What’s so exciting about Austin? Suratna Budlakoti reflects on his seven years in the city.
Yes. Above all, the weirdness. Austin takes its weirdness so seriously that someone wrote a book about it . For obvious examples of this weirdness visit the ‘Museum of the Weird’ on Sixth Street, or the Cathedral of Junk in South Austin. For nature’s contribution to this weirdness, don’t miss the bats of S. Congress Bridge. But when Austinites use the word `weird’ to describe Austin, they can mean it in more subtle ways, such as its unique culture, built around food, music, and more recently, movies. Austin has over a thousand music venues, and hundreds of independent restaurants and food joints. Besides these, there is a growing independent movie scene, with the Alamo movie theatre, and the SXSW film festival. It is absolutely impossible to sample all that Austin has to offer on these fronts in a couple of days. But one can try!
- The Music
Close to the University of Texas campus, the 4th-6th Streets is where most of Austin’s nightlife resides, as does its live music scene. Get on a Pub Crawler for a quick alcohol-infused tour of the vicinity, or simply walk down 6th Street after 10:00 pm (or even 2:00 am) till you hear music that you find interesting. For a more organized experience, check out the music calendar in which is always full. As the music scene winds down, head over to Magnolia or Kerbey Lane Cafe, Austin’s two 24-hour restaurants.
For a more laidback alternative, drive down to Mozart’s, scenically located on the shore of Lake Austin, for coffee, cake and wonderful live music. Wrap up the evening with dinner and margaritas at Hula Hut, the Mexican and Polynesian cuisine restaurant next door.
There’s also the massively popular Austin City Limits music festival held over two weekends in October.
- The Food
Your best bet for finding a restaurant you are sure to like is to get a copy of the Fearless Critic Austin Restaurant Guide book, or to download their app. Any restaurant rated 8 or above is probably worth a visit.
Alamo Drafthouse is a dine-in movie theatre with excellent beer choices, and events you would not associate with a normal movie theatre. Bad movie mocking is a veritable tradition here, with Master Pancake that combines bad movies with a live comedy duo. Quote-alongs and sing-alongs allow you to take a more than usual active part in movie proceedings. Or if you have taken Austin’s love of weirdness to heart, try Alamo’s Weird Wednesdays for movies ‘depraved and disreputable’.
Need more reasons to visit Austin? To learn more about the city and plan your trip, please check our Austin page.