Content Produced in Partnership with Visit Austin

It won't take you long to realize Austin, Texas has an infectious personality. It's a city with a distinctively creative spirit featuring a dynamic arts, music and culinary scene unlike any other in the country. Though there are plenty of travel guides offering suggestions for visitors, Austin, the free spirit that it is, is best explored without constraints. Whether you want to submerge yourself in its cultural heritage or take a dip in one of its swimming holes, we're offering 11 reasons you should visit Austin to figure out what makes it so special.

The city of Austin has a dynamic skyline, and one of the best views comes from a tour boat on Lady Bird Lake. (Photo by Geoff Duncan courtesy of Visit Austin)
Once one of the tallest state capitol buildings in the United States, the granite Texas State Capitol is still one of the most impressive buildings in the country. It's open to visitors throughout the week, but it's especially striking at night. (Photo courtesy of Visit Austin)
In a city full of artists, artwork isn't confined to art museums and galleries. There are numerous murals throughout the city, and visitors frequently pose alongside them. You can find this I Love You So Much mural at Jo's on South Congress. (Photo courtesy of Contiki)
Austin is the self-professed live music capital of the world. With more than 250 live music venues around the city, you can experience live music every day of the week. (Photo by Roger Ho courtesy Visit Austin)
Meat sweats, anyone? Austin's barbecue specializes in bold, smoky flavors — and no place does it better than Franklin Barbecue, where the lines stretch out the door for their brisket. (Photo by Eric Ellis courtesy of Visit Austin)
Whether you want to rock out to local bands or check out the artisan craft brew scene, Austin's various entertainment districts appeal to every preference. (Photo by Andy Mahr courtesy Visit Austin)
Renovated houses turned into bungalow bars reign supreme on Rainey Street, this increasingly popular tucked-away street. Day or night, you’ll find relaxed bar-goers strolling from bar to food trailer to bar again, often with their dogs in tow looking for a kicked back sip and a bite. (Photo by Geoff Duncan, courtesy Visit Austin)
You could very easily do a margarita tour of the city, stopping at several bars and restaurants to find the very best. (Photo by Jody Horton courtesy of Visit Austin)
Zilker Park has an unmatched view of downtown Austin and is a great place to escape the heat. Here, you can go for a dip in Barton Springs Pool, walk around the Hike and Bike Trail or attend a concert. There are playgrounds, picnic spots, disc golf, sand volleyball and tons of other activities here, so spend a day exploring all of its possibilities — as the locals do. (Photo courtesy of Visit Austin)
Located a short drive from Austin in the Texas Hill Country, Hamilton Pool is a geological wonder. This swimming hole was formed by the Hamilton Creek spilling out over limestone outcroppings, creating a dramatic 50-foot waterfall that plunges into a canyon. Insider tip: Reservations are required May through September. (Photo by Dave Mead courtesy Visit Austin)
It's all about coming together and joining the celebration in Austin. Whether that's splitting a pizza with friends Austin Beer Garden & Brewing Co. or taking in a show, there's an experience for you in Austin. (Photo by Jody Horton Photography courtesy Visit Austin)