Some time ago, a fabulous group of people (whoever it is that decides these things!) came together and declared that July 24th would henceforth be known as National Tequila Day! I love this holiday very very much. It’s circled three times on my calendar along with doodles of a lime, a salt shaker, and a little worm wearing a top hat.
Here is a list of over 40 places in town to grab a margarita and celebrate. If you want a detailed rundown check out our list of Top Places To Get A Margarita In Austin.
- Central Standard
- TNT – Tacos & Tequila
- Hula Hut
- La Condesa
- Fonda San Miguel
- South Congress Cafe
- Guero’s Taco Bar
- El Chile Cafe y Cantina
- The W
- Curra’s Grill
- Baby Acapulco
- The Cedar Door
- Ranch 616
- Z Tejas
- Matt’s El Rancho
- Texas Chili Parlor
- Jack Allen’s Kitchen
- Rio Rita Cafe y Cantina
- Key Bar
- The Oasis
- Abel’s On the Lake
- Little Woodrow’s
- Santa Rita Cantina
- Red’s Porch
- El Arroyo
- El Alma
- Ski Shores
- El Naranjo
- Uncle Julio’s
- The Goodnight
Jared Ficklin is a partner and the chief creative technologist of the local firm called argo design. He is also a bit of a pragmatic dreamer and has become an evangelist for a mass transportation vision that he co-created. The project is known as Wire Austin and has been creating a steady buzz since 2011 when Ficklin and his colleague Michael McDaniel did a TEDxAustin Talk that received a standing ovation from the audience. If you’ve cursed the traffic gods while sitting parked on I-35 this week, it’s definitely worth a watch.
The gist is this: Imagine a gondola system, similar to what you are used to seeing at a ski resort, that takes riders high above the congestion and capacity woes of Austin’s roadways. Ficklin and his team believe that a climate-controlled urban cable system could not only be the answer to many of our problems, it could be an attraction for tourists, and a pioneering investment in our collective quality of life.
As highway improvement projects stretch on forever, and previously sleepy neighborhood streets become busy routes for drivers avoiding the main arteries, Ficklin thinks we should look to the sky for the next big thing. We wanted to know more … much more! So we called him up.
365: So what is urban cable?
Jared Ficklin: Well urban cable is a kind of mass transit similar to what you would ride at a ski area—cars that ride on a cable, which is hung on towers and they go on a loop. We call them detachable high-speed gondolas. They clamp onto the cables, and when they get to a stop, they are lifted off the cables and go to a platform which is perfectly level, where the passengers get on and off. So you can imagine in a stack of six cars with one coming every 30 seconds from one end, and one leaving every 30 seconds from the other end—the cars are big enough to hold 10 people and some climate-control equipment—so it’s this continuous system. It’s basically aerial ropeways, greatly elevated for application in urban settings. It has the capacity of about 25 buses per hour in each direction. That’s like a bus stopping every 40 seconds.
Where has this been successful?
The case study most people point to is Medellín, Colombia. They deployed a three-line system and they are working on a fourth line to add to it. Their version of the suburbs, places where low-income families live, are very tightly packed and dense. There was no eminent domain to add roads and run busses. If they were going to put in transit, they would have had to tear down a whole bunch of houses. So instead they put in urban cable and they could hop over a lot of people’s houses just using these towers. It revolutionized their system and it functions as a true mass transit system there, three lines that come together at a central hub. Throughout South America it’s been quite popular. It’s also deploying in Europe and Asia. We have some small forms of urban cable in North America, but a true urban cable line that would approximate mass transit really hasn’t been deployed yet.
Why is Austin a good candidate for something like this?
We’re just big enough to feel the problem but not big enough to afford the traditional solutions. We also have river, greenbelts, and freeways in place and all of the eminent domain has been claimed. These are very expensive things to work around when adding mass transit. Urban cable can cross all of these things nearly for free. So it’s a way to add mass transit on the routes that we already use. All it needs is a straight shot. We have a few streets in this city where we could run these. South First is one of those streets. It’s a nice straight shot from Slaughter right into Downtown. You could jog over the river and then ride it right down Guadalupe until you meet the corner of campus. We could build this with a very good cost profile.
Is that the pilot line you have proposed?
