Things To Do In Austin Archives - Page 2 of 337 - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX

The Zilker Summer Musical is a beloved Austin tradition, and this year the production is celebrating its 60th season! For a whopping 60 years, they’ve been putting on first-rate Broadway musicals at the park’s Hillside Theatre to audiences packed with families taking it all the magic for free. To celebrate this big anniversary, this summer the company is bringing us the Elvis-themed All Shook Up, which features the legendary singer’s top hits. The show opens on July 16, but if you can’t make the premiere, you’ll have 25 other chances this summer, every Thursday through Sunday until August 18.

Click here for all the details, including donor preview parties and insider access to the show.

A few pro tips for the uninitiated: Get there a couple of hours early to secure your spot with a blanket and some low-backed chairs, then go for a swim in Barton Springs! You’ll be so glad you did. It’s like natural air conditioning that lasts throughout the show. And pack a big picnic—everyone gets snacky at this thing.

When: Thursdays – Sundays through August 18th

Time: 8:15 p.m. (There are two acts, with a quick intermission!)

Location:
Zilker Hillside Theatre
2201 Barton Springs Road
Austin, 78746

When the founders of Sunroom Rentals set out to reinvent the house hunt, they had a simple goal in mind: Make finding a long-term rental as easy as booking an Airbnb.

Searching for a new place through an apartment locator or other real estate sites can be depressing, tedious, and the services always end right when you really need more help—when you are trying to submit an application and actually land the property before someone else does.

The people behind Sunroom Rentals realized that we were being left in the lurch, so they designed a totally free, soup-to-nuts service with the renter in mind. Search the best homes and apartments, schedule showings any time you want, submit an application quickly, and even get money off rent whenever possible—all from a sleek website that makes the process fun.

When you create an account and customize your preferences, a tour guide will respond within minutes to your requests. They meet you at each property, show you around, and walk you through the details. Even if you see a place you like on another site, just send them the link and they’ll help you. There’s a simple way to apply online, right from the Sunroom site.

Sunroom has just launched in Austin and is exclusively ours for the moment. But plans for expansion are already in the works. Where you live matters. Don’t leave it up to Craigslist or a soulless listing service. Tour the best places and offload the grunt work to experts who know what they’re doing. When you’re kicking up your feet and drinking a cold one in your beautiful new nest, you’ll be so glad you did.

GIVEAWAY ALERT
Want to peak dreamy rentals? Follow them on social media. Check out our instagram for a chance for a chance to win a gift card to West Elm. 

Map out your summer fun like a pro with the 2018 Summer Fun Guide! There are over 40 events and activities for kids of all ages, guaranteeing a summer full of fun in Austin, Texas.

Many thanks to Springfree Trampoline for sponsoring the 2018 Summer Fun Guide. Springfree Trampoline is the world’s safest, highest quality and longest lasting trampoline that is supported by a 10-year warranty to create exceptional value for getting kids outside and active while giving parents peace of mind. The innovative and patented safety design features no springs, a flexible safety enclosure, a SoftEdge™ Mat that eliminates hard edges on the jumping surface, and a hidden frame, making it the only trampoline on the market that helps eliminate significant risks associated with trampoline injuries. Springfree is the only trampoline proven safe and recommended by two independent bodies, including CHOICE® in Australia and Consumer NZ.

General Anytime Fun

Alamo Drafthouse Kids Camp
The Alamo Drafthouse’s annual Summer Kids Camp is a film series of screenings, designed specifically for families, that is affordable and fun for all with a mix of new favorites and classic kid-friendly films. Enjoy classic and family favorite films all summer long for just $1, $3 or $5 with all proceeds benefiting local non-profits.

Austin Nature and Science Center
Located close to Zilker Park, ANSC offers hands-on exhibits for children of all ages, a sand pit where children can dig for dinosaurs, a planetarium and more.

Austin Public Library’s Summer Reading Program
The Austin Public Library is your free ticket to a summer full of reading and loads of fun activities this June through August. You can also win prizes for reading! Pick up a reading log at the Library or print one at austinsummerreading.org. For every 20 minutes you read, color in a section. Color sections by number to display a hidden picture! Return your completed log to any of the Austin Public Library’s 21 locations between July and August, 2018. Congratulations, you did it! You’ve earned a prize book. You can earn one prize book per summer. Be sure to check the Library’s calendar for ongoing events all summer long.
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Austin Zoo
Full of shade-packed trees, the Austin Zoo is a sanctuary to animals that are rescued and, many times, rehabilitated. Set on 15-acres on the southwest edge of Austin, the zoo allows Austin families to get a close-up look at over 300 animals, representing more than 100 different species. Read more about the Austin Zoo here.

Barton Creek Greenbelt
Explore the 12+ miles of greenbelt on a hike while getting some fresh air. A splash in some water in the process is a bonus to cool down in the heat of summer.

