Things To Do In Austin Archives - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX

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.

  1. Central Standard
  2. Maudie’s
  3. Trudy’s
  4. TNT – Tacos & Tequila
  5. Hula Hut
  6. Juilet
  7. Polvos
  8. La Condesa
  9. Fonda San Miguel
  10. Pelons
  11. South Congress Cafe
  12. Guero’s Taco Bar
  13. El Chile Cafe y Cantina
  14. The W
  15. Curra’s Grill 
  16. Baby Acapulco
  17. Chuy’s
  18. The Cedar Door
  19. Jorge’s
  20. Ranch 616
  21. Z Tejas
  22. Matt’s El Rancho
  23. Texas Chili Parlor
  24. Jack Allen’s Kitchen
  25. Rio Rita Cafe y Cantina
  26. Key Bar
  27. The Oasis
  28. Abel’s On the Lake
  29. Little Woodrow’s
  30. Santa Rita Cantina
  31. Red’s Porch
  32. Sazon
  33. El Arroyo
  34. Icenhauer’s
  35. Threadgill’s
  36. Takoba
  37. El Alma
  38. Ski Shores
  39. El Naranjo
  40. Uncle Julio’s 
  41. The Goodnight

 

 

 

Going to the grocery store is hard. There’s the parking lots that are about as hot as the surface of the sun; the weighing and coding of all your produce; the standing in long lines; the schlepping of your own bags! It’s too much—I’m getting tired just typing about it.

That’s why so many of us put it off and end up spending way too much money on bad takeout. But guess what: Something is happening in Austin tomorrow and it might just change your life for the better.

Shipt, an app-based grocery delivery service that is already in 26 cities around the country, is launching in Austin tomorrow, July 20. The company will offer grocery delivery from H-E-B stores across Austin, including Central Market locations.

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There are a few things that make this delivery service unlike anything else out there. First of all, the membership model. If you sign up for Shipt, you pay $99 per year for unlimited grocery deliveries on orders over $35. There is never any surge pricing, even for deliveries during peak times or holidays. Secondly, you can get groceries delivered to your door 24/7. And thirdly, the coverage area is ginormous! They’ll come to Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, and South Austin.

H-E-B and Central Market customers can order their groceries through Shipt’s mobile or desktop app and select a one-hour delivery window as soon as one hour after the order.

If you’re curious, here’s a very good reason to try it out: By signing up today you will get $25 off your first order!

For more information, check out these five things to know about Shipt. Happy shopping!

The second Trailer Food Tuesday of the season is happening tonight at The Long Center! This is a great opportunity to sample some of the city’s best trailers in one easy location. Plus there will be live music! Come really hungry.

Tonight’s trucks include:

  • Lard Have Mercy
  • La Sirena
  • T-Loc’s
  • Sonora Hot Dogs
  • Wholly Kabob
  • Revenge of the Pork
  • Yeti Frozen Custard
  • Red White and Que
  • Garbos Lobster Truck
  • Peached Tortilla
  • Señor Cold Ones
  • Thai Kitchen Express
  • Cafe Ybor
  • Melted Food Truck

Admission: Free

When: Today, July 19th

Time: 5:00-9:00 p.m.

Location:
The Long Center
701 W. Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78704

And save the date for August 16th for the final one of the season!

If you live in Austin, you know that bats are big. Well not literally big, they’re actually pretty small, but their nightly journey to find insects is a spectacle that draws huge crowds of tourists and locals alike. Every night at dusk from early March to November, more than 1.5 million bats fly out from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge, home of the largest urban bat colony in the world. It’s an amazing scene and an absolutely essential Austin activity.

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While most people just grab a spot on the bridge, there’s actually an even better way to watch the bats. We’ve partnered with Austin Tour Company and Capital Cruises to bring you Bat Tuesday, a party cruise on Town Lake (or Lady Bird Lake as it’s now known). Enjoy great music, snacks, and cocktails aboard a fabulous boat with air conditioning, bathrooms, and a gorgeous roof deck. We’ll pause near the bridge (and turn the music down) at sunset to watch the bats! We are super pumped about the wine and cheese combo we have going on this month!

Here are the details …

  • Boarding starts at 7:00 p.m. We’ll cruise from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
  • July 19th we’ll have light bites from Clinstones BBQ
  • Complimentary cocktails from Treaty Oak Distillery
  • If delicious cockatils ain’t your thing, the boat is also BYOB!
  • All this for $28 (plus fees) per person

Space is limited so snag your reservation here.

The concept of downtown living is relatively new to Austin. Not so long ago, it was where people went to work and not much else. But over the past decade, the center of the city has experienced a major renaissance (much to the dismay of some native Austinites), with new restaurants, shopping, and vibrant businesses transforming the area into a soughtafter residential address.

