24 Hours In: Austin

Start the day with a dip in the hot tub, have a drink in a cattle baron's bar, but save some stamina for 6th Street
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The Independent Travel

Face the day with a massage

08.00: Roll out of bed at the Lake Austin Spa Resort (00 1 512 372 7300; lakeaustin.com), 1705 South Quinlan Park Road, and take a quick dip in the hot tub or one of the three swimming pools. Before setting out for the day why not grab a facial (prices from $65 (£34) or massage (from $70), the resort was named one of the five best in the country by Zagat Guides. Double rooms start at $1,455 (£855) per person full board for a minimum three-night stay.

Red hot chillies for breakfast

10.00: According to the local newspaper, Rudy Cisneros was "the father of Mexican breakfasts in Austin", and generations of students, film stars and visiting dignitaries found their way to his café, Cisco's on East 6th St (00 1 512 478 2420). Cisneros died in 1995, leaving the restaurant in the capable hands of his younger son, Clovis. Order the Migas - scrambled egg fried with tortilla strips, onions, chilli peppers, fresh tomatoes and cheese, and served with pico de gallo and refried beans.

Go organic for a healthy lunch

11.00: It may seem odd to recommend a visit to a supermarket, but Whole Foods (00 1 512 477 4455; wholefoodsmarket.com) at 525 N Lamar Boulevard is not just any old shop. Founded by some businessmen from Austin in 1980, Whole Foods is now the world's leading retailer of natural and organic foods, which is also coming to London soon. Go there to stock up on a picnic lunch. The fruit and vegetables look as if they have been individually polished; there's a chocolate fountain in which you can dip strawberries, and even an oyster bar.

Time for tea at the Spider House

15.00: Head back to downtown Austin and stop off for a quick latte or herbal tea at the Spider House (00 1 512 480 9562; spiderhouse cafe.com), 2908 Fruth St, just off of W 29th. This turn-of-the-century wooden house has a downstairs café where you can sit outside in one of the mismatched chairs in the company of a cross-section of the city's inhabitants: students, hippies and smartly dressed business types.

Follow the herd to this hotel bar

18.00: The Driskill Hotel (00 1 512 474 5911; driskill hotel.com) at 604 Brazos Street was built by a cattle baron in 1886 and is an Austin landmark. Its lounge bar has cow hide sofas, stuffed animal heads on the walls, shelves of books and a grand piano. The entire hotel is kitsch but fabulous. The bar resembles the one in the film The Shining and the well-dressed bar tender will mix you a Texan favourite - a margarita.

Head for the hills for dinner

20.00: Don't miss dinner at the Salt Lick (00 1 512 894 3117; saltlickbbq.com), 18001 FM 1826, Driftwood, for huge helpings of chopped beef, sausage and pork ribs served with potato salad, coleslaw, beans, bread, pickles and onions. It's apparently called the Salt Lick because "that's where all the animals congregate" but don't let that put you off. It's a huge wooden building in the middle of the hills and you sit at rough 'n' ready wooden benches watching the meat being cooked slowly.

Classy cocktails and all that jazz

22.00: Austin is famous for its live music. The Warehouse District on West 4th and 5th streets is more upmarket than the mayhem of 6th Street. Enjoy some jazz or blues at the Cedar Street Courtyard (00 1 512 495 9669; cedarstreetaustin. com), 208 W 4th, or a few classy cocktails on Speakeasy's roof-top bar (00 1 512 476 8017), 412D Congress Ave, before heading for the cheap beers and the spit-and-sawdust craziness of nearby 6th.

A nightcap with thrills and frills

23.00: Where else do you get a transvestite former mayoral candidate parading round in frilly knickers and bra, hundreds of drunken students and more live music than you could possibly imagine? Austin's 6th Street has to be seen to be believed. Most bars are open until around 2am, some even later if you have the stamina.