If the typical Austin Sunday of drinking and eating your way to a good time feels a little less than fulfilling, try out this Sunday itinerary for intrepid Austinites and visitors!
This itinerary can be altered for those who want to stay central, but if completed will take you on a fantastically colorful and unique tour of Austin, Texas. Most of the sites can be walked to, but to see it all you will eventually need a ride. Pack a change of clothes, a swimsuit, a towel or blanket, and some water, because your adventurous Sunday Funday is filled with variety, art, healthy meals, and pristine nature!
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9 am – Breakfast – Cenote
Cenote is a funky coffee shop and bakery located on East Cesar Chavez/1st Street. In addition to baking delicious in-house bagels and other pastries, Cenote relies heavily on hormone-free eggs, local produce, and even locally-made gluten/GMO-free tortillas! (A little-known fact is that Cenote re-purposed an historic building dated from 1887, receiving the Heritage Society of Austin’s “Merit Award for Adaptive Use” in 2011. Cool!) It’s also a short walk from Cenote to the Hike-and-Bike Trail…
10:30 am-12 pm – Mid-morning walk – The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-n-Bike Trail
You’re full of yummy food and have had a chance to read the paper or contemplate life over a coffee/tea. Now it’s time to get out there on the town before it heats up too much to enjoy! Hop on any part of the the Hike-and-Bike trail’s 10 miles of crushed granite paths to get a sense of how much Austin still values access to nature in the city-center. Flanking all sides of central Ladybird Lake, the Hike-and-Bike Trail is a favorite for families, joggers, and people who simply want to take in the beauty of Downtown without actually being stuck in Downtown. It’s also a short walk from the trail up North Lamar to the Hope Gallery…
1 – 2 pm – Unique venue, local art – Hope Gallery
Located in Tarrytown at 11th and Baylor sits a vibrant hill of murals and graffiti. Locals used to call this area ‘The Foundation’ because for decades that’s all it was – tiered monoliths so overgrown they couldn’t be seen from the road. Graffiti artists and teenagers would risk tickets or jail to put art on its walls or make-out with a view of Downtown no one knew existed. In 2011, HOPE Events received enough funding to clear the brush, and provide a one-of-a-kind space for artists and creatives which has no rival in the U.S.A.
Ok, by this point, you’re probably hot, tired, and need a pick me up! Walk down Lamar, cross the river, turn right onto Barton Springs Road, and head to Juiceland…
2:30-3:30 pm – Snacks/Smoothies @ Juiceland
While much of Austin has changed over the decades, that cannot be said for the O.G. (Organic and Green) old-school smoothie shack, Juiceland. Somewhat hidden on the south side of Barton Springs Rd, this is a must for anyone who doesn’t want to faint from lack of nutrients or dehydration on their way to swim. Because Barton Springs Pool has a firm ‘No food or drinks allowed’ policy, you will be glad you stopped in to try one of the over 30 heart-healthy tonics.
4-6 p.m. – Swim and Frolic! – Barton Springs Pool/Barton Creek Greenbelt
Leaving Juiceland and walking west, you will hit Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool. Unless you make it to Austin during our two harrowing weeks of ‘winter’, you will still be able to enjoy a trip to the water or a hike along the Barton Creek Greenbelt. For those who simply want to take the plunge into the 68-70 degree year-round natural spring, Barton Springs Pool is THE spot. If you are ready for a hike, follow the Greenbelt trail south to check out the rapids and falls upstream.
If you want a little exercise, rent a canoe or kayak and take a tour of Ladybird Lake at your own pace!
Once you’re done, you’ll be ready for a bite to eat, so head on over to Bouldin Creek Cafe. You CAN walk it, but it’ll take about 45 minutes.
7 p.m. – Dinner at Bouldin Creek Cafe
Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or carnivore, you’ll be relieved to find that this vegan coffee-shop and restaurant has something for everyone. No, not meat, but delicious meals that promise to make you forget you ever looked at cow with anything but enduring love. Bouldin Creek is hip, colorful, and especially beloved by south Austinites. Hang inside in the AC or out on the covered patio, and when sunset starts coming on hop in the car and head to Mount Bonnell…
8-9 p.m. – Sunset Hike – Mount Bonnell
Wrap up your adventure with some R&R at the top of Austin’s highest hill. Known for being a romantic lookout, Mount Bonnell overlooks Lake Austin and offers one of the best sunset views in the city limits. Though the 100 steps up to its promontory can be a bit daunting, getting to the top makes the trek worthwhile. Take a good book, a good friend, your family, or simply your thoughts to soak in a little serenity as the Sun dips below the horizon.
After all of this, you’ll surely be exhausted and sleep like a baby! However, when you look back on your time in Austin, this day and this route will forever be burned into your brain as what Austin is REALLY all about: Healthy living, local art, and natural beauty! Come back and see it all again soon, ya hear?