30 GREAT things to do in Central Texas

Posted on July 14, 2008. Filed under: -- Austin Related, -- Top 10..., -- Uncategorized, Texas | Tags: , , , , , |

30 great things to do in Central Texas

Because there’s no place like home for vacation

Hello friends! Thanks for checking out my blog. I want too be sure that ya’ll know that I got this article from the local Austin newspaper, the Austin Statesman, which is currently renovating their office, and is looking awesome.   The author’s information is below, so please do not think I’m the author =)
Sunday, July 13, 2008

There’s only one thing wrong with living in Central Texas: Living here means working here, and that means we sometimes don’t have time to do all those fun things that made us move here.

So, take a vacation at home this year and enjoy all the things this area has to offer. Here are 30 to get you started, many of them iconic Austin experiences.

1. See a vintage summer movie on the big screen at the Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. Tonight: “The Last Picture Show” and “Hud.” See the whole list on http://www.austintheatre.org.

2. Explore new parts of the Lady Bird Lake hike-and-bike trail. If you’re like me, you have one particular circuit you always hike or bike (or, in my case, trudge). Branch out and try new segments of the 10-mile trail. See a map at http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/parks/trails.htm.

3. Quick now, what state park is just minutes from Austin’s bustling downtown? McKinney Falls is sometimes overlooked as a getaway, but it’s there, tucked into the southeast corner of the city, closer than the airport. Two falls on Onion Creek form swimming holes, and trails, picnic spots and campsites dot the 744-acre wooded park. 808 McKinney Falls Parkway. 243-1643, http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

4. Take a good, long look at Lady Bird Lake on one of numerous cruises (daytime, sunset, dinner). Try Lone Star Riverboat, (512) 327-1388, or Capital Cruises at (512) 480-9264.

5. If you haven’t seen the terrific Beat Generation exhibit at the Ransom Center (300 W. 21st St. (512) 471-8944, http://www.hrc.utexas.edu), you have until Aug. 3. Don’t miss it.

6. Grab someone you love and drive up to Mount Bonnell (3800 Mount Bonnell Drive, off West 35th Street) at sunset. Climb to the top and, once you’ve caught your breath, bestow an eloquent declaration of your feelings.

7. Take a dip in Barton Springs Pool, then have a hippie sandwich at Shady Grove (1624 Barton Springs Road).

8. Find the round rock in Round Rock. It’s near Chisholm Trail Street in the middle of Brushy Creek. (It’s a rock on which the city’s founders sat and fished.)

9. Visit Aquarena Center, formerly Aquarena Springs, in San Marcos (921 Aquarena Springs Drive, (512) 245-7593, http://www.aquarena.txstate.edu). Alas, Ralph the Swimming Pig is no longer there, but you can still ogle algae, fish and turtles through the glass-bottom boats.

10. See why the Long Center (701 W. Riverside Drive) was worth the long wait. Austin Chamber Music Festival performances continue through July 26; for a list of all performances, visit http://www.thelongcenter.org.

11. Graze Whole Foods at Fifth Street and Lamar Boulevard. Chow on free samples, then decide what you’re having for dinner. Eat a scrumptious dessert on the rooftop and gaze across at Mecca health club. Fit City meets Fat City.

12. Drive out to Hamilton Pool (24300 Hamilton Pool Road off Texas 71 in Dripping Springs), one of the best swimming holes ever. Call (512) 264-2740 first to make sure it’s open.

13. Sit in on an Austin City Council meeting (10 a.m. Thursdays at 301 W. Second St.) Better: Find something on the agenda that makes you mad and sign up to speak about it.

14. Take a tour of Austin. Choose a Segway tour (699-6051, http://www.glidingrevolution.com or 402-9299, http://www.segcity.com), the amphibious Austin Duck Adventures (477-5274, http://www.austinducks.com), a ghost tour (853-9826, http://www.hauntedtexas.com) or a Texpert Tour (383-8989, http://www.texperttours.com), an insider tour of the Capitol or “weird Austin” with the incomparable Howie Richey.

15. Hit the outlet malls in San Marcos. They’re clustered around exit 200 off Interstate 35.

16. Visit one of the oldest museums in Texas, the Elizabet Ney Museum (304 E. 44th St. 458-2255). The 19th century sculptor’s former studio not only contains her portrait collection; it also tells her story, and it’s a unique one. The museum’s owned by the city, and it’s free.

17. Grab a burger and root beer float at Sandy’s (603 Barton Springs Road).

18. Cruise through IKEA in Round Rock (exit 256 off I-35) and find something you can’t live without. Then try finding your way out in less than 10 minutes.

19. When was the last time you went to the Continental Club (1315 S. Congress Ave.)? That’s too long ago. Dale Watson couldn’t stay away; you shouldn’t either.

20. Take yourself out to the ball game: Go to a Round Rock Express game at Dell Diamond. Don’t worry about the heat; most summer games are at night. Find them at http://www.roundrockexpress.com.

21. Get in touch with Texas writers and photographers with a visit to the Wittliff Collection at Texas State University in San Marcos. It’s hard to find, but there are good directions on thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu.

22. Visit the best dive in high-priced Austin: Dry Creek Saloon, 2912 Mount Bonnell Road. Unfortunately, Sarah Ransom’s no longer there to yell at you to bring your empty beer bottles back downstairs. But it’s still cool.

23. See a free demonstration of glass blowing at Wimberley Glass Works, 6469 RM 12 at Hugo Road. (800-929-6686)

24. Drive half an hour to Kreuz Market in Lockhart (619 N. Colorado St. at U.S. 183) and have yourself a fine piece of brisket or shoulder clod. Then stop at the farm stand about a block north on U.S. 183 and see if they have any peaches left.

25. Go to any local coffee shop — Little City, Sweetish Hill, Jo’s Coffee, Austin Java — and eavesdrop on coffee-stoked conversations. (It’s hard not to.)

26. Don’t forget the bats. Until about October, the bats pour out from under the Congress Avenue bridge at about dusk. Coolest place to watch them on a hot summer night: The Lobby Bar at the Four Seasons, which has balconies with views of the bridge.

27. Check out the history of firefighting at the Georgetown Firefighters Museum at 816 Main St.

28. Visit the charming Austin Zoo (10807 Rawhide Trail; see http://www.austinzoo.org for directions) and find Tink, the tortoise that runs. (Now they need to get a slacker hare.)

29. Go to the Capitol, find a guard and ask him or her if the building’s haunted. You’re likely to hear some interesting stories. (If not, ask a different guard.)

30. Grab dinner and some music at Threadgill’s at 301 W. Riverside Drive. It’s near where the Armadillo World Headquarters stood and keeps up the revered venue’s spirit.

handers@statesman.com; 912-2590


2 Responses to “30 GREAT things to do in Central Texas”

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this is the best by far. thanks 🙂

I’m in the miltary-stationed at ft. hood- and am looking for a place/places to escape for a day or two. i’ll be travelling w/ a friend, and we’re both on tight budgets. We’d like to get away from and just relax…1-2 hrs. drive. Any suggestions/things to do? I appreciate your input and could definitely use some help, as neither one of us are from texas.

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