The Austin Guide
The Music Capital has plenty to offer aside from the bars, restaurants, concert venues, and street corners offering music from every genre. So, our Austin guide is designed to provide a bit of everything, even it is off of 6th Street!
Keep Austin Weird
From the birthplace of Whole Foods to the million bats that take up temporary residence, Austin has made a name for itself. Keep Austin Weird is not just a saying, it's a lifestyle. We're providing those offbeat events and lifestyle opportunities in our Austin guide.
Not only that, though, we'll offer up some dining suggestions, discounts, senior citizen activities, information for Austin newcomers, and more.
Occupied for hundreds of years
Native American tribes including the Tonkawas, Comanches, and Lipan Apaches occupied the Barton Springs area for centuries. But, in the 18th century, Spanish Missions started to pop up followed by the first settlers in the 1830s.
The settlers originally called the area Waterloo. However, when Waterloo was chosen as the capital of the new Republic of Texas, it was renamed after Stephen F. Austin. Austin was considered to be the "father of Texas."
The first Mayor, Judge Edwin Waller, laid out the plans for the street configurations and they're still primarily intact. Of course, that's much to the chagrin of the daily commuters who have to slow down to a crawl as they navigate the downtown area.
Metro Austin-Round Rock
Although Round Rock would be considered as a suburb of Austin, the two areas adjacent areas comprise a much larger metropolitan area with more than two million residents.
Other suburban areas include Pflugerville, Lakeway, Brushy Creek, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, Shady Hollow, Bee Cave, Leander, Georgetown, Dripping Springs, and Barton Creek, just to name a few.
Best Place to Live in the US
For two years in a row (2017 and 2018), U.S. News & World Report chose Austin as the best place to live in the United States. The designation was based on a survey as well as information from the Census, Bureau of Labor statistics, FBI Crime Reports, and other criteria.
Austin provides a welcome mix of job availability, affordability, education quality, and commute proximity. Not to mention that even suburbanites enjoy a fairly quick drive into the city if their job permits.
Quality of Life
By the fact that Austin was designated as one of the best places to live in the United States, you can imagine that the quality of life is appealing.
Between Lady Bird Lake and Barton Creek as well as University of Texas sports, the home of SXSW, and amazing shopping at the Domain and South Congress Street, Austin seems to have it all!
Bookmark our Austin guide to stay current with all of the goings-on in this amazing city! Whether you want to embrace the "weirdness" or not, you're sure to find plenty to keep you busy.
Austin Guide to Arts and Entertainment
We already mentioned that Austin is more than the music it's known for as it has bustling and diverse Arts & Entertainment community. You should be able to find something unique and fun to do every day of the week.
We strive to feature as many events in our Austin guide as possible, but the list is nearly endless with plays, musicals, comedy, ballet, concerts, museums, Shakespeare outdoors, and so much more.
You don't have to wait for the annual Moontower Comedy Festival each April to have some good laughs. Capitol City is a name that comedy fans in Austin are extremely familiar with as it hosts top national comedians.
But, Cap City isn't the only comedy game in town. ColdTowne Theater and Esther's Follies are just a few of the offbeat venues that host hilarious new and established comedians and comediennes, as well as improv troupes.
Austin Plays and Musicals
As the Austin area's seat filler, we've come to know the Austin theater community very well. While Austin may be known as the "music capital," we've found it to be more the "theater capital" than anything else. Our members have enjoyed shows of all genres, shapes, and sizes.
Not all of the theaters in Austin do use seat fillers, but many have offered OTL members the opportunity to be introduced to their beautiful venue and unique, quality shows throughout the years.
Theaters and more theaters
From the prominence of the Long Center to the centrally located but more intimate Zach Theater, Austinites embrace their theater community. There's a long list of venues as well as theater troupes that range from City Theatre and the Vortex to Different Stages, the Vanguard, and other troupes that put their individual styles on the stage.
Practically every small community surrounding the city has its own stage productions. There's the Sam Bass Community Theatre in Round Rock, the Georgetown Palace in nearby Georgetown, and the Opera House in Bastrop.
We could go on and on listing out opportunities to catch a play, a musical or an improv performance, but we'll leave that to the event calendars and articles in our Austin guide.
Entertainment Keeping Austin Weird
We've got to come clean here. After all, Austin is in Texas even though it seems like a world of its own.
