I have always been one to live by the terms, “Go Big or Go Home” and the same stays true whenever I decide to have an unhealthy eating day. While I am all for eating healthy and being active, every now and then it is good to just throw caution to the wind and indulge. If you are going to eat bad, might as well do it right. I hope you enjoy the many delicious stops along this list as you defy dieting.
Whether you’re training for the Austin Livestrong Marathon or you’re a weekend huffer, there are plenty of places to hit the road and put in a couple miles before work. For beginners, you can try the friendly trails around Auditorium Shores. The 3.2-mile loop from the South First Bridge down to the Mopac Bridge is the best place for newbie runs or quick tune-ups. The trail also offers 7 and 10 miles loops for the more experienced and eager, but you’ll be safe keeping it to 3.2 miles with two water stops along the way and a RunTex nearby. You’ll also gain inspiration from all the other runners along the trail. Learn more.
Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail
The Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail offers a stunning 3 miles of terrain in Central Austin (6 for a round trip). It’s a little bit less groomed than the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike so be prepared to do some root and rock dodging along the way. You park at the trailhead at 2600 N. Lamar Blvd or pick up the trail from Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike between Caesar Chavez and Lamar Blvd. Learn more.
Brushy Creek Trail
The Brushy Creek Trail is a great gravel-paved trail located in the Avery Ranch area of Austin, TX. Running parallel to Brushy Creek and offering 2.5 miles one-way, Brushy Creek Trail offers adequate biking, running, and walking in a pet friendly atmosphere. Learn more.
Barton Creek Greenbelt
The Barton Creek Greenbelt is Austin’s largest green space right in the heart of the city. Beginning at Zilker Park, the trail leads southwest through 7.25 miles of dense foliage, limestone cliffs and various waterfalls through the greenbelt. This trail is usually heavily populated by mountain bikers and contains some rough terrain by the Mopac/360 trailhead. But once you get down alongside Barton Creek, it’s easy going. During the summer months, the Barton Creek Greenbelt offers shade but is usually very humid due to the canopy overhead. It is considered the 7th best trail in the state of Texas. Learn more.
Travis Heights Neighborhood
Depending on where you live/work, running in residential neighborhoods are a great bet for steady running with no limit on mileage. One of the better neighborhoods in town for running is the Travis Heights neighborhood. Offering arteries of quiet residential streets, this safe, hilly neighborhood is residential running at its best. You can follow along Blunn Creek or run along the South Congress entertainment district. Learn more.
McKinney Falls State Park
The McKinney Falls State Park is a truly picturesque area in Southeast Austin that is host to running trails, water falls (if you catch the season right), some Austin history and “Old Baldy” one of the oldest bald cypress trees held on public land. Both running trails, the Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail and the Homestead Trail provide several miles of terrain as well as several hundred feet in elevation gain. There is an entrance fee of $6, but it’s well worth the cost, as this is one of Austin’s hidden gems. Learn more.
Hyde Park Neighborhood (Alphabet Streets)
While Travis Heights is a bastion for residential running to the south, the Hyde Park neighborhood’s alphabet streets offer equal safety and terrain for central Austin. Avenues A – G run parallel from 38th Street all the way to 51st and sometimes beyond. A run through these quiet, residential street leaves plenty of time for deep contemplation. Learn more.
The start of the year is always filled with hope and ambition for what lies ahead. I hope that 2013 brings you a year filled with countless Austin adventures. Austin is a city absolutely alive with activities, there is something for everyone. For those of you that set resolutions along the lines of “get out more” or “explore Austin” I have complied a list of 13 things you must do in 2013. Completing this list will get you on your way to being a local expert!
Ah, the days of 14-hours-of-sunlight are winding down, and that can only mean one thing: summer is almost over. Okay, okay, the heat will stick around in Central Texas until well into what the calendar designates as “Fall”, but we say summer is over when the kids go back to school. So, what should you do with your remaining days of (theoretically) unstructured bliss? Make an end-of-summer-2012 bucket list, of course!
Boasting a recent facelift, SCVB is a great family getaway on the shores of Lake Travis. Start off with a picnic (no uncooked foods, please) on their sandy beachfront and follow it up with a game of water volleyball or rent a wave runner. There are four waterslides of varying intensities, plus the Lazy Lagoon and Pirate Ship for little ones. Gator’s Crossing is a mini-ropes course and looks like a kid’s version of the TV show, Wipeout. Tickets start at $16. Open weekends, late- August to late-September.
