At The Driskill, a 130-year-old historic hotel in downtown Austin, concierge Tamera Jones advises visitors where to find the best sights, sounds and eats in Texas’ eclectic capital city. Here she offers expert guidance for business travelers.
What should business travelers pack when visiting your city?
Walking shoes, a light rain jacket or small umbrella, light sweater and hat—and a backpack to carry your gear as you walk around the city.
What are your top restaurant recommendations for a business lunch or dinner?
Our Driskill Grill (604 Brazos St.; Ph: 512-391-7162) showcases locally sourced ingredients and game of central Texas. The adjoining Driskill Bar—long frequented by politicians, business leaders, cowboys and Texas socialites—has been recognized by Food & Wine magazine as a top U.S. hotel bar. Other great dining options around downtown include Second Bar + Kitchen (200 Congress Ave.; Ph: 512-827-2750), a farm-to-table restaurant featuring new twists on traditional American cuisine. It offers outdoor seating and inventive cocktails—with or without alcohol. Perry’s (114 West 7th St.; Ph: 512-474-6300) is a sophisticated steakhouse with delicious food. La Traviata (314 Congress Ave.; Ph: 512-479-8131) is a local favorite for elegant dining. Its Italian-inspired menu features seasonal ingredients and pastas made fresh daily.
What’s one thing that always surprises guests about your hotel?
Our political history. The Driskill is walking distance from the Texas Capitol. The hotel has been a hotbed of political grandstanding and dealmaking since it was built in 1886 as the showplace of a cattle baron. Former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson set up camp here on many election nights, including when he waited for results of the 1964 presidential election.
If business travelers only have a few hours for leisure, what must they see in your city?
A tour of the Texas Capitol offers insights into the state’s history and how politics happens here. If you can break away from business before sundown, head to downtown’s Congress Avenue Bridge. It’s home to the world’s largest urban bat colony; about a million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from under bridge every evening from April to October. And if your free hours are in the evening, check out some of our world-famous local musicians. You’ll find them playing every night at venues all around town.
What’s the best option for outdoor exercise in your city?
The 10-mile bike trail and boardwalk around Lady Bird Lake is a great place to walk, run or cycle (you can rent bikes downtown). The green space also pays homage to Austin’s musical history with a memorial to the late bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Concierge Tamera Jones’ top tips for getting business right in Austin:
Tip 1: Business attire is casual—influenced by Austin’s laidback culture and the
Tip 2: Meetings get started on time here, so plan ahead for traffic and aim to arrive a little early.
Tip 3: Expect business conversations to be frank but friendly. It’s the Texas way.