and eBay, are moving their headquarters to the area, it’s no wonder that the Austin market is getting more and more competitive. If you’re looking for a home in Austin, you need to be prepared about what to expect. 

 

To help you, let’s look at what the market was like in 2019 and what you can expect moving into 2020, and what credit score you’ll need to get the best mortgage interest rate to make your Austin dream home a reality!

 

Austin Housing Marketing in 2019

Stated by credit repair Austin analyst,  the Austin housing market has gained incredible steam since 2010, almost doubling home values within the city. This year was no different. 

 

As of November 2019, a press release from the Austin Board of REALTORS stated that the median price for a single-family home within city limits rose 10.6% over the previous year! 

 

That’s a massive jump for a single year-over-year comparison! The average home price was at $400,000+ and climbing, with a high demand for single-family homes, which make up 47% of the city’s units. 

 

The demand for homes was unmatched by the supply, and the market reflected that dramatically. The average number of days a home was on the market before it sold was only 15. 

 

People were outbidding each other left and right, trying to get into the Austin city limits! 

 

Austin Housing Market Predictions for 2020

In 2020, you should expect a continued climb in both pricing and competition when it comes to the Austin housing market. Between the growing population and the shortage of housing, Zillow predicts that home prices will rise by 2.8%. 

austin tx housing market

A recent Zillow survey:

Indicated that 83% of participants believe that Austin will outperform the average U.S. home price growth over the next year. 

 

There is the possibility in 2020 that the Austin housing market will transition more towards a buyer’s market, but that will only happen if there is a significant increase in homebuilding efforts.

 

Austin will still have a substantial rental demand in 2020, with more than 55% of residents who rent rather than own, thanks to the rising housing prices. This poses an excellent opportunity for investors and homebuyers who want to purchase a property to rent it out. 

 

Rental income can make a massive difference to your pocket, and the way the Austin population and demand is booming, it’s an attractive investment.

 

What Credit Score Do You Need to Buy a Home in Austin?

If you’re looking to get in on the hot Austin housing market in 2020, you’ll need to make sure that your credit is in check. When you apply for a mortgage, your entire credit history will come under scrutiny, and your score will determine what interest rate you get for your loan. 

The higher your credit score, the better the rate. If your score is lower, you’ll have to deal with higher interest rates, and that’s even if you can get approved at all.

 

Knowing your credit score is one of the essential steps in preparing to purchase a home. Fortunately, if your credit score isn’t up in the 700’s, that doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck when it comes to getting a mortgage. The minimum score required depends on the type of mortgage you get. 

 

There are three common mortgage types:

 

Conventional

A conventional lender is typically a private bank or creditor, and while minimum credit scores will vary, they usually range between 620 to 640. 

 

USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture offers mortgages and loans to prospective homebuyers looking to purchase property in less industrialized areas. There is no set minimum credit score for these loans, but it’s recommended to have at least a 640.

fixing credit in austin tx

VA

If you’re a veteran, the Veteran Affairs department offers a variety of mortgage options and access to lenders to help you purchase your home. There are no set minimums, but lenders under this program typically require at least a 620.

 

FHA

The Federal Housing Administration offers loan and mortgage programs to help people with less than stellar credit purchase homes. With an FHA loan, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 580 and be able to put down a 3.5% down payment. 

 

You should also know that you’ll need to purchase mortgage insurance when you use an FHA loan to protect the lender if you are unable to make your mortgage payments.

 

With Austin still holding onto the top of the U.S. housing market, you should give some serious thought to purchasing an investment property. But to make it worth your while, you’ll need to make sure that you get the best interest rates possible with ensuring that your credit score is the best it can be. 

 

If:

You’re worried that your credit score will affect your ability to get a great interest rate on your mortgage, consider hiring a credit repair company. 

 

They are experts at helping folks repair their credit reports, and will help you understand your current situation, as well as put together a personalized, detailed plan to get your credit up to par. Don’t let your credit score affect you from realizing your dream of buying a home in Austin! 

 

 

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