Go to any local Randalls store to purchase your tickets and get $5 off regular admission 42″ & over tickets!
You get a refund on parking if you eat in the Shore Club restaurant, but it’s a bit fancy and they don’t allow wet people inside.
The Austin Zoo began as a goat ranch! It slowly expanded to pigs, deer, donkeys, and ponies. Today they have a wide variety of exotic animals, including lions, lemurs, and something called a Binturong. The zoo’s mission is to provide sanctuary to animals in need through rescue, rehabilitation and education. That leads to a somewhat older animal population than you might be used to at a traditional zoo. Be ready to share with your children the importance of caring and responsibility, instead of merely ooooo-ing and awww-ing at exotic animals. The Austin Zoo has daily, regular hours from 9:30-6 and winter hours from 10-5:30. Admission is cheaper than going to see a movie, starting at $5.
Call ahead to find out when feeding time is; that’s when the animals will be most active.
Skip the stroller, Mama, unless it is equipped with larger wheels.
For all your bouncing needs, Austin has Big Bounce, an inflatable playground, and JumpoLine Park, a building full of trampolines! You can find JumpoLine in Wells Branch and South Austin. They allow all-ages to jump, so, Parents, you get to have fun too! If you want a more structured activity, they offer basketball, dodgeball, and BangBang courts. Big Bounce, in Cedar Park, is like a really big, blow-up fort for kids 10 and under. They have really, really inexpensive admission and allow your child all-day access.
Last month we filled you in on some of the best water activities and events happening this summer to help you beat the heat! With summer slipping away, we thought we’d tell you about the natural pools that locals go to keep cool summer after summer.
Here in Austin, we are blessed with some of the best natural swimming spots in the state. Three of the most well-known and loved pools in town are Barton Springs Pool, Deep Eddy Pool and Big Stacy Pool. These spring-fed pools provide much needed refreshment on hot summer days and are entertaining for kids of all ages. As a bonus, all three pools are located near fantastic restaurants and bars and can be easily accessed by bike or public transportation.
Here’s what you need to know about Barton Springs pool – Constructed in 1940, it has been a summer staple for many years and is known for being Austin’s no. 1 natural pool. It’s easy to see why. The 3-acre, spring-fed pool remains 68°F degrees year round, making it a refreshing away to shake the heat.
The large pool is framed by tall Oak trees and a grassy, hill-covered lawn where visitors like to lay out and soak in the sun, nap, or read a good book between dips. Barton Springs’ depth ranges from very shallow and kid-friendly to 18-feet deep. Facilities include bathrooms with changing rooms and showers, a walk-up snack bar, and picnic tables. The pool is open year-round from 5am-10pm Friday through Wednesday. Admission fees range from $1-$3. Season passes are also available.
Within a few miles of Barton Springs Pool, you’ll find Deep Eddy Pool. Located at 401 Deep Eddy Ave, is the oldest man-made swimming pool in Texas. A former 1920’s resort featuring cabins, camping grounds, grassy hills, a diving board, slides, and a zip line, the pool is now owned and operated by the City of Austin.
Deep Eddy Pool
The pool’s natural water comes from a 35-foot hand-dug well and temperatures range from 65-to-75°F. Additional amenities at Deep Eddy Pool include a BBQ pit, picnic tables, and a playground. Deep Eddy is open year-round with limited hours during winter months. Pool admission ranges from $1-$3.
One final spring-fed pool worth checking out is Big Stacy Pool. Tucked into the charming Travis Heights neighborhood in South Austin, this pool has been keeping Austinites of all ages cool and entertained since the mid-1930s! The pool is free and open year-round. Big Stacy is heated in the winter by water from an Artesian well located 2000 feet below the surface. Much like Austin, this swim spot is fun, friendly, and diverse, so whether you are looking to swim laps or sunbathe you’re sure to have a good time.
I’ve compiled a list of happy hours and drinks that every Austinite should check out. This list will take you from trendy and new to weird and local. They all bring their own unique flair to Austin. They are in no particular order, all worth a taste.
20. Jack Allen’s Kitchen Happy Hour You can make a meal out of their 1/2 price appetizers. You must try their house-made guacamole. (Monday – Friday 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.)
21. Weather Up. 1808 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, Texas 78702 They are so good they don’t even need a website.
Weather Up Photo Credit: dishblogger.com
Want to try one of these places on us? Like, share, or give us your opinion of this Bucket List and you will be entered to win a $25.00 gift certificate. Winner will be announced Tuesday, July 31st.