Whether you’re a solo traveler looking for unique lodging or an adventurer abroad looking to meet new people and see new places, hostels are becoming Austin’s hottest hotel alternative. And these local hostels in particular provide a safe environment for strangers to step outside their comfort zone and try something totally different. Come with an open mind and a sense of adventure and leave with some seriously great experiences and maybe even a few new friends! So while you’re in Austin, get the most out of your travel experience and check out these super hip hostels right in the heart of Texas.
Hostel 512 – 2308 Colorado St (East Austin)
Distance from Airport: 16 minutes
Centered in the heart and soul of east Austin, Hostel 512 is a modern, luxury-style communal space with both private rooms and dormitory style rooms that sleep between 4 and 8.
The two-story property includes a private outdoor area with picnic tables and patio furniture that all guests have access to, as well as a high-end communal kitchen with all the necessary amenities. While staying at Hostel 512, guests have the option of relaxing in a private bedroom with a private bath, or sharing their room with several other guests.
Just a short walk from the hostel is the infamous east “dirty” sixth street with a slew of bars and clubs. And a few blocks over you’ll find unique shopping, street art and dining along east Cesar Chavez. Nearby dining options include traditional Mexican cuisine at Casa Columbia, French-Vietnamese fusion at Saigon le Vendeur and farm-to-table food at Counter Cafe. But the real perk of this hotel is its proximity to all the best bars in downtown Austin, including Hops & Grain Brewing, Whislers, Kitty Cohens, Hi Hat Public House, Dog & Duck Pub, Gourmands and so much more! Check room availability here.
Hostelling International – 2200 S. Lakeshore Blvd (South Austin)
Distance from Airport: 17 Minutes
Perfectly perched on the shores of Ladybird Lake in Austin, Hostelling International is an ultra-modern communal lodging chain with dozens of hostels all over the U.S.!
This super trendy non-profit organization brings together individuals from different places and offers the opportunity to experience each city as a local. Hostelling International also connects guests to free events and programs in the area so they can get the most out of their stay while meeting new lifelong friends. The gorgeous property is polished and professional, with 24 hour reception, swanky communal spaces, free yoga mats for morning meditation and complimentary breakfast to fuel up for your Austin excursions.
Right outside your door there’s plenty of fun in the sun like kayaking, paddle-boarding, cycling, disc-boarding and swimming at Ladybird Lake. And guests are just a 20 minute walk away from downtown Austin, with tons of shopping, dining, drinking and more. Nearby dining includes Tex-Mex at Taco More, El Taquito and Baby Acapulco, and right across the river is the best of east Austin along Chicon St. and East Cesar Chavez. Check room availability here.
Drifter Jack’s Hostel – 2602 Guadalupe St. (Central Austin)
Distance from Airport: 25 minutes
Located in the trending West Campus area, the uber cool Drifter Jack’s Hostel is a local gem and true taste of Austin. This artsy, eclectic hostel is all about creating camaraderie, companionship and great memories through fun group activities and communal living in a kick-ass space. This amazing hostel definitely capitalizes on Austin’s unique vibe and retro charm with gorgeous murals from local artists gracing every wall.
While staying at DJ’s, guests can relax, play and enjoy many of the on-site amenities like a movie room, pool tables, games, and mini-fridges and Serta pillows in every room. And bonus, guests also receive $1 beers and cocktails at the nearby Hole in the Wall, as well as access to fun weekly hostel events like tubing, drinking games and movie nights!
Just outside Drifter Jack’s there’s plenty to see and do around the UT Campus, and there’s lots of good grub within walking distance at Vert’s Mediterranean, The Local Pub & Patio, Madam Mam’s, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and Daito. Check room availability here.
Firehouse Lounge & Hostel – 605 Brazos St. (Downtown Austin)
Distance from Airport: 21 minutes
Nestled in the epicenter of Austin’s happening entertainment district is the historic and hip Firehouse Lounge and Hostel. Located inside the city’s oldest standing fire station – built in 1885 – this hostel offers updated communal lodging upstairs and live music along with craft cocktails downstairs at the Prohibition-style Firehouse Lounge.
At the Firehouse Hostel, guests have the option of staying in a Euro-style dorm with shared bath, a private suite with private bath or a deluxe dorm with custom-built super duty bunk beds. Each guest has access to free locker storage (under their bunk), Wifi, coffee and tea and complimentary self-serve breakfast. You can get your R&R upstairs then head right downstairs for a free show from Austin’s best DJ’s, musicians and artists. Grab a top notch cocktail during their Monday Happy Hour or head out on the town and go bar hopping along East 6th street.
Catch a performance right down the street at the Paramount Theatre, or head to Empire Control Room for more live music and partying. Nearby grub includes Roaring Fork, Moonshine Grill, Iron Cactus and Parkside, and the nearby nightlife scene includes live jazz and wine at the Elephant Room and craft cocktails at Midnight Cowboy. Check room availability here.
HK Austin – 1807 East Cesar Chavez (East Austin)
Distance from Airport: 15 minutes
Part hostel, part bed and breakfast, the beautiful HK is a true piece of local history in east Austin. Built in 1892, this enchanting Victorian mansion is a registered Historic Landmark that boasts two gorgeous wrap-around porches, a huge gated backyard with lush gardens and a completely renovated interior loaded with all kinds of amenities. This quaint hostel prides itself on providing a collaborative and communal space for creative minds to come together and share ideas and experiences.
While staying at the HK, guests enjoy free premium coffee all day, free weekly “Family Potluck”, weekly meetups or activities, free Wifi and locker storage and communal office space for collaborating sessions. Other amenities include a fully stocked kitchen, games like corn hole and cards against humanity, a loft lounge and library room with over 1,000 titles.
Nearby food includes unbelievably good tacos at the famous Juan in a Million, upscale Italian at Juniper, ranch-inspired cuisine at Chicon and gourmet new-American fare at Launderette. Guests should also check out the amazing street art along east Cesar Chavez, East 5th street and East 7th street. Then grab drinks nearby at Yellow Jacket Social Club, The Liberty, The White Horse or Whisler’s. Check for available rooms here.
Native Hostel – 807 E 4th St (East Austin)
Distance from Airport: 20 minutes
Relatively new to the Austin hostel scene is the sexy, modern Native Hostel in downtown Austin. These swanky south Austin suites combine the best of communal living with all the luxuries of a boutique hotel to create a one of a kind travel getaway.
Private bathrooms? Check! Ideal downtown Austin locale? Double check! Not only is Native Hostel right off the main interstate, it’s also right in the middle of all the downtown Austin action!
Try something delicious from the hostel’s special in-house menu, or take a short stroll up the street to East 6th St. where you can choose from some of the best restaurants, bars and entertainment in the city including Via313 Pizza, Buenos Aires Cafe, Ah Sing Den and The North Door. Or venture down the road to east Cesar Chavez for more people watching, shopping, dining and east Austin culture. Check for room availability at Native Hostel here.