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

Enjoy Your Summer in Austin

May 23rd, 2014, Posted By Austin Housemates

Thursday Night Social Ride, Austin, Texas

Whether you’ve lived here for years or if you’ve just landed at Austin-Bergstrom, you’ve realized one thing: Austin is HOT. Now, the weather lately has been bearable – with a decent amount of rain and a nice breeze, but when we break into that peak summer season you may find yourself melting on 6th street. For those not familiar with a humid summer, Texas heat may come as a surprise. It’s thick, it’s heavy, and it’s sweltering. People will try and tell you that you’ll get used to it, but that isn’t going to happen overnight. There are ways to prepare and avoid the Texas heat without fighting for a spot at the pool or running up your electric bill.

The best way to enjoy your Texas Summer is to take advantage of the Austin night life. Austin takes care of its residents by offering up tons of outdoor festivities during the coolest hours of the day. Not only are the drink specials always better after the sun goes down, but live performances and outdoor movie theaters can completely turn around a hot and boring summer day. The Metz Recreation Center has weekly movie showings throughout the summer, making it a perfect stop for families. Zilker Park offers up Oklahoma! as this year’s Summer Musical in the Park, starting July 11th. And it’s right next to Barton Springs! The icy cool natural spring on the Greenbelt that is oh-so-refreshing in the middle of July. Only in Austin can you spend the whole day swimming in the springs followed by a musical performance right across the street.

The city also boasts its fair share of public parks which, once sunset starts, are great places to enjoy the summer. Whether you’re planning a dinner picnic, taking an evening jog, or taking the dog out for some quality outdoor adventures, Austin’s parks are definitely the place to be (and they’re free!). If you’re a cyclist, these parks are popular pit stops for the numerous social cycling groups around the city. These are large groups of leisure bike riders who hit the trails or head downtown once a week or so. Many of the rides happen in the early morning or early evening when the weather is just right. If you’re new to the city, this is a great way to meet locals and learn your way around. One of the most active cycling groups meets at Festival Beach in Edward Rendon Park every Thursday at 730pm, so if you have a bike check them out!

If it’s you’re first summer with us here in Austin, keep an eye on the do512 website (www.do512.com) as they consistently post all upcoming summer events. You can fill up your calendar with fun activities or relaxing evenings instead of wasting away in front of your AC unit. If you have any ideas or know of any summer events happening throughout July and August, hit us up on Facebook and let us know!

How to Stay Cool in the Hot Austin Summer Heat

September 18th, 2013, Posted By Austin Housemates

Barton Springs

 

Austin summers bring bright sunny skies, gorgeous sunsets, and endless amounts of fun opportunities around the city to be outdoors. There’s no better place in Texas than Austin to have a true summer experience boating, swimming, or taking a hike along one of the many greenbelt trails. However, along with that comes the blazing hot summer temperatures that Texas can be famous for.

But don’t fret – you don’t have to suffer through the hot Austin weather this summer. Here are some quick and easy tips to share with your Austin Roommates to beat the heat and stay cool while inside and out:

– Turn off your computers, televisions, and monitors at night or whenever they are not in use. Electronics, especially computers produce a lot of heat when on.

– Leave the door to your room open as much as possible. This increases the airflow through the entire house and will keep your room significantly cooler.

– Turn your fan on and make sure it is rotating counter clockwise. It should be moving air downward. This will produce a wind chill effect and make you feel much cooler, making sleeping much more bearable.

– Don’t shut air vents anywhere in the house. Don’t block the air intake vents. Both of these will reduce the airflow and cause the whole house to be warmer than it should be.

– Spend some time outside in the sun enjoying the great weather. Your body will adjust to the warmer climate and you’ll generally feel cooler when inside in the A/C.

– Drink plenty of water – even if you’re not thirsty. You can sweat a lot during the summer months. Evaporation of the sweat cools the skin, which in turn helps to cool the whole body. But excessive sweating can lead to dehydration, which can lead to serious heat-induced illnesses. So, hydrate – with water, to replenish your fluids and keep your body temperature down.

– Wear light colored cotton. Darker colors just absorb and trap the heat in, making us hotter than we really are.

– Exercise at the coolest times of the day. Generally, early morning and around/after sunset are the best times to keep cool while outside. The sun is at its peak midday, so it’s best to stay away from midday workouts in order to prevent overheating.

– Eat smaller meals more often. Graze. The larger the meal, the more your body has to work to digest it, thereby raising your body temperature.

– Keep your blinds and curtains closed especially during the day. You’ll keep the temperature of the room down if the heat from the sun isn’t blazing into your room.

– Eat fruits and vegetables high in water: watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, celery, and broccoli to name a few. You’ll stay hydrated, and the fiber will fill you up without leaving a tired, groggy feeling – which can often be amplified by hot weather.

– Take advantage of one of Austin’s many pools or natural springs with your roommates and take a dip. Barton Springs Pool, Hamilton Pool, Lake Travis, your community pool, or even at a local gym. The options are endless around the city.

 

Use these tips to stay cool and you’ll be spending the summer soaking up great memories around the city with some of your Austin Roommates, instead of focusing on the blazing hot temperatures!