With a city-wide intention to “keep Austin weird,” it’s no wonder there is so much creativity and self-expression pulsing through the city’s streets! Everywhere we went it seemed as if there was something unique to watch, listen to, try on, taste and see. With so much awesomeness to choose from, we somehow managed to narrow it down to a list of our top favorites. In random order, here they are!
1. Probably one of our favorite sites of the entire trip, Castle Hill (post here) :
2. The “Hi how are you” frog, 5 minutes away from Castle Hill, is located on the side of a Thai restaurant fittingly named, Thai how are you? In 1993 the Sound Exchange record store commissioned Daniel Johnston to paint the iconic frog image, which had recently been made famous when Kurt Cobain wore a “Hi, How Are You?” t-shirt during Nirvana’s promotion of their 1991 album Nevermind.
Nicknamed, “The People’s Frog,” in 2004 it was almost demolished after Baja Fresh moved in and wanted to replace it with windows (boo). Making a long story short, a passionate group of Austintonians banned together, ultimately saving the wall and transforming it into an iconic symbol of the difference that one person can make in this world.
3. Take the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail around the Colorado River.
With more than 1.5 million visits a year, this 10-mile hike-and-bike trail is Austin’s most recognized and popular recreational area. With various places to stop and enjoy the sweeping views, we were even treated to a live band playing on a riverboat under the Congress Avenue Bat Bridge (a Summer must do)!
4. With food trucks galore, it’s hard to know which ones are most worth sinking your teeth into. If you’re looking for an awesome environment, great drinks and some of the best square pizza of life, VIA313 is where it’s at.
Located in the patio area of Craft Pride, which has 54 taps and 2 cask engines of only Texas Craft Beer, sits one of the most unassumingly delicious food trucks in all of Austin. Started by 2 Detroit brothers who were inspired by their memories of traditional Detroit-style pies from their youths, VIA313 serves up the most perfect pizza dough we have ever had.
1,000 crusts are prepared daily using the finest flours and classic baking techniques. The dough is baked in blue steel automotive parts pans, which are NEVER WASHED, giving the crust it’s irresistibly buttery crunch and chewy insides that Drew just couldn’t get enough of. He ordered The Cadillac, one of their top sellers, second only to The Detroiter (menu here):
This Detroit-style pizza, often referred to as the upside-down pizza, starts with the thick and chewy Sicilian crust layered with savory prosciutto, covered with a generous layer of gorgonzola cheese, topped with fig preserves, a sweet balsamic glaze drizzle and is finished off with a mound of fresh arugula, all sprinkled with shaved parmesan… as we travel in search of America’s Best Pizza, Drew placed this one in his #1 spot.
Serving up pizzas until midnight – 2am every night of the week (various locations here), you can be sure to find the time to check this one off your Bucket List!
5. Filled with various nicknacks and random memorabilia, you gotta stop by Planet K for their colorful murals and artful map of Austin. Epic city mural photo ops!? You can never have too many of those!
6. Looking for a great cafe in the hippest part of town with live music, another sweet mural to pose in front of and awesome shops to peruse in while sipping on your delicious Iced Turbo? The answer is always Jo’s Coffee in SoCo (post here):
7. Remember those awesome shops I mentioned above? Well, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds is one of them. Opened in 1984, these 8,000 sequin-covered square feet are decorated from floor to ceiling with just about every costume you could ever imagine.
We spent over 2 hours having a blast trying to find the next craziest thing! And somehow we spent $100 here… those sequins are hypnotizing!
8. Boat Lake Travis. Located just 45 minutes outside of Austin lies an oasis of tranquility and water sports galore! It’s the perfect day-trip for a much needed escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
9. Have something special to celebrate? Or perhaps you’re just looking for one of the best dining experiences Austin has to offer? Gardner, located in a quiet area off of 6th street, will be sure to leave you feeling culinarily inspired and immensely satisfied (mouthwatering post here).
We discovered the “Butter Half” mural while skimming over postcards at a local shop and decided that we HAD TO find it. Bring a tripod, have a blast with your friends/significant other and plan to laugh over your photos at Bennu Coffee, the 24-hour wifi cafe, located directly across the street!
So get on the “Cool Bus” and come find out what this unique city is all about! There’s more than enough “WEIRDNESS” to go around.