For many newcomers and locals alike, buying a condo may not be the obvious choice, but it has a ton of great benefits. We’ve partnered with Fifth & West, a new boutique condominium tower in Downtown’s Market District, to spotlight a few big perks of the condo lifestyle. The people behind the project have thought of everything: service, design, and amenities for days. It may not be for everyone, but if you have the cash to invest in your own little piece of Austin, this will be a spectacular place to call home.

  1. Everything you need is right outside your door.

At Fifth & West, residents have a front-row seat to our world famous live music scene and are steps away from dozens of restaurants for any palette or occasion, from breakfast at Walton’s Fancy and Staple to a stylish night out at Fixe or Clark’s. It’s that rare walkable life in Austin—but with your car conveniently parked downtown.

You’re also never far from the lush green spaces that make Austin so unique, like Zilker Park and Republic Square. Hiking and biking trails thread through the city, and water activities like paddle boarding, swimming, and fishing at Lady Bird Lake, Barton Springs, and Deep Eddy Pool are just a few blocks away.

Lastly, there’s great shopping all around you. Just down the street, you’ll find Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, West Elm, and Austin’s largest independent bookstore, BookPeople. Plus, don’t forget designer apparel at Lululemon and By George.

  1. No maintenance, no worries.

Owning a home can be full of highs and lows. That leaky roof? It’s all yours. But a condo gives you a lock-and-leave lifestyle. For Austinites who are looking to trim the stress out of their lives, it is a difficult option to beat.

  1. Service with a smile.

Imagine this: Your every want or need is just a call away. Breakfast tacos? Tickets to ACL? Sushi? A last-minute pedicure? It could  all be knocking at your door with 24-7 concierge service.

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  1.  Luxurious design and resort-style amenities.

In a gorgeous place like Fifth & West, it’s easy to feel like you are always on vacation. You’ll be surrounded with stunning finishes and sophisticated interior design. Everywhere you look, the atmosphere is stylish and inviting.

Additionally, there is over 20,000 square feet of amenity space—we are talking three full floors—that includes a welcome level, a pet verandah, fitness center, gourmet demonstration kitchen, media lounge, outdoor bar and grill, fireplaces, a stunning pool and sky deck, and a resident parlor.

  1. Safety and security.

Most importantly, you can rest easy with first-class security features like convenient parking with controlled access and a state-of-the-art building access system integrated throughout the building. Visitors, guests, and service providers check in at the welcome level desk.

All in all, the best part of life in a downtown residence like Fifth & West is that it marries the comfort and convenience of home with the excitement and luxury of a premier destination. If your home search hasn’t gone beyond sleepy suburbs and neighborhoods, it might be time to think about how living in the heart of the city could change your life for the better.

To inquire about a residence at Fifth & West, click here.

 

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. 

Name: Donner & Blixen
Sex: Neutered Male
Breed: Labs
Age: 6 Year Old
Animal ID: A697131
Location:  Kennel 211

 

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At just six years old, these boys are best friends, brothers and all they need is to find a great family to love them forever. They ride great in the car, walk great together and seem housetrained! Want to try out an adoption with them? Foster to adopt and see if they’re a good fit for your home!

They have been with AAC over 4 months now!!!

If this is not the Pet of the Week for you try one of our previous featured pets!

Now in its 58th year, Zilker Theatre Productions is proud to bring you Shrek The Musical. This is one of the most anticipated events in Austin every summer. The outdoor venue at Zilker is perfect for an evening under the stars, and once the sun goes down, the weather is much more bearable.

Don’t forget to bring a blanket, a loaded picnic basket, a cooler (no glass), bug spray, and anything else you need for a wonderful evening under the Austin sky. Unfortunately, no pets are allowed.

If you’re worried about rain, call the hotline at 512-479-9491 to get updates on the status of the show.

To learn more check out our tips for getting the most out of your experience.

Admission: Free

Parking: $5.00 per car

When: Thursday-Sunday – August 13th

Time: 8:15 p.m.

Location:
Zilker Hillside Theatre
2201 Barton Springs Road
Austin, Texas 78704

 

Meet your new sidekick, Bradley! He is so enthusiastic about, well, everything!

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Bradley doesn’t want to watch the world go by; he wants to get out and go with it! He loves to go for car rides and seeks new adventures. He is thrilled to go walking or hiking, likes to run around and play in the yard, and finds games (especially games involving treats!) to be just his thing. His favorite pastimes are rolling in the tall, cool grass while making little snorting noises or splashing about in a baby pool to cool off in this blazing heat. These are his ideas of heaven on earth!
Don’t let that goofy personality fool you, though! Bradley has gone on overnights with a shelter volunteer and has been a fantastic house guest! He is extremely house-trained, respects items that are not his, and is hands down the best little snuggler at bedtime. And if that’s not enough, Bradley is GREAT with kids! He truly thrives outside of the stressful shelter environment and just wants a family in which he can play with people and feel loved, wanted, and needed.

