Austin: Keep It Weird
Austin, the quirky capital city of the Lone Star State is like no other place in the South
You know when a city’s slogan is to ‘keep it weird,’ you’re in for a treat. That’s exactly what you get in Austin, Texas. Many different worlds combine here; it is the seat of state politics, arts, technology, learning, and culinary experiences. Unique and dynamic, there is so much to do and see, be careful, you may never want to leave.
Austin boasts that they are the “live music capital of the world,” and they might be right. Waterloo Records is classic, and a great place to start. This local vinyl and video hub since 1982, the staff is incredibly knowledgeable and supportive of Texan music. They also serve as a venue to to all walks of musical life, from the unknown to the super stars. Be sure to stop in during the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival, as the host up to ten shows a day.
Besides Waterloo, there are more venue than you can imagine. Stubb’s is probably one of the most notable, where a new band and cold beer are served up almost every night of the week. But Austin doesn’t need a place to be called a music venue in order to have live music. SXSW is known for having performances in unusual places. Kanye West once showed up at the powerplant to perform!
Some famous musicians that call or called Austin home include Explosions in the Sky, Willie Nelson, Ben Kweller, Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
The Great Outdoors
Being in Texas, Austin has the luxury of gloriously warm and sunny weather all year round. With lows of 60’s in the winter, you’ll never need more than a sweatshirt. So take advantage of the beautiful landscape the city has to offer. Lady Bird Lake is a local favorite, where renting boats and rowing out for a day is easy and relaxing to do. From there, you can move on to the Austin Hike and Bike trail, 10 miles along the shores that serve as a hub downtown for cyclists, runners, and anyone looking for a casual stroll. You’ll eventually make your way to Auditorium Shores, another host to the SXSW performances. You can also spot the Stevie Ray Vaugn memorial here.
During the summer, make sure to get to Barton Springs, one of Austin’s crown jewels. Located in Zilker’s Park, this natural pool is three acres in size. It’s even rumored that Robert Redford learned to swim here, making him one of the pools 800,000 annual visitors. Take a hike up Mount Bonnell too, where the panoramic views from Lake Austin to the downtown skyline cannot be beat.
Eat, Eat, and Eat Some More
One thing you’ll see every where in Austin are trucks. But not just what you’d expect from Texas. These trucks aren’t your regular Ford F-150, but rather, of a much more delicious variety. In every neighborhood of the city, food trucks have popped up on every corner, with over 1,000 in total! All establishments need to be licensed by Austin’s Health and Human Services Department, and receive a permit to be in business, so you know this food will be top notch.
Whatever your palate or preference, there will be a meal on wheels that suits your needs. It’s so popular that phone apps have even been created to locate your favorite, or by your location (if you’re an Apple fan, check out Austin Food Carts!).
Chi’lantro is a local favorite, and usually easy to track down; they have three trucks making the rounds every day, dishing out hearty helpings of Korean-Mexican fusion. The $2 tacos and kimchi fries satisfy any customer. John Mueller BBQ does Texas proud with some of the most savory grilled goods around. The owner is a third generation meat smoker, and keeps his recipes heavily guarded. All the effort is noticed, and just the smell of brisket and ribs will make you start you drooling from around the block. Having too much trouble making up your mind? ‘Trailer parks’ are prevalent, allowing you to show around and really scout out your choices. The Rancho Rio Eatery is one of the best, with a good variety of trucks and is open almost all day, from 8am-2am.
Rainey Street Historic District
History meets thirst in this part of town. Many of the buildings in the area originated as single family homes almost a century ago. Though their facades may be the same, this downtown local is now a watering hole hot spot. Icenhauer’s is a great example of the renovations. Originally built in 1895, it was still a family home in 2009, but was left in quite a bit of disrepair. The next year, as much of the initial house was salvaged and given a new purpose. Restored to it’s former glory, patrons hang out on the patio, sipping on sangria from mason jars and in Austin’s usual style, enjoying live music in the cool night air.
Austin is fresh and vibrant, and never lacks in new things to do. Find your next Texan adventure, and start planning your trip with Trekeffect!