Barton Springs Pool
Barton Springs is the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day. Some people are a bit intimidated by the 68-70 degree water, and you will observe shouts and squeals as swimmers take the plunge. But, whether you prefer to inch your way down the steps or to cannonball in, you will emerge from the water rejuvenated and a little more comfortable soaking in the 100 degree heat outside. Read up on some tips on visiting Barton Springs Pool here.

Bat Watching
When was the last time you saw 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats bats emerge at dusk? One of our town’s best arguments that we’re still keeping it weird are the huge crowds which assemble in downtown Austin to watch these winged mammals head out to get their dinner.

BookPeople
Austin’s local Indie bookstore is a definite must-do on your summer to-do list! Air conditioning, books on multiple levels, a giant kids’ space, and events, too! You can’t go wrong with a visit to BookPeople.

Bowling
Strike! There’s nothing quite like the look on your little one’s face when he or she finally knocks all the pins down after watching countless gutter balls roll down the lane. Bonus: in the summer, bowling is a great way to beat the heat!

Cathedral of Junk
If “Keep Austin Weird” was a religion, the Cathedral of Junk would be its premier place of worship. It’s a multistory structure made out of all kinds of stuff, from concrete-filled tires to old CDs, street signs, glass bottles and toys. It reminds you of a post-apocalyptic urban setting in a video game or a movie, where survivors have created life anew using fragments of the old world. Extreme upcycling? Whatever the term, it’s gorgeous.

Caving
Sometimes, to beat the extreme Texas heat in the summer, it takes going down hundreds of feet into the earth to cool down. In Central Texas, we have many options for exploring caves, most within a short drive of the Austin area.

Chaparral Ice
In Texas, we’ll do just about anything to escape the heat of summer. Why not have fun while you’re cooling down? At Chaparral Ice, there are always friendly and helpful staff and good music. If you feel like taking it a step further, they offer ice-skating classes for a wide range of ages.

Deep Eddy Pool
When it comes to pools, there are few out there quite like Deep Eddy. Once a swimming hole on the Colorado River, Deep Eddy is a freshwater swimming pool, similar to Barton Springs. Each night, one of the two sides of the pool is drained and refilled with fresh well water, so you practically have a new pool to swim in every other day. Summertime fun includes watching movies in the pool! Check back here for the 2018 Splash Movie Nights schedule, soon to be announced.

Dig in the Sand
Lakes, parks and more offer kids a chance to get a little dirty in a sand pit…. some may also have some hidden dinosaur bones, too!

Dinosaur Park
Just outside of Austin in Cedar Creek, the Dinosaur Park is a must-see for any dino lover. This outdoor museum boasts life-size exhibits of dinosaurs on an easy to navigate trail, complete with a pre-printed scavenger hunt. There is a playground, picnic tables, a dino dig pit (small), and a gift store. Make it a day trip: read more about exploring Cedar Creek, Texas here.

Fishing
Summer is a great time of year to go fishing with the kids. Find a shady spot, pack an ice chest with some cold beverages and wait ’til the fish bite.

Float on Boat Rentals
Don’t have a boat? No problem! Float on Boat rentals offers boats (with or without captains) on both Lake Austin and Travis. It’s the perfect way to avoid the summer heat! 

Hat Creek Burger Co.
Beer, burgers, milkshakes, salads…. and a playground! That’s right, a visit to one of the 9 Austin-area locations of this local favorite will satisfy everyone in the family.

 

Kayak or Canoe on Lady Bird Lake
Summer in Austin is all about finding creative ways to cool off. One way to do this is to take a canoe or kayak out on Lady Bird Lake. Yes, it can be a little dicey with younger kids and no, giving them their own paddle is not required. But, if you try it, it’s a great vantage point to check out turtles and resident waterfowl, and catch a nice breeze (of course, the earlier you go, the cooler it will be).

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Don’t miss these beautiful grounds located in South Austin. Be sure to visit during the month of June on their special Nature Nights – it’s FREE and possibly a little cooler than visiting during the day!

Mayfield Park
Visit with the peacocks at Mayfield Park and Preserve, an urban oasis in the center of town. In addition to the feathered friends your children will make, they can explore the shaded trails and ponds. Tip: Combine activities by visiting Mount Bonnell and the Contemporary Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria – they are all very close to Mayfield Park.

Mount Bonnel
Hiking up to the top of Mount Bonnell is definitely an activity best done in the early morning or late evening during the summer months. But the view at the top is well worth the sweat you’ll work up to get there. Read more about what to expect and some tips for climbing with kids here.

Museums in Austin
Whether you’re looking for art or science, history or all things presidential, Austin has a plethora of museums to choose from. Here’s a great list of museums to visit in the Austin area. Make a hot summer day an art day by visiting a couple of art museums with the kids, then lay out paint and canvas at home so the kids can create their own masterpieces.

Parks in Greater Austin
For parents, a great way to get out of the house is by exploring parks with our kids. That said, it can be easy to go to the same parks over and over again. Why not mix it up and try out a new park? We’ve visited a whole lot of parks in and around Austin, and we’ve laid out our favorites from north to south, east and west in a special parks series. If it’s an extra steamy day, check out these favorite parks that offer lots of shade in the summer.

