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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Austin Money-Saving Tips

Get Batty

If little fang-toothed mammals don't scare you, get to the Congress Avenue Bridge a little before dusk to witness the world's largest urban bat colony take flight. Each night from mid-March to November, approximately a million or more Mexican free-tail bats emerge from under the bridge at dusk to blanket the sky as they head out to forage for food. The best way to see the bats is to bring a blanket or lawn chairs to the free Austin Bat Observation Center located at the Austin American-Statesman offices at 305 South Congress Avenue on the southeast side of the bridge where there is a viewing area and an educational kiosk.

To Rent or Not to Rent

Mass transit is one convenience Austin hasn’t yet embraced. If you’re staying downtown, cabs will get you where you want to go, but if you’re north or south of the city, you’ll want a car.

“Austin Casual”

Be adventurous—wardrobe-wise, anything goes here. “Austin casual” is eclectic, usually vintage, not superstore-driven and kitschy.

No Smoking

Austin’s restaurants, nightclubs and bars have been smoke-free since voters approved the no smoking ordinance in September 2005.

Music Musts

Live music is to Austin like the blues are to Chicago—don’t miss two-steppin’ at the Broken Spoke (3201 S. Lamar; 512-442-6189; and live bands at La Zona Rosa (612 W. 4th St.; 512-263-4146;

Art Party

One of the best ways to experience the local art scene is to check out the monthly party held at the Blanton Museum of Art on the first Friday of every month. While you’re there sample a Blantini cocktail.

Get free tickets to the Austin City Limits TV show tapings

Though free, tickets to the long-running Austin City Limits on PBS are tough to get your hands on. They can be yours, however, with a little persistence and luck. 1. Call the studio hotline (512-475-9077) to get info on upcoming tapings and for what radio station to listen to for ticket distribution information. 2. One or two days before the taping, listen to the radio station, which will announce where to go for tickets to that week’s show. 3. Go immediately to that location and join the queue. Tickets are given away on a first come first served basis.

Free Yoga

Calling all early birds – take advantage of free yoga, offered Monday to Saturday mornings at 8 am at the Cherrywood Coffeehouse to start your day of sightseeing and touring on the right foot. All levels of experience are welcome, but bring your own mat.

Museum Thursdays

Visit The University of Texas at Austin's Blanton Museum of Art on Thursdays for free admission and to explore the modest collection of, among other collections, American and contemporary art with everything from Western paintings to Pop art.

Spring for the Springs

Take a dip in Austin's most popular pool, Barton Springs! Kept at a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, this man-made swimming hole located in Zilker Park is the perfect way to cool off for only $1, $2, or $3 if you're a kid, teen, or adult (respectively). 

Meals on Wheels

Check out the collection of food trailers on South Congress for some one-of-a-kind eats that won't cost you more than a few bucks. From Fantabulous tacos to a Frigid Frog shaved ice, you can sate your appetite and then walk on this strip of local hangouts and vintage stores to find more inexpensive Texas treasures.

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