I can’t believe how hot it was in Austin! I suspect one’s body gets used to the temperatures where one lives, because the locals didn’t seem nearly as bothered as we were by the triple digit temperatures (102-104 degrees F, 38-40 C, throughout our stay). In fact, more than once we heard them asking restaurant hostesses for a table outside. OUTSIDE? We shook our heads in disbelief. But then my husband reminded me that when we had first arrived at the San Francisco Bay Area, we thought it was way too cold. Summers were especially disappointing – with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, you don’t really FEEL summer, I used to complain.
Well, I got used to it, and now can’t really tolerate hot weather.
But I loved Austin.
If you can visit Austin in the spring, that would be awesome. But if you can’t choose the date of your visit, Austin summer is doable. If I survived it, anyone can. 🙂
Keep Austin Weird
Austin is the capital of Texas, home to the University of Texas at Austin and to a growing high tech industry. Austin is also the “Live Music Capital of the World” and a haven for individualism. The marketing campaign “Keep Austin Weird,” created to support local businesses, has received a meaning that goes far beyond the original intent – it has become a message of support for people and groups that are not mainstream.
Austin also seems to be in love with all things skeletal/occult:
We tried typical local diners and restaurants, such as Magnolia Cafe, where we had huge pancakes for breakfast:
And Oasis Restaurant, with its gorgeous views of Lake Travis:
There were water sprays everywhere, ruining perfectly good blowouts but giving people some hope of cooling off:
Beer helps too:
Unlike many locals, we opted to dine indoors, missing the beautiful views but keeping our core body temperature at non-life-threatening levels.
We wondered if we could find gourmet food in Austin, and indeed we did- at Uchi, where you have to wait for a table at least an hour if you don’t have a reservation (many thanks to our wonderful concierge for getting us a table!) We went with the three-hour, ten-course tasting menu. It was one of the best meals we’ve ever had:
Of course, if you’re in a hurry, food trucks are always an option:
The “Keep Austin Weird” campaign has been successful, to judge by the many local businesses we found along South Congress Avenue.
We walked along the avenue for as long as we could stand the heat (which wasn’t very long), trying on costumes at Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds:
And admiring the large selection of cowboy boots at Allen’s Boots:
Of course we ended up buying a pair of pink cowgirl boots for our daughter!
We shopped ’till we dropped – here I am forcing a smile for the camera, but pretty close to declaring it’s time to find an air conditioned space:
See this jeans ad from Allen’s Boots?
You would think it’s just Jason Aldean, the country singer, looking like this, but most of the locals – at least the young men – look exactly like him. Very cute! The young women are blond and very tall. My own foreignness was definitely reinforced in Texas, where I look nothing like the locals. At least here in the Bay Area I blend in visually. 🙂
Austin’s 6th street
6th Street between Congress and IH 35 is Austin’s entertainment center and the heart of Austin’s live entertainment scene. It is also lined with many historical houses and commercial buildings dating from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. These buildings now house mostly bars, live entertainment venues, tattoo parlors, art galleries, and casual cafes. We strolled along the street on our last night in Austin. While it’s not exactly my cup of tea, it’s definitely an interesting place that draws an eclectic crowd. It reminded me of Bourbon Street in New Orleans, sans the “It’s OK to drink on the street” signs. Here’s a little collage of what we saw, plus the gorgeous view of Lady Bird Lake from our hotel room:
I enjoyed my weekend in Austin. But my next visit will be in the spring.:-)