Austin you truly are a one-of-a-kind shining star in Texas, and I felt it the most while driving away. I loved your people, your music, your food, your coworking scene, an your ability to progressively embrace change. You’ve got a lot of good energy, and I couldn’t ask for a better place to spend the month of May.
I rented a small studio off of Barton Springs Blvd, very close to Barton Springs (a natural pool with fresh warm water), Zilker Park, local cafes and restaurants/bars (many with outdoor seating and live music) a bike rental place, and so much more. Definitely a sweet escape that just so happens to be close to everything.
I worked out of cafes and officially out of 2 coworking spaces, although I spent time in 3 spaces total. I went to an art show hosted out of VUKA, a collaborative and creative space that had coworking during the day and unique events in the evening. There I met artists, art enthusiasts, and the owners of CollabnArt, a company that produces out-of-the-box interactive shows.
The following week I ended up meeting up with a friend, Mike Simmons, who I originally met in Baltimore but happened to be passing through Austin for a conference. We found the first coworking space I actually worked out of, Conjunctured, located over on the east side. We met the owners, David and Thomas, and were impressed with how eclectic the space was. It’s the first coworking space in Austin, so is has a bit of history to it, remodeled out of what used to be a residential house. A great place to find entrepreneurs of all walks of life, and very easy to strike up conversation. Within walking distance to great restaurants and food trucks. Loved it!
I attended a Refresh Austin event that led me to the second coworking space I officially worked out of, which was Capital Factory, located in downtown Austin. This is the space for startups and the tech scene. The space has everything needed to keep you there and working on your next big idea, including unlimited snacks, phone-booth-style call rooms, soda, coffee, and a list of other amenities. I worked here for a couple days, and liked that there were several local restaurants and coffee shops within walking distance. It made meeting people after business hours very easy.
THINGS YOU MUST DO
Jump into Barton Springs and enjoy the fresh water. In fact, spend as much time here as you can. There is a bike/run trail that takes you around the outskirts of downtown, parks that are connected by the trail, and also the opportunity to rent canoes, kayaks and paddle boards. Good times all around.
Listen to live music, anywhere. Pick up the local paper to find out whats happening in town and see a schedule. Also take note of the local restaurants and bars that you walk by or pass en route to other places. A lot of them have a line up or schedule for the night or the week. Checking their website out will lead to more insights. Shady Grove on Barton Springs Blvd has live music every Thursday night outdoors. Also enjoyed Threadgills on Riverside Drive, and Blues on the Green in Zilker Park.
There are these infamous bats that reside under the South Congress Street Bridge downtown. They stir at sunset and then follow each other off into the approaching night sky over the Austin skyline. There is a man there, known to many as “Batman,” who is deaf and will show you where to stand on the bridge to best see the bats. Let him guide you to the best spot, accept one of his buttons and make a donation of $3 – $5. It’s worth it and a good way to pay it forward. Then watch in marvel as the sleeping bats wake and head out into the night.
EAT GOOD FOOD
Now, I am a more of a health nut, so my choices were definitely on the healthy side, but if you are a foodie, you should live it up in Austin. There are good barbeque and other good eats all over. You literally can’t go wrong. Use a app like Yelp or Urban Spoon to find local recommendations or a palette that satisfies your appetite. Then go in and try it out.
Places I went:
– Uncorked Tasting Room & Wine Bar (fabulous hummus and olives)
– Takoba (vegan taco is AMAZING)
– East Side Showroom (nice late night spot, 1920s style, Old Fashions)
– Easy TIger (homemade breads and sausage, even a vegetarian sausage)
– Houndstooth Coffee (said to be the best espresso in Austin)
– Beets Cafe (raw vegan awesomeness!)
– Shady Grove Restaurant (outdoor seating, live music, margaritas)
– JuiceLand (freshly made juice and raw vegan food to go)
– The Rattle Inn (drinks, rooftop deck, great view of the city)
Something else I thoroughly enjoyed was getting over to the downtown farmer’s market (Saturday mornings). Loads of fresh produce, including sprouts, and local eats. Made having some food to cook at home very easy.
I used Meetup.com to join Austin Explorers and the rest was history. Through this group I was instantly invited to happy hours, and other out-of-the-box events like indoor rock climbing and a 80’s music adult skate night party. This definitely helped to keep my Austin experience weird.
Austin is a place you have to experience to fully understand the energy that thrives within the city limits. Put on your list of places to visit, and be sure to stay in a local neighborhood to truly make your time there authentic.