Austin has such a cool, green, healthy feel to it, and an air of anything-goes. Just an example: walking down the street we passed a Dog Adoption Truck, and were able to take little tyke Tim for a walk for the afternoon. So lovely. In London you’d need to commit to walking him 8 hours a week for a year before you could show him some love. If you love music and food, then this city is the place for you. Director Robert Rodriguez sums it up perfectly: “People don’t live in Austin to work, they work to live there.” I’m desperate to head back for SXSW music and film festival at some point soon.
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3 THINGS YOU REALLY CANNOT MISS:
BARTON SPRINGS POOL | a proper little oasis in a hot American city. The water is gorgeous, clear, and free-flowing – making it pretty tiring to swim against the current. Definitely embrace a hot day and take your swimmers. Also check out: Waterloo Record Store and The Tiniest Bar in Texas.
SOUTH CONGRESS | such a fun area: think vintage shops, dive bars, cowboy boot shops and food trucks. Here you’ll find the phallic Austin Motel sign, amazing outdoor bar and live music at Gueros Taco Bar, pool at The Continental Club and Docs Motorworks for $1 tacos, and trendy shops like Parts and Labour.
FOOD TRUCKS | Austin will help you pile on the pounds: it’s a foodie haven. There are food trucks regularly lining the sidewalks, and queues around the block. I enjoyed trying Nomad Dosa (might have moved/ closed…) for tasty Indian and Ms. P’s Electric Cock for essential late night fried chicken.
3 THINGS WORTH A SNOOP:
EAST 6TH STREET | Austin has two main areas to go out; this being it’s second. If you’re craving BBQ head to Stubbs BBQ, check out Shangri La bar for drinking, and a spot of two-step honky-tonk dancing at the White Horse.
FIREHOUSE HOSTEL | I thought this place was great for a central spot and would highly recommend: the rooms aren’t anything memorable, but the staff were really accommodating, letting us check in during the ridiculously early hours of dawn, and posting my favourite jumper to me when I forgot it. Little touches.
RAINEY STREET | is this street in Austin the best street ever?! A whole road where all the houses open their doors and turn in to bars. Such a fun vibe, a bit like being invited to a massive house party that’s spilled in to the streets. I remember The Black Heart but not necessarily because it was any better than the rest!
3 THINGS TO STAY CLEAR:
GREYHOUND BUS | my, what a grim journey! I’m glad I had my buddy Camilla in tow for this one to watch movies with and make the time pass quicker. Apparently every person let out of prison is given a Greyhound ticket. Figures. To be fair the people weren’t that bad, but the bus stopped constantly, was expensive at $110 from NOLA to Austin, and we had to change at 1:30am in Houston.
DOWNTOWN | this area of Austin is relatively uninspiring versus the quirky little hubbub of both East 6th and South Congress. It’s got an air of sensible corporate world attitude, so far removed from the fun of the city as a whole. That said, Austin is small which makes it really easy to navigate on foot.
BAD MUSIC | everyone thinks they’ve got a talent in music capitals like Austin and Nashville – yes in fact most do, but there’s the bunch that their mothers must have told them they could sing! There’s so many choices of live music venues make sure you seek out the good stuff and soak up some proper Texan atmosphere.
1 THING I WISH I’D DONE:
BATS AT CONGRESS | apparently every night at the same time, fruit bats fill the air as they make their regular migration in the hunt for food. About 1.5 million bats live under the bridge from March to November. We missed it as we’d stayed at drinking, but hey that’s Austin all over.
AND KNOW THIS: King of Reinvention Matthew McConaughey was arrested at his home in Austin, Texas, back in 1999. Following disgruntled neighbours’ calls, police showed up to find McConaughey playing the bongo drums at a disturbing level, while in his birthday suit. He was charged fifty bucks for disturbing the peace.