As the state capital, Austin is the heart of Texas. This means I’m expecting some lasso twirling, heel-kicking, horseback riding fun, alongside the fact that it’s the live music capital of the world and I’m sold.
Cowboy hats at the ready, I’m looking forward to listening to some country tunes, SXSW and finding out what contributes to the city’s slogan of ‘keep Austin weird’.
To make sure I get all the weird and wonderful activities crammed in, I’ve been researching some great blogs to compile my gotta-get-it-done list.
1. Visit the Cathedral of Junk
Top of the list to explore is the Cathedral of Junk in the south side of the city. From the looks of Nomadic Matt’s snaps, it’s kinda what it says on the tin, a load of junk crafted into what seems to be a very cool clubhouse in someone’s suburban back garden. The guy who built it did so ‘just because’ which I think makes it even cooler.
2. Check out the castle at Graffiti Park
This is one for the quirky art lovers; an entire park devoted to the love of graffiti with a castle at the top. Once a solid concrete block, the area has been turned into something super pretty and even acts as an educational programme for kids too.
Kelly from thewanderingblonde.com said you can expect to find everything from ‘Tommy was here’ scribbles to real works of art but no matter what you discover it’s a free and fun thing to see.
3. Shopping with a difference
In most cities there’s always an element of shopping to be done and while Austin is no different, in all the blogs I’ve been reading it seems there are a few kooky shops in this Texan wonderland making Austin stand out as a retail oddball.
Drew and Brittany from mrandmrsadventure.com went to an epic costume store, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, and didn’t end up leaving for two hours. Looking at their photos it’s not that surprising. It’s a huge warehouse crammed full of every spangled and feathered item you could possibly think of.
Uncommon Objects is also on the list as an amazing little antique store to discover while Maya Star is said to be vintage hotspot. I can see I won’t be leaving Austin with much room in my suitcase, not that there was much to start.
4. Get dancing at the Broken Spoke
Broken Spoke is a true Texan diner serving up chicken-fried steak and the best beer all with a helping of country-dance. From Jim’s photos on nomadicpursuits.com it looks like cowboy hats are a must so maybe I’ll need to invest on arrival before I try my hand at the Honky Tonk. While Jim didn’t make it inside, he took some amazing pictures at dawn of its neon exterior. His other pictures of the Austin skyline are also impressive.
5. Visit the Capitol
Putting the weird aside, it seems there are actually some fairly normal things to do and see in Austin – visiting the Capitol building is one of them. Taller than its namesake in Washington, the stunning building is based downtown and holds the governor’s offices. Brendansadventures says that as an impressive building to look at, following the rule that everything is bigger in Texas. It’s free to see, and offers a tour.
6. Taste of Joy
Both Pommie Travels and Nomadic Matt have braved this little tuck shop and tried their taste buds at the hottest hot sauces around. Tears of Joy is a small shop stacked with rows upon rows of hot sauce that visitors are able to try and buy.
Delving into the hot sauce coffin, customers can pull out their chosen sauce to brave. An eye-watering, mouth-burning experience, Victoria and Matt’s reactions were pretty epic and I don’t have much faith that I’d be able to handle it any better. The fact that it took them near enough all day to recover also makes me more than a little wary.
7. Get yourself to Ghost Town
Lorraine Ghost Town just outside of Austin is a replica of a former town of the same name and offers an old-town Texan experience. Stuck in time it looks like a scene from the old country and western movies coming complete with saloon, sheriff’s office and a jail. Victoria from Pommie Travels explored it one afternoon and from the looks of her pics I’d love to go and check it out.
Been to Austin? Any more suggestions for what I should do here? I’ve got 3 weeks!