At a glance:
Where I stayed: Hotel Granduca
Type of Trip: Solo Trip
Length: 3 days
Tip: Get ready for a hike
Austin is WEIRD! And that’s just the way they like it. In fact, it’s one of their mantras “Keep Austin Weird.” The population includes politicians/government employees, college students, musicians, artists, tourists and very few cowboys all contributing to the unique city and culture.
There is no shortage of art in Austin. Whether its the music (catch live bands on 6th street or Congress Ave and all around the city) or visual art via private galleries or public spaces. Unfortunately the HOPE Outdoor Gallery - a graffiti park for all - has officially been shut down but they are opening again at another location.
HOPE Outdoor Gallery
Now closed :( but opening new location soon :)
The architecture is also it’s own form of art and individual expression. You’d be hard pressed to find two matching houses while walking through a residential neighborhood. From ultra modern boxes to cabins fit for fairies to super traditional colonials. There is something for everyone. And if you can’t find the residential architecture that speaks to you, build it! One of the weirder tours I went on was through the home of artist architect Talbot. Named Casa Neverlandia, the house has been a work in progress for about 40 years. Talbot is always planning and designing and building the house of his dreams. It was whimsical, quirky, and like nothing I’ve ever seen. It was WEIRD.
The Austin landscape is actually much more beautiful and diverse than I was expecting. The Colorado River carves through Texas creating views that almost look like your on a cliff in the Mediterranean. There’s plenty of hiking trails and water sports for the outdoorsy type (not me btw). But even just walking through the paved city, I encountered lots of hills. I prefer to walk around new places to get a feel for them and by the end of the trip I was EXHAUSTED. It doesn’t help that Austin is a big city with lots of spread out attractions. I walked over 20,000 steps a day. I suggest wearing very comfortable shoes.
And if nature is really your thing, Austin is where you should be. In addition to their trails, their parks and preserves are outstanding. I would suggest checking out the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the Mayfield Park to hang with some peacocks.
It’s like a peacock fashion show
I was once again surprised in Austin by discovering my new love for presidential libraries. A coworker of mine had suggested I go to one along my travels and Austin is home to the LBJ Presidential Library. I am by no means a history buff but I really enjoyed it! You can learn a lot more about past presidents and the history of our nation in engaging exhibits rather than dull history books.
I will most likely be going back to Austin sooner rather than later (it helps that I can go there for work too). But next time I’d like to go with friends - some things, like Rainey Street, are better in groups. I’d also stay somewhere in the city. Hotel Granduca was FABULOUS but I had to call a ride every time I wanted to get downtown. I got a deal on HotelsTonight (insert shameless plug to use my code for 20% off first time users: FCACCAVALE) that I couldn’t pass up and definitely don’t regret the experience but I’d prefer to be a little closer to the action.
But for now - Stay Weird, Austin!