I seriously loved Austin. I didn't love the August weather, but as long as one ducks in and out of air-conditioned places, it is bearable, I suppose. I think you have to accept a certain amount of sweatiness is inevitable if you're visiting at that time of year. But onto the fun!
Rainey Street - this strip of bars, clubs, and restaurants is unlike anything I've ever seen in any other city. It is like someone took a residential street and turned all the houses into raucous bars and clubs. We spent most of our Saturday night here. We ordered late night food at L'Estelle House and then headed back to the tiny bar behind it (like a guesthouse) called The Drafting Room. Local Texas beers were on tap and the crowd was young a fun. More young and fun than us but c'est la vie.
6th Street bars - There are a lot of bars and restaurants on this strip too, not as unique as Rainey Street but lots of options.
Torchy's Tacos - this place was recommended by so many locals and we went for a very inexpensive lunch. There are several locations and breakfast is served all day. The tacos were really good.
South Congress Cafe - Stopped in for drinks before the bats and when we couldn't deal with the heat anymore. We also nibbled on some appetizers there and the bartender was super friendly. Great crowd of locals and a delicious looking menu.
Whip In! - Good food (bills itself as a curry lounge), fun vibe, lots of delicious beer choices (and other alcohol) inexpensive, live music! What more could one ask for in a fun place to dine? Great outdoor patio and really nice staff and patrons.
Do and See
Barton Springs Pool - This spring-fed, outdoor pool is very refreshing on a hot summer day (so almost any day half the year, ha) it is $8 for non-residents and there are lockers, showers, and bathrooms but bring a lock for your stuff as they do not rent them! There are also concessions and water fountains. There is a free swimming area, but it isn't as large as the main pool, there are no lifeguards, people bring their dogs, and there might be some unofficial drinking. So the free section might be more adult-friendly if you know what I mean. Highly recommended.
Bats! - Every evening at sunset, crowds congregate under and on the Congress Ave Bridge to see the bats fly out for the evening. It is quite a sight to see! I highly recommend it and I recommend getting there early-ish and staking out a spot a little off to to the side. You'll see all of them and you're less likely to be in the path of bat guano.
Cathedral of Junk - This is a huge junk sculpture in someone's backyard. You must call to make an appointment, definitely do not just show up, and there is a $5 donation. The owner and builder will make the appointments and chat with you once you're there. He's very nice and will answer all the questions you may have about his junk sculpture. This was very fun and kind of reminded me of the Watts Tower in Watts, CA (near Los Angeles Airport).
Hope Outdoor Gallery - bring spray paint if you're feeling artistic and go crazy here but be respectful of the other art. This is a huge outdoor gallery of graffiti that is not too far from downtown though it is a bit off the beaten path. Go early to beat the heat, wear comfy shoes to do some walking up steep hills and bring water.
It isn't often that I include a shopping link but we shopped on South Congress and there were so many cute shops featuring the artwork, clothing, crafts, and jewelry of local artisans. Those are my favorites kinds of stores and I had to tear myself away from these places or I would have spent far too much money.
One that stood out for us was Creatures Boutique. Cute shop, friendly and funny owner, lots of great clothing items.
Austin, I'll be back!