Yes, recently we’ve been looking at a pilot line called Wire One. It has the potential to serve basically all of those people who live south of the river. It’s a route we couldn’t achieve any other way. South First is one of our four major north-south arteries. We could add a fifth right above it with urban cable. Because it’s above the street, it doesn’t remove any supply from the street. If you put something like surface rail, you are actually removing supply from the street. People could still leave their house the way they do now—you can build parking garages at certain retail areas—and head into Downtown. A good 30,000 people do that every day. These days the congestion line starts at Ben White, a good 25 minutes from City Hall. On a bad day it could be worse and five years from now it’s going to be way worse. It could be basically the same journey people already take—start at home, park in a garage—with one extra step of getting on urban cable.
Where does the proposal stand right now?
There is a citizens group that is working with city officials to try and get this in action. But ultimately we do need to convince the city to invest in this form of mass transit. We need the citizenry to agree with us, because we all may need to pay for it.
How much would it cost?
Well I can say this about cost: I’m not trying to be competitive here, but we all know what surface rail costs, so I will use it as a comparison. I actually believe that to solve the transportation crisis in Austin, we need to add supply whenever and wherever we can. For each route we want to achieve, we should look for a technology that best matches the need. We shouldn’t think in terms of only roads and only trains. There is no single solution to traffic. But surface rail lays out at about 100 million dollars per mile and I think we could get twice the mileage with urban cable. Some cities have done it for far less than that—some have done it for around 13 million per mile. But I think for the climate in Austin and the commuters we have, we are going to spend for a more luxurious system. We need climate control; we need stops that are civic in nature; we need an up time of 19 hours a day; and we are hoping we’ll need a high capacity for this thing and those attributes will make it more expensive. But the fact that we are only doing construction where there is a stop and a tower, and we are going to cross the freeways and the rivers for free, and the fact that you actually just couldn’t put anything else on South First, means that this is a very sensible thing to do from a cost perspective. And I think when the tourists are in town, there is a certain number who are going to jump on a ride it just for the experience.
It does seem like this has an appeal beyond just getting from place to place. Most mass transit systems aren’t fun to ride.
This is what our tourism needs. I think it was recently proclaimed that we have a festival economy—people are coming to experience our culture, and traffic and congestion are a threat to that. Urban cable would get people around, and be a real mass transit system, but it goes up in the air and over the river, and there are beautiful views. Everyone is going to take that selfie and a lot of people will pay just to get on it while they are here. It will become the thing to do in Austin. There are a lot of cities considering this and I think there is this feeling of well, who is going to go first? That also makes it pretty exciting.
And other than it just being cool, what are some reasons people might be quick to adopt it?
I think the fact that it isn’t on a schedule and the pilot route is on a route that everyone can imagine using and is growing in popularity. The fact that someone could walk out their door and be downtown in 22 minutes, people are going to start doing that. Another thing that urban cable has is an amazing amount of predictability. In other words, it’s always going to be that same amount of time between gondolas.
What is the biggest challenge about getting this off the ground?
I just got back from the New Cities Summit in Montreal and we were discussing just this: What are the barriers to entry for North America? Familiarity is one. You can’t call up your sister city and say, “Hey! How was implementing this?” There is no lobby because there are only two urban cable companies. And no one is quite sure about the funding yet. The good news is those are all surmountable barriers, but it’s going to happen at the speed of civics. We have a policy of figuring out what’s best for the commuter, rather than figuring out what makes sense for the city.
If people like the idea, what can they do to help?
Right now they could write their city council member and ask them to consider urban cable. If they saw a good show of support from the public, I think it would happen. It’s a good time for folks to rally around something like this.
They should also like Wire Austin’s Facebook page. That’s how they will learn more and hear more in the future. In about a month’s time we’re going to be releasing the vision. Right now we’re just talking about it.
Above: A rendering of the Wire One pilot route. Image courtesy argo design.
Quilting is an art form that has seen exciting changes in the last decade, with constantly evolving techniques and contemporary designs. Don’t miss your chance to see award-winning quilts that showcase the outstanding creativity and innovation happening today at the 2016 Capital of Texas Quiltfest. It’s Austin’s largest quilt show and it only comes around once every other year!
Visitors can check out hundreds of fantastic quilts and fiber art works and shop at more than 65 vendor booths. There will be free demos, door prizes, a silent auction, a grand prize raffle quilt, and educational exhibits for all to enjoy.