Peter Pan Mini Golf
An Austin institution since 1948, this mini golf course has two 18-hole courses and is a popular spot during the summer months. Go early to avoid wait times and to avoid the heat of the day. Note that only cash and checks are accepted. You can bring a cooler, but no glass.

Playland Skate Center
Playland Skate center is open every day during the summer! Beat the heat and get some exercise in at Playland, in a fun, safe, friendly environment for the whole family! Discount Night every in Thursday for June and July starting at 7pm. Check out their website for daily schedule and other special events. Summer Hours start June 1st!

Rock Climbing
If your kids are climbing the walls, take them to one of Austin’s indoor rock climbing locations for a new twist on getting their energy out. Whether it’s rock climbing or bouldering (rock climbing without the use of ropes or harnesses), kids as young as toddlers can learn the art of climbing at both indoor and outdoor locations located throughout the Austin area.

Round Rock Express
Visit Dell Diamond for a few Round Rock Express games this summer. The Express have a varied promotional schedule, including nightly specials like $1 Hot Dogs on Monday games, ½ Price Tickets on Tuesday games, free tickets with canned food donations on Wednesday games, drink discounts on Thursdays, fireworks on Fridays, giveaways or post-game concerts on Saturday, and free kids inflatables pre-game and run the bases post-game on Sundays! Full promo schedule here.

Science Mill
Check out the new 30-foot-tall stainless steel robotic hand at the Science Mill! With a remote joystick mimicking the robot hand, kids can easily operate this exhibit to make each of the giant fingers move, much like their own. This exhibit is a powerful, interactive icon of creativity, engineering and design. Plus, explore the museum’s 50+ interactive indoor and outdoor exhibits and watch a 3D movie!

Splash Pads
Pools are great, but sometimes, splash pads are even better. Often adjacent to playgrounds, you can get a twofer by playing on the playground and then cooling off in the water. They are almost always free. If you have littles who are still learning to swim, a trip to the splash pad is a lot less stressful than a visit to the pool.

Springfree Trampoline
When kids have the wiggles and lots of energy, head to the Domain to visit the Austin Springfree Trampoline store. With several trampolines set up, your kids will have a blast jumping and testing out all of the cool accessories. Bonus: there’s air conditioning!

Stroll South Congress Avenue
Exploring the stores and restaurants on South Congress Avenue is always a big hit, especially if you have some out of town visitors this summer. If you get hungry, there are plenty of restaurants to satisfy your hunger. Have some extra cash to spend? No problem! There are plenty of cool, eclectic stores to shop at. It’s a mecca of hipsters and an area that’s quite enjoyable for everyone in the family. Be sure to head down to Congress Avenue on the first Thursday of each month (weather permitting) to enjoy vendors, local artisans, live music and more

Texas State Capitol
Who says you can’t combine fun and learning while on summer break? Not us! Take the kids to explore the Texas State Capitol – they’ll learn all about Texas history, politics, and you can even grab a bite to eat in the basement cafeteria. Read more about taking a tour of the Capitol here.

Topgolf
Topgolf is an entertainment venue in north Austin offering point-scoring golf with over 100 climate-controlled hitting bays, with an on-site restaurant and bar. If your kids love golf, Topgolf Austin is once again hosting Summer Academy, a week-long half-day program for kids ranging from 6 – 12. Summer Academy is a fun way to stay physically active, mentally active and engaged with the community all while learning a great skill.

Zilker Botanical Gardens
When you think botanical gardens, you think plants and flowers, right? But the Zilker Botanical Garden is much more – ponds, dinosaurs, wildlife, butterfly habitats and more! Kids of all ages love this beautiful space.

Zilker Zephyr
No trip to Zilker Park or Barton Springs Pool is complete without a ride on the iconic Zilker Zephyr. Kids and adults take delight in this train ride across Zilker Park, offering great views of Austin as well.

Events

Blues on the Green
Austin’s favorite summer tradition is back. 93.3 KGSR’s Blues on the Green invites music lovers out to Zilker Park to enjoy a family and pet friendly night of homegrown music in a relaxed atmosphere. Grab your family, friends, dogs, and blankets, and join us for Austin’s largest FREE concert series. Read some tips on attending Blues on the Green here.

When: May 23, June 13, July 18, August 8, 8 p.m.
Where: Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin
Cost: FREE

Together We Can Get Them Outside Celebration
Celebrate the beauty of playing outside at this special event. Stop in at the Springfree Trampoline store in the Domain to pick up some seed planting kits from Burpee seeds, refreshments including GoGo Squeez, take part in some games, and free test jumps, of course! Cool off from the summer heat while celebrating the spirit of going outside to be active!

