We love it when businesses get together to make Austin an even happier place. Now when you stay at the Hyatt Regency Austin, which is downtown on Lady Bird Lake and right next to views of the famous bats, you will get a very Austin-y bonus: the VIP treatment at YETI’s flagship store. Guests at the hotel can visit the brand’s retail store (right next door) and get a bunch of amazing loot. If you’re a fan of serious insulation, cold beers, and hot coffee—this is the thing for you.
Book “The Ultimate YETI Experience” package and you’ll take home a 20oz YETI Rambler stainless steel tumbler, a YETI Colster insulator for canned beverages, as well as a YETI hat, decal, and keychain bottle opener. You’ll also get two drink vouchers for the store’s BARRR, which is located just steps away from the hotel. This sweet deal will be available throughout 2018—just make sure you book the package at least 48 hours in advance of your stay and use the promotion code YETIPK.
We know what you’re thinking: Why is this Austin blog posting about things to do in San Antonio?! Before you get all “don’t move here” on us, take a moment to read a bit about the origins of this series, and what you can expect in the coming months as we (very) occasionally post about things to do outside the city limits.
Depending on what part of Austin you live in (and traffic on 35), San Antonio is likely not much more than an hour and 15-minute drive South.
This resort will make you feel like you’re worlds away from Austin—both with its natural surroundings, and comforting amenities.
And a massive waterpark complete with waterslides and a lazy river.
How to Make the Most of Your Trip
We only spent 48 hours at the JW Marriott San Antonio, but managed to squeeze quite a bit into our stay. We arrived at the resort early for a morning tee time on their Canyons Course, the easier of the two courses on the property, and honestly, a more enjoyable experience for high-handicap golfers like ourselves. The course is well-maintained and offers beautiful views of the Texas Hill Country from elevated tee boxes and greens. The carts also have GPS, which makes the first time on a new course a lot more manageable!
After finishing our round, we grabbed a quick lunch (and cocktails) in Cibolo Moon, one of several restaurants on the property. The restaurant has a great outdoor patio that was perfect on a breezy spring day, and the food and drinks were equally enjoyable. We snacked on several shared appetizers, but the barbecue burnt ends were the highlight of the experience.I also highly recommend any of the margaritas on the menu (opt for the chili salted rim).
From there, we checked into our room, which had a balcony with a beautiful view of the golf course and was also an easy elevator ride down to the pool. Pro-tip: Assuming the hotel isn’t fully booked, you may have the option to stay on the “conference side” or the “pool/golf course side” of the hotel busy weekends, the conference side stays a bit quieter (less families with kids) and is a good option for couples looking to enjoy a relaxing weekend. However, we had no issues with noise on the “fun side” of the hotel, and the room was spacious, and included several amenities like robes, a mini fridge, and a HUGE television that had complimentary Netflix and Hulu in addition to standard cable options.
Finally, we made it down to the water park which is definitely the most impressive area of the resort. It includes a ton of seating areas adjacent to several large pools, including one with a sandy beach area, and another that is exclusively for adults. There is also a massive hot tub, an impressive bar that offers several frozen drink machines, and an expansive cocktail and food menu. The 1,200-foot-long lazy river is way too easy to fall asleep in (don’t forget sunscreen!). But perhaps the most impressive part of the park, assuming you’re still embracing your inner child, are the waterslides. These aren’t your typical resort waterslides, they’re high-thrill slides that you’ll want to race down over and over again.
That evening, we ventured into town to meet friends. If you’re like us and don’t make it down to San Antonio very often, it is a nice change of pace from Austin, and the city’s culinary scene has come a long way in the last five years—but more on that in a future post. For your trip, think about spending a night out on the Riverwalk or the Pearl District.
The resort also hosts an impressive sports bar called High Velocity that features several massive projectors and countless flat screen TVs. The place was buzzing the first night of our stay with a pending playoff elimination game on the line for the hometown San Antonio Spurs.
For breakfast, the buffet at Cibolo Moon is quite impressive. It includes Texas-based favorites like homemade biscuits and gravy, as well as more standard offerings like bacon and scrambled eggs, a build-your-own omelet station, and fresh baked breads with jelly offerings made from fruit grown in the hotel’s garden.
On day two of our stay, we played The Oaks golf course, which was host to the PGA Tour Event, The Valero Texas Open, the weekend before. The course was in excellent shape from the tournament, with fairways beautifully crosscut and greens that were perfectly manicured. However, this course has a reputation for being one of the most difficult on the Tour and is not for the faint of heart! Professional golfer Kevin Na famously scored a 16 on the 9th hole of this course in 2011.
