Austin is growing quickly and by the look of things around here, that growth is not slowing down any time soon. There are thousands of bars, restaurants, and local stores opening each year in the Austin metro area, so it can be hard to know which places are the “must-sees” and which are over-hyped. Local Austin moving company Armstrong Transportation put together a list of their favorite “Top 25 Things To Do Your First Month in ATX,” and they’ve given us this list of 10 more spots that didn’t make their original list.
1. Eat a “Don Juan” breakfast taco at Juan In A Million Restaurant
This Mexican restaurant has been operating 7 days a week on the east side of Austin for over 30 years. The popular taco joint is known primarily for their massive breakfast taco called “The Don Juan” that comes loaded with eggs, bacon, potato, and cheese. Just one of these huge breakfast tacos is enough to fill you up, but you may want to grab one to take home for later too!
2. Rent a canoe and see the Austin skyline from Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake is actually a dammed section of the Colorado River that borders the southern edge of downtown Austin. From a canoe or kayak, you can get some pretty breathtaking views of the Austin skyline. There are several rental spots available along the lake’s shores, and parking is plentiful at Zilker Park.
3. Have a mezcal drink at the secret “Bar Ilegal”
This is one of several “secret” bars in Austin, situated in a stone shed behind Clive Bar near Rainey Street. The tiny bar serves handcrafted cocktails made from Ilegal Mezcal, a Mexican liquor made from agave plants. The mezcal features smoky flavors, making for some unique cocktails that are one of a kind.
4. Go see a honky tonk band at The White Horse
In the past, if you wanted to see a honky tonk band and do some two-stepping in Austin, you would surely go to The Broken Spoke (open since 1964!) But in the last few years, The White Horse on Austin’s east side has gained more and more attention as the newest honky tonk in town. With regular live music and cheap drinks, this is a fun hangout that attracts a diverse crowd.
5. Get dinner with a friend at Launderette
Nestled in a residential neighborhood on Austin’s east side, Launderette is a charming little restaurant that offers a changing menu of small plates, perfect for sharing with friends or a date. Their bright menu features fresh vegetables and a wide selection of proteins (octopus, prawns, hanger steak, to name a few) that changes seasonally.
6. Go record shopping (or see live music) at Waterloo Records
Since 1982, Waterloo Records has been the go-to record store in Austin. While many other record stores have closed in the past decade, Waterloo has thrived and continues selling vinyl, CDs, t-shirts, and more. The store hosts regular in-store performances from both local and national artists. Some of our favorite in-store performances that we were lucky enough to see include Steve Earle, David Ramirez, and Iron & Wine.
7. Attend Eeyore’s Birthday at Pease Park
This bizarre Austin tradition is kind of hard to describe, as it features equal parts kid’s party and hippie drum circles. The annual party at Austin’s Pease Park started in 1963 as a picnic celebration for Department of English students at the University of Texas. The annual “birthday” party is named after Eeyore, the gloomy character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories who believes his friends forgot his birthday.
8. Take a winery tour around the Hill Country
Texas is not widely known for its wine, but over the last decade the wineries in the Hill Country have garnered more international attention. With over 40 active wineries in the region, tourists and Austinites are flocking to the Hill Country for tours. With various tours and guides available, you can visit one winery or take a bus tour to a group of wineries!
9. See a race at Circuit of The Americas race track
Opened in 2012, Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is a professional race track located just outside of Austin in Elroy TX. The track has hosted a variety of events and races including Formula One, MotoGP and American Le Mans, to name a few. The facility also features the biggest amphitheater in the area, Austin360 Amphitheater, which hosts some of the biggest international touring artists on it’s stage.
10. Camp at Pace Bend Park and swim in Lake Travis
If you are looking to get out of the Austin city limits for a little R&R, Pace Bend Park is just a short drive north-west of town. Pace Bend Park sits on the shore of Lake Travis which is a popular destination for swimming, boating, and watersports. Pace Bend has primitive camping sites as well as RV hookups, so all campers are welcome. The park is dog friendly, as long as they are kept on leash.
Featured photo: Flickr user Anne Worner, creative commons licensed.