When: Saturday, June 2, Noon-4 p.m.
Where: Springfree Trampoline, 3220 Amy Donovan Plaza in the Domain
Cost: FREE

A Spoonful of Sugar
This summer, Austin Scottish Rite Theater and the Hideout Theatre present a delightful, family-friendly improv show: Spoonful of Sugar! The Sugar family is in trouble. Their parents are overworked, their children misbehaving and neglected. When they are finally forced to hire on a nanny, the children are pleasantly surprised to discover that their new nanny is magical. ready to infuse their lives with a little bit of whimsy, mystery, and fun! Join us as the Sugars’ new nanny takes us on a series of fantastical adventures, exploring the hidden, magical world behind the every day, which we bring to life with suggestions and help from the kids (and their parents) in our audience.

When: Saturday and Sunday, June 3 – July 1, 11 a.m.
Where: Austin Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St., Austin
Cost: $12 for ages 12 and up, $8 ages 12 and under

Summer Kids Series
The youngest animal lover in your life has more reason to celebrate this summer, as our Summer Kids Series gets underway with hands-on activities for kids of all ages as they learn more about the world of animals and the Austin Humane Society. Along the way they’ll find out what it means to care for a pet of their own and be inspired to help animals in need.

When: Tuesdays, June 5 – August 14, multiple times and sessions
Where: Austin Humane Society, 124 West Anderson Ln., Austin
Cost: FREE

Austin Symphony’s Children’s Day Art Park
The Austin Symphony Children’s Day Art Park offers FREE concerts for kids in June and July at a brand new location, the Austin Central Public Library. In addition to the music, there will be arts and crafts, an instrument zoo and more.

When: Wednesday mornings, June 6 – July 25, doors open at 10 a.m.
Where:
Austin Central Library, 710 W Cesar Chavez St., Austin
Cost: FREE

Bubblepalooza
Bubblepalooza, the Long Center’s official start to summer returns on Saturday, June 9, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The kick off to their All Summer Long series of free community events, this annual celebration of open play on the Long Center’s front lawn is perfect for families of all ages, with live music, games, arts + crafts, trailer food, and of course—tons of bubbles!

When: Saturday, June 9, 2018, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W Riverside Dr, Austin
Cost: FREE

 

Second Saturdays are for Families at Contemporary Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria
The Contemporary Austin offers FREE hands-on art-making workshops each month, inspired by the exhibitions on view. Join us to see family-friendly performances, meet local artists, and make art to take home. Recommended for ages 2–11. Reservations are requested to participate in art-making workshops due to limited space; please reserve your spot at the links below beginning the 1st of each month.

When: June 9, July 14, August 11, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: The Contemporary Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St., Austin
Cost: FREE

Too Many Stories
Too Many Stories! is a Scottish Rite favorite, back by popular demand for weekday matinees in summer 2018. Kallie catches Sam and Bogus getting away with loot they’ve stolen from a department store. With the help of the kids in the Scottish Rite Theater audience, a smart little girl outwits and exhausts the bad guys through story, music, and improvisation. All ages.

When: Wednesday, June 13 – August 1
Where: Austin Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St., Austin
Cost: $6 for adults and children, under 2 free

Fans From Fans Summer Fan Drive
The Summer Fan Drive provides new box and oscillating fans to seniors, adults with disabilities, and families with children in Central Texas. Take part in a day of fun with activities for kids, live music, a Pancake Pileup and more at this annual event.

When: June 15, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Where: Threadgill’s World Headquarters, 301 West Riverside Dr., Austin
Cost: Suggested donation of $20 or a new fan

Central Texas Juneteenth Celebration
Watch a parade that kicks off the Juneteenth festivities and then celebrate in the park afterwards with live music, food, activities and vendors.

When: June 16, parade at 10 a.m. and event begins at noon
Where: Chestnut House, 1183 Chestnut Ave., Austin
Cost: FREE

Taste of North Austin
Calling all foodies! Restaurants from The Domain and North Austin are teaming up again for Taste of North Austin, the 11th annual all-day family food festival that features delectable tastes, beverage sampling, free live music, children’s entertainment, and of course, fabulous shopping. Complimentary children’s activities throughout the day will also include balloon twisting, glitter tattoos, crafts and more. Taste tabs will double as “votes” for a restaurant’s partner charity. The winning charities will receive a Simon Giftcard donation.

When: Saturday, June 16, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: The Domain, between Macy’s and Neiman Marcus, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin
Cost:
Children’s entertainment and music will be free. Food samplings and VIP access will require wristbands. Beer and wine will be available for purchase at select restaurant booths. Wristbands include 10 tastes will be available for $20 at The Domain’s Simon Guest Services or at the event. VIP experience will be offered for an additional $15.

Movies in the Park
Movies in the Park is a series of free films brought to you by Austin Parks Foundation in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse and presented by Whole Foods Market. Each year, APF and the Drafthouse bring you free movies in parks all over Austin. Bring a blanket and get ready to see Moana on the outdoor screen. Food trucks will be onsite.

When: June 21, 9 p.m.
Where: Patterson Park, 4200 Brookview Rd., Austin
Cost: FREE

Movies in the Park (Wells Branch)
Wells Branch MUD presents Movies in the Park Summer Series at Katherine Fleischer Park. Bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy a fun filled night with your family and neighbors. All movies will be rated PG with free admission.

