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Old 04-19-2009, 07:21 PM
29 posts, read 83,294 times
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As first time visitors to TX and the Austin area; from May 16th to 24th; we welcome all suggestions and recommendations for interesting places we could go see, do or dine....along with anything interesting you think..Thanks!!
This is where we will be staying from May 16th - 24th:
Austin Condo Lake View - Condominium (http://www.vrbo.com/227303 - broken link)
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:34 PM
Location: Austin
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You'll be close to the Congress Avenue bridge downtown for some bat watching one evening. Austin has the largest urban colony of Mexican free-tail bats in North America roosting under that bridge, waiting to come out at dusk. I believe it is 1.5 million of them. Afterwards, go down the street to Guerro's for Mexican food and a margarita. The last time we had visitors in town, we happened to be there at the same time as Lyle Lovett. During the day, walk through Allen's boots if you are in the market for something like that, or just to look. Check out the stuffed armadillo drinking a Lone Star beer. I think he's been there for decades doing that.

Find out who's playing downtown and go listen to some music. Maybe the Continental Club or Stubb's.

Also, go to Threadgill's downtown for Eddie Wilson's version of home cooking. He was one of the original owners of The Armadillo World Headquarters, once located not far from there. Eddie is one of the keepers of Austin history, and you'll find much of it documented and hanging on the walls in his restaurant.

Take a tour of the State Capitol building, and walk through the historic Driskill hotel on Congress Avenue. You can have lunch in their restaurant, The 1886 Room...try the cheese soup.

Notice the governor's mansion a block over from the Capitol, although I don't know if you'll be able to see it. It was surrounded by a fence late last year due to restoration after an arsonist caused extensive damage.

Go to the Bob Bullock Texas History museum for the exhibits and tickets to the Story of Texas movie. There is also an IMAX theater there.

Tour campus, and go up in the tower as far as they'll allow. Access to the observation deck has changed over the years, due to the shootings by Charles Whitman in the 1960s and other safety reasons. It may be reopened now. Also, take a walk down by Darryl K. Royal Memorial Stadium, where the Longhorns play football. You can take pictures next to the large bronze longhorn statues across the street at the alumni center. Tour the LBJ library just east of campus.

Then, go to El Patio on Guadalupe Street for authentic TexMex food. It's been there and family owned since the 1950's? On another day, go to Dirty Martin's on Guadalupe for a greasy cheeseburger and homemade onion rings or fries. Dirty's (also called Martin's Kum Back place I think) has been there for more than 80 years. They play the best selection of music from the 60's/early 70's that I've ever heard.

A drive from Austin, but you should go to the Salt Lick in Driftwood for bbq. People usually bring a small cooler of iced down beer with them. The Salt Lick doesn't sell beer but allows you to bring your own.
The Salt Lick

Go see the Highland Lakes and stop at the park to look at Mansfield Dam, west of the city on RR2222 and then left onto 620. It was built decades ago to stop the flooding of downtown Austin. If you go late in the afternoon, you can end the day by watching the sunset, with a margarita in hand, from one of the decks at the Oasis. A pricier option would be Hudson's on the Bend for dinner, which I think would call for reservations. Lots of gourmet wild gamey things and good wine on the menu. Jeff Blank is the chef there, and is well-known.

A longer drive from Austin, and you can go to Fredricksburg, an old German settlement that is now filled with crafts stores and restaurants. Not so much to my liking, but a lot of people do. You might also enjoy Schlitterbahn water park in New Braunfels if you have kids with you. It's right on the Comal River, and you can take food for the day with you in an ice chest as long as you don't bring anything in glass containers, or can buy food at the park. http://www.schlitterbahn.com/nb/trip/ (broken link)

A further drive in another direction and you can visit the LBJ ranch in either Stonewall or Johnson City, can't remember which.

Are you limiting your visit to Austin, or do you have dates planned for other cities? San Antonio is a great place to visit...the Alamo, the Menger Hotel (Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders were supposedly recruited in the bar), and eat at Casa Rio on the Riverwalk.

Last edited by capcat; 04-19-2009 at 10:44 PM..
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:10 AM
Location: Knoxville, TN
729 posts, read 2,707,983 times
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Capcat must work for the tourism bureau!!! What great advice makes me want to go explore all those things (I have been here 6 yrs and have still not done ALL those things

Another suggestion would be the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in the S/W area. (Stop by on your way to the Salt Lick!!! Its right on the way
Hope you have a wonderful stay and a safe trip.