Bradley is a participant with AAC partner group, Dogs Out Loud.  He comes with a fantastic adoption package!

  • A free take-home visit
  • Free post-adoption visits as needed
  • A free spot in our group class
  • A $100 training scholarship to one of our preferred, local trainers (once he graduates our class)
  • Free support for the life of the relationship with his new family

If you are looking for a new buddy to keep you company and remind you that life is a grand adventure that should be enjoyed, email DOL at adopt@dogsoutloud.org  or come in and meet him in kennel 217!

It’s also kittypalooza this Saturday!

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If this is not the Pet of the Week for you try one of our previous featured pets!

The power of the crowd has created a new normal. Did anyone imagine that, one day, we’d be fighting for the right to ride in a stranger’s car? Or that you’d hand over your apartment keys to someone you’ve only met online?

These days, those small personal interactions have not just become natural – we’ve grown to rely on them in our technology-filled lives. We’re connecting with people and sharing experiences in new ways.

Now, small businesses are also connecting with the crowd on a deeper level than just doing business. With a new twist on crowdfunding, businesses are inviting people to participate in their financial growth, making real investments and not just donations.

Luxury Hostel concept, "The Native."

Luxury Hostel concept, “The Native.”

When Austin’s SquareRut Kava Bar opened its first location in 2011, “relaxation drinks” were a foreign concept. The bar enjoyed early success the old-fashioned way, through a good product and stellar customer experience.

But when it came time to expand to a new location on Barton Springs Road last year, the owners decided to try something that not only got them the funds they needed, but also created advocates to help spread the word. SquareRut raised $100,000 for its next location through this new investment concept, which gave patrons an opportunity to invest in a business they could get excited about.

NextSeed is a new crowdfunding platform that makes it easy to invest funds in private businesses and start seeing financial returns quickly. Crowdfunding small businesses allows consumers to invest in the places they already love or in new concepts they want to see in their area. NextSeed’s Texas affiliate has facilitated over $1.2 million in small business investments within Texas over the past year (including SquareRut). And now, NextSeed has launched nationally under brand new federal laws, with plans to democratize investing across the country.

Several new Austin businesses are launching later this year, and they have an open invitation out to anyone who wants to be involved in their growth. A team of experienced bar and restaurant owners is creating a boutique, luxury hostel called The Native, the first of its kind in the region. Vigilante Gaming Bar is a full-service bar and restaurant that is creating a custom experience around board games. And a popular beer personality is rolling out a new craft beer and restaurant concept, The Brewer’s Table, in East Austin.

Rendering of the interior of "Vigilante Arcade Bar."

Rendering of the interior of “Vigilante Arcade Bar.”

Each investment varies, but investors could start seeing monthly payments coming from their investments in as little as a few months. Investing in the community is now a real alternative to savings accounts and stocks. SquareRut has been making monthly payments to its 31 investors with an 18% annual interest rate. Investors also enjoy perks by using the bonus rewards they received as investors in SquareRut, and many have brought friends to try it out.

So who can invest? Anyone, now. Due to recent changes in the law, people of all income levels can come together and support business owners they believe in. NextSeed carefully reviews every deal before presenting an opportunity to investors on its website. Investors can get information about each deal and choose which business they want to connect with and help grow.

Austin business owner Jenna Choe launched a campaign on NextSeed’s Texas platform earlier this year for the popular Jenna’s Asian Kitchen in Cedar Park. She raised $75,000 from investors to install a bar in her established restaurant.

Her investors didn’t need deep pockets to contribute – investments started at $100. By offering smaller portions of the pie, she was able to make it easier for everyone to get a piece. And giving her investors VIP perks like gift cards and party invitations also allowed her to connect with the community that supported the restaurant over the past year.

For NextSeed co-founder and CTO Bob Dunton, the secret to Jenna’s success and satisfaction with crowdfunding is the community.

Dunton says. “Instead of just borrowing from an institution that only cares about getting a monthly payment, Jenna was able to invite people from the community to invest and feel a sense of bond and commitment to her business and her success.”

Although NextSeed is new, community financing harks back to a more down-to-earth approach to building a business that was much more common before big banks took over. Now, Austinites are empowered to invest a range of dollar amounts to boost local bars, restaurants, salons, and other places they are passionate about.

For more information on this new crowdfunding platform, and to see which of your favorite businesses have active campaigns, visit NextSeed.

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Any views expressed in this article reflect the personal views of the author only for discussion purposes and should not be viewed as investment advice or recommendation, and does not constitute any legal or tax advice with respect to any securities.