Featured getaway: Austin, Texas
photo courtesy of the Austin Convention & Visitor's Bureau
It seems like everyone knows someone who's moving to Austin. In the past decade the capital of Texas has grown steadily, attracting everyone from young urban professionals to artists and students. This rapid evolution is noticeable everywhere from the busy downtown area to trendy and pricey neighbourhoods. Despite the growth, Austin has managed to maintain its mellow, small-town appeal. A perennial "Best Place to Live" winner, it's also a great place to visit, offering a range of attractions and activities. The State Capitol, the largest in the United States, and the Governor's Mansion, which is open for tours, will appeal to those interested in the political side of Austin. History buffs can head to the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. LBJ was one of the city's most famous residents. In 1982, his wife "Lady Bird" created a Wildflower Centre dedicated to preserving the native plants of North America. Austin also offers recreational activities from golf to walking trails in beautiful parks. The shopping, restaurants and nightlife offer world-class appeal with a homey Texas feel.
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This sprawling city hums with the energy and independent spirit that turned it from swampland into the fourth-largest city in the USA. Everything is big, from the towering skyscrapers to the city's prominence in aerospace, oil, shipping and finance. Even the architecture makes big, bold statements, such as the medical centre towers that resemble two giant syringes. A thriving business centre, the city has become increasingly cosmopolitan, with an influx of diverse ethnic groups and a strong emphasis on the arts. Opera, ballet, symphony and theatre are all top-notch, and museums abound. The midday heat is easily escaped inside the numerous attractions and shopping areas, particularly in the pedestrian-friendly 6.5-mile underground city. Since you're in the place that broadcast man's first step on the moon, you may want to pay a visit to Space Center Houston, where you'll be whisked into outer space through simulations and films. Once back on earth, you can hop on the tram to the complex's NASA/Johnson Space Center to watch astronauts and engineers at work and in training.
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