Establishment neighborhood
Austin is one of the more bike-friendly cities, and this is a great way to cover a lot of ground and get your bearings around the various neighborhoods. While you don’t want to attempt riding through Dirty Sixth at happy hour, you should cruise around UT’s campus (kids and sports fans will want to stop and see the football stadium), and definitely head to the generous paths threaded throughout the parks bordering the Colorado River. There are numerous bike rental options in Austin, but the city bike program is actually really well done, easy to use and affordable, with locations all over. You can check out a bike with a credit card at any of the conveniently placed stations for a twenty-four-hour period, or purchase access for a longer time period—three days, a month, one year—online. (Side note on getting around: Uber and Lyft are not currently operating in Austin, but there are a variety of smaller rideshare operations that have sprung up, although the quality isn’t as high—which perhaps increases the appeal of a bike ride if you don’t have a car while in town.)
Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake is a refreshing nature break smack in the middle of all the city action. Central to this park on the Colorado River, flanked by the towering high-rises of Downtown Austin, is the reservoir—a local favorite for everything from rowing to paddleboarding to a leisurely picnic. (Just don’t try to go for a swim.) The newly constructed boardwalk across the water, and the trails that circle the namesake lake, make this the place to go for walking and biking. Image Credit: Shane Pope on Flickr