This is a long guide for all of the Buckeye faithful who intend to invade the beautiful city of Austin, TX, and would like some ideas of what to do, see, and eat. I am also going to compare Ohio to Texas in my brutally honest ways and let you know what I’ve learned and what you can come to expect.
First, a quick background about your author: I’m a Buckeye who graduated in June 2005 with a computer engineering degree after the best five damned years of my life. I moved down to Austin a month later to work for one of the many high-tech corporations that litter the “Silicon Hills.” I just moved downtown but have been in Austin for 14 months. I love Austin and it is going to hurt me to leave this wonderful city, but I’m already planning my return and see no reason why I shouldn’t spend the rest of my life here. I like it that much.
Warning: I may insult you, your friends, or your business. I also cuss when I felt the need to do so. You have been warned.
Update 08.22.06: WOW, I never expected this blog to get posted to so many forums and get the traffic I got. Many were pleased, many were insulted. I must say that most of the Texas fans are totally awesome and helped a ton with their comments. I will be inserting edits and comments from them into the article.
Another thing – this is a guide written for OHIOANS. Not for Texans. I got more traffic from Texans than I did from Ohio, and many called me an idiot (or worse) for only recommending things like the gringo-style Tex-Mex. Well this was for a reason! Ohioans, for the most part, want to go to the enjoyable white-boy food. It’s a guide for a ton of choices on a three-day weekend from Ohio, and I believe I know my intended audience more than the Horns fans do.
So here’s the outline:
- (Mostly) Sober Activities
- 6th Street
- Lake Scene
- Red River
- Warehouse District
- West End Market District of 6th
- South Congress
- Browns Backer’s Bar
- Salsa Dancing
- Country Dancing
- Where to Stay
- Public Transport / Cabs
- The People of Austin
- Introduction – Keeping Austin Weird
Much like Columbus, OH, it is the state capital, geographically equidistant to many other big cities in the state. It is the “blue”, liberal area surrounded by a sea of red conservativeness. Austin has an amazing blend of hippies, techies, Hispanics, and country folk spread across the area.
Although it is no longer a very small town, Austin still has a college town feel, with the University of Texas’ campus just north of downtown. You cannot go anywhere without seeing burnt orange and the Longhorn logo. Professional sports are a mere afterthought compared to the collegiate scene here. In fact, Austin is the city with the largest population and no pro sports team (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL).
Being a college town, there is no shortage of partying going on in this city. Put simply – if you are living in Austin during your 20s or 30s and having a problem finding fun times and meeting people, there is seriously something wrong with you.
The Colorado River runs through Austin, and a series of dams and reservoirs were created in the 1930s to control the river’s course through the city.
It’s a bit similar to Columbus in those aspects, but the similarities end there.
“Keep Austin Weird” is an unofficial motto of the city. This is a city that strives to support the local music scene and local eateries, and rebels wherever possible against corporate invasion. I’ve never seen a city with so few McDonalds (but yes, they do exist). The rallying cry to Keep Austin Weird became popular in the 90s when an influx of corporate retail displaced some local businesses. True Austin-lovers support local business, and I expect you to do the same.
Austin is also known as The Live Music Capital of the World (official slogan). This is due to having the most music venues per capita than any other U.S. City. Back in the 70s, the city became a refuge of country and western musicians escaping the corporate clutches of the Nashville Country scene. Willie Nelson might be one that comes to mind. This may be a surprise to you, but most of the music is NOT country – it is rock. See this link for an idea of upcoming shows in the city: Austin360.com’s Upcoming Music Events
Austin is also host to Austin City Limits, a massive annual music festival in Zilker Park, which is held the weekend following the big game this year.
About 25 minutes west of the city lies Lake Travis, which is a reservoir on the Colorado River. It is home to some amazing sights and real estate, in addition to one hell of a party scene at Devil’s Cove and a bar named Carlos and Charlies. Lake Travis is considered one of the clearest lakes in Texas.
