Fully embrace the beauty and weirdness of Austin.
Known for: Tacos (specifically breakfast), Tex-Mex, live music, BBQ, the “dirty 6th”, nature, art, antique shops
Scroll to the bottom for a map view of all of these points of interest 🙂
Where to Stay
If you’re an enthusiastic party animal, then 6th st is the place for you. You’ll be a stone’s throw away from one of the rowdiest streets filled with bars. If the drink in your hand is a cold brew drip coffee rather than a cocktail, then look at staying in the East Austin neighborhood [voted as one of America’s Best Hipster Neighborhoods, no exaggeration, Forbes is my source]. Although, Austin is one of those cities where you can stay almost anywhere within a few miles of downtown and be close to awesome stuff and delicious food.
How to Get Around
Austin is a pretty big city and although walkable, the really quirky points of interest are scattered around town. There’s a bike share program that makes getting around the city easy and cheap. Uber and Lyft aren’t used in Austin. Instead Fasten, Fare, and Ride Austin have taken on the ride share responsibilities (as of 2016). When you go to download them, look for a referral code, so you get $5 – $10 off your first ride! If you’re with a group, share your code with the next person and so on to save some money.
A couple of highlights…
Hope Outdoor Gallery
The outdoor gallery is a multi tiered cement castle of graffiti. It’s an Instagram dream. You can even bring your own spray paint to make your mark. It’s a bit of a climb up a dirt mountain, but it’s worth it. We did it in sandals, but if slipping worries you, bring good walking shoes. Once you get to the top, take in the awesome spread of the Austin skyline.
An integral part of Austin is the mural art lining the streets. There are a few famous ones, like the Greetings from Austin mural. They’re fun and quirky. And noted on the map at the bottom of this blog!
Cathedral of Junk
I didn’t get a chance to see this, but I really wish I did. It’s exactly what it sounds like. A tasteful structure…made of junk. You know what they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure (or cathedral foundation).
$15 entrance fee (cash only), 45 minute drive from Austin, possible wait up to an hour, reservations in the summer. An amazing escape from the norm. Sometimes you can go swimming, which would be awesome, but we went during a no swim week.
This is such a unique experience to Austin. You can watch millions of bats fly out of the bridge for dinner as the sun sets. The Congress Avenue Bridge wasn’t intentionally built to house bats, but the structure ended up being the perfect place for them. The ideal time to see the bats fly is late July/early August when all the new babies start feeding on their own. By October, the sun sets too early and the bats are really hard see against the dark sky, but the bats still do fly out every night. You can see the bats from a cruise, on top of the bridge, or underneath the bridge.
I’ll just let this picture do the talking as I stare and drool.
This beautiful spread was taken (and eaten) at Salt Lick, about 30 minutes from downtown. It’s cash only for the full country BBQ experience.