Oh, and don’t forget to check out our community calendar if 10 straight-up shots of ATX aren’t quite enough for ya. Now get out there and enjoy!
A great way to immerse yourself in Austin culture is to stroll north down the hill of South Congress Avenue, from about Torchy’s Tacos to the Lake. Austinites flock to the “SoCo” District to window-shop or pop into kitschy places like Big Top Candy and Allen’s Boots (more interesting than it sounds – think hippy cowboys strumming guitar live in a retail store). With delicious and affordable fine-dining restaurants such as Vespaio and Botticelli’s, funky and cool patios at Guero’s and Perla’s, and hip Austin bars like C-Boy’s Heart & Soul and the world-renowned Continental Club, boredom will be a virtual impossibility.
The gem of Austin is Barton Springs Pool, the refreshing spring-fed swimming-hole spanning approximately 3 acres, a mere 5-minute drive from Downtown. The crystal-clear water remains an invigorating 68-70 degrees year-round! That may sound bracing, because it IS, but also necessary when the forecast predicts an unbroken stream of 100 degree-days. Hit ‘The Springs’ to chill out with tanning locals and frolicking families along the rolling grassy hills flanking the pool, and cool down on a hot, hot day!
3. The Texas State Capitol Grounds & Downtown
You don’t need to spend a dime to wander around the lush State Capitol Grounds or Downtown Austin. Cafes, shops, and restaurants – though often pricey – are scattered throughout the area, but a simple walk under the trees with a picnic makes for a nice afternoon. A little-known fact is that the Texas State Capitol building is taller than the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. by a full 15 feet! BECAUSE…you guessed it: Everything’s bigger in Texas. Relax under the trees, as the kiddos play with our friendly, brazen squirrels which frolic among the Capitol grounds!
Because Austin is a very health-conscious city, we have a killer Hike and Bike Trail along Ladybird Lake, in the center of town. Once you have a few drinks and eat your way through the food trucks here, you will quickly understand why. (Those tacos and margaritas aren’t going to jog themselves off…) The 10-mile trail is easy to access for shorter hikes, allows pups, and provides a leisurely view of Downtown, Zilker Park, and the Lake all for free. If you have kiddos, take some breadcrumbs to feed the ducks!
5. The Bats
The Bats. By now you’re thinking…what is UP with this Bat-thing? Real simple: Underneath the South Congress bridge, one of only 3 bridges linking the “Southside” with the “Northside” of Central Austin, live – oh – 1.5-2 million bats. They migrate north to Austin from Mexico throughout the Summer months, and can be seen as one massive cloud of tiny screeching dots swarming the eastern sky in search of food around dusk. It’s more mesmerizing than it sounds, can be walked to from Downtown, and is clearly FREE. (The Bats have NO business acumen or plumbing though, so be prepared for that.) The hours from 6-9 pm are best to catch them. Bats, like Austinites, can be late for anything.
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