Set yourself on Austin's pace by booking a room at the Austin Motel (rates $75-$158) down on South Congress Avenue, aka SoCo. There's not a more unique property in the whole city. Decorated with colorful wallpaper and 1960s and 1970s furniture, it reminds us more of a mom-and-pop lodge we'd find off Route 66. As an alternate choice, you can't beat the location and chain-like consistency of the Embassy Suites (rates start at $179) just south of the Congress Avenue bridge.
left: Some of the best features of the Austin Motel's pool are the retro chairs from the 1950s.