Travel: 5 Things I Love About Austin

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

In February I had the pleasure of visiting a new favorite city: Austin, Texas. Although I had been to Texas when I was really little, I hadn't had a reason to visit since I started traveling as an adult. Fortunately for me, one of my best friends moved there a few months ago so I now have a great excuse. Austin really reminded me of Louisville in a lot of ways. I'm not sure how to describe it, but the overall feel of the city was very Louisville-y.


I'm sure there will be a follow-up post in the future, but I wanted to go ahead and do a brief recap of this trip since it was so great! I guess I should mention that the beginning of the trip wasn't very fun since I got food poisoning from airport food in Atlanta. I spent my first full day in Austin watching art documentaries on Netflix and getting up about once an hour to throw up. Shout out to Tyler for going to the store to get me coconut water, Powerade, and Jello cups so I would stay hydrated! 



Back to the good stuff...

1. Amy's Ice Creams
Maybe one of the reasons Austin felt like Louisville was Amy's Ice Creams. It's no secret that I love ice cream, but perhaps what you didn't know was that bourbon-flavored ice cream is my favorite, favorite. I'm used to it at The Comfy Cow and Graeter's here in Louisville, but I don't really expect to see it outside of Kentucky or the surrounding states. However, I was pleasantly surprised that Amy's not only had a bourbon ice cream, but it was also mint julep ice cream so it had real spearmint leaves in the ice cream. What?! So good. 


Coincidentally, this location is super close to Tyler's apartment. I'm not sure how he resists going every day, but he's found the willpower somehow. 

2. Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Something else that is close to Tyler's is Hopdoddy Burger Bar. Once again, I'm not sure how he resists going every day, but apparently he's able to control himself. Along with my love of ice cream, I sincerely enjoy some good hand-cut fries and Hopdoddy did not disappoint. The burger was excellent as well!

I can't remember what burger I got because I'm a bad blogger, but here it was in all its glory:


We went to a lot of great restaurants in Austin, but Hopdoddy stands out in my mind as my favorite. 

3. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema / Mondo Art Gallery
One of the few things I knew about Austin before visiting was that it is where Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas originated. Basically what sets this place apart is that they have very high standards for the movie-going experience (e.g., you get one warning for talking or texting during a movie and after that you are kicked out without a refund, no unaccompanied minors ever, no babies [Note: I love babies, but they can be pretty disruptive in a movie theater!] except on specified baby days), and you can eat a surprisingly decent meal while watching your movie! 

By the way, we saw Argo there and really liked it!


The cinema locations also feature Mondo movie posters. I hadn't heard of Mondo before, but right before my trip a friend told me about them so Tyler and I also decided to go their gallery in Austin. It was really interesting! Some faves from the gallery:

Inspired by Jurassic Park

Inspired by Jaws

4. Downtown Austin 
One of the things I unexpectedly loved was walking around downtown Austin. This was unexpected because 1. I don't like being hot, 2. I don't like being in the sun, and 3. I had very low expectations for the beauty of a hot place like Texas. Everything was beautiful during the day (picture below), and then at night certain streets downtown had twinkle lights draped across beautifully groomed trees (sadly I didn't get a photo) which was magical. 


5. Road trip to San Antonio / Seeing the Alamo
Okay, maybe it's cheating to say that one of my favorite things was not actually in Austin; however, I can turn that around to say that Austin is conveniently close to some other great cities...that works, right? Tyler and I spent half of a day in San Antonio and it was great! Once again I'll betray my embittered-against-hot-places heart and say that I was overwhelmingly surprised by how beautiful San Antonio was. I actually wish I could have spent more time there! 

Even though we got there right before it closed so we didn't spend a lot of time exploring, I was really happy that we got to see the Alamo. I will always remember it! ;-) 


The River Walk was unbelievably gorgeous. Totally worth a trip just to experience it. Plus, I felt like I was in a foreign country the whole time due to there being few safety barriers, ha!



San Antonio also has some great old buildings! If I were to go back, I'd try to spend more time learning about the history of everything, but this time I had to be content just seeing the buildings.






I would be remiss if I didn't note that one of the best parts of the trip was meeting Tyler's kittens: Grandma Moses (left) and Zelda Fitzgerald (right). They are great and kept me entertained during the whole visit :-) 




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