LGBT Cities: Austin, Texas

If watching the sunset at Congress Avenue Bridge as a million bats soar into the evening sky was all LGBT athletes accomplished outside the stadiums and playing fields in Austin, Texas, then their visit would prove memorable. But flying mammals aside, the state capital has plenty more to round out an itinerary. For starters, Austin’s core is designed to host tournaments, with the Austin Sports Commission available to help LGBT planners find venues, vendors, hotels and restaurants. After dark, downtown lights up with varied kinds of entertainment led by the bars, dance clubs and live music in and around Sixth Street. It’s a hard scene to beat on a warm night, of which Lance Armstrong’s hometown claims many. Heading north on Congress Avenue, you’ll find two other worthy stops: the Texas Capitol, Bullock Texas State History Museum (where the state’s story spreads across several fascinating floors) and The University of Texas at Austin campus. Another downtown must is a night out for ribs and brisket. There is no shortage of barbecue spots welcoming LGBT groups. Across the Colorado River, Austin gets bohemian in the SoCo district, where pubs, cafes, burger joints, antique stores and retro shops line South Congress Street. Venues: Downs Field; University of Texas at Austin; Austin Convention Center Recent and Upcoming Events: Texas Shootout Softball Tournament (April) Gay and Lesbian Tennis Association Heart of Texas Classic (May) North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance Gay Softball World Series (August) NAGAAA Gay Summer Meeting (August) International Gay Rodeo Association Convention (November) Amateur Sports Alliance of North America Softball World Series (2017)