When: September 16-18
Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Sunday from noon – 5:00 p.m.
Admission: $8 in advance, $10 at the door
Palmer Event Center
900 Barton Springs
Austin, TX 78704
If you just glanced at the calendar and realized it might be time to re-up on that New Year’s resolution you’ve been ignoring, In Sweat We Trust could be exactly what you need. This 16-week series, brought to you by Austin Fit magazine and benefiting The Flatwater Foundation, showcases the city’s top fitness and wellness offerings through a healthy competition. It’s the perfect way to try a variety of activities and keep your body moving this summer.
Every other week from June 1-September 17, a different Austin fitness partner will host a workout featuring their individual expertise. Competitors will attend each class and their performance will be ranked and averaged into an overall score for the series. The top three males and top three females with the highest cumulative score will take home cash and prizes!
Tickets are just $20 per workout or $130 for the entire series. Each workout will only happen once and there are no make-ups! Commitment is the key.
The series will wrap up with a final party that’s open to the entire community at Austin Bouldering Project on September 25!
For more details, click here.
This is Austin’s last year as host of the X Games, and today you can see the world’s best action sports and live music from Logic and G-Eazy. Friday’s five final competitions feature Skateboard and BMX Vert, Moto X Freestyle, and Skateboard Big Air.
If you really want to do it up big, single-day VIP tickets are still available and they give you access to all the competitions and concerts, along with food, drinks, and luxurious air-conditioning. But if you just want to see the events today, tickets start at just $29.
When: Today, June 3rd – Sunday, June 5th
Circuit of the Americas
9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd
Austin, TX 78617
Click here to get your tickets.
Irene’s is a brand new restaurant from the good people who brought you 24 Diner and Easy Tiger—and they are coming in hot with a fabulous weekday offering: Viny Happy Hour! “Light your fire” with $3 house spirits, $3 Budweiser drafts, and $10 Bud pitchers. Welcome to the world, Irene’s! We like you already.
When: Today, June 2nd
Time: 3:30-6:30 p.m.
Driving down Lamar Boulevard near 11th Street, you might notice what many locals call “the foundation,” which is the colorful ruins of an old commercial construction project that never got off the ground. Decades ago, it was the start of condo building that was abruptly abandoned and over the years it became a destination for partying teens and neophyte street artists. As the murals and graffiti accumulated on the foundation walls, the collective project became known as The Baylor Street Art Wall, and it has slowly become an iconic piece of Austin lore.
But what was once a free-for-all is now regulated by the nonprofit HOPE Events. Rechristened as the HOPE Outdoor Gallery in 2011 with the help of famous contemporary artist Shepherd Fairey, the wall is now an educational project, serving as a destination for school field trips, live art projects, and gardening classes, among many other benefits to the community. It’s also a popular spot to take maternity and engagement photos, and to host children’s birthday parties.
Though the days of wandering up the steps to the old foundation to throw a tag up while drinking a six pack of Lone Star with friends are gone, the proprietors of the land and the folks at HOPE are still proponents of local artists. You can receive a paint pass to HOPE Outdoor Gallery with proof of ID, a submitted questionnaire, and a mock-up of your design.
To participate in the mural project, or to learn more, email email@example.com.
We all have a need for speed. I know I’m not the only one who fantasizes about being on a racetrack instead of the mind-numbing traffic on I-35.
And there is a big difference between driving around town in the car I got for my 16th birthday and, let’s say, a Lamborghini or a Ferrari. The Drive Fittipaldi experience gave me the chance to go ridiculously fast in an exotic automobile. I still can’t get over what a unique opportunity this was.
When you show up at the driving school, they first go over the track basics with you in a classroom for about 30 minutes, then you’re off to the races. There is a professional driver in the passenger seat, but you are in control the whole time. My guy was awesome. He told me exactly when to accelerate and go into a turn (and don’t worry, they do have a kill switch in the event things get out of control). It was honestly one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done!
Even though there are other drivers on the same track, it’s not a race. The goal is to get the best lap time for yourself.
If you’ve ever had the desire to go to driving school or race cars, you need to try this. It’s also an incredible, unbeatable gift idea for the speed demon in your life.
