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Escape From Dallas

Get outside:  Centrally located downtown, the Driskill is five blocks from Town Lake, where you can do a loop or two on the 10-mile dirt jogging and biking path. After your workout, head over to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, where you hike past 650 species of native wildflowers. At the end of the day, cool off with a dip in the Barton Springs Pool, a three-acre, spring-fed natural pool with chilly 68-degree water.

Rainy-day options:  There are two main indoor attractions in Austin: live music and Tex-Mex dining. Pick up a copy of the weekly Austin Chronicle to scope out shows at the 150-plus live-music venues; maybe you'll stumble across the next Shawn Colvin or Dixie Chicks, who got their start in Austin. Before the show, indulge in Tex-Mex -- Gueero's Taco Bar is a favorite of locals and celebrities alike -- or head to the hotel's much-lauded Driskill Grill to dine on dishes like wild striped bass with an artichoke-potato ragout. Fortunately, the hotel's 24-hour fitness center, which includes treadmills, bikes and elliptical trainers, machine and free weights, two steam rooms, and massage services, will be waiting for you the next morning. So go ahead, order the caramelized banana cake without an ounce of guilt!

Details:  Summer weekends are usually open, but the fall is much more popular, thanks to University of Texas home football games, Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Challenge (Oct. 8) and the Austin Film Festival (Oct. 19-26). Rates start at $225 per night (800-252-9367, www.driskillhotel.com).

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