I’ve already mentioned Silicon Hills. Austin has an incredible amount of high-tech companies in the area, which includes IBM, AMD, Samsung, Dell (actually in Round Rock, TX), National Instruments, Freescale, Applied Materials, 3M… the list goes on.
Although many Austinites somehow have the audacity to complain that housing is expensive here (compared to the dot-com bust, I guess it is), it is DIRT CHEAP to live in this city. Austin has a cost of living that is roughly 6% cheaper than the American average, according to ACCRA.org.
Austin is hot and humid. There’s no way around it – August and September are freaken hot, and I love it. You may not. Remember the Austin City Limits festival I mentioned? Well, the Sunday of that weekend last year (Sept 25, 2005), it got to be 112 degrees. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life – and neither had most of the Texans! So be prepared that it could happen.
OK, that’s enough about the city. Let’s get down to business.
- What to see and do (sober / mostly sober)
- Lake Travis
I’ll put it nicely: If you come to Austin for a 3+ day trip and don’t at least go see Lake Travis, you are retarded. There are sights, views, and activities that you simply don’t have in Columbus. You can find one on the side here.
The Ohio State alumni organization is setting up activities to do in Austin. On Friday, there’s going to be a chartered boat on the Lake. I am pushing hard for this. You can find out more on the website at www.gobucksbeattexas.com
If you would rather do something such as rent jetskis or get your own boat, there are many rental places. Some quick googling and you’ll be on your way: google results for austin jetski rental (FYI: On Friday I’m renting a pontoon from Daybreak Boat Rentals)
While you’re on the Lake, there’s a few places you’ll want to check out. The first is Devil’s Cove. Here’s a picture of some of the partying that goes on there – on a good weekend, you’ll see a whole lot more boats than this. Everyone simply drops anchor, ties their boats together, and madness ensues. After about a dozen trips out here, I have some stories that rival my best (or worst) times in Columbus.
Another thing you can do on the Lake is check out Hippie Hollow, which is a the only nude public park in the area (and yes, people do hang out in the buff there).
My favorite bar on the Lake is Carlos and Charlies. It’s a really big bar with plenty of room for eating, dancing, and of course, live music. If you’re looking for a bit more of an older crowd to get loose with, this is a great spot. I’ve noticed that I see far more older women with fake boobs and rich men with big boats at this place than anywhere else I hang out in Austin.
Google Map link to Carlos and Charlies
It’s important to note that there’s a lot of money around the lake. Because of that, the lake brings a different lifestyle component than in the other areas of Austin, which I’ll get into.
- Town Lake
OK, I admit it, I’m a fish and love water. Town Lake is a reservoir on the Colorado River in downtown Austin. The Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail is a 10.1 mile long trail in that goes around it downtown. You can always find plenty of fit men and women running along it, as well as dog walkers and retirees enjoying their afternoon. If you’re one of the crazy ones who needs to go for a run before cracking that 8am Budweiser on gameday, this is where you want to go.
Spanning Town Lake is the Congress Ave. Bridge. Congress is a major, six-lane street that cuts through the middle of the city and leads to the Capitol. In the summer, nearly 1.5 million Mexican Free-tailed Bats live under the bridge, and you can see them nightly from mid-March to November to head out and get dinner. It’s an amazing experience.
Now, you might be disgusted by all these bats, but I think it’s beautiful – and don’t forget that lots of bats means NOT lots of mosquitoes. I’ll take that deal any day. They consume 10,000 to 30,000 pounds of insects every night. Still hate bats?
- The Capitol
While you’re on Congress checkin’ out the bats, you’ll have a great view of the Texas State Capitol. It’s a great site, but is also symbolic of the overabundance of Texas pride: the building is 15 feet taller than the National Capitol. To me, this is an egotistical effort to display the state’s independence and dominance over everything else. Good for you, Texas; you build big building.
Yep, that comment enraged lots of Texans. And I stand by it. But after some discussion on hornfans.com, I have conceded that the architecture is absolutely beautiful, and beats anything out of Ohio (especially Columbus). But come on, why does it HAVE to be 15 feet taller than the US Capitol??
