Updated: Jul 25, 2020
Alright y'all. I realized I've been posting about lots of exotic places, and haven't been giving much attention to our hometowns!
Rasmus | Hometown Austin, Texas
If you are headed to Austin, you are going to love it. This has got to be one of my favorite cities of all time. And clearly lots of other people love it too, according to Rasmus -- 150 people are moving in everyday.
Rasmus went to high school in Austin (Anderson High School) and loves bringing me back here in the summer to hangout with his parents are their sweet pups. Janni and Peter live on a golf course and we've been having fun golfing this summer and chillaxing!
If you are stopping in for a visit, these are my top recommendations.
Things To Do
Congress Bridge Bats
Seeing the bats come from the bridge impressive. According to Visit Austin:
Starting in late March and continuing through early fall, North America's largest urban bat population calls Austin home. The bats begin to wake up and start their night flight around sunset. The first few bats begin to trickle out from under the bridge then. After the sun sets, the show really begins, and hundreds to thousands of bats pour out and cascade East over Lady Bird Lake.
It's awesome to watch the mass exodus of the bats around sunset and then hang out at the adjacent bars in the Congress area. Downtown is also beautiful when it is lit up at night!
This recreational area is known for its fishing, hiking and swimming. It is a great day excursion and fun way to cool off. Walking upstream we saw lots of fish and different wild life. Bring your water shoes!
Barton Springs Pool
This pool is natural water coming from the Barton Springs. And it is a great way to get some sun and relax. It's the fourth-largest natural spring in Texas and you could easily spend half a day here, weather permitting. Bring a picnic and go for it!
Lady Bird Lake
If you are a water sports person this is a great option. Paddling or kayaking on Lady Bird Lake is a blast. It's really fun to paddle on the calm water with the skyline behind you. There are lots of turtles, raccoons and other furry creatures about. When Rasmus and I went he had to save a couple of guys who capsized their canoe and couldn't swim LOL. A day on Lady Bird lake is always an adventure. Just google places to rent a water toy.
This is a famous spot in ATX. To get this view, google the location. It'll take you to a small parking lot right off the highway. It's a beautiful view, I'd recommend a sunrise excursion.
Blues on the Green
This is an awesome free concert series that Austin puts on in Zilker Park throughout the summer. If you travels are lucky enough to fall on a concert-- don't miss out. This is a great way to relax and see a tiny bit of the Austin music scene. Austin is known for its music festivals!
May 1 to October 1 this well is open to the public for swimming, although you can visit year-round. According to Visit Wimberley:
The artesian spring, Jacob's Well, is a favorite swimming spot in Wimberley and is also the head waters to Cypress Creek. The water is supplied to the spring by the Trinity aquifer, some 140 feet below the surface. Year round the water temperature is a constant 68(f) degrees. The cave system below is extremely dangerous to explore which has led to several SCUBA casualties in the past. Only permitted cave diving research professionals are now allowed to dive Jacob's Well. Their effort has charted the cave system to nearly 140 feet deep and almost a mile in length!
We visited in June, and it was beautiful! Be sure to bring a bathing suit and some sunscreen.
This is a "unique outdoor community park providing space for colorful murals with inspirational messaging." These pictures are from June 2017. This park was open to the public and tons of people with spray cans would come in and paint. Sadly, the park is closing. But they are planning to open a new location this year near the airport at Carson Creek Ranch. One of the walls from the original location will be moved to the new space.
I am literally buying a suitcase this trip so I can get all my goodies home with me. That is how bad it is! The shopping here is STELLAR. I got a golf skirt yesterday for $2.99, one time for the people in the back-- TWO NINETY-NINE!!!
If you're a shopper like me, you are going to love Austin!
Round Rock Outlets
If you love sale shopping-- Round Rock will be a treat. They've got a Nike, GAP, and Buckle which are my usual offenders. But there are great finds here! Rasmus got a pair of brand new size 14 basketball shoes for $50-- say whaaat.
An awesome outdoor mall; they've got incredibly high-end shops like Tiffany, Tesla, and a million things I could never afford. But they also have some super cool breweries, everyday shopping spots like Nordstrom Rack, and hangout areas that are outside. They even have some night clubs, which makes this a super popular place in the evening. They also have a movie theatre there (IPIC Domain) that has a full restaurant service while you are eating, thanks Janni for that treat!
The Arboretum is another top spot. Some of my favorite shopping is the thrift store shopping; the goodwills and consignment shops often have expensive brands and great little finds-- the Plato's Closet in Arbor Walk is one of my favorites, and the Exchange of Georgetown is another secret spot!
Sixth street, also known as "Dirty Sixth," is one of the most iconic streets in Austin. It's known for its variety of bars, ones filled with games, dollar tequila shots, karaoke, and dancing! If you're looking to really get crazy on the town, this is your stop.
This is probably my favorite place to hang out in Austin. I love Rainey (and so does everyone else!) It's a historic avenue in Austin, where the old homes built in the 1800s have been turned into hip bars. Lots of homes have large porches and backyards for people to hangout. There are string lights every and just generally chill vibes.
There are tons of food trucks, think donuts, shwarma, pad Thai, and curry. And even better restaurants! If you're looking for something light or a treat, I'd recommend a food truck. Otherwise, walk down the street and find a spot on the patio of a restaurant. We went to Bangers last time which is a sausage house with fantastic craft beers and kombucha. As for bars, I love the Parlor Room & the Container Bar! I love group games like giant Jenga, corn hole, and shuffleboard, all of which can be found in this historic district.
My Favorite Murals
L o v e F r o m A u s t i n
Magnolia Cafe, 1920 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX
I just think this mural is adorable. This photo is from 2017 when I was exploring with Abby.
i l o v e y o u s o m u c h.
1300 S. Congress
This is quite possibly the most iconic mural in Austin. I had to drag Rasmus here because being from Austin, this was a bit too touristy for him! Nonetheless, I think it's a must stop. It's right outside Joe's Coffee which is a super cute outdoor coffee spot with a killer macadamia nut latte.
Austin is so dang artsy. There are hundreds of murals. If you want to see some other favorites go to A Taste of Koko's link to see some more faves.
Austin is such a foodie town. In fact, I feel like the term foodie maybe came from Austin. If you are looking for a good place to eat, you've come to the right city. If you get on TripAdvisor you will probably find a ton of reviews from me.
I am not going to recommend any high-end restaurants, because there are a trillion, check TripAdvisor or Yelp. But I am going to recommend some of the local favorites, particularly, Rasmus' favorite. Ras is a huge fan of "texmex," don't get it confused with "mex" or "new mex." It is its very own breed of food, a hybrid of sorts.
For example, have you ever heard of a breakfast taco? When Rasmus asked me that, I said "you mean burrito?" And he said no, "a breakfast taco."
Breakfast tacos are totally a Texas thing, I still prefer my Golden Pride burrito in ABQ, but you've got to try one from Rudy's while in Austin. It's literally a taco with breakfast food in it... mind blown.
Rasmus' favorite quick stops include Torchy's Tacos, Chuy's, and Gordos. Don't leave without stopping at Torchy's, any Austonite will shame you after the fact if you forget! Chuy's is an awesome spot for a late afternoon margarita and some texmex. And Gordo's is a famous donut food truck! Be sure to explore the food trucks.
Thanks for reading my hometown series part I! Super excited to share my part II series on Albuquerque, New Mexico, my hometown. I am still piecing it together for you.
Happy Summer Y'all!