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  • Writer's pictureAmy Leggett

Stay in a Haunted Hotel in Austin!

When you visit Austin, it can be confusing looking for a place to stay. There are several different "Districts" in downtown Austin that each have their own distinct vibe. You should pick a hotel or Air Bnb that is located in the District that is closest to the Austin sights you are most interested in. Here is a brief summary of some of the more popular entertainment Districts:

  • Congress Ave Historical District: Congress Avenue runs through the center of downtown Austin from Lady Bird Lake to the Texas State Capitol. Hotels in this area will be close to the Texas State Capitol and government offices as well as Austin's central business district. South Congress Avenue (or "SoCo" as the locals call it) will probably be on your Austin To Do List because of its unique shops and restaurants.

  • Sixth Street Entertainment District: This is the hub of Austin nightlife and has been dubbed "Dirty Sixth" by locals. There are many bars and restaurants and lots of nightly activity. Sixth Street is closed off to traffic from Thursday through Saturday night to accommodate crowds.

  • Rainey Street District: Rainey Street is a trendy party area with colorful historic homes that have been converted to restaurants and bars.

  • Red River Cultural District: Apparently this is the live music hub and where I should have stayed to check out why Austin is called "The Live Music Capital of the World"!

  • Second Street District: This area is known as downtown Austin's shopping hub and is filled with local boutiques and trendy fashion shops. If you are looking for a retail fix, this is your spot!

There are several other distinct Districts within the downtown area. I have just highlighted a few of the more popular ones. Check out Austin's Tourism site for a more complete description of all of the areas so you can determine which location is right for you!

I was visiting with my daughter and we stayed at the Driskill Hotel. The Driskill Hotel was built in 1886 and is the oldest operating hotel in Austin. Just like the Biltmore in Providence which I talked about here, the Driskill is rumored to be haunted. The incident that is responsible for one of the hauntings apparently happened in a room right down the hall from where we were staying! Alas (or thankfully, depending on your perspective), we did not experience any paranormal activity during our stay. If I keep staying in old, haunted hotels, I am bound to have a ghostly visitor someday! In any event, the Driskill Hotel is a beautiful building with a prime location right on Sixth Street so it is only a few short steps to rowdy nightlife if that's on your agenda. It is also easy walking distance to Congress Street and the Texas State Capitol.

There are two great on-site dining locations to visit if you stay at the Driskill. The 1886 Cafe and Bakery is a quaint Victorian-style cafe attached to the Driskill Hotel. They are open until 2 pm every day for brunch. They serve traditional Texas comfort food made with time-honored recipes like Helen Corbitt's Cheese Soup, a Texas-shaped pecan waffle, and of course fried chicken, a Texas classic. The 1886 Cafe uses locally sourced ingredients for all its recipes. Check out their menu here. We had a delicious breakfast there one morning before heading out to explore Austin.

The Driskill Bar is located right off the lobby up a grand staircase. A past winner of Southern Living's "Best Bar in Texas" award, this richly decorated space has live music nightly. It opens at 2 pm daily and serves cocktails, appetizers and dinner entrees. Check out the menu and live music schedule here. We were only in town for a couple of days and had a jam-packed schedule so I didn't get a chance to check out this award-winning bar.

I want to go back to Austin to check out the live music scene I missed, so I will definitely stay at the Driskill again and make sure to check out the Driskill Bar. Maybe I will have a ghostly visitor next time!

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