Visit www.drivefittipaldi.com to book your experience.
Living in Central Texas has its perks, including but not limited to incredible weather and access to the best barbecue in the country. But if one were to nitpick, we don’t have an ocean. Namely, there’s nowhere near here to surf. Well, those days are almost over. NLand Surf Park is coming to Austin!
Opening sometime this year in Del Valle, NLand purports to be the most inclusive inland surfing spot in North America, featuring 11 surfing areas at four levels of expertise, from beginner to pro.
Created by engineer and surfer Doug Coors and using technology from Spanish firm Wavegarden, NLand is the product of 15 years of trial and error to create seamless waves that break just as perfectly as the real thing. The waves will be one, three, and six feet, breaking every 60 seconds and will allow riders up to 35 seconds on each one. Never surfed before, or looking to simply perfect your skills? NLand promises a “surf school,” where pros will share tips and give hands-on advice.
Perhaps most importantly, NLand Surf Park wants to create a ski-slope-like atmosphere, but for surfing. Everyone knows that après-ski is the reward at the end of a long day on the slopes, and NLand hopes to provide that same type of experience, for riders and those who just want to lay on a beach and watch.
Pricing hasn’t been posted yet, but in an interview late last year, Coors said, “We are still tinkering with our pricing models, but it will be similar to a day of skiing or snowboarding.” At press time there were reports that the park is having permitting issues and the wave machine is being repaired. We may have to wait a bit longer for the grand opening (it was originally scheduled to open this spring) but we are going to stay optimistic. Study up on your surfer slang people, it’s almost time to catch a wave.
Above: A rendering of NLand Surf Park. Image courtesy of NLand Surf Park.
Welcome to 365 Things Austin’s Cocktail of the Week program. We’ve partnered with our friends at Sourced Craft Cocktails to announce a new cocktail (available for delivery in Austin) each week. Whether you’re looking for a fun date night at home, or hosting a party that your guests won’t soon forget, Sourced delivers EVERYTHING you need to make mixologist-worthy craft cocktails.
Originally crafted by Australian born Sam Ross at the famous Milk + Honey lower east side NYC bar, this cocktail will fix whatever ails you!
The Penicillin combines luscious, soothing flavors of honey, fresh ginger, and hand squeezed lemon juice fortified with a healthy dose of blended Scotch whisky. Shaken and poured over a flawless, hand cut artisan ice rock, we finish this life saving remedy with thin pour of Islay Malt to top with a wood smoked aromatic fragrance.
Go ahead, the doctor will see you now!
Johnnie Walker – Black:
The iconic squared bottle isn’t the only thing smooth…this premiere spirit takes Scotch from the four corners of Scotland and blends together into silky pure amber gold. Perfected in 1909 and exclusively featuring whiskies with a minimum of 12 years aging, this rich, complex Scotch offers the perfect balance of dark fruits, sweet vanilla and it’s signature smokiness.
The “medicinal properties” of our Penicillin may/may not be found in Mr. Walker’s Black Label. They are absolutely found in our homemade Honey/Ginger Syrup. Locally sourced Austin honey is combined with richly muddled fresh ginger to deliver velvety goodness…to use the technical medical term.
Fresh Lemon Juice:
We hand squeeze fresh lemon juice every single morning. You’re busy, we’ve sourced the absolute freshest product possible to help you add the acidity to this balanced cocktail.
Islay of Scotch:
Ahhh, the secret…we love sourcing the secret ingredient for you. After pouring your medicine over the perfect hand cut artisan ice rock we provide, we help you with a heady “aromatic.” What, you ask, is an “aromatic” for I thought we were drinking? Glad you asked…this wood smoked smell is placed right on the top of the rock so as you take each sip your nose alerts your brain that we’re now in the comfort of a roaring fire and well on our way back to health!
Included in your Sourced Barrel Delivery:
- Written Recipe Instruction
- Johnnie Walker – Black
- Homemade Honey Syrup
- Fresh Lemon Juice
- Candied Ginger
- Double Rocks Glasses
- Hand Cut Artisan Rock Ice
- Scotsman Ice (for shaking purposes)
- Shaker and Strainer
- Small and Large Jigger
- Pump Stray Bottle with Islay of Scotch
Visit Sourced Craft Cocktails now to order yours!
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