Austin is a town that will always be dear to my heart…I feel it is a place I would never grow old. The city always seems to pulse with energy – energy to be outside, to be active, to be among music, to be alive. I recently took a trip down to the heart of Texas to visit my lovely mamma and here are my “5 Cool Things to do in Austin”:
5. Do Some Boutique Shopping
Austin has an eclectic shopping scene and I am happy to report the prices will make you happy too (in general). I love shopping along South Congress at shops like elevenEleven and especially at Strut. Remember to bring your reusable bag! Austin just passed A Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance (learn more here) so I had to buy a $1 Strut bag to carry my finds. Did I mind? Heck, no! A. This bag ordinance is awesome / efficient / peeps in Europe have this as part of their lifestyle and save a ton of waste and money. It’s proven to work! B. I now have a super cool Strut bag to carry my fresh veggies home from the City Market in Kansas City.
Here is a snapshot of my some of my finds from Strut. All were under $40! –
4. Visit Rainey Street
Rainey Street is a new hipster hot spot in Austin. Cute, old houses are being bought up and reverted to craft beer hang-outs and food truck gatherings. While visiting, my favorite spot was Craft Pride, equipped with oodles of craft beer options and a fun food truck on the back porch (these are a few of my favorite things).
This is the beer board / backyard food truck area from Craft Pride on Rainey Street –
During the day, back porches like this one may be chill and deserted or spotted with laid back day-drinkers, but by night, the street is so packed with hipsters that it is a caterpillar crawl to get your car through. Rainey Street was the last stop before home base after my night out on 6th Street. I enjoyed a brew by candlelight and watched the crowds of people flocking to the bars and neighboring parking lot full of food trucks. This recently popped-up district is definitely worth a visit!
3. Get Some Amy’s Ice Creams
This deliciously rich ice cream is one of a kind and the ingredients are super fresh and gourmet beyond belief. Amy’s employees crush in candies while incorporating talented tricks. Seriously, this is the most heavenly ice cream to ever grace my tongue. Plus they’re always creating creative flavors and change it up everyday. In fact, I have driven halfway across the city in fervent search of a favorite flavor offered at certain Amy’s location during my summer in Austin.
Here are some of my favorite people in Austin (and ever) posing with me at Amy’s Ice Creams in Summer 2009 (the summer I spent in Austin doing my first internship) –
I didn’t get a chance to visit any of the Amy’s locations in town but I was lucky enough that there is an Amy’s Ice Creams in the airport so I was able to get my fix (whew, that was a close one!).
Amy’s Ice Creams on board…yum! –
2. Watch The Bats Fly
Though written / talked about excessively, it is for good reason…watching The Bats fly at dusk is to this day one of the coolest things I have ever seen (and it happens every summer night!). During the spring months, thousands of female, mostly pregnant Mexican free-tailed bats migrate north to give birth. The Congress bridge in Austin just so happens to be a favorite birthing / roosting spot during the summer months. The bats fly out in the evening to hunt in an amazing display of nature’s crazy beauty.
Every summer evening at dusk, the bats fly out in a beautiful stream that looks like an undulating DNA strand –
I was there at peak season, meaning that there could have been up to 1.5 million bats who flew out from under the bridge on this particular Austin evening. You won’t really know what I’m talking about until you see it, so here’s some video I shot.
My mom and I are talking in the background…and the video quality is not that great…but this should give you an idea of what it looks like –
1. Catch Some Live Music
Anybody who knows me even remotely knew this was coming as number one….IT’S AUSTIN, YO! So, if you are in the city…go see some freakin’ live music! It’s everywhere and it’s not hard to find (open up the Austin Chronicle if you need some hard-core guidance). I love Stubb’s and Antone’s (though I have not checked the new Antone’s location out yet). If you get a chance, see some Bob Schneider or his spin-off band, The Scabs…he’s a fantastic Austin classic. Or, just pick a random show and check it out. So many great artists have originated from Austin…you never know if you’ll be watching the “next big thing”.