We capped off our trip with dinner at 18 Oaks, a traditional steakhouse adjacent to the golf course. Our final meal did not disappoint, from the sprawling wine list to the knowledgeable service staff, every part of the experience was perfect. We especially enjoyed the “choose your own steak knife” tray that was presented before our main course arrived. Texas y’all.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip, and would recommend a getaway to the JW Hill Country for couples, families, avid golfers, conference goers, or even as a wedding destination. We’ll definitely be back!
The housing market in Austin is nuts. We love this city with all our heart, but so does everyone else in the world and that means buying your own little piece of it is getting really hard. As home prices are going up, so are the closing costs and commissions that are baked into every transaction.
But no more! Finally someone has taken a hard look at this process and dreamed up a better way. On April 4th, Open Listings, a company that disrupts the ancient and tedious process of finding a home, making an offer, and closing on a sale, launched its services in Austin.
This company, which started in Los Angeles, lets you buy a house entirely online (seriously!) and then gives you a 50 percent refund on the commision they get from the sale. The average buyer who shops with them in California, Washington, and Texas gets more than $8,500 back in their pocket. Yes, they really give you money back. Not a credit, or a bunch of bitcoins or something—real American dollars.
The service, which is now available as an app for IPhone and iPad is designed to give you in edge in this crazy market. You can house hunt 24/7, book tours on demand, and easily create offers online.
You are probably asking yourself: How could this be real? Well it just is. The platform makes the process more efficient for buyers and agents so both sides of the deal are working smarter. OL has an expansive network of showing agents, partner agents, and local loan officers standing by—but buyers don’t engage with them until they’ve found they are ready to make an offer. This is only possible because the site has all the information you could ever need, like in-depth property reports, private agent-only info, and custom neighborhood data on-demand.
With all that at your fingertips, you become master of the real estate universe. Go see open houses and schedule private showings like a boss and make this all-important, life-changing purchase so much more enjoyable. Why would you pay 50 percent more in commision when you don’t have to? The game has finally changed.
To learn more about how Open Listings works, click here. And come hear more at this panel featuring Open Listings and Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, on Saturday, May 12th.
Our absolute favorite local band gone big has a new album coming out and we can’t be more excited for them. They are celebrating this Friday at The Continental Club, a better venue for this occasion could not exist.
If you don’t know about The Nightowls, they do Motown jams that will have you dancing ALL night long.
We Are The Nightowls was written and recorded over the course of one year, following extensive touring in support of 2016’s Royal Sessions, which was labeled an “energetic blend of classic soul and modern pop” by Paste Magazine. “Our previous albums were concept albums paying homage to the historic recording studios in which they were recorded,” frontman Ryan Harkrider describes. “This new album is more about capturing the band’s sound…it’s a more cohesive statement about who we are.” For that reason, the band made this 2018 release their “self-titled” album.
When: Friday, April 20th
1315 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
I’ve told myself many lies in this lifetime, and if we were to flashback 10 years ago, one of the biggest lies would have been, “Getting your real estate license will be easy, Kristy!” While it was way harder than I thought, in spite of all the twists and turns, I still would do it all again.
I was a senior at UT and about to graduate college with no real plan for my life. All I knew was that I wasn’t ready to go sit at desk for the foreseeable future. I know! I’ll get my real estate license. They’re always out and about and can make their own schedules. Problem solved. So with about three weeks left until graduation, and my dad’s coverage of most of my expenses about to expire, I decided to figure out how one does such a thing.
There were two options: 1. Sit in a classroom for six to eight weeks, eight hours a day. I definitely didn’t have time for that. 2. Order textbooks online for about a grand, study at home, and take the test. Option number two it was!
After three attempts, I finally passed the test. The online classes that went with the books were gut-wrenchingly boring and did nothing to prep me for the state real estate test. Unfortunately, they also didn’t prepare me much for being a Realtor. But the state of Texas said I could practice real estate—so off I went.
At 22, real-life real estate was a far cry from the glamorous life I’d imagined, which was basically just showing jaw-dropping, million-dollar homes and having your phone ring off the hook. In actuality, I was showing low-income housing in parts of town where I wish I had a security guard to accompany me. And it was 2008, so the Austin real estate market bubble had just popped. It wasn’t the best time to dive into a new career. I got a side job as an assistant to one of the best realtors in town and that’s where I finally started to learn about the business and pick up some of my own clients. Like most things in life, true education comes from actually throwing yourself in the mix and learning from trial and error.
Fast forward a few more years—lots of life happened—and while I am not practicing real estate anymore, that attempt at a career led me to my current job. I do however still have my license and collect referral fees when I can. Gotta love making money for not really doing anything! It’s the American Dream, right? When I started down the path to becoming a realtor, it took me down a road I didn’t expect, but I am so happy it did.
