Summer Buzz and Secret Spots in Austin

July 6th, 2015, Posted By Austin Housemates

The holiday weekend may be over but the summer buzz is still running high in Austin, Texas. Summers in Austin mean free shows (free drinks!), great hiking trails, and big crowds. Don’t forget the traffic! So now that the Fourth has come and gone, you might be looking for a few places that are less traveled but still embody the buzz of music and fun that make Austin great. This list is some of our favorite “secret” spots that are known to locals but manage to avoid the tourist traffic (at least for now). Check these few out, take some pictures, and let us know what you think about them!


Red Bud Isle
3401 Red Bud Trl
Unit Cr
Austin, TX 78703

This off-leash dog park can be found in the sweet spot in Lake Austin. It’s a small islet, but with enough room for your dogs to run, swim, and play. There are many hidden pathways that can take you to shallower parts of the lake where you can teach your dogs to swim or even just wade your way through the hot July weather. These hidden paths are also ideal if you have a dog who doesn’t necessarily want to be social but still wants to enjoy the outdoors. You can stake out a spot free of pedestrians to give yourself and your pup a little mini-vacation right in the heart of Austin. If you can, walk to Red Bud. Even though it’s a favorite among locals, the parking lot is tiny and will often fill up with other dog walkers and kayakers.

Independence Brewery
3913 Todd Lane #607
Austin, TX 78744
www.independencebrewing.com

If you missed it this last weekend, no worries. Independence Brewery offers up beer tastings every Saturday afternoon. Even better – the first Saturday of every month is FREE! They specialize in local craft beers on tap, and they sell most of their wares in bottles and cans so you can take them to your next cookout. Each Saturday they unveil a new beer release, whether it’s a local favorite or a limited seasonal flavor, and you can enjoy a sip of them all when you come to their tastings. That’s right – free beer, all summer long. Well, at least on Saturdays.

Hula Hut
3825 Lake Austin Blvd
Austin, TX 78702
www.hulahutaustin.com


The only thing better than the menu at Hula Hut is their extraordinary view. The restaurant’s quirky deck extends well into Lake Austin, giving you the best view in the house while you dine on their delicious combination of Tex-Mex and Polynesian delicacies. Their menu ranges from chips and queso to full baby back rib platters complete with their house-made BBQ sauce. And don’t forget their cocktails! Not only will their menu make your mouth water, their delightful drink list and fabulous bartenders will keep your summer buzz going well into dessert.

West Bouldin Creek Greenbelt
1200 S 6th St
Austin, TX 78704

If you live in the 704, or commute anywhere near South Austin, then you know the crowds that are overtaking the Greenbelt this time of year. Lucky for us locals, the Greenbelt is HUGE and extends into some great semi-secret hiking paths that will give you that serene tour of Austin’s green life without the summer crowd. The West Bouldin Creek Greenbelt entrance is exactly that type of place. Although it’s right in the city (off Barton Springs Rd near Peter Pan Mini-Golf), you can escape onto a short path that will take you through the woods, past limestone cliffs, and you’ll emerge on the other side of 5th street. It works if you’re looking for a short cut but also if you’re looking for a place to relax. Escape the buzz of the city for the summery buzz of nature, if even for just a few minutes.

If you have a few favorite spots of your own, share them in the comments or let us know on Facebook! As more and more people visit our amazing city, we do like a few spots where we can sneak away for some true summer-time peace and quiet.

Ride Your Heart Out, Austin

June 22nd, 2014, Posted By Austin Housemates

BIKE-ON-STREETAustin is considered one of the TOP cities for cyclists. Over 35 miles of bike paths and lanes were installed in 2011, so even if you’ve just arrived, you’ve probably seen the intricate bike lanes across Congress, Lamar, and Oltorf. It’s no wonder that Bicycling magazine rated us in the top 20 of their favorite cycling cities.

Now, city cycling can be intimidating, especially downtown and during rush hour when cars still rule the road. That’s why Austin has over 25 different bike paths built into their parks to accommodate those riders looking for a more leisurely, outdoors-y bike ride.

Lady Bird Lake is one of the most popular bike trails. The paths loop around the lake itself, making for a cool breeze and a superb view, and you have your option of mileage – loops range from 10 miles, to 7 miles, to 4 miles, down to 3 miles. And because the park spans across most of the city, you have different access points. Entrances at Congress Ave, Guadalupe St, Riverside Dr, and Cesar Chavez open up the park to bike riders regardless of what neighborhood they live in.

Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park in North Austin offers up a slew of trails for beginners and expert riders alike. It’s 10 miles – which is a lot – but you can take it at your leisure and dip off and on any time you’d like. There’s even an alternative loop for jumps and other types of BMX trickery. Even if you left your bike at home, you can take advantage of some of the other perks the park offers, including a pool, picnic areas, playgrounds, and dog parks.

And for the advanced biker, you definitely need to check out the Greenbelt. Barton Creek Greenbelt is probably the most popular, natural spot in all of Austin, mainly because of the natural springs that keep everyone so cool all summer long. But the bike paths are also something to brag about. The initial path spans 7 miles, but you can always sneak off and try one of the “back paths” that bikers have forged ahead of you. Now, none of the back paths are marked on a map, so you may need to do a little exploring on your own. But what else are you going to do this summer?

Here is a direct link to the bike map of Austin. The entire city mapped out per bike-friendly streets and paths to help you get your ride on this summer.

http://assets.austintexas.gov/coa-bike-map-v11-full-city-web.pdf

And for more information on local bike riding in Austin, check out www.austincycling.org

If you’re looking for fast routes, low-traffic, and distance modulators, check out www.ridethecity.com/austin