Convention week is lastly right here! I can’t let you know how excited I’m not solely to attend my first in-person convention since 2019, but in addition to take action in my favourite U.S. metropolis.
I’m an alumna of the College of Texas at Austin for each my undergraduate and graduate levels, so I spent chunk of each my younger adolescence and my just-married-and-started-a-family years within the Texas capital metropolis. Many individuals already know that Austin is completely different from the remainder of Texas, and but additionally not so in the very best methods.
I’m thrilled to share town with so many colleagues, so I reached out to my fellow Austinites previous and current to crowdsource an inventory of advisable eating places, bars, espresso outlets and different venues near the Hilton.
See this Google spreadsheet for suggestions that embody every institution’s distance from the Hilton and whether or not or not they’ve outside seating. (In case you have strategies for the spreadsheet, e mail me at tara@well being journalism.org to let me know and I’ll add it.)
I additionally wish to draw consideration to a few my especially-favorite locations and a few of Austin’s notably distinctive actions.
See the bats! One in all Austin’s largest claims to fame — aside from being weird — is having the most important city bat inhabitants on the earth. (I wrote in regards to the tragic deaths of thousands of bats in the course of the 2021 Texas storm that shut down the state for every week and despatched Sen. Ted Cruz packing for Cancun.)
Each spring, tens of millions of Mexican free-tailed bats migrate to Central Texas and stay till autumn. About 1.5 million of those bats stay underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin, only a 10- to 15-minute stroll from the Hilton. Each evening, crowds collect to look at them take off to feed on bugs shortly after sundown. When you’d like to look at them, Austin Bat Refuge’s website is up to date day by day with a projected flight time and particulars of the earlier evening’s flight. Different useful websites embody the South Congress Bridge Bats site, recommendation from Austin’s legendary bat expert Merlin Tuttle, Visit Austin’s Bat Watching 101, and the Austin City Guide page.
Different Austin highlights
- Although it’s presently closed for renovation, the home of O. Henry, well-known for his quick tales with an ironic twist on the finish, isn’t removed from the Hilton on fifth St.
- Zilker Park is the crown jewel of Austin parks and residential to Barton Springs, which feed a preferred swimming gap that averages 68-70 levels year-round.
- When you’re an artwork or historical past buff, cinephile or faith scholar, head to the Harry Ransom Center on College of Texas at Austin’s campus to see one of many solely 5 Gutenberg Bibles within the nation, the earliest surviving photograph on the earth, a Frida Kahlo self-portrait, or any of their different exhibitions. Your complete set of Gone With the Wind and all of playwright Tennessee William’s archives are right here, together with a wealthy trove of different wonders.
- For a very Austin expertise, Cosmic (requires a drive or experience share) has an expansive outside space with a bar, espresso store and several other meals vehicles.
- Austin is known for its food trucks and has various food truck parks just like the South Austin Trailer Park. Probably the greatest locations to discover a assortment of meals vehicles not removed from the Hilton is South Congress.
- These eager to go for a run (or a ship experience or a kayak) can simply get to Lady Bird Park from the Hilton. It’s a linear park with wonderful jogging/strolling trails alongside the river. When you’re in a position to journey additional out from downtown, Mount Bonnell, Austin’s highest level, provides a brief climb to a beautiful overlook of the lake, and McKinney Falls State Park with a great deal of mountain climbing is only a 15-minute drive from the Hilton.
- I by no means understood why individuals would stand for 3 to 4 hours to get into Franklin’s BBQ, broadly considered the perfect barbecue not solely in Austin however within the state of Texas, earlier than they ran out for the day — till I attempted it myself. Then I understood. You’re unlikely to have the time to attend that lengthy in line in the course of the convention, however you’ll be able to name in a gaggle order to select up.
- My very own private favourite restaurant in Austin is Curra’s Grill, just a few exits south of downtown. You’ll want a automotive or experience share to get there, however their Oaxacan espresso, rooster mole enchiladas, and avocado margaritas are value it. I by no means come to Austin with out dropping by Curra’s, normally to order huevos motuleños with my queso and chips and a espresso.
These highlights are a tiny sampling of what Austin has to supply, and I do know it’s far an excessive amount of so that you can squeeze in in the course of the convention. Hopefully, you’ll have an opportunity to go to at the very least certainly one of these locations whereas others will entice you to go to Austin once more sometime.