Austin is one of the hottest cities in America, and we don't just mean temperature-wise. In the last two years alone, it was voted the No. 1 American city to live in by U.S. News & World Report; the No. 1 city of the future, the next biggest boom town, and among the top cities for millennials by Forbes, and one of the best places to live by WalletHub.
Why is the capital of Texas so popular? It's a wild college town -- home to the University of Texas at Austin -- and a tech town, home to headquarters or regional outposts for major tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Cisco, Dell, eBay, Google, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Paypal, and RetailMeNot. Locals, or Austinites, also enjoy a vibrant music scene, a thriving LGBTQ community, and some of the cleanest air around, thanks to the city's vehement anti-smoking regulations.
Whether you're visiting for a much-needed vacation, coming for the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference or Austin City Limits, or staying for a job in "Silicon Hills," these iPhone and Android apps will help you navigate and make the most of the ATX.
Where to stay
Anyone can stay in a sterile hotel room devoid of local Austin flavor. If you want to live like a local, book a room, apartment, or entire vacation home with Airbnb. The rates are often a fraction of the cost of a hotel room, and you can book local travel experiences within the app, such as a nighttime light-up paddleboarding adventure or a Segway tour of Austin's landmarks or a deep dive into Austin's music scene. If you're lost or have issues, Airbnb offers directions and a messaging feature to contact your host.
The popular real estate app shows you myriad apartments for rent in and around Austin. Using the app's targeted search options, you can see photo- and video-filled listings of rentals that meet your location, size, amenities, and price requirements. Search by GPS, type an address, or draw a custom region on a map. Once you find a listing you like, Zillow can help you contact the property manager.
How to get around
Austin Traffic (iOS)
For people who drive, locally run Austin Traffic provides up-to-the-minute traffic info for the Austin area via maps, traffic camera images, and over audio. Get real-time updates about traffic jams and accidents on your work or play route, for example, so you can plan an alternate course.
Or you can have someone else do the driving. Like Uber and Lyft, the Ride Austin mobile app enables users to book rides when they need them. The difference here is that this locally run rideshare service is a nonprofit, so drivers don't have to share their earnings with a parent company. Better yet, customers can round up their fares, with proceeds going to a local charity.
Or you can reduce your carbon footprint by taking public transportation. The sometimes stressful bus or train experience is made easier with the official Cap Metro app, offering trip planning tools, ticket purchasing, and arrival and departure info for Austin's MetroRapid and MetroRail services.
Or you can explore the bicycle-friendly city on two wheels. The BCycle app helps you locate nearby bike stations, check out a bike, purchase a membership, and more.
Where to eat and drink
Yelp can help you find the best restaurants and cafes in Austin using the GPS on your phone. You can also filter a search for the best places to eat by location, price, type of cuisine, star rating, number of positive reviews, and more.
If you're looking for a deal, look no further than Hooked Deals, which offers myriad money-saving deals from popular restaurants and bars in your area.
If you'd rather eat in, then do yourself a Favor and order in from one of the best local delivery apps. Favor brings items from thousands of local restaurants and stores to your door in record time -- typically 35 minutes or less.
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Where to go
Free app Go Austin serves up the finest places to stay, eat, shop, and let loose -- along with door-to-door directions. Enjoy dining recommendations, a concert venue directory, bar and nightlife listings, and suggestions for fun outdoor activities in the app.
Citygram Austin (iOS)
The five-star Citygram Austin app is part magazine and part city guide, connecting you to the top expert-curated restaurants, bars, and food events; live music shows; shops and sales; and more via articles, video interviews and tours, and event and business listings. You'll also gain access to exclusive deals and offers for participating businesses. Pay just 99 cents a month or purchase a year-long subscription for $5.99 to enjoy these many benefits.
In the mood for a movie? Alamo Drafthouse shows the best current and classic movies. The official Alamo Drafthouse app lets you select your movie and seat, purchase merchandise, and earn rewards with your Victory rewards membership. If your plans change, you can cancel your ticket purchase up to an hour before showtime in the app.
Keep Austin Dog Friendly (iOS)
Can't part with your pooch? Find dog-friendly restaurants, bars, and shops in the city of Austin with the Keep Austin Dog Friendly app.
Where to complain
You're really not an Austinite till you've lived there long enough to start complaining about the city. Once the bloom is off the rose, use the Austin 311 app to report abandoned cars, graffiti, blocked sidewalks, the need for tree maintenance, dirty sidewalks, noise complaints, and much more. Download the app for your iPhone or Android device today.
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- Transportation tech such as autonomous vehicles and dockless bikes critical to Austin, Texas (TechRepublic)