Saturday, February 20, 2010

Austin, TX

  • Trip Destination: Austin TX
  • Location: 3 hr drive south of Dallas, or 1 hr drive from San Antonio, TX
  • Time of the year: Feb 2010
  • Season: Spring
    Duration of the trip: 2 days (weekend)
  • Weather of the day: Sunny on day 1, overcast on day 2

I planned on spending the weekend at Austin simply because it was a town I had not visited before. I did not have any specific things to see / do there or have any expectations about the city. But what it turned out to be was a great surprise and a wonderful experience, bring Austin right into the top 20% of my favorite places to live in the US.

Friday, 10 PM

I reached Austin, and checked into hotel Radisson. It was a decent place but I expected it to be fancier. The good part about my room was that it was facing the river, and on the 8th floor. The hotel was also really crowded with a whole bunch of school kids all over the place. The reason, I discovered the next morning. The place charges $15 per day for parking, and $22 for valet (which I thought was nothing short of robbery). Choose the valet if you have a big car, or if you are not comfortable driving your car on a tight spiral up to the 4th floor of the parking lot.

Saturday 8 AM

I woke up to faint sounds of bugles and trumpets coming from somewhere. Feeling too lazy to get up and investigate, I tried my best to guess what it was about. Curiosity and sleep fought to control my senses. Finally, unable to deal with the conflict, I turned the pillow over, pulled the sheets over my head, and went back to sleep.

Saturday 8:30 AM

I finally decided to investigate the sounds, and walked over to the window. The sight outside was stunning! The whole street was packed with people, kids running around! Seemed like the place turned into a carnival overnight!! I turned the TV on and found out that it was a scouts parade. I got dressed, went downstairs, and took pictures.


After a heavy breakfast at TGIF’s, I met the helpful concierge who took me through the different things to see and do in Austin, including getting a haircut (I asked her that). The haircut itself was in this really cool part of the city, down congress avenue, with little shops selling t-shirts, and jewelry, stalls selling lemonade, and small old fashioned restaurants. It was like an old part of town, untouched by time. Awesome place!

Saturday 2 PM.

After a shower, I got into my car and started off towards Lake Travis taking Hwy 2222. The road itself was beautiful, and I took some pictures at certain vista points.



The area around Lake Travis has a lot of things to do like camping, kayaking, etc. I just drove around the area, checked out a dam nearby, and some other places around the area, and returned to my room at about 6 PM.

Saturday, 8 PM

I was keen to checkout the night life in Austin, specifically 6th street. My concierge had given me information on places worth visiting. I also got a lot of useful information from Harry.

After grabbing a quick bite, I went to 6th street, and walked up and down visiting different bars and restaurants. The whole street was abuzz with people and activity. Its just feel so cool just to be there! I visited about 3-4 places on 6th street itself, the prominent one being Pete’s dueling piano bar. This place was great entertainment with the 4 talented musicians belting out some country classics, and also keeping the crowd entertained with their taunting of each other and the people in the crowd. There is so much of liveliness, live bands, food, and a variety of things to do on 6th street that I felt great being there even though I was alone. IF you are here with a group of friends there is no reason to end the night till it is night no more.

At about 11:30, I went over to another place called Cedar street courtyard, where an 80’s cover band called Suede was playing. They totally rocked!! Check out their website.


The whole town was alive and vibrant even at 2 AM when i left that club. Dint feel like returning, but my legs were sore from standing / walking for the last 5 hrs. I came back to the room, famished, ate the sandwich that I got to-go, and hit the bed.

Sunday 9 AM.

Woke up to a cold and overcast Sunday, and decided to run along the river. It was a great trail. I don’t know how far i ran…but it was pretty far. Far enough that I started getting cramps. I kept walking till I landed at Chuy’s restaurant for lunch. Apart from amazing chips and salsa, their cheese rellenos and enchilada combo was spectacular.

I walked back to the hotel, and took a short nap, and woke up just in time for the super bowl. But Chuy’s was still in my mind. So I went back to the same place for dinner during half time (and hence missed all the ads) and ordered the rellenos again, washing it down with the house margarita while watching the saints had their fantastic win at the superbowl.

Recommended places at Austin:

1. Chuys

2. Petes piano bar

3. Cedar Street Courtyard

4. Pretty much all of 6th st.

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