As the plane approaches bird’s-eye view there is a vast flatland below me where rhyme and reason translate to live music on a Sunday afternoon in a bar that once served as a home on Rainey Street. It also means long lines of dedicated donut-filled ice cream fans and a spray painted mountainside known to locals as Graffiti Park at Castle Hill.
The land below is known to the world as the capitol of Texas and to proud locals it is a place where street art, food trucks and outdoor bars are appreciated for all their glory.
And when time is of the essence, you learn the art of bar hopping by foot/pedal, making room for more meals in a day because the food is just that good, and that dogs are truly a man’s best friends.
Pretending to be an expert after this long weekend trip, I have devised 5 simple laws of the land that will make you fall hard for Austin too.
Everything is worth the wait. And by everything I mean food. Whether it’s a winter spice latte from Jo’s Coffee, or brunch at South Congress Cafe, your taste buds will thank you for being patient because long lines usually mean there is something worth waiting for. There aren’t enough meals in a day but if hunger strikes, I would suggest Licha’s Cantina for a trendy yet cozy Mexican dinner, ice cream at Amy’s, brunch at Jacoby’s and a pizza from the famous Via 313 food truck.
Bar hop by way of a pub cycle. This is for the multitaskers who enjoy sightseeing while taking on leisurely or sometimes strenuous activity. When not coasting down hills, you may be challenged to beat a red light at crawling speeds, know the words to throwback songs and most importantly how to make each bar stop efficient. Once proficient in these areas, you will want to travel via group cycle for all your outings.
Sunday afternoons should be spent on Rainy Street, always. So grab a mason jar of sangria and sing to famous covers by The Nightowls as they energize the crowd with soulful R&B and saxophones. And when I mean every Sunday, I mean all year long thanks to the abundance of outdoor heaters. It’s an idyllic street lined with picket fences and houses refurbished into relaxed bars with modern vibes. A hipster’s paradise.
A night on Dirty is a good time. Quite contrary to the name, Dirty is a quiet and classic street in the heart of downtown. Just kidding that’s its day job. At night the silence is broken by enthusiastic party goers ready to take on bars, lines and a memorable Saturday night.
There are hills in Austin. It may be surrounded by a reputation of flat dry land but Austin itself isn’t shy of hills, trails or views of the Colorado River. The landscape is decorated with walls of colorful graffiti and paintings, running trails along the 10 mile loop and hidden stone steps to the top of Mount Bonnell. It’s filled with open invitations for outdoor activities, dog walking and creativity.