You don't have to be a UT Longhorn to get hooked on Austin. Few can resist all that great music and the food--tangy barbecue cooked to perfection over hardwood coals or a plate of enchiladas, smothered in fresh sweet Texas onions. On a winter weekend morning, when the football crowds are long gone, you're about as close as you can come to having the city all to yourself. Enjoy it while you can, and share it with someone you love.
Friday Night Footlights
The freshly renovated Inter-Continental Stephen F. Austin Hotel at 701 Congress Avenue makes a great base for enjoying the downtown area for around $169 per night; 1-800-327-0200 or www.interconti.com. Make sure you ask about the Romance Package. (If this is a bit beyond your budget, try the Holiday Inn Town Lake. Rates start at $79; 1-800-465-4329.) Have an early dinner downstairs at the elegant new Star Canyon Restaurant, where chef Ron Brannon rides herd on Texas dishes, including some of the most flavorful enchiladas you'll ever taste. After dinner, it's just a short walk down the block to a performance at the historic State Theater or the Paramount Theatre. An evening of "Lone Star Love Songs," featuring songs by Texans and about Texas, takes the stage at the Paramount on February 16; (512) 472-5470.