When: June 16, July 21, and August 18, 8 p.m. concession sales, movie at twilight
Where: Katherine Fleischer Park, 2106 Klattenhof Dr., Austin
Cost: FREE

World Refugee Day
Commemorate the United Nations’ World Refugee Day at the Bullock Museum with a naturalization ceremony, free samples of world cuisine, live music, and activities for families with kids of all ages. Master of Ceremonies, Greg Ciotti, is representing KOOP Radio‘s Community Council whose charter is to highlight individuals and organizations that are giving back in our community.

When: June 16, 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 Congress Ave., Austin
Cost: FREE

Pollyanna Theatre Company’s If Wishes Were Fishes
In Hepp-Galvan’s hilarious new play, these friends (and our young audience) learn to be grateful for what you have, to always appreciate the wonderful people in your life, and to be wary of talking fish. Sarah, Johnny, and Felicia are best friends. They can’t wait to get together every day! They play the best games and always support and encourage each other. One day, when they’re playing, they find a magic fish tangled in a net. The magic fish says that if they free him, he’ll grant them three wishes–one wish each. And that is when the trouble starts. Best for ages 4-9 years old.

When: Saturday & Sunday, June 23 – July 1, 2 p.m.
Where: Long Center for Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Dr., Austin
Cost: $10.50

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Zilker Hillside Musical
Pack a picnic and come out to the Zilker Hillside Theatre to enjoy a live performance of All Shook Up! This summer, Zilker Theatre Productions journeys back to the 1950’s — the era of the first Zilker Summer Musical — with the Elvis-inspired All Shook Up!

When: Thursday – Sunday, July 6 – August 18, 8:15 p.m.
Where: Zilker Hillside Theatre, 2100 Barton Springs Rd., Austin
Cost: FREE

Would you like to add an event or activity to the 2018 Austin Summer Fun Guide? Email Catherine@365ThingsAustin.com with details

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.

 

It’s hard to fathom why anyone would ever want to leave the great city of Austin, but every blue moon, even we get a wild-hair, and set out to explore outside the city limits.

Our Escape from Austin series will provide guides for easy trips from Austin throughout the Lone Star State, and beyond. “What defines easy?” you may ask. For the purposes of this series, we’ll be exploring destinations that are a relatively easy drive from Austin (think cities like Fredericksburg and Port Aransas, as well as destinations like the JW Marriott Resort in San Antonio, and the BBQ Trail in Lockhart), OR destinations that Southwest Airlines flies to non-stop from Austin (think cities like Nashville, Denver, New York, and Portland).

In each post we’ll tell you why the destination made our list and provide insight on how to make the most of your trip. Happy travelin’ y’all.

Have a suggestion on somewhere we should visit? Somewhere you’ve never been that you’d like us to post about? Shoot an email to kristy@365thingsaustin.com

*Disclaimer: We receive compensation from some of the places we’ll visit, most often in the form of a free night’s stay. Just want to be up front with y’all and extend the guarantee that we will NEVER include a recommendation that we don’t fully stand behind. It’s just that we’re modest bloggers and in no financial position to turn our nose up at a free room!

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.

The Why

  1. 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.
  2. This resort will make you feel like you’re worlds away from Austin—both with its natural surroundings, and comforting amenities.
  3. There are two AMAZING golf courses.
  4. 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!

Why eat on land when you can have brunch party on the water!?!

We’ve teamed up with Capital Cruises and Austin Tour Company again to bring you The Brunch Boat!  A brunch time party cruise on Town Lake (or Lady Bird Lake as it’s now known). Enjoy great music, food, and beverages aboard a fabulous boat with air conditioning, bathrooms, and a gorgeous roof deck. We’ll have different themes throughout the year too for added fun!  Get great pictures and views of the Austin skyline from the boat roof deck!

Here are the details…

SPECIAL UPDATE: We’re excited to announce that ATC guests who head to the YETI store after we dock will receive a free beverage with the purchase of $20 or more of YETI products (must show your wristband to get the beverage so keep it on)!

  • This Event is 21+ Only 
  • You do not need a printed confirmation, we will check you in electronically once you arrive.
  • Full trip details are sent out via email the Friday before your cruise.
  • HAVE FUN, and drink responsibly
  • GREAT for birthday parties, corporate outings and special events.  Invite your CREW! 

*We have a variety of local food and beverages on board which are complimentary for our guests (quantities are limited to ensure responsible consumption and safety).  We provide enough for each guest to have two to three cocktails, a breakfast taco and two slices of pizza. In addition to that we offer chips and salsa, fresh fruit, beer, sparkling cocktails, coffee, still and sparkling water. Food, beverage and entertainment vendors may vary for each cruise.

The 41st spring Pecan Street Festival (PSF) takes place this Saturday and Sunday on Sixth Street (formerly known as Old Pecan Street). The twice-yearly event boasts hundreds of artisanal vendors, food stalls and a ton of local, live music on three stages. The PSF is the largest, and longest-running Texas’ music festival of it’s kind.The festival is free for all ages.

