View Full Version : Austin suggestions
04-08-2004, 09:30 PM
I will be in Austin for work next week. I have the majority of my day on Tuesday free. Do any of you Austinites have suggestions for me of things to do, restaurants I must eat at, etc.
04-08-2004, 09:39 PM
May I suggest lunch at the Central Market Cafe? :)
Seriously, the North Lamar Central Market is the 2nd most popular tourist destination in Austin (1st is the capital building).
I'd say go to town lake and enjoy the outdoors if the weather is good - nice views of downtown and you can take a little stroll and people-watch if you feel so inclined.
Check out the capitol building as well, it's got some nice grounds.
The Texas State History museum is supposed to be interesting (never been myself) or the LBJ Presidential Library if you like museums.
You can take a tower tour on the UT campus and hear lots of campus legends and see gruesome things like the bullet marks on the plaza.
Go to lake Travis, have dinner at the Oasis, and watch the sun set.
04-08-2004, 10:32 PM
I assume you'll have a car? It's difficult to get around without one. I'll second Kristin's suggestion for Central Market. Personally, I don't find the food at their cafe to be anything super special (it's good, don't get me wrong), but the market itself is sure to impress any foodie. If you have some time to stroll around, you'll find lots of local finds. I typically shop at the south Central Market, but there are also lots of neat shops in the shopping center where the north CM is located. Cadeau is one of my favorite stores in Austin for interesting gifts, cards, etc.
I've done the UT clock tower tour, and it offers an amazing view of Austin. And don't worry - there's really nothing "gruesome" about it. ;)
I got some great suggestions on this thread:
Mt. Bonnell also offers a spectacular view of the Hill Country and Lake Travis.
Where are you staying? That might help for restaurant suggestions, but I will go ahead and throw out a recommendation for Pacific Blue Asian Bistro on Jefferson. DH and I had dinner there for Valentine's Day, and it was outstanding.
04-08-2004, 10:37 PM
I forgot to mention an Austin institution, Amy's Ice Cream. There are shops all over town, including one by the south Central Market, one at the corner of 6th and Lamar, next door to Waterloo (a music store that features a lot of local artists that is another Austin institution) and another favorite gift/card/clothing store of mine, Emerald's, and one on South Congress, right in the midst of the "SoCo" shopping scene (antique/eclectic/funky/artsy stores and local restaurants).
04-09-2004, 05:16 PM
Kristin & Eva -
Thanks for the tips!
I'm staying at the Embassy Suites on 5901 North Interstate 35. I won't have a car . . . 2 other co-workers from different states are flying in, and they don't get in until much later than me. So, they pair up and get the car together and we all drive to the airport together the next day.
So, I'll be cabbing it until I meet up with them.
Any idea how far this hotel would be from the items you've mentioned?
04-09-2004, 07:00 PM
Your hotel is right at the intersection of Hwy. 290 and Interstate 35. It's very close to downtown (definitely not walking, but a short cab ride) - that said, Austin is not the type of city where you'll find cabs just happening by. Maybe downtown on 6th Street on Friday or Saturday night, but that's about it. You'll have to make arrangements for a cab every time you want to go somewhere. You're also not far from the airport, about 10-15 minutes. But be forewarned that that intersection is being entirely rebuilt and has been under construction since 2002. Traffic gets ugly and messy there, but since you won't be driving, you should be OK.
6th Street is something to hit on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night. On the weekends (I know for sure on Saturday, not sure about Friday), the street is closed to vehicle traffic and there are tons of bars (every kind of live music under the sun) to check out. Once you're in downtown, most of the things that have been mentioned are pretty close (again, not usually walking distance, but a short cab ride) -- Town Lake runs W-E just south of downtown, SoCo is just south of that, UT is just north of downtown (and there is good shopping right across the street from campus on what is called "the drag," Guadalupe St. right around 24th). Mt. Bonnell, however, is nowhere close. Neither are the Central Markets, but they're still worth a trip if you can get there.
Actually, on second thought, the south Central Market would be a pretty quick cab ride from your hotel, just straight west on 290 to Lamar. You can see it from the freeway. Then, you could hit Amy's Ice Cream while you're there. ;)
The north CM would be farther to get too, but there are more and cooler shops close by, and Pacific Blue (the restaurant I mentioned) is also very close to there. If you get up to that part of town, you should also check out Dolce Vita, a neat gelato/spirits shop in Hyde Park. It's one of my favorite places - can't believe I forgot it!
Let me know if you have any other questions. Feel free to PM me anytime!
