This year, Clay signed up to attend SXSW (an annual conference held in Austin for film, music, design, and interactive media) for work during mid-March. Since neither of us had been to Texas before, I decided to fly out to Austin a few days later to join him! We both knew that Clay needed to attend back-to-back conference sessions all day, so spending time together was going to be a little tricky. I was pretty prepared to explore Austin on my own during the daytime. Luckily though, we were still able to coordinate so that we could spend time together before, after, and sometimes in between his sessions. One morning, we were able to get breakfast tacos together at Torchy's Tacos on South Congress (SoCo). He took a Fasten ride downtown and I ended up walking up SoCo (lots of shops, cafes, and restaurants!) to meet him downtown for a quick lunch at Gordough's Donuts. Another day, we were able to rent bikes so that we could make it to Micklethwait Craft Meats (for some brisket and jalapeno cheese grits!) during the one hour we had in between his morning and afternoon session. Afterwards, I took a nice long walk from downtown to Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool, where Clay was easily able to bike to when he finished his afternoon session. The rest of that day, we made very good use of our bike rentals. We were able to bike from Barton Springs/Zilker Park to the HOPE Outdoor Gallery (a community paint park), swing by the Texas state capitol building, stop by South Congress Bridge for the bat viewing around sunset, and down SoCo to reach our dinner destination at South Congress Cafe. Overall, I was really glad that during our time in Austin, (a) Clay could enjoy his work conference, (b) I could get some much-needed time for myself, and (c) we could both get a good taste of the city of Austin together.
Some notes about Austin: For food, definitely go for breakfast tacos, BBQ, Tex-Mex, and food trucks/stands. They also have a bunch of hip/modern restaurants that bloggers rave about. For outdoors, people often visit Barton Springs (outdoor swimming pool) and Zilker Park. Some other outdoor spots we wanted to visit but did not get to see were: Hamilton Pools, Mount Bonnell, Barton Creek Green Belt (a less-monitored swimming hole), and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. On this note, I'd recommend going during late spring or summer for more swimming-friendly weather! Of course, plan to spend time on South Congress Avenue and downtown. If you are seeking some nightlife or spots to chill/drink downtown, you can go to 6th St. or Rainey St (where historic bungalow-style homes have been turned into restaurants and bars). Austin also has a couple of quirky spots like HOPE Outdoor Gallery and the Cathedral of Junk that may be interesting to visitors. It has a ton of well-known murals scattered around the city (i.e., i love you so much @ Jo's Coffee) . And one last random fact: Austin is home to the first original Whole Foods.
Just capturing as I go.