We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we tell you that “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. How do I get from one terminal to the next? What are the best airport restaurants? Is there anything to do if I have a long layover?
If you’re anything like us, then these are probably the types of questions you have that perhaps you don’t get push notifications for. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to the world’s top airports. Today we bring you the TripIt airport guide to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS).
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is Austin’s main airport and the third-busiest airport in Texas (behind Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston). AUS is conveniently located just six miles southeast of Austin, making for a short ride share or taxi ride. Numerous shuttle services, including SuperShuttle, are also available. If you’re renting a car, a dedicated rental car facility is located at the airport.
AUS has two terminals, Barbara Jordan Terminal, and the newer, smaller South Terminal. The Barbara Jordan Terminal is the main terminal, with the South Terminal only served by budget airlines like Allegiant and Frontier. Airlines that use Barbara Jordan Terminal include United, Southwest, Spirit, JetBlue, Delta, American, Air Canada and Alaska Airlines. It’s a 20-minute ride on the airport shuttle between the two terminals.
Like the city of Austin itself, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has a strong wafting smell of BBQ as you enter it. That’s largely thanks to The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que, a famous Texas BBQ restaurant, which has a location in the Barbara Jordan Terminal. Other local restaurants you’ll find inside the main terminal include Flyrite Chicken Sandwiches, East Side Pies, Hat Creek Burger Company, Earl Campbell’s food truck (bbq and tacos), Tacodeli, Berry Austin for frozen yogurt, The Peached Tortilla, and Hut’s Hamburgers, an Austin institution that dates back to 1939. Travelers will also find some familiar chain restaurants, like Einstein Bros. Bagels, but many of the airport’s restaurants are Texas-inspired.
Food options at the South Terminal are primarily grab-and-go. However, the South Terminal is unique in that it has an outdoor patio, where food trucks, like De Nada Tacos, are able to serve.
Similarly, many of AUS’s drink options are locally influenced. This begins with Hippies & Hops, a brewpub featuring locally-brewed beer and wine by the glass. Other places to grab a drink include Second Bar + Kitchen and Haymaker, both of which are Austin-based, as well as Departure Lounge and Saxon Pub. For wine lovers, there’s Vino Volo, a wine bar that’s found in many airports around the world. For drinks of the non-alcoholic variety, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has a number of coffee shops, but for a local experience, visit Jo’s Coffee, which is a popular Austin coffee shop.
A growing trend at U.S. airports is live music performances, and there’s perhaps no better airport to catch live music than Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. That’s because on any given weekday, you could listen to several different musicians around the airport. Musicians set up at a few different stages daily during the week, including Saxon Pub, Annie’s Cafe and Bar, Tacodeli, Haymaker and Hut’s. Music schedules are posted monthly on the airport’s website.
Like most international airports, travelers will find a wide selection of shops featuring tech gear, local souvenirs, jewelry and cosmetics. AUS’s one must-visit shop, however, is Book People, which is the largest indie bookstore in Texas. Finally, there are a number of permanent and rotating art exhibits throughout the airport. An art map is available on the airport’s website.
Alternatively, for travelers who have a few hours, downtown Austin is just 15-20 minutes from the airport.
While Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is a smaller international airport, frequent travelers, loyalty members and cardholders can enjoy a handful of airline lounges in the Barbara Jordan Terminal. Currently, this includes Delta Sky Club, Admirals Club and United Club.
Use TripIt’s interactive airport maps in the app to discover shop, restaurant, and bar locations. You’ll also have everything you need to navigate your way with estimated walk times and step-by-step directions.
Spencer is a seasoned food, drink, and travel writer who has written for publications from Outside Magazine to Travel + Leisure and Los Angeles Times. When he’s not traveling, he’s perfecting his favorite cocktails in his home bar. He chronicles his adventures (and cocktails) on his travel site, Whiskey Tango Globetrot.