Keep Austin Weird. A phrase smacked on the front of tie-dyed T-shirts, plastered on store fronts and stamped on any touristy item, but have you ever spent a day to find out what makes Austin so weird?
Is it the gourmet food trailers lined up on South Congress Avenue, the unique coffee shops tucked away throughout the city or the laid-back attitude of the people?
The state capitol, the Texas Longhorns and South by Southwest all receive a fair amount of attention throughout the year, but what about all the local musicians, art galleries, museums, recreation and food?
Austin has numerous websites devoted to attracting people to the city and, once they are there, supplying them with a detailed list of activities.
A few favorite activities are watching millions of bats fly into the night from under the bridge on Congress Avenue, checking out a show on 6th Street or taking a stroll down the Drag.
Although it is fun to do the “touristy” thing, it is also fun to find unique stores, delicious dives and see the city the way the locals do.
For around $10 an hour, you can rent the latest in outdoor recreation, a stand-up paddle board and propel your way around Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin or Lake Travis. Kayaks and canoes can be rented as well for around the same price from Rowing Dock or Texas Rowing Center.
If the arts appeal to you, Austin offers several theaters, comedy clubs and playhouses that often have student discounts. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema combines box-office hits with a full menu.
If live shows are more your type, Esther’s Follies is a great place that features both comedy and magic shows for a decent price. Austin is also home to several local theater companies that put on a variety of productions from dramas to operas and everything in between.
Austin would not be weird if it did not serve as a culinary melting pot for cultures from around the world. Sushi restaurants fly fresh fish in from Japan daily and Indian food that takes your taste buds far away, barbecue that you can smell for miles around and most importantly there is local cuisine that is taken to a whole new level.
Oasis, the largest outdoor restaurant in Texas, offers diners an incredible view of the sun setting over Lake Travis. It has an energetic vibe, reasonably priced Tex-Mex food, live music and stores.
Stubb’s is another Austin icon known for its honky-tonk atmosphere, concerts and mouth-watering barbecue.
Most people can’t pass through Austin without stopping at a local favorite, the historic Magnolia Cafe, which offers delicious fresh food.
Unlike Houston or Dallas, Austin has an overall unique vibe that it offers visitors year round. There is always something to do that will not break your budget. You just have to look.