Last edited by AGA; 04-20-2009 at 06:11 AM.. Reason: added content
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:48 AM
Location: Austin, TX
151 posts, read 348,586 times
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I suggest spending a few hours in Hyde Park, a neighborhood located in central Austin about 15 blocks north of the UT campus. The neighborhood is centered roughly at E. 43rd St and Duval and includes a museum, a tiny business district, and a 110 year old 9-hole golf course (Hancock Park GC). A walk through the neighborhood will convey an Austin vibe that is drowned out elsewhere by strip malls and highrises. Check out the Elisabet Ney museum


which documents the life and work of one of the most amazing women of the 19th century. A German who fought sexism to get into the prestigious Munich Academy of Art, she made it her life's work to sculpt the great persons of her time. Her live subjects included the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, the composer Josef Joachim, and King Ludwig II of Bavaria. While in Texas she sculpted William Jennings Bryan, Sam Houston, and Stephen F. Austin. She spent a significant part of her life in Texas, and the museum was originally her Austin sculpture studio!

After seeing the museum, renew your energy with coffee and a great pastry a few blocks away at Quack's 43rd Street Bakery in the Hyde Park business district. My favorites are the Czech teacakes, but the chocolate eclairs are great, too. For a more substantial meal, I like Asti (Italian), Mother's (vegetarian), and Hyde Park Bar and Grill (mainstream American), all right there on Duval.

P.S. If here on a Thursday night, try out the weekly swing dance (all welcome, lessons given before the dance starts) a few blocks west of the UT campus:

Austin Swing Syndicate - Thursday Night at the Fed
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:55 AM
Location: Eugene, OR
83 posts, read 201,467 times
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A couple more:

Laguna Gloria museum. Very pretty grounds, small museum
Austin Museum of Art:

Rent a canoe and paddle around Town Lake (renamed Ladybird Lake)
Zilker Park Canoe Rentals, Austin, Texas
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Old 04-20-2009, 08:01 AM
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You can go all the way to the top of the UT Tower Observatory Deck now. They opened that to visitors several years ago but they only do tours on the hour. Best to call the Union and get times first because they only do tours on certain days during the spring semester and then days change during summer months.

Have Fun!!!
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:26 AM
Location: Texas
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For eats:

Kirby Lane. A must try is the pancakes-any time of day. Another favorite is Magnolia cafe.
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Old 04-20-2009, 11:49 AM
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Just to clarify, the Salt Lick is 12 miles south west of the wildflower center in driftwood.
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Old 04-20-2009, 04:21 PM
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The annual pun-off is on May 16th at the O'Henry museum. Tiny, but might be worth it to get a "real Austin" experience. You might even enter and even win a prize!

For eats, no visit to Texas would be complete without BBQ. From where your condo is, you'll be within walking distance of Iron Works BBQ, one of the best in town. In the same area, around the convention center, there is also Lambert's (upscale steaks/BBQ) and Moonshine (reasonable, great atmosphere).

Definitely walk around the Ladybird Lake trail.. the more active parts of the trail are several blocks west of where you are staying. You can rent kayaks and paddle around Ladybird Lake (actually a river). Check out the Whole Foods flagship store on 6th and Lamar.

For music, check out the Continental Club (SoCo area) and West 6th street / Warehouse district. You'll be closer to east 6th street, which is the famous strip of bars, but it's pretty crazy and full of college kids, so if you visit check it out during the day first... although the students might be gone by May 16th. That would be a good thing, 6th street will be a little more laid back. Antones would also be a good choice for music.

If you have a car, check out West Austin (drive to the Oasis for drinks/music -- Sunday night is Salsa night, which is fun)...
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Old 04-20-2009, 04:29 PM
Location: Central Texas
13,714 posts, read 31,184,310 times
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Good suggestions above - but I think Threadgills is perhaps 20 years running the most overrated eatery in Austin. Yeah I understand the history and legacy of the place but Chilis has better chicken fried steak.

Go to the Oasis and drink/snack there. The food is 20 years running mediocre at best.

Rent a boat or jetski on Lake Travis or take an evening boat ride.

Eat Chuys Special at the original Chuys on Barton Springs.

Eat crepes at Flip Happy Crepes.

Definitely see some music somewhere!
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