- Barton Springs
Barton Springs – Did I mention that I like water? Barton Springs are four natural springs in Zilker Park, but what I’m referring to is really the Barton Springs Pool. This is a man-made swimming pool on the park grounds. It costs about $3.00 to get in, and you can swim here year-round. The water temperature is a bit less than 70 degrees year-round, so the water is COLD during the summer. On a good day, you can see plenty of hot coeds hanging out here and catching some sun. There’s also a diving board! Although I prefer to swim my laps in chlorinated water, this place is awesome.
Since Lance Armstrong is from Austin, and it’s hilly here, Austin has a very strong biking influence. Bicyclists are everywhere! Here are a couple sites where you can check out some routes and rent some bikes:
If mountain biking is more of your thing, google around and you’ll find some good information too. The Green Belt is popular.
- Austin Duck Tours
These tours rock because the vehicles go through both land and water. Take a look at their photo album and you’ll see what I mean.
- Alamo Drafthouse
This is your version of Studio 35 in Austin. The downtown one always has a bunch of cult and foreign films and a good beer and food menu. They also have a number of specialty shows and film festivals.
- UT Tower
Tower infamous for the August 1, 1966 killings by student Charles Whitman. Here’s a great article if that interests you.
The tower’s really nothing too special… ugly by day, looks great at night. Kind of like your sister.
Here’s an image of it after the championship… you’re no longer #1, kiddies!
- UT Campus
In two words: Major disappointment. The big 3 in Ohio (Ohio State, Miami, and Ohio University) put this campus to shame. There’s no Oval, no Mirror Lake, no Buckeye Grove… nothing. Just a tower.
Comment from jg:
Although you’re in good company not being excited about the Tower (J. Frank Dobie hated it; called for laying it on its side and planting vines along it, and characterized the top as a “Greek outhouse”), I still think it has a sort of charm and is an iconic building…. Texas’ campus is more compact than Ohio State’s, but it also has more architectural integrity (Ohio State has none, as far as I can tell). I’ll admit, the Oval and Mirror Lake are pretty in an English country village kind of way, but there’s a lot to be said for the uniform nature of the buildings on Texas’ inner campus (the old “40 Acres”). What Texas doesn’t have is lots of grass and big trees, but that’s a function of the climate.
I’ll agree, and there’s not much argument here. The problem with the UT campus, and there’s nothing they can do about it, is that it’s a bit too close to downtown, and too compact because of that. I was just surprised that there wasn’t much to see when I moved to Austin, and should have explained better.
- Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
However, I’ll give them this – the new scoreboard is freakishly huge. For a bit it was the biggest HD screen in the world, but rumor is that Japan is attacking back (don’t they always?) with a bigger one.
Update: Allright, I pasted in a better picture of the new scoreboard. Here’s how it works:
Blue: old Texas board
Red: Texas A&M board(s) (54×72 = 40×72 + 10×72 + 4×72)
Light purple: Arkansas (107×30) – Huskers (117×33) close enough to arkie’s
Note that the goal posts you see up close are the nearby ones, and the far away ones are simply dwarfed by this thing
- Lake Travis
- Where to eat
- Rudy’s Country Store & BBQ
Butcher Style BBQ, fast service, great fixins, and a tasty, fat-free sauce that has a powerful kick to it. I personally like the chopped beef and brisket. Get food up front and grab a picnic table inside or outside.
- The Salt Lick
Technically outside of Austin, about 30 minutes south of downtown, so this one’s only for the car renters. Beautiful hill country drive. It is BYOB (they can’t sell beer – it’s in a dry county) and cash only. Get the family style – you’ll get plate among plate of the most amazing BBQ you’ve ever had.
Now, my dad’s eaten a lot of ribs in his life, and he told me that these were the best ribs he’s ever had. I am more partial to the brisket. The sauce is deadly, fattening, and unbearably good. Best 20 dollars you’ve ever spent.
- Stubb’s BBQ
This is where the big Ohio State Party is on Friday night and Saturday before the game, so you’ll get here. Also a great metal venue!
and of course, Google’s Map
- The County Line Restaurant
Unfortunately, I still haven’t been here, but it has family-style serving like Salt Lick. One of my good friends likes it more than Salt Lick, which I find blasphemous.
