Wandering Around Austin

So here are some things we’ve been doing since visiting Hamilton Pool Preserve.

Ladybird Hike
Downtown Austin seen from Ladybird Hike


Ladybird Hike. We enjoyed this walk along Ladybird Lake with  good views of downtown. There is also a pedestrian bridge which is good for lounging and people watching.

Austin Pedestrian Bridge
Pedestrian Bridge

Wandering around looking at people’s front yards. We did this mostly in the South Lamar (where we are staying) and Travis Heights neighborhoods. There were a number of yards where people had done something interesting with native and other xeric plants, though Austin does still have plenty of lawns despite the arid climate. We also spent some time checking out the Green Belt and the unusual shops on Congress Avenue.

Austin front yard
Curb appeal: An Austin front yard


Austin front yard
Another Austin front yard


LBJ Library and Museum. We found this to be a great place for anyone interested in LBJ and American politics from the Depression through 1968. I especially loved listening to the recordings of LBJ’s phone conversations with people like J. Edgar Hoover, Katherine Graham, and Congressional leaders of the day.

Texas State Capitol
Texas State Capitol

Texas State Capitol. If you like State Capitols, and I do, this one is an unusually large eyeful. Made of limestone and pink granite that gleams at nigh.

Texas Capitol Dome
Texas Capitol Dome from the Rodunda

Bullock Texas History Museum. All you probably ever want to know about Texas and the secession from Mexico, the Civil War, and the glorious oil industry. Worth seeing, though I was not overwhelmed with admiration for the early settlers who created the Republic of Texas, primarily for the right to own slaves.

Texas Capitol Rotunda
At the center of the rotunda there is a commemoration of the “Republic of Texas”. You can’t see it, but all the countries Texas has been part of are listed around the periphery.

Eating, Drinking, and Listening

Live Oak Barbecue. Good barbecue without frills on 2nd Street. This set the stage for the truly spectacular barbecue we had later during the trip, to be covered in another post. Oh, and don’t bother with County Line, a local barbecue chain that serves enormous mounds of really mediocre food.

Veracruz Tacos. We had some excellent tacos served out of a trailer (lots of excellent food here is served out of trailers) on a vacant lot on Cesar Chavez Street. We tried fish, steak, and carnitas – but there were vegetarian options, too. All served on freshly made corn tortillas.

Texas Live Oak

  The White Horse. There are probably hundreds of bars featuring live music in Austin. We went to this one solely because it was recommended by a friend of Danny’s who lives here. We enjoyed the band, a good selection of beers, and the relaxed atmosphere.

Texas curb appeal
More Texas curb appeal

Unfortunately, Danny came down with an impacted wisdom tooth the second night we were here. He got enough antibiotics and pain medicine to keep him going until our return to Chicago, though.

Tomorrow we are flying back to Chicago. A high of 14 degrees is predicted at O’Hare. Fortunately, I still have one or two posts on Austin to write to keep me warm.

23 Comments on “Wandering Around Austin

  1. Looks like a great vacation! Yes, it will be cold when you get home. You missed the “mild” weather (40s and 50s) a couple of days ago. But at least you won’t be in the double-digits subzero like us. Enjoy the trip back!

  2. Wish I could let my front yard get so wild and woolly. My SO’s daughter lives in Austin, so I anticipate visiting there someday, so your posts give me an idea of what to see. Last year I “read” (listened to on CD) Robert Caro’s most recent volume on LBJ. Fascinating stuff! Really!

    • I’ve read the first two Caro volumes on LBJ and loved them. Eventually I’ll get around to the others. I really think he is one of our greatest but also most flawed and tragic presidents.

  3. I’d be sorely tempted to stay in Austin until the weather in Chicago warms up a bit. May perhaps. That really is an eyeful of capitol building!

  4. What an interesting time you are all having. I’m glad to hear your son’s toothache has been sorted!
    I just love cactus, I couldn’t imagine living somewhere that actually has them, they always seem so exotic to me.xxx

  5. The cactus are so nice. You can grow some cactus in the North but they never stand up like this. They get squashed by the snow in winter and stay down for the rest of the year.
    I hope your return trip goes well.

  6. Great pictures, and Austin is a great destination. There’s something about cities that have rivers running through them. Sorry you have to come back to the Arctic fronts that just won’t quit, but glad you got away from it. I have to get caught up on reading all about it.

  7. Keep the Austin posts coming, the breath of warm air is especially welcome this time of year! Also looking forward to the barbeque stories 😉 yum!

  8. No matter how hard I tried, I could not for the love of me think who LBJ was – doh! How dumb am I 😉
    Joking aside, what a great trip it has been. I hope you don’t suffer too badly in the colder weather on your return Jason.
    Happy Hogmanay!

    • You shouldn’t feel dumb. There aren’t many British PMs I could name after Churchill and prior to Thatcher. (Heath? Bevan? That’s about it.)

  9. It all sounds like fun. My in-laws are staying in a rental here in Austin for 2 months to get away from the bitter cold of their Maine home. I bet Austin’s full of snowbirds at this time of year.

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