As Austin grows in popularity, we Austinites inevitably have to pay the dues of being in the national and international spotlight: criticism, and often the ruthless kind. Some of you long-time residents might be truly annoyed by certain aspects of ATX (ridiculous traffic, anyone?) and if you’re a noob, well, you probably don’t know what to think of this crazy place yet, and we don’t blame you.

But before you make up your mind to side with the “Austin is the Worst Place Ever” crowd, here are 25 classic Austin experiences that we’re convinced will make you fall in love with central Austin—if not for the first time, then all over again:

Chill out at Barton Springs Pool

barton springs pool swim swimming spring summer water

Barton Springs Pool is a great spot to cool off. Photo: Flickr user Incase, creative commons licensed

Spring-fed and clear as can be, Barton Springs Pool is a favorite swimming hole in Austin. For $3, you’ll get three acres of splash potential and a nice grassy hillside to spread out your blanket and suntan. Pro Tip: Avoid visiting during peak hours unless you’re a fish that prefers to swim in a school.

2201 Barton Springs Rd. 512-867-3080. Open daily 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., closed Thursdays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. $5 parking. $1-3 admission per person depending on age and residency. More information. Website.

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