My recent visit to Austin was wonderful and, to be honest, sweaty. Not surprising, since it was Austin in July. It was even too humid for my Austin-based friend.
Frequent cups of tea in an air-conditioned spots revived me. And confused the locals. “Why do Brits always have hot tea when it’s hot?” they asked.
From Boston to Austin (which sounds like the title of a country song someone might sing here) was a quick 3.5-hour, fully-masked flight on Delta. Then it was a Lyft from the airport to my hotel, Hotel Ella, which I recommend. (Note: the pick-up process for airport ride-shares is a bit confusing. Ride-shares aren’t allowed to do curb pick-up, so they have you winding every which way to get to your ride. But following the signs, I finally ended up in a separate garage for pick-ups.)
You notice right away that Austin is overflowing with art and music. The renowned Austin City Limits is the longest running music series in television history and the organization holds the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival every October. And there’s the annual SXSW, the renowned series of conferences and festivals held in March that celebrates the convergence of tech, film, music, education, and culture.
I spent a few days wandering the city and out into the surrounding Hill Country. I… need a summary statement here about your visit, e.g.” I fell in love with the area’s blah blah blah…” “it was worth the sweating to enjoy the area’s blah blah blah…”
Things to See and Do
- Austin State Capitol
- Lady Bird Lake
- Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria
- Wonderspaces Austin
- Giant staircase up Mount Bonnell to one of the highest peaks in the city: has great views of the city
- Zilker Botanical Gardens
- The many lakes in the Austin area
- Zilker Park
- Farmers Markets around the city
- Beer, beer, and more beer! Lots of local breweries to quench your thirst.
- Barton Springs Pool: dive into this aquifer-fed pool in Zilker Park.
- Bat-watching at the Congress Avenue Bridge: around sunset, March – November.
- For nature lovers: hire a car and visit McKinney Falls State Park and the Hill Country for numerous wineries, historic towns, and a laid-back, soulful Texas lifestyle.
Wine and Dine Recommendations
- The Peacock: one of my favorites. When (if?) you’ve had your fill of fried food and BBQ, this is the place to go.
- Eberly: created from an old print shop that looks like a big box, you’ll probably wonder if you’ve found the right place.
- Grizzeldas: aimed at the young. As a 40-year-old sitting at the bar, I felt a bit out of place.
- Goodalls: quiet restaurant in my hotel with great food.
- Rainey Street: Renovated houses have been turned into bungalow bars. A great street for a series of drinks and truck food.
- Juliet Italian Kitchen: Fabulous food in a fabulous location. Options to sit inside and out.
- The Roosevelt Room and the Four Seasons Austin: for delicious cocktails