Best in Town without a doubt. Get the Mexican Martinis (I like to upgrade mine for just a dollar more to Sauza Commemorativo tequila – For just 8.75 you get an entire shaker worth of the margarita/martini mixture. They only let you have two and then cut you off, so if you’re planning on tying one on, get one from the bar, switch to beer for a while, then get your second one before you leave :)
Oh, and the Stuffed Avocado is TO DIE FOR. Go to any Trudy’s location, I personally like the one up north on Burnet. Map of all the Trudy’s Locations
As a fun side note, bored kids with a mission often embark on city-wide trips to attempt to drink 2 Mexican Martinis (complete with shakers) from each Trudy’s location. Rarely do they succeed, but those who do can crown themselves Kings of Austin… at least for a night.
- Matt’s El Rancho
The quintessential Tex-Mex place in Austin. It’s been around for over 50 years and has strong margaritas!
Funny comment from BeeGee (maybe I shoulda mentioned this):
Matt’s El Rauncho is to Mexican food what a raven is to a writing desk: a bad joke. It’s nasty. It’s terrifying. Better to stay home and throw an El Patio tv dinner in the oven. Poo. Ick. Yuk.
Mulitple locations here, I personally find it overrated but always have great service and love the margaritas here the most.
- Iguana Grill
This is out by Lake Travis. Try the Top Shelf Margarita and enjoy the sunset to some live music on the lake.
Great views, they say it’s the best view in Austin, but the food isn’t up to par. I prefer Iguana Grill.
On your left is a pic of the view.
The story is that in the summer of last year, they were hit by lightning and the place caught on fire, knocking out half of the patio. They’re now back!
- Magnolia Cafe
Serve up some great chopped potatoes and some crazy dipping sauce I liked. Two cool locations on South Congress and Lake Austin Blvd. Migas and fresh squeezed OJ absolutely kick ass. They also claim to have world famous pancakes.
- Kerbey Lane
Very popular, several locations, be ready to wait. Breakfast all day, and by far the best pancakes in town if you ask me. I loved the raspberry ones I recently had. Migas are also ridiculous.
- Breakfast tacos
Get em anywhere, my favorite are actually the chopped beef ones from Rudy’s. Breakfast tacos are a staple down here, I’d never even HEARD of em up in Ohio.
- Juan in a Million
Sorry, I haven’t made it here yet… It’s on Cesar Chavez in East Austin. Popular with the college crowd. The owner, Juan, is always there to shake your hand, I guess.
Comment from Charles:
It would be a shame to miss breakfast at Cisco’s Grill on the other side of 6th street. Migas and fajitas are recommended.
And here’s a comment from Mike:
For bfast, I highly recommend Las Manitas Avenue Cafe on 3rd and congress, and El Sol y La Luna, and Guero’s on south congress about a mile from townlake for mexican lunch or decenlty priced dinner.
Allright allright, time to let loose! You’re a Buckeye, you can drink with the best of em. You’ve drank a case and a half of beer in Columbus in a single day and lived to tell the story (yes, I’ve done this)… you’ve downed beers and done 50 pushups at 8am for a 3:30pm game… you still have your shirt from Senior Crawl – so WHERE DO WE PARTY?
The best way to shake down the party scene is to break it into areas, and you can decide what you want to check out from there.
That said, let’s get to the meat:
Well, first off, I’ll give more pimpage to the party we’re having at Stubb’s BBQ. I plan on being there on Saturday with my friends for a while. www.gobucksbeattexas.com gameday
After Stubb’s at 3pm, you can go to the Buckeye Bash. Since not all of my friends are in the alumni organization and we’re going to opt for some crazier stuff, we might also just invade some other tailgates I know of.
One area is by Congress and E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, the other is at San Jacinto and Martin Luther King Jr. These are off-campus, so there’s drinking. When I was last there, it seemed pretty lax. I have no clue what I’ll do, but I might bring some beer and cups and money and see what kind of (friendly) damage I can do with my friends.
