Who would ever think in the sea of red we’d find a little blue, liberal hub of activity and life and only steps from the bathed in red State Capitol? I am in Austin for a quick jaunt, then on to one of my favorite local hotspot (but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to read about that.) This is my homage to the Red and the Blue coats that reside in this part of Texas. If you visit these places while you’re here, you’ll leave with a sense of the energy of two different lifestyles that somehow, live side by side. And you’ll get an awesome look at the history of Austin. (wink wink)
If you have only one day and one night in Austin, these are the must-see, eat-at, visit items:
Rainey Street – an upscale version of 6th Street. Super artsy, fun vibe, lots of places to peruse, drink and dine.
6th Street. Yes, it IS the live music capital of the world and if you time it just right, you can stand on the sidewalk and hear about 28 different bands playing through open bar fronts all at the same time. The people are weird, but that is the whole point.
Moonshine– once the storefront, grocer, barns and carriage house of the oldest house in Austin and owned by a German family until 1966, now a very cool indoor-outdoor eatery. Get there before 6pm if you don’t want a 2-hour wait. Or reserve a table. Totally worth it if you do have to wait. You can hang under the veranda or in the carriage house and have an app and drink while you do. Try their signature moonshine – it tastes like liquid heaven dipped in real vanilla.
Texas State Capitol. I love architecture and history and the Texas State Capitol has both. Really cool place to visit. Make sure you see the Supreme Court and the session rooms for both the House and the Senate. There are tours you can take as well, or wander on your own. There are truly inspiring sculptures on the grounds, don’t miss the Civil War or the Black Heritage sculptures. They are moving. On the north-east corner of the grounds, there is a capital history museum that is actually quite interesting. Texas has had some ups and downs and the story of the capital is rolled into all of it.
Make sure you walk down Congress Ave. It’s full of shops, art galleries, a couple art museums (modern and historical), lots of lobbying buildings and government offices that are surprisingly very cool to see. Look out for all of the silver and black historical marker signs, I wear they are every few feet and they mark some really cool places.
Capitol Grill is a known hot spot to rub shoulders wearing men in button-downs and very serious looks. You can just feel laws being written while you are there. Great food, super easy walk since it is connected to the Capitol.
Pelon’s – a great eclectic Mexican place about 10 mins walking from the capital, across from Stubbs. This place is cool because you can dine on their front yard patio and listen to the live music at Stubbs for free! You can, of course, go to Stubbs after too and since its an Austin institution, if you have the energy for a fun night out, Stubbs is a great place to catch some great bands!