New to Austin and have no idea where to go? Bored of frequenting the same spots? Hold your woe, I have prepared a list that will serve as a building block of places to check out in Austin.
1. Bartn Creek Greenbelt
No longer one of Austin’s best-kept secrets, the Barton Creek Greenbelt, a ~10-mile creek lined hiking trail in the West Austin Hills is still enjoyable nonetheless. Is it crowded? Yes, but you have to know to tackle it.
If you want to rage, park out around mile marker 4-5. If you are looking for peace and serenity, head toward mile markers 6,7, and onward.
Fair warning: In the late summer months, during the dry season, the creek, well, isn’t much of creek. So, plan your trip with to the Greenbelt with that in mind, especially if water activities are a must.
2. Lake Austin
Lake Austin is a gem that flows from the cool emerald water of the Colorado River. Wide it is not but fun most assuredly. This lake is conveniently located just miles from downtown ensconced in the coveted Austin Westlake area.
Boating, brews, boys, and broads all enjoy its soft waters—that water is seldom choppy since it essentially a river.
Moreover, it carves through the canyons of West Austin. So, after your fifth white claw, you’ll have sweeping vistas to ponder rather than your ceiling fan (no offense to ceiling fans).
3. Austin Central Library
I know what you are thinking: Why is a library on this list? I will respond by assuring that few libraries hold a torch to the Austin Central Library. First, the library’s downtown location with sweeping views of Lady Bird Lake and a majority of Austin’s beauty.
Second, its modern but comfortable interior reminds you of the age we live in all while preserving the comfort of home, a rare combination.
Third, the library’s fully stocked. And yes, this is important because its main function is a library. So, when you are snapping an insta pic in one of Austin’s gems, feel free to check out a book I swear they are good for.
Lastly, the library has a rooftop terrace, that is one of the most relaxing environments taken part in, not to mention the views that accompany the sky garden.
4. Rainey Street
I’m not one to praise a “bar street,” however, Rainey Street piques my interest due to its concept of converting old historic homes into bars. As a result, their bars are not only more comfortable to be in, they’re also adorable from the curb and thus more inviting. I think other cities can take advantage of this idea as many neglected homes are not uncommon in metropolises throughout the U.S.
Moreover, the atmosphere is far more relaxing than its evil stepbrother, Sixth Street. So, one can still enjoy a fun downtown crowd, without the hair-pulling, snake charming, police horses, and general ruffians that prowl the infamous street.
5. Barton Springs
Barton Springs, spring-fed swimming hole minutes away from downtown, is one of Austin’s main attractions, and while it can be overwhelming it is enjoyable nonetheless. Here urban crowds and tourists gather to swim in the cool spring waters on sweltering summer days.
Sunbathing, Instagramming, swimming, White Claw pounding, and paddleboarding are all popular activities at the spring. Plus, there are plenty of cute pups riding paddleboards that will put a smile on anyone’s face.
6. Zilker Park
Zilker Park is a large recreation area located minutes south of downtown Austin. Here pups play, Frisbee’s fly overhead, tacos are consumed, and positivity is consumed. The park itself is dry most of the year due to heavy foot traffic, but they are shady spots for those who wish to beat the heat.
Come early and soak up a day in the Austin sun, and be sure to bring comfortable clothes, your favorite shades, and a good attitude at the park. Please watch for dogs and infectious smiles!
7. Antone’s Nightclub
Antone’s Nightclub is a historic music venue that has featured greats such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and contemporary savants like Gary Clark Jr. Blues jams and blues rock bands are a daily occurrence and the room’s smoky atmosphere only adds to their performances.
The crowd at Antone’s know what they are getting into daily, in other words, they are blues junkies. This, of course, keeps one of America’s oldest genres alive and well in the live music capital of the world.
I recommend bringing a group of friends and keep the night free and easy.
8. The Elephant Room
The Elephant Room is an underground jazz club that features live music and a fully stocked bar. Its atmosphere is cavernous and intimate. I will say, however, most of the patrons aren’t the most educated jazz enthusiasts, but that is not why you go to the elephant room.
You go to the Elephant Room for is ambiance, cool temperatures, and tasteful covers of Jazz standards. Acoustically the room is thunderous and bass carries well—an important feature for any live music venue.
Grab a friend, a classy outfit, and a ruminate attitude, The Elephant Room awaits.
9. Mayfield Park
Mayfield Park reminds its patrons of a different era, an early 20th-century botanical garden. Swing jazz and whimsical attitudes flood the mind of visitors, feeling an odd a hardly discernable a priori sensation.
Peacocks patrol the park further adding to its eclectic feel. I think this park suits intimate conversations well with a close friend. Conflicts are resolved and bonds strengthened at Mayfield. Moreover, it is a place well suited for family gatherings, petulance and bickering leaves the said family as they saunter through the historic gardens.
Come over to Mayfield, you’ll forget you are in Texas for a brief minute.
10. Lake Travis
Austin’s primordial lake features canyon views, emerald water fed from the Colorado River, and cool deep water perfect for boating. Don’t have a boat or don’t want to rent one? No problem, kayaks are available for rent.
Common sights on the water: White Claws, the “perfect insta pic,” the top 1%, and those learning how to wakeboard. There aren’t many lakes as beautiful as Travis, but, please, boat and drink responsibly on the water.