In addition to the classics like theater, ballet, opera, and more, Austin does host some "interesting" events like Chicken shit bingo. Yes, you read that correctly. The Little Longhorn Saloon offers it on Sundays as an all-ages event. Come on.. you know you want to go now, don't you?!
Ok, maybe chicken shit bingo doesn't appeal to you. How about Christmas?
Lala's in North Austin allows you to immerse yourself in the holiday year-round. Twinkling lights, plastic elves, and the big bold decorations that usually only come out in December are on display, even in June. If that's not enough to entice you, their famous bloody mary's might do the trick.
The Museum of the Weird, the Cathedral of Junk, they may not be the Louvre but, if you want to be entertained, you're in luck!
Austin Area Sports
Austin may not be known for hosting the biggest names in sports. But, it does provide a well-rounded menu of minor league and collegiate teams and events.
The University of Texas not only offers the most popular sports like basketball and football, but Longhorn sports covers the gamut. Rowing, soccer, softball, golf, cross country, swimming, and tennis are just a few of the other events that you can catch in their respective seasons.
The Austin Toros are the NBA's D-League team. The Round Rock Express provides exciting Triple-A baseball that's just one notch down from the major league Texas Rangers. If you're a hockey fan, you've got the AHL's Texas Stars.
Of course, need we remind you again that this is Texas. Rodeo Austin is where "Weird meets Western" every March.
Our Austin Guide provides calendars of popular sporting events as well as some ticket recommendations.
Outdoor Austin Guide
With an average annual temperature of nearly 70 degrees and plenty of lakes, parks, and hiking trails, you can be sure that outdoor living prevails in Austin.
Of course, when it comes to the 95 degree days of August, if some type of water isn't involved, air conditioning may be preferable, but there's no lack of that either.
Zilker Park is "Austin's moved-loved park." That may be because it offers so many activities all in one area. The natural spring-fed Barton Springs Pool maintains an average 68 degrees year round. The Hillside Theater is the home of Shakespeare in the Park. Additionally, it's the host venue for the annual Summer musical.
The Austin City Limits Music Festival is also a Zilker tradition as is the 155-foot holiday tree and Trail of Lights.
The Austin Parks and Recreation Department also provides two skate parks. One is at the Mabel Davis District Park. The other is adjacent to the Austin Recreation Center.
Southern Walnut Creek Trail
If you're interested in taking a nature walk or maybe a run or bike ride, the Southern Walnut Creek Trail awaits you. It's a twisty maze of trees and seasonal foliage that provides a breathtaking backdrop for your activities.
Many of Austin's outdoor facilities are free and provide fun for Austinites and guests of all ages.
Of course, we could talk about some of the most upscale dining experiences in Austin. After all, you've got well-known and highly rated restaurants like The Driskill, The Carillon, Truluck's, and Uchi.
But, let's stick with the slightly offbeat nature of Austin. While the list of restaurants goes on and on, there are a few standouts that bear attention.
Gourdough's is known for incorporating doughnuts into a meal. Fried chicken on a doughnut, hamburgers on doughnuts, anything goes at Gourdough's.
The Ski Shores Cafe is the perfect spot for Lake Austin waterskiers and boaters to grab a burger. Pull up dockside and settle in for drink specials and munchies. If you arrive by car, it's just not as cool.
Nau's Enfield Drugstore has been an Austin standby since 1951. When you walk through the doors, you'll feel like you've been time-warped back to the 50s with the soda fountain that offers the best ice cream sodas around. These aren't pseudo-sodas. This is the real thing made with seltzer and love!
Our Austin guide to dining options is going to be our labor of love. We look forward to continuously adding to the suggestions and restaurant recommendations. If you have a tip, a dining discount to offer or a review, please send it to us for inclusion.
The Austin Miscellaneous
Birthplace of Whole Foods
It was back in 1978 when four local businesspeople felt that the area was ready for a natural foods grocery store. Whole Foods grew from its $45,000 seed money, one store, and 19 employees to a multi-billion dollar company. There are currently 470 Whole Foods locations in the US, Canada, and United Kingdom.
The Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan area is the 33rd largest metro area in the United States. From 2010 to 2015, it was the fourth fastest-growing region.
It's always bigger in Texas
The Texas State Capitol building was built to be 10 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol. It's made of pink granite from Marble Falls.
Texas grocer, H-E-B, may be the number one employer in the area with 13,453 on the payroll. But, Dell isn't far behind with over 12,000 employees based in Round Rock.