Say Hello To Katie Cook, The Voice Behind @VisitAustinTX

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Every Thursday, Say Hello To America will be KatieCookshowcasing the voices behind official Twitter accounts of destinations all across the United States and the city they represent. This week, say hello to Katie Cook from @VisitAustinTXKatie has lived in Austin since she was seven years old. She grew up in South Austin and commuted to San Marcos to attend Texas State University (go Bobcats!). She has worked at the Austin CVB for 12 years and has managed the interactive marketing initiatives since 2005. Additionally, Katie has served as the social media voice of Visit Austin since they started their social accounts in January 2009.

1. What time of the year is best to travel to Austin?

My favorite time of year is spring. The weather is lovely, the wildflowers are in bloom and fun festivals, including SXSW, Art City Austin, and Austin Food & Wine Fest fill the calendar.

2. How would you describe the people of Austin?

If I had to describe the people in Austin in three words, I would say friendly, creative and tech-savvy. The university and tech community have really brought a young, energetic vibe to our city.

3. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about Austin?

My favorite thing about Austin is how laid-back it is. You can definitely live an upscale, high-end lifestyle, but in general, you don’t have to dress up to eat at a restaurant and it’s not uncommon for people wear flip-flops to the office.

Least favorite thing is that Austin is growing/changing so quickly that we have to work hard to keep up with the newest additions!

Music at SXSW | Photo Credit: Denise Chambers

Music at SXSW | Photo Credit: Denise Chambers

4. What is Austin’s most famous landmark or attraction?

Austin’s most famous attraction is our live music. We have more than 250 live music venues in the Austin area, including our airport, grocery stores, restaurants and bars.

5. Name one “secret” location that a traveler must visit.

Not sure if it is a truly a secret, but I think a hidden gem is the Contemporary Austin at Laguna Gloria. The art museum is in a historic villa that is located on beautifully landscaped grounds on Lake Austin. The setting is truly a stunning, quiet gem located so close to the busy and vibrant city center.

6. What is the best/easiest mode of transportation to get around the city?

If you are staying in the downtown/Central area, a visitor can either walk, take a taxicab, bus or a pedicab. If you are staying outside of this area, we usually recommend a rental car, but Capital Metro does offer an Airport Flyer bus (and other routes) that only costs $1.

Franklin Barbecue

Franklin Barbecue

7. Is there any festival or event in Austin that a traveler should specifically plan a trip around?

There are so many! If you are interested in music, check out Austin City Limits Music Festival, SXSW or Fun Fun Fun Fest. Are you a foodie? Check out Austin Food & Wine Festival or Texas Monthly BBQ Festival. We now have a calendar full of motorsports events, so you can come in for Formula 1, Moto GP, or starting next year, we will become the new home to the summer X Games!

8. What are the best family-friendly attractions that Austin has to offer?

I like taking my kids to the Children’s Museum (now The Thinkery), a tour on Austin Duck Adventures, for a refreshing dip in Barton Springs Pool or Deep Eddy Pool or to experience outdoor live music performances, such as Blues on the Green. Austin is also home to more than 1,000 food trucks. Heading to one of the food trailer parks with kids is a must do.

9. What is Austin’s signature food that every visitor has to try?

Breakfast tacos! Check out Torchy’s, Taco Deli or Juan in a Million.

Austin Kayak Pier

10. If I only had one day to explore Austin, what MUST I see or do?

If I was taking you around town, we would spend the morning walking around Zilker Park and the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail and then shop on South Congress Avenue or the 2nd Street District. We would then have lunch at a Tex Mex restaurant, go to museums like The Blanton Museum of Art or the Bullock Texas State History Museum. The evening would include dinner at a barbecue restaurant followed by drinks and live music.


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