By the stadium and I-35 is the old alum area. I don’t know what goes on here, but I imagine it’s old alum stuff.
Here’s the Google Map in case you want to plot your directions from Stubb’s or something:
OK, now time for the nightlife!
- 6th Street
Bar after bar after bar. Tons of fun, the college kid scene. Although I’m 24 and starting to feel a bit old around these parts, we keep ending up on 6th when we go out. Wild times for sure, I guarantee it will be a total zoo on the big weekend.
Most places are 21+. If there’s high interest, I’ll do some snooping around and find you youngins (and pedophiles) an 18+ listing.
The street gets closed down on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, so you can walk in it and barhop (covers are pretty non-existent in Austin, totally awesome). No public container though, this isn’t Beale St. (Memphis) or Duval (Key West). It’s better.
Also, first realize my style – I hate dressing up, and I don’t dance much. Although I prefer older women (not ashamed to admit), 6th brings the younger crowd. I like wearing dirty jeans and flip-flops and a t-shirt. The bars that I’m going to recommend here are just those style. I’ll try my best to accommodate everyone later on
- Buffalo Billiards – if you want a chill atmosphere to shoot pool, shuffleboard, toss some darts, and rock the foosball table, this is your spot. Right on the edge of 6th street.
On google maps, I’ll link you here first, and you can figure out the rest yourself with the map that follows:
PS – There’s a dance spot upstairs above Buffalo Billiards that you can go club at. It’s not bad, you need to go into Buffalo Billiard’s to get at it.
- Logans – This place is across from Buffalo Billiards, and I hate it because the music is unbearably loud there. The reason I bring it up is because they stop the music every now and then to play a funny movie clip or something from SNL (such as the Cowbell Skit), so that’s something different
- Friends and Spilz and Exodus – These places suck, but if you want to dance on 6th, you can do it here. Kind of the trashier dance spots. Exodus is 18+, I’ve never been there.
- Bar Celona – Dancing downstairs
- Chuggin Monkey – Get the Wet Banana shot. I like this place, small little dance floor up in the corner. Music’s too loud, like most places on 6th.
- B.D. Riley’s – Irish bar that always has some sort of crazy band playing some sort of music that I can’t classify because I’m a metalhead. Pretty cool spot.
- Dizzy Rooster – Girls will be dancing on the bar by the end of the night. Popular because of the Real World, thus, I never go there.
- Shakespeare’s – By far my favorite bar on the strip, I really don’t know why. I just like the brick wall and all the areas in the back (nice patio back there with trees around you). Cheap and friendly… I once said something to a barmaid that should have gotten me thrown onto the street and beaten to a pulp… but instead they welcomed me back in the very next night.
- Maggie Mae’s / Blind Pig – I lump these together because they’re the best spots to drink on an upstairs porch under the moonlight, and they’ll have music downstairs. They’re next to each other.
I prefer Blind Pig. However, I just met an upstairs Maggie Mae’s bartender from Wisconsin who said she’ll be cheering hard for us and her and her UT friend are going to serve with two signs – hers will say “THIS LINE IF YOU SAY ‘YOU GUYS’”, and her UT friend will have a sign saying “THIS LINE IF YOU SAY ‘Y’ALL’” — kinda a cool idea, I’ll have to check it out and see if they really do that.
- The Aquarium – Great place to get started, ALWAYS an abundance of hotties in here for whatever reason. Great prices, I seriously think the bartenders purposefully forget to add all drinks to your tab.
- The Library – Best place to drink cheap during the week, not sure about the weekend though. Next to Aquarium.
- Treasure Island – This place attracts some trash, but I must give it props because we’ve had two of the best going-away parties here in the history of Austin. One of them was during my job interview, where the guys got so drunk that they ended up pouring beer all over themselves – and myself – right in front of my hiring managers. Needless to say, the offer was in the mail two weeks later.
