8. Austinites Welcomed the 50s Long before Easterners Caught On

Austin Motel

Dating from the 1930s, the Austin Motel on South Congress is being “refreshed” by Liz Lambert, the hotelier the Houston Chronicle calls “Austin’s Reigning Queen of Cool.” (Lambert also owns the chic Hotel Saint Cecilia, named for the patron saint of music and poetry.)  In all sorts of diverse neighborhoods, mid-century Americana thrives. Mid-century houses sell well, 50s vintage stores abound, and Austin even builds mid-century new. Leander’s Starlight Village, for example, is a “brand new, mid-century modern styled neighborhood” with eight distinct architect-designed retro style home models to choose from. The owners of Guero’s Taco Bar are planning a modernist 34-room hotel behind their restaurant.

Or you can just stay at the classic Driskill, built by a cattle baron in 1886, and site of many momentous Texan events, including the first date of Lyndon Baines Johnson and the then-Claudia (Lady Bird) Taylor. LBJ proposed at the end of the date. They were married ten weeks later. The Driskill has a famous bar, which hosts a spectacular happy hour.

Driskill Hotel