If we take a look at Austin on the map of Texas, you’d realize how it’s the slightest bit off-center. Yep, it’s off-center in the most characteristic way possible. In more ways than one Austin has been that place where all of the state’s best bits have come together in the most lively mix. But among all the places to visit in Austin, you’re not always going to find the most equal and measured experience. If you’re going here, expect a certain complexity in the many things to do in Austin. A complexity that is almost always difficult to gauge beforehand.
A formerly slow-paced but quick-witted college town was branded as a live-music capital, and later a tech-mecca. It’s the left-wing outpost of a state that’s given over to conservative politics. There’s an abundance of natural beauty, outdoors, enough and more places to sport, recreate, and get off the beaten path. The very artful people of Austin can be seen doing top-notch creative work. It’s a friendly place that’s transitioning from its cosmic cowboy past through a neo-hippie/urbanist-tech present to a big-city future, with a side of rural Texas ancestry.
Here are some of the many things we love about Austin, Texas.
The Karaoke Underground
Think Karaoke — but punk. It’s everything the punk-loving amateur karaoke singer in you desires, with jams from non-chart-topping banks ranging from Crass to Sleater-Kinney.
The Moonlight Towers
Some think of these as odd, others call them romantic, but most refer to them as odd-romantic. They’re the ultimate Austin quirk, especially since it’s the only city in the world that still uses them as street lights! Here’s a very cool documentary on the moonlight towers that you can check out.
The Amtrak at night!
In isolation, the train station behind the Town Lake YMCA might not seem like much but the surroundings have always added a low-key romantic charm to it in the artiest, urban decay fashion. Disembark on a journey from the Amtrak at night, towards the bright lights of tall towers in a bustling big city — the vibes are truly immaculate
UT’s Landmark Program
Of the many things that came out of the University of Texas’ ambitious public-art acquisition agenda, The Color Inside, by James Turrell, a rooftop skyspace remains as one of our most favorites! You can find this at the University of Texas at Austin’s Student Activity Center, among many more such grasping concepts!
Mountain laurels in full bloom
You’ll feel like it’s spring here even when you know you’re in the middle of winter still. They’re nothing more comforting than lush spreads of mountain laurels, what great about them is that they stay green all year round — however some may also be poisonous to animals so don’t get too comfortable with them either.
The all-age music spaces
If you love music, Austin is the place to be. From Austin Kiddie Limits stage to clubs that allow kids (with supervision) and older minors to attend and play live shows.
The constant and persistent availability of such places are a true testament of the intergenerational approach to music that Austin proudly represents.
The day after summer ends
It wouldn’t be the hottest day of the year and neither would be the day where temperatures drop to chilly. That half an hour in the evening you look for and call the golden hour? Think of a whole day that’s full of similar vibes, there’s a soothing scent of autumn in the air — you know the worst heat is now done with and for another year you wouldn’t be bothered. It’s fall at its southern best.
Barton Springs’ forever kind of cool.
No, we don’t mean this figuratively. The air around Barton Springs may get hotter as temperatures increase but the water maintains the same cool temperature throughout. The city’s spring-fed pools are always around 68 degrees, a sustaining chill only natural water sources can truly provide.
The 90’s charm that started here
The vocabulary for the decade that followed was set by Slacker (1990) that captured the atmosphere in the most decade-setting picturesque ways imaginable. Yeah, Richard Linklater will probably keep denying any generational influence his work had till his dying days, but we all know that’s not true.
Some places that have preserved this charm we speak of so fondly include this record store that goes by the name End of an Ear, the Red River Cafe, or even taking a pedicab ride! If this doesn’t add to your list of places to visit in Austin, what will?
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