- Agave – If at all possible, go to the back bar with a bunch of friends and get the Flaming Dr. Pepper – they might not allow you to if it’s crowded because it’s now banned, but it’s worth a shot. The big, black bartender does some of the most wicked stuff ever (last football season, he’d blow the flame off of his flaming, alcohol-soaked index and pinky fingers while making the hook-em horns sign… wow)
- Cheers shot bar – College Station (Texas A&M) has far better shot bars, but I guess I’ll point this one out because we’re not used to shot bars up in the OH.
- Pete’s Piano Bar – expensive, but entertaining as hell. Your typical piano bar with funny musicians and all. Quite a unique crowd always comes in.
- The Lake Scene
I’ve already mentioned Carlos and Charlies. This is great stuff, but if you’re looking for a place to party at night, stick with us downtown. Maybe party at the lake Friday during the day, which is what I’m doing with my friends.
- Red River
This is your metal/alternative/grungy scene. Although I’m a metalhead, this isn’t where I hang. Emo’s rules, but I don’t know much about the other bars. Oh, and check out Stubbs ;-)
- The Warehouse District
OK, so you want to dress up and hit a club, and you’re not too happy with the Berto offering so far. I’ll try my best to make you coat-wearing, shiny shoe losers happy.
Still a relatively young crowd, but a bit older than 6th. This area is centered around 4th street (yes, that’s a whopping 2 blocks south from 6th). Be prepared to spend more than me and my cohorts on 6th.
For reference, we’ll be using this map a lot: 6street.com/6s_warehouse_directory.htm
- Red Fez – One of my favorites in this area, there’s always a good DJ and a small area to dance. Also plenty of places to sit if that’s your thing.
- Cedar Street – Popular for their Wednesday night showings of The Spazmatics (geeky manufactured 80s music which is always fun), I’m not sure what this place is up to on weekends, but I’m sure there’s live music. Outdoor area sandwiched between two indoor bar areas, my tabs are always more than I like here.
- Lucky Lounge – All I know is that the last time I was here, I ended up running into a bachelorette party upstairs and some completely shameless times ensued. So it makes my list.
- Vicci – The most upscale dance place. No flip-flops, wear a collar. Five dollar cover, girls dancing in cages. If you’re from Ohio and you’re traveling 1300 miles for a football game, you do not want to be here. Fuck this place. And that’s all I have to say about that.
- Whiskey Bar – This place is an alternative mix, probably more gays than other places around, but I like it anyway. Thursday night specials to midnight are always good.
- New Bar updated 08.28.06 – Ginger Man – Right behind Whiskey Bar, this is on 4th and Lavaca and has an incredible beer selection on tap. I can’t believe I’ve been here a year and live three blocks from it and have never been here. Tons of room out back with picnic tables, not too loud, casual crowd. This place is amazing and I will go to it more often. I’ve missed out!
- Six – NOT on 6th Street, but located on 4th and Colorado. Lance Armstrong opened this bar up after his 6th Tour de France destroyal – hence the Six – but after kicking French ass again, he kept the name Six. Good patio upstairs, cool stair design inside.
- Fado Irish Pub – I like this place, a good big Irish pub… nothing much more to say than that. Not a regular there.
- Lavaca Street Bar – Sports bar that I’ve not gone to. Oops!
- Cuba Libre – WOW, get the mojitos, best in town! They come with a sugary bamboo stick you can chew on too.
- Apple Bar – I recently went to this bar and enjoyed the drinks. It’s not too big, but they had a pretty groovin rock band upstairs.
- The West End Market District of 6th (where I live)
OK, I see that you need something a touch more chill, you don’t want to hang out with rowdy 21 year olds on 6th or dance to house music in the Warehouse District. Well, let’s head back to my area… (these are also on the Warehouse map, just up north and west – a 10 minute walk from the main strip on 6th Street). I’m really happy to live in this area.
- Little Woodrow’s – Literally in my backyard, I freaken love this place. ONLY beer and good looken women working there. Lots of outdoor seating, good happy hours, great selection of taps. Old school and proud. Additionally, the bar used to be named Woodie’s! (close enough)
PS: They don’t serve food here, so feel free to order a pizza
- Mother Egan’s – Irish pub with something fun always happening, such as trivia contests or live music.
