Austin is a city with character. Everywhere you turn, there are wall murals, graffiti drawings, and live music, not to mention extremely friendly people and an open atmosphere. Aside from that, locally-owned stores feature an eclectic mixture of things, from antiques to imported crafts to shrunken heads and everything in between. People, decked out in their UT-Austin orange, crowd the streets and the bars.The city’s motto, “Keep Austin Weird,” perfectly describes its quirky atmosphere and colorful edifices.
Once we got to the city, we headed over to South Congress Street. This area is full of local shops and restaurants that bring unique color and vibrancy to the area. My personal favorites were the street vendors, who sell everything from food to handmade jewelry to vintage cowboy boots. Other stores sell vintage pieces and antiques, as well as various knick-knacks and other artwork. Another store sold wild costumes, wigs, and masks for all of your Halloween needs. There were also plenty of stores that sold international items, ranging from Mexico to Turkey, offering customers a glimpse into foreign cultures and artwork. While walking around, it seemed like there were musicians on every corner!
We got dinner at one of the various food trucks on SoCo, which offer affordable and delicious meals and a cozy open-air seating area. The specific one we settled on was called FryBaby, a cart that sells delicious fried food. Dimitri and I settled on a fried macaroni and cheese for our evening treat, accompanied by two big glasses of fresh-squeezed lemonade! Afterward, we just had to stop by Amy’s Ice Cream, which was the perfect end to my dinner. I ordered a vanilla ice cream with vanilla cake pieces, which tasted a lot like a birthday cake!
Another great place to walk around is the University of Texas campus. Filled with students, this campus features a beautiful bell tower as well as nice places to sit and relax on a sunny afternoon. The Drag, nearby, is a cool place to hang out for students. The UT co-op is there, as well as many small shops and restaurants. Also, the Austin-famous 24-hour Kerby Lane Cafeis located on one of the street corners — a must for any late-night snackers.
In the evening, we hit up 6th Street, Austin’s night life center. This area of the city is full of bars, music venues, shows, and dance clubs, and the whole street is decorated with beautiful lights and neon signs. There are also various restaurants and cafés for families and those with younger children nearby. A good combination of live music bars and open-air seating is available to cater to a variety of different people.
Just outside of downtown Austin, we found breathtaking views at Mount Bonnell Park, which is located north of the city. This park is located on the top of a hill, which featured stunning views of the city and the lake. We took a little while admire the view and sing along to some ukulele songs. The breeze was perfect from up there as we looked as far as the eye can see. We exchanged a few sighs of admiration at the big houses on the lake and laughed jovially as we reminisced about the events of our weekend. It was the perfect way to say goodbye to this wonderful city!
All in all, my weekend trip only cost me $50 — I stayed well under my budget by traveling light and walking! This city is perfect for the sightseeing traveler who wants a lot of adventure without the hefty price tag. Most importantly, however, Austin is a city with many nooks and crannies to explore. Definitely take the opportunity to roam its streets and discover it for yourself!