Would I do it all again? Yes. But if I did, there is no doubt that I would use AceableAgent for my real estate licensing (see above how witty they are). Despite being a really great driver, I have had to use their Aceable defensive driving program to get a ticket taken care of. Their education software is convenient because it’s in an app and online and it’s written in a really witty way. I didn’t hate having to do it. And, now, they offer products that were not previously available for aspiring real estate agents (to help them prepare for the state licensing exam) and for established agents (to meet their continuing education requirements). This is a game changer, and I think it will allow more people to enter the market. It’s the best real estate education course I’ve seen. I just wish it has been around 10 years ago!
One of the markers of any great city is its dedication to the arts—and on that score, Austin is pretty darn great. It’s a thriving art city and this annual event is your chance to see a ton of talent in once place.Art City Austin, a three-day art fair and festival will return for its 68th year April 13- 15 at the Palmer Event Center. Individual artists from across the country (120 to be exact) will showcase their work. A combination of street art and contemporary art from local and national artists will be on display.
The festival grounds will also feature multiple art installations created by local artists and commissioned specifically for the occasion by Art Alliance Austin. Noteworthy artists this year include international photographer Greg Davis, roadside landscape artist Rachel Dory, as well as international artists like Israeli painter Yoram Gal.
A selection of local food trucks, drinks, and fun activities for the whole family will be on the festival grounds. As always, Art City Austin 2018 will host a children’s section with hands-on, interactive activities meant to encourage creativity and appreciation of the arts for Austinites of all ages!
Tickets range from $10 for a single-day admission to $40 forthe VIP experience, which includes access to the Friday preview reception plus weekend access to the festival. Children 12 and under receive free admission. Parking will be available with at the Palmer Event Center Garage for $8. For more information and to purchase tickets, clickhere.
Here’s the full schedule:
Friday, April 13th Art City Austin Preview: Art in the Twilight 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Whether you’re an ATX transplant or born-and-raised, there are a few things everyone comes to know by heart: Tacos are acceptable for every meal, Austin is weird, and all your friends talk about moving here. But how well do you really know Austin when it comes to being healthy … or at least kind of healthy?
Don’t sweat it, yet—we’ve got you covered! Our friends at Fitt have narrowed down the options. Fitt’s healthyish guide to Austin is your go-to for grub you can feel good about eating, sweat spots that’ll actually make you want to workout, and the best local spots to hang out with your crew. Now, the hard task of choosing (or trying them all) is all yours!
Flower Child Put up your peace fingers. Flower Child has proven itself as hotspot for salads, soups, mix-and-match bowls, and wraps of the truly healthy variety. Head to their digs in The Domain or downtown on 2nd St. on a day when you don’t have to do anything but enjoy the sunny patio and your Mother Earth Bowl. Like any healthy eatery, the dishes here are highly customizable, so you can order exactly what your inner flower child is craving.
Café No Sé Head over to South Congress to snack at Café No Sé. It occupies the amazing South Congress Hotel and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner creations to die for. This all-day cafe offers innovative takes on healthy dishes with the freshest ingredients. Think quinoa bowls, tuna poke, kale salads, and more. The vibe is great, too — you know, the kind you can’t help but Instagram … so have those phones close by.
Picnik Picnik fits the bill if you’re looking for clean eating. Priding themselves on real food, Picnik serves up dishes like the Southwest Hash in the AM and Eggplant Rollatini for PM. Plus, count on lots of Butter Coffees (they’re the butter coffee connoisseurs around here), or go for one of their delicious heathyish cocktails. At either location, you can find lots of real (and local) foods free of any gluten, corn, peanut, or soy products.
Black Swan Yoga Whether you live north, south, or somewhere in between, Black Swan Yoga has a studio nearby. But beyond being super convenient, all of its locations offer fun, donation-based classes with an upbeat soundtrack and funky-fresh lighting. Instructors here are encouraged to express themselves in their practice—no class is the same! Their Power Yoga sessions are a community favorite, but you’ll want to have a bit of beginner experience under your belt before you check ’em out.
MADabolic This is a gym as much as it’s a movement in South Austin—and they make the word “boutique” a little less cutesy. Workouts are uniquely planned, interval-driven, and involve a combination of strength and endurance training. Each week, you can expect to experience three kinds of workouts: momentum, anaerobic, and durability (MAD). Not to worry though—intensity is tailored to your needs and all levels of fitness are welcome.
Onnit Academy Gym Onnit Academy Gym is the real deal. The trainers here focus on technique and advanced methodologies that deliver crazy results and peak performance (though, they cater to aspiring athletes, too). You’ll get an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals from trainers who really know their shit. Head over to this South Austin gym if you’re ready for ropes, kettlebells, weighted maces, sprints, and one heck of a post-workout protein shake!
Zilker Park Ah, Zilker. The crown jewel of the Austin parks system. A large expanse of grass crawling with pick-up soccer games, cute dogs, picnics, and people reading books under trees. Zilker also hosts some of Austin’s most famous festivals throughout the year: Austin City Limits, Kite Festival, Trail of Lights, Zilker Relays, and Blues on the Green. This place truly is an outdoor oasis.
