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Austin: Fast Facts

Area Code -- The telephone area code in Austin is 512.

Business Hours -- Banks and offices are generally open Monday to Friday 8 or 9am to 5pm. Some banks offer drive-through service on Saturday 9am to noon or 1pm. Specialty shops and malls tend to open around 9 or 10am Monday to Saturday; the former close at about 5 or 6pm, the latter at around 9 or 10pm. You can also shop at most malls and boutiques on Sunday from noon to 6pm. Bars and clubs tend to stay open until midnight during the week, 2am on weekends.

Dentist -- Call the Dental Referral Service at tel. 800/917-6453.

Doctor -- The Medical Exchange (tel. 512/458-1121) and Seton Hospital (tel. 512/324-4450) both have physician referral services.

Drugstores -- You'll find many Walgreens, Eckerd, and Randalls drugstores around the city; most HEB grocery stores also have pharmacies. Several Walgreens are open 24 hours. Have your zip code ready and call tel. 800/925-4733 to find the Walgreens branch nearest you.

Emergencies -- Call tel. 911 if you need the police, the fire department, or an ambulance.

Hospitals -- Brackenridge, 601 E. 15th St. (tel. 512/324-7000); St. David's, 919 E. 32nd St. at I-35 (tel. 512/397-4240); and Seton Medical Center, 1201 W. 38th St. (tel. 512/324-1000), have good and convenient emergency-care facilities.

Hot Lines -- Suicide Hot Line (tel. 512/472-4357); Poison Center (tel. 800/764-7661); Domestic Violence Crisis Hot Line (tel. 512/928-9070); Sexual Assault Crisis Hot Line (tel. 512/440-7273).

Internet -- Most links of Schlotzsky's Deli, a chain that originated in Austin, offer free Internet access via computer stations; you're limited to 20 minutes, but that should give you enough time to check your e-mail. Several Schlotzsky's also offer free wireless network access. Of course, much of downtown is wireless. And in the rest of Austin, you're likely to find coffee shops that offer free Wi-Fi. The Austin Visitor Center offers free Internet access, and all of Austin's Starbucks and city parks are Wi-Fi friendly.

Laundry/Dry Cleaners -- Reliable dry cleaners in the downtown area include Ace Cleaners, 1117 S. Congress Ave. (tel. 512/444-2332); Washburn's Town & Country, 1423 S. Congress Ave. (tel. 512/442-1467); and Sweet Cleaner's, 613 Congress (tel. 512/477-4083). The only Laundromat anywhere near downtown is Kwik Wash, 1000 W. Lynn (tel. 512/473-3725). It's not within walking distance of any city hotels, but it's a short drive away from some of them.

Libraries -- Downtown's Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe St. (tel. 512/974-7400), and adjoining Austin History Center, 810 Guadalupe St. (tel. 512/974-7480), are excellent information resources. To find the closest local branch, log on to www.ci.austin.tx.us/library.

Liquor Laws -- Briefly, you have to be 21 to drink in Texas, it's illegal to have an open container in your car, and liquor cannot be served before noon on Sunday except at brunches (if it's billed as complimentary).

Lost Property -- You can check with the police to find out whether something you've lost has been turned in by calling tel. 512/974-5000. If you leave something on a city bus, call tel. 512/389-7454; on a train heading for Austin or at the Amtrak station, tel. 512/476-5684; on a Greyhound bus or at the station, tel. 512/458-4463; at the airport, tel. 512/530-2242 (Mon-Fri 7am-5pm) or tel. 512/530-COPS (weekends and after-hours).

Luggage Storage/Lockers -- At the Greyhound station, there's only one size locker; the price is $2 per 6 hours. You can check your luggage at the Amtrak station for $1.50 per bag per 24 hours. No lockers are available at Austin's airport.

Newspapers/Magazines -- The daily Austin American-Statesman (www.austin360.com) is the only large-circulation, mainstream newspaper in town. The Austin Chronicle (www.auschron.com), a free alternative weekly, focuses on the arts, entertainment, and politics. Monday through Friday, the University of Texas publishes the surprisingly sophisticated Daily Texan (www.dailytexanonline.com) newspaper, covering everything from on-campus news to international events.

Police -- The nonemergency number for the Austin Police Department is tel. 512/974-5000.

Post Office -- The city's main post office is located at 8225 Cross Park Dr. (tel. 512/342-1252); more convenient to tourist sights are the Capitol Station, 111 E. 17th St., in the LBJ Building, and the Downtown Station, 510 Guadalupe St. For information on other locations, phone tel. 800/275-8777. You can also find post offices online at www.mapsonus.com/db/USPS.

Radio -- On the FM dial, turn to KMFA (89.5) for classical music, KUT (90.5) for National Public Radio talk programming and eclectic music, KASE (100.7) for country, KUTZ (98.9) for contemporary rock, and KGSR (107.1) for folk, reggae, rock, blues, and jazz. AM stations include KVET (1300) for sports, and KJCE (1300) for soul and Motown oldies.

Safety -- Austin has been ranked one of the five safest cities in the United States, but that doesn't mean you can throw common sense to the wind. It's never a good idea to walk down dark streets alone at night, and major tourist areas always attract pickpockets, so keep your purse or wallet in a safe place. Although Sixth Street itself tends to be busy, use caution on the side streets in the area.

Taxes -- The tax on hotel rooms is 15%. Sales tax, added to restaurant bills as well as to other purchases, is 8.25%.

Television -- You'll find CBS (KEYE) on channel 5, ABC (KVUE) on channel 3, NBC (KXAN) on channel 4, Fox (KTBC) on channel 2, and PBS (KLRU) on channel 9. Austin cable channels include channel 8, with nonstop local news (interspersed with updates of state and international news), and channel 15, the city-run Austin Music Network, featuring a variety of sounds but emphasizing Austin and Texas artists.

Time Zone -- Austin is on Central Standard Time and observes daylight saving time.

Transit Information -- Call Capital Metro Transit (tel. 800/474-1201 or 512/474-1200 from local pay phones; TTY 512/385-5872).

Useful Telephone Numbers -- Get the time and temperature by dialing tel. 512/476-7744.

Weather -- Check the weather at tel. 512/451-2424 or www.news8austin.com/content/weather.

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