Distance from Baltimore: 1,556 miles, about a three-hour flight or a 24-hour drive Why it's hot: Austin, Texas, known as the live music capital of the country, offers fantastic live music, an up-and-coming restaurant scene, and cultural and historical treasures. Check out the famous dance hall, the Broken Spoke, or catch a live show at Paramount. A walking tour of the city is well worthwhile, and on your way be sure to visit the Capital Building, an architectural gem. For a relaxing oasis in the middle of the city, visit Barton Springs, a spring-fed swimming hole with year round 70 degree temperatures. Get in touch with your flower power at the National Wildflower Research Center. The Mexic-Arte museum features and interesting blend of Mexican American Fine art, with a rotating exhibit highlighting emerging artists. For yummy restaurants and hot nightclubs in the lively and entertaining downtown area, head to Sixth street. Don't miss: To capture a true taste of Texan rebellion, visit the Governor's Mansion, the most historic house in Texas and once occupied by Sam Houston, a hero of the Texas revolution. After a fire in 2008, the mansion underwent restoration and has since reopened. Information: Go to http://www.austintexas.org/visit/.
Taylor Johnson, Austin American-Statesman
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