Barton Springs If escaping the heat is your main goal, Barton Springs Pool is the best place to do it. The water is spring-fed and sustains a chilly 68 degrees year round. Wade in the deep end, take a jump off the diving board, or spend your afternoon people-watching. Bonus: You don’t need to pay an entrance fee to enjoy the best of Barton Springs. The greenbelt is free, and along the hiking path you can find Gus Fruh and Twin Falls—two great places to take a relaxing dip or throw yourself off a rope swing.
Lady Bird Lake Trail Austin’s beloved (and convenient) Lady Bird Lake Trail is a 10-mile loop with a number of access points. With entry at Downtown, Zilker, and Butler Park, it feels like a natural refuge right in the heart of the city. Dogs, joggers, walkers, and strollers populate this busy route, enjoying skyline views and access to the river. There are also stops along the way to rent paddleboards and kayaks if you’re looking to cool off from the Texas heat.
Easy Tiger A bake shop AND a beer garden—say no more. Easy Tiger on East 6th gives you the best of both worlds with delicious brews, pastries, pretzels, and the list goes on. And if you thought this spot couldn’t get any better, think again. Easy Tiger has a killer outdoor patio that’s the perfect place for a laid-back hang sesh or an epic ping pong battle with friends. In Cedar Park and craving one of Easy Tiger’s house-made sweets? Stop by their outpost in Whole Foods Market 365 for a quick fix.
Bangers How do you say no to house-made sausage, craft beer, Big Band Brunch, Smoke Out Saturday, and an off-leash dog park? At Banger’s Sausage House on 79 & 81 Rainey Street, you’re always in for some good, old-fashioned fun, quality food, and Texas-sized hospitality. And with an outdoor patio that’s second to none, you’re going to have to be convinced to leave once it’s time to close shop.
Yard Bar All the convenience of your backyard but with local beer and spirits on deck, kick back at Yard Bar on Burnet Road. to unwind. Oh, and we should mention that they have an off-leash dog park, complete with “bark rangers” to pet-sit your pooch while you wolf down hush puppies, burgers, and charcuterie boards with your friends. Don’t want to let your dog do all the socializing? Take a shady seat in the yard with your beer and forget you have a care in the world.
Want to take a ride? Check out Rowing Dock’s newest addition to their fleet, the SUPJet. SUPJet is both a quality stand up paddle board as well as an electronically powered watercraft. When you want an extra boost or just want to sit back and relax, you simply push a button and the built-in drive will move you along at 5 mph (8 km/h) for well over 1.5 hours. This paddle assisted SUP is great for beginners, parents with small kids, and experienced paddlers on windy days.
Rowing Dock is the first to release this fully integrated electric powered SUP technology on Lady Bird Lake and they are open 7 days a week from 9am-8pm. Visit their website www.rowingdock.com for more information or head down to the dock to get your paddle on!
SXSW is a marathon, not a sprint. And there will be several times after a show when you will be starving, in a hurry, and waiting in snaking lines at a food truck court. This will feel like tortue. Don’t let this happen to you. Luckily, there is an app that takes you right to the front of the line and helps you get on to the next cool thing.
Partake, a technology platform enabling a seamless purchasing experience for the Sports and Entertainment Industry, has just announced that it will release the Partake App at SXSW for attendees to pre-order, pay, and pickup food at nine (with more coming!) participating food truck vendors—which means long lines and wait times are part of your past.
You know what? You’re amazing. You deserve to get paid just for being you. And that’s basically what the people at Tastebud have come up with in the form of an app. TasteBud is an extremely straightforward and effortless way to get cash back for dining at your favorite restaurants. Yes, you will be getting paid for doing exactly what you’d be doing anyway.
Here’s how it works: When you are deciding on a place to eat, open the TasteBud app and lock an offer at the restaurant of your choice. The offers are are applicable for food and drinks! Once you arrive at said hotspot, order whatever you want off the menu. When it’s time to pay your bill, simply pay with your VISA card. As soon as your card gets swiped, you’ll get a push notification to your phone saying you just saved X% at that restaurant and a cash back refund will go directly to your VISA card. The card linking program is what makes TasteBud so easy and enjoyable to use.
No coupons, no barcodes, no awkwardness at the restaurant, just cash back directly to your VISA card.
Tastebud works with restaurants and bars throughout downtown Austin to get you the best deals possible and the experience is super discrete. No one has to know you are bargain hunting—even though bargain hunting is totally cool—so it’s great for dates!
Consumers have complete purchasing power. Order whatever you want! TasteBud makes going out and trying new places more affordable. No more guilt for not eating ramen at home—it’s time to get out of the house and live it up!
Looking for the perfect opportunity to give them a try? They’re doing a 50% off deal with BaseCamp on March 1st from 5pm-7pm.