- Opal Divine’s Freehouse – Opal Divine’s serves my favorite bar food around, and has a cool outdoor sit-down area around the outside. Very popular fruity tequila and margarita drinks, but you’d have to ask which ones are most popular. I hear they have one of the best scotch and cigar selections in town.
- Star Bar / Molotov – I never go to these, as I would rather hit the above three, but these are in the area and are good, chill bars that are a bit trendier for an older twenties / early thirties crowd. Molotov has a very nice porch for good happy hours.
- Little Woodrow’s – Literally in my backyard, I freaken love this place. ONLY beer and good looken women working there. Lots of outdoor seating, good happy hours, great selection of taps. Old school and proud. Additionally, the bar used to be named Woodie’s! (close enough)
- South Congress
I don’t know this area as well as I should, but if you’re south of the river on Congress, this is the “SoCo” area. Lots of hip spots, but the only real good place I know to go drink is at a dive bar called Ego’s – which has no ego at all!
Allright, Brian added some great comments:
As a 5th generation Austinite, i have to say great write up… as far as BBQ downtown everyone needs to do themselves a service and go to Iron Works, your mind will be blown away.
Here is my South Congress write up:
tons of Austin owned shops, plenty of restaunts, boutiques, and dives. Here are my favorites.
Home Slice Pizza: the best pie in Austin… and I think you would agree.
Doc’s Motorworks: great little bar with an awesome vibe… i only go on Thursdays so their prices maybe a little high.
Threadgill’s: awesome downhome food with an “Austin-tacious” band usually on the bill. Old home of Armadillo World Headquarters… the place where Willie started his hippie vibe and many came to follow.
- Where’s the Browns Backer’s Bar for Sunday?
- Q: Hey Berto, I want to salsa dance while down there… what do you have?
A: I have no clue, but try Copa Bar and Grill
I doubt any Ohioans want salsa.
- So where’s the country?
Askin the wrong dude, but here’s what I can dig up:
I never make it any more east than that usually when hitting 6th, since I live closer to the West side of 6th. However, to get to Stubbs, we’ll need to venture more east.
Man, I feel like letting loose just writing about this, and I don’t even party close to as much as I used to at OSU.
At this point, I’m spent. I’m sure I missed plenty of stuff. If you can’t find something that suits your needs, hit up google, or just go to 6th Street and latch on to a big group of Buckeyes somewhere.
- Where to Stay
Haha I’ll put it nicely… if you haven’t booked yet and want to stay somewhere close to the action, you’re shit outta luck. Start here and work the phones outward:
So you’re renting a car? Cool, you can definitely check out the lake and Salt Lick and such. Now some warnings:
– You are going to get lost, and get lost often. It took me a good two weeks to figure this Austin thing out. The cool thing is that many exits have Texas U-Turns, so you can just get off and just as quickly get back on in the other direction.
– Many of the highways have access roads, and this is where everything’s located. This often confuses google maps.
In Ohio, you get off an exit, wait at a light, then make a turn and find your restaurant or whatever.
In Texas, more often than not, you get off TOWARDS an exit, find yourself on the access road (also called frontage road or feeder road), and then the restaurant is on that access road. I personally like this, but many newcomers don’t.
– There’s tons of bridges in Austin, everything is elevated. The design is quite nice but there’s a lot of construction going on.
– Traffic isn’t at nightmare status, but it’s not painless, especially at the wrong times. I-35 just plain sucks. The fact is that this city is growing so fast that the planners can’t keep up with the growth.
*** Drivers in Texas are SLOW. PAINFULLY, DREADFULLY SLOW. It’s unbelievable. Be prepared to merge onto a highway with a 65mph speed limit while you’re stuck behind some fucking loser going 35 mph. Happens to me every day, I swear to you. Part of this is due to the roads being elevated, so they accelerate slower – part of it is due to the ridiculously slow driving in Texas.
In Ohio, 65mph speed limit means to go 72, 73… and get out of the way for the fast drivers in the left lane. In