04-09-2004, 07:06 PM
Sorry, ignore a lot of what I just said on my last post. I just realized that your hotel is at the intersection of North 35 and 290. 290 crosses 35 in two spots, north and south. I thought it was the south one, since there are several hotels there. Now you're quite a bit farther away from most of the things I've mentioned, except maybe UT and the Hyde Park/North Central Market area.
Edited to add: By "quite a bit farther away," I still don't mean far. Austin is still a pretty small town. You're probably about 5 miles north of downtown. But before, I thought you were closer to 1-2.
04-09-2004, 09:18 PM
I lived in Austin only briefly, but two of our favorite restaurants is Chuy's for Mexican and Rudy's for good Texas BBQ. There are at least two of each, since they're Texas chains, so you could find the one closest for a casual meal out. There's also Stubb's BBQ downtown that usually has live music. I saw Medeski, Martin and Wood perform there once.
Also, regarding 6th street: I found the 6th is usually overrun with college students, while the bars on 4th tend to be a littlequiter and attract a slightly older crowd (by older I mean mid-20s). But everything down there is really compact, so you should definitely walk around to check out the scene. During the day, however, the bar area of 6th/4th streets is totally dead and closed up. At least it was when I was there three years ago.
Also, I don't know if it's quite the season for them yet, but Austin has North America's largest urban bat population. Your hotel should be able to give you more info. They all live underneath the Congress St. bridge on Town Lake, and it's fun to take a picnic to the banks under the bridge near dusk and watch them all swarm out together for their nocturnal forages. If bats give you the willies, don't worry, they avoid the people and fly pretty high once they're out from the bridge.
04-09-2004, 09:52 PM
You'll be right near my house! :) I'll be happy to take you out one evening if you want. :)
You're near my Central Market, and quite a few restaurants are near your hotel - it's hotel/restaurant city there along highway 35. If you go to Jack's Backyard you can see a giant chandelier made out of Rolling Rock beer bottles - thousands of them.
04-11-2004, 09:40 AM
I PM'd you. Thanks for the offer.
04-11-2004, 10:22 AM
Austin-Thursday night-6th Street-Esther's Follies!!!
04-15-2004, 05:12 PM
I wanted to give everyone the updates on my trip, and thank you again for your suggestions!
I got into Austin around 12:30 on Tues, and had the rest of my day free. I was tied up with business meetings all day Wed, and then caught my flight.
Kristin - I went and had lunch at Zax's as you suggested to me, then walked up Congress to the SoCo area for some fun shopping. Eva - I did try the walk-up Amy's Ice Cream in that area. The guy behind the counter was really helpful and had me try all their flavors. :D
There were a couple woman at Amy's Ice Cream at the same time as me who asked for applications, and were given a paper bag. You just write whatever creatives things you decide upon, and then they decide if they want to interview you! The guy I was talking with said he designed his bag into the shape of a mailbox, put a letter inside (with a $1 bill with the word BRIBE in huge bold letters), and then wrote up a fake little story/application form. He also did tricks with the ice cream. Kind of like you'd see at a Japanese steak house throwing the food around, catching it, etc.
I then caught the free Dillo and checked out the capitol. I then took it to "the drag" and did more fun shopping. Eva - I shopped at the Cadeau there. What an awesome store!
I had a quick bite at Little City on Guadalupe - seemed to be a big hangout. Jamba juice also looked good, but I didn't get anything there.
I was then planning to head over to Central Market to surprise Kristin, but it didn't work out. My co-workers arrived and called me to go to dinner with our work contact. So, we then went out to 611 and there was a band playing there too. I then zonked out when I got back to my hotel.
Kristin - I hope to make it to Central Market the next time! :) I know that I missed out not just on you, but also the whole CM experience.
Rebecca - I didn't get to see the bats this time, but I did see them the one other time I was in Austin a few years ago. It's so neat! I also read that the Indigo Girls were playing at Subb's on Friday. I wish I could have stayed to see them and eat the food!
Susan - I saw Esther's Follies, but sadly I wasn't there on Thursday night.
Oh - this may sound funny but I really liked Auntie Anne's pretzels. I had one at the airport and it was really good! The pretzels I'm used to eating are doughier, but these had a sweeter taste. I am a mustard hound and usually douse my pretzels, but these I liked all on their own.
04-15-2004, 05:27 PM
I'm glad you had a good time! It sounds like you got to hit several "local" spots. I completely forgot that there is an Amy's Ice Cream in the airport! You could have gotten ice cream there too, but you probably would have missed "the experience."
I looooooove Cadeau. I could spend hours in there (and TONS of money). :p
I hope you had decent weather for your trip. Glad you enjoyed Austin!
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