Organizers encourage attendees to leave their cars at home and take public transport, ride share, bike or carpool to the event. Capital Metro just announced extended hours from 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday during the event. Attendees are strongly encouraged to explore the live music offerings. Some of our picks include; Blushing, Lola Tried, Los Coast, Ex Romantika, The Gary, Jane Ellen Bryant and El Tule. The entire lineup and set times can be found on the PSF website.

We talked to Ryan Cano, the festival Music Director about how things have changed since he took the helm four years ago. As a music manager, booking agent and former musician for over 20 years, Cano possesses both the experience and intelligence necessary to carve out a career in the Austin music industry. He has operated music booking and management company, The Loyalty Firm for almost 15 years.  That is no small feat as you’ll learn below. 

Photo: Will Taylor

365 Things: You’ve been booking Pecan Street Festival for few years now. How long has it been? How has your approach to booking the event changed from the first one until now?

Ryan: It’s been close to four adventurous years with the Pecan Street Festival! I’m not sure my process has changed too drastically since I became the Music Director & Talent Buyer here. I’d say I just fine tuned my processes as I went along. I was pretty well-served by creating and producing hundreds of smaller concerts over the years before earning this role.

I first started at the festival back in June 2014 so there was not a lot of time to book and deliver a Fall lineup. Mentally compartmentalizing my new challenge with the festival allowed me to relax and face booking the festival confidently. I told myself this is much like booking and producing 10 concerts at once except there will be a staff of people ready to assist me if I needed help. I quickly found my groove here and was able to organize and tackle my responsibilities fairly well. It shouldn’t be too surprising that my first festival at PSF was largely booked with artists I had prior experience working with in some capacity.

I manage My Education and Built By Snow and they’ve played with a lot of very talented artists over the years so there were alot of prior relationships I was able to reach out to. There was some initial first time’s bookings outside the scope of my knowledge in that first fest and I leaned on artist suggestions from other concert promoters and journalists in town who were curating or covering scenes I wasn’t as experienced in. I would then listen to the suggested music and then see the artist live and just go from there. Before I started booking my second festival at PSF, I did some professional self-evaluation, focusing heavily on filling in the gaps in my knowledge and learning more about our community’s music scenes that I felt I didn’t know intimately enough. This process really opened up my eyes to the extent that music talent surrounds all of us in Austin. It’s pretty astounding. I have a wishlist of artists I would like to have at Pecan Street Festival that could fill the next several years of lineups fairly easily.

Over the years I have definitely grown more comfortable in the Music Director & Talent Buyer role and I’ve made a few changes along the way that I felt improved the audience experience. For instance, I will only book an artist once in a calendar year so our Spring fest will look completely different than our Fall fest. I’ve learned to easily pivot from one vision to the next as well. Sometimes you start with an idea in mind of how a stage will be thematically and it turns out differently than planned due to a myriad of possible reasons. There tends to be magic moments in that phase of booking as it makes you alter your perspective and consider something you have not been focused on. I’m proud of what’s been placed on stage over the years. I feel the festival is showcasing the most diverse musical offerings of any festival of our kind. We give artists of all ages and genres a chance to showcase their talents to a curious audience that shows up in droves. We had record attendance both seasons last year and I hope we continue with that trend. This is the 41st Spring season of the Pecan Street Festival and although a lot has changed in Austin, this festival feels like a step back-in-time. This is classic Austin. I’d add that for new residents who feel overwhelmed about where to start in Austin’s music scene, the Pecan Street Festival offers a chance to explore many acts for free! Walk around and find the sounds that speak to you.

What artists are you most excited about this Spring Pecan Street Festival?

I definitely have some intrinsic happiness about how well-balanced the music is this Spring. There really is something for everyone. We have some incredible R&B, Soul & Hip Hop artists like Los Coast, Melat, Alesia Lani, Zeale and Fort Never on Saturday performing on our Neches Main Stage. We have really awesome Americana on Sunday on the Neches Main Stage from Striking Matches, The Watters, Miller Campbell, Jane Ellen Bryant and Scott Collins. We offer many styles of rock n roll from shoe-gazers like Blushing to the whip smart indie from Lola Tried or legendary punk rockers Terminal Mind. We have u18 artists RIIL Chemistry, the Austin Children’s Choir and Midnight Butterfly.  Electronic and bass heavy music from Bassline Drift, Emme, NGHT HCKLRS and Glass Cannon will also perform. We have latin artists on both days across many stages and genres of sound including Cilantro Boombox, El Tule, Chulita Vinyl Club, Ex Romantika, Slowly Grace and Ley Line.  Rock, Americana, Dance, Country, Folk, Punk, Funk, Singer-Songwriter, multi-lingual music are all represented. The bill is 98% local. Our stages at PSF are a reflection of the talent our community contains. These are our neighbors on stage.

Photo: Kat Alyst

You get to hear a lot of great new music. Beyond submissions to Pecan Street Festival where do you go to find new music? Why do you prefer those channels?

I have an old-school tactic that dates back to being in a band, learning my scene and who to play with when I first moved to Austin. I study the entire venue calendar in the Austin Chronicle every week. I study what bills are being curated across the city and what artists are playing where. You start to see themes emerge and you can even see an artist progressing this way. It’s pretty handy and I find myself doing this out of habit. Whether an artist was pitched to me or suggested, I spend a lot of the time discovering new artists that I am unfamiliar with using streaming services. These days, I’d rather take my initial spin of a new (to me) act through a Soundcloud or Bandcamp link. I like to make playlists of artists I need to research more in depth and Soundcloud is an especially great option for that. You can get a mini-sneak peak of a stage lineup you’re building this way. Sometimes I’ll check if an artist is on Spotify or Amazon Music and listen there too.  

I’ll also watch live music performances on YouTube or preferably see the artist live. Seeing an artist play a show in Austin is a still a wonderful way to spend an evening. The number of small businesses you can support by going to a local show is impactful. I love it when I accidentally catch an act while I’m out. This is probably more of a step two for me if I’m not familiar with an artist….ultimately I am hiring a live performance for the festival so that’s my focus after listening to the music

Related question… if streaming music is the primary way music is being discovered and listened to, how does that model benefit artists? Where do you see this sector headed given the low profits for both platforms and artists thus far?

Streaming is the most efficient and often, the initial discovery option. As a consumer of music, streaming is incredibly convenient. A streamed track can follow you from your laptop to your phone to your car without much interruption. The streaming music industry is still trying to figure out what its business model is so it’s hard to put faith and trust that this new way of distributing music can support an artist any time soon. Most of these companies are simply trying to figure out how to sustain themselves and keep the lights on. I’m not sure the health of the artist community is a significant factor of these companies. I think that is largely because they don’t know where [the industry] will end up and that’s because the sector is still evolving. Using a device like Alexa to call out music you want to hear is a game changer in a lot of ways. We are shortening the timeframe between thinking of a track we’d like to hear and being able to command that thought into reality. We’re interacting with music in new ways that challenge the notion of what streaming music is. Streaming from cloud-based sources and the idea of access to music libraries versus owning your own private music library seems to be the new norm. 

Ultimately to trickle down to the artists and songwriters, it will likely take government regulation to see something better than what is in place now. In my estimation, there needs to be a readjustment in how royalties are accounted for with music streams, much in the way the industry adjusted their royalties with the CD when it took over for vinyl and cassettes sales in the 80s.

In terms of how I see the sector progressing, I think we are going to see the major players push into areas that aren’t quite their core competencies to deliver a richer customer experience. For instance, there’s no reason Spotify can’t begin playing select music videos from an Artist’s album and thus increasing the capacity to do visual ads on their platform. They are largely focused on audio but I can see Spotify expanding into that user experience. In truth, the audience likes consuming music both ways: audio-only and with visual accompaniment. This is proven by YouTube remaining one of the main music discovery websites for younger audiences. Apple Music probably offers one of the more seamless digital experiences. The iPhone and iTunes work well within the Apple ecosystem.

There’s no doubt that indie artists benefit far more on the financial end from Bandcamp than almost any other platform.It might not be a fair comparison as I view Bandcamp as more of an artist’s digital/physical catalog with a streaming player and merchandise offered direct. I would like to see Bandcamp move into artist ticketing and pre-sale tickets for tours much like Music Glue.

Amazon is moving into ticketing. There’s going to be a push into ticketing with Alexa.  Personally I think if Amazon made a big push into having artist pages and letting artists set up their custom digital and physical stores at their website, it might an be undeniable experience for all parties:  artist, fan and Amazon. Amazon Music is interesting  because they are hiding in plain sight and yet they aren’t first to most people’s minds [when they think about music] even though they have the infrastructure to support an artist’s online and physical music and merchandise easily if they desired. We’ve seen a version of this with artist direct deals Garth Brooks signed with Amazon. This program should be expanded. Much like Amazon does with authors, financially investing in musicians and offering direct and exclusive digital deals would be smart. How many great artists do you know that could use $3000 for their album? I know plenty. Instead of exclusively doing direct deals with superstars, there’s a huge market to be had working with lower-tier artists much like Bandcamp does.  I think there is a way for all artists involved in the streaming world to be happy but we have yet to find that balance. Currently, there’s almost no way for an indie artist to survive within the streaming business structure. 

Photo: Kat Alyst

The good news is there are ancillary ways streaming can help an artist, even if it is as simple as a guy like me researching the music of someone I end up hiring for an event. There’s indirect benefits to be had for some artists that aren’t quantified. 

Last time we did an interview we talked about the state of the Austin music scene. Some things have changed for the better like one extra hour of outdoor live music in the Red River Cultural District (RRCD) during the weekend. What else has improved locally for the music industry since then? What challenges that remain are most critical in your mind?

The extra hour for RRCD venues was pretty huge in my opinion. I’m hoping this is the kickstart to garnering some real momentum (changing the music business) in Austin. An extra hour is a big deal because live music is the stickiness that keeps patrons inside a venue. An extra hour every day over the year could be the difference in a venue surviving or not. This city still has more venues and stages to play on than I can ever remember so that is ultimately a great thing for the working musician. I like that the music community has more sectors to play in other than downtown. New or mostly new music venues like The Little Darlin’ or The Electric Church are curating great music in sections of town where that experience was previously absent.

There’s still critical challenges ahead. We are the Live Music Capital of the World yet outside of live music, we don’t have a major music industry employer in town that extends beyond that realm. Recently there were rumors of Austin city leaders recruiting a BMI office here and that is absolutely the step in the right direction. I mentioned in our previous chat that I would like to see the city go after a larger music business in the way we have for Apple or Samsung in the past. The amount of income the music industry earns for the city justifies exploring further investment. It would be great to have a major music publisher or music streaming company open an office here. There’s plenty of qualified people here  to work for those businesses. There’s many small business owners in Austin and the surrounding area managing music artists and putting out records. We could leverage their entrepreneurial skill sets amid a larger music companies’ missions. The city will start to lose talent if we don’t offer a way for people to expand upon their careers outside of  live music. We truly need to diversify.

Affordability still feels largely unaddressed, for artists and citizens alike. My concern when we last talked was, “The developments that dampen our ability to afford living in Austin move a lot faster than our discussion on helping artists and helping affordability.” This still feel true. How many new hotel and condo developments have been propped up since we last talked?

This past weekend the only daily live music venue on Rainey Street, The Blackheart closed and has a gigantic development looming behind it. There feels like a cycle that isn’t ending here in Austin and there should be real concern and action in helping venue owners succeed. When you lease a place to start your business, the idea is you’ll be working for your customers, not your landlord. Catastrophic rent increases are all too common. Real estate speculation is leaving most of us behind, artist or not.

The City of Austin been more open to helping the music community than any other administration that I can remember. I have faith that Mayor Adler will find good solutions to our community’s challenges. To be frank, there’s an element of “promise fatigue” as it relates to the city. I think we all know government moves slow but I’m hungry for more action. I was ready for action two years ago and we’re still having the same conversations! It’s much like trying to jog our way out of quicksand. Each time we delay conversations about what to do, the processes that are already developed and in place, like real estate projects, cruise on by. We need to ensure the Austin music industry does not get left behind. We need to move faster and in sync as a community.

What are you listening to lately?

It varies wildly from day-to-day. There’s moods I’m trying to illuminate sometimes and other times I’m just merely checking out stuff and exploring. I’m still a big fan of the album format so I still love to check out the vision or statement being made by the group. I have been listening to many artists more in-depth or even for the first time lately. I’ve been wanting to expand my music knowledge about certain genres that I don’t feel I have explored enough. Lately, I have been diving into Country and Americana sounds but I still mix it up. I’ve recently gone deep with Bill Callahan, Gucci Mane, Mono, Willie Nelson and Mala Rodriguez’s respective catalogs.

What 2018 records would you recommend to our readers?

Austin’s Soul/R&B and Hip-Hop scenes are having a real moment right now. The spotlight should be much brighter on what is happening in those Austin music scenes. The music that Alesia Lani, Mélat, Los Coast, Tameca Jones, Magna Carda, Mindz of a Different Kind, Cha’keeta Banita, Abhi the Nomad, Zeale or Pat G is making right now is nothing short of amazing. Many of those artist I mentioned you can catch this weekend at the Pecan Street Fest.  

Below are a few albums released in 2018 that I have had on repeat since hearing them:

A Place To Bury Strangers: Pinned (2018 Dead Oceans)

Beach House: 7 (2018 Subpop Records)

Honey and Salt: S/T (2018 Spartan Records)

J. Cole: KOD (2018 Roc Nation Records)

Melat: Move Me II: The Present (2018 S/R)

Some albums that came out last year that I still listen to quite often include:

Alesia Lani: Resilient (2017 Keyzstreet Music)

Cloud Nothings: Life Without A Sound (2017 Carpark Records)

Golden Retriever: Rotations (2017 Thrill Jockey Records)

METZ: Strange Peace (2017 Subpop Records)

My Education: Schiphol (2017 Headbump Records/Golden Antenna Records)

The War on Drugs: A Deeper Understanding (2017 Columbia Records)

Anyone that knows you, knows you’re a big fan of gourmet pizza. What are your favorite spots in Austin?

My favorite spots include Via 313, Bufalina, and 40 North. These places make pizza perfection consistently and it’s hard to not enjoy yourself at these restaurants. I also love a cheese slice from Stoney’s after a show. There’s many more places in the area that are great in town like Backspace, Pieous, Homeslice, Pinthouse, 600 Degrees. The pizza in Austin and the surrounding area is legit. Pizza is truly the perfect food. I’m pretty much always in the mood for a slice!  

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.

Without further ado, here is the 2018 ACL lineup. Tickets go on sale now! The festival will take place October 5th-7th & October 12th-14th at Zilker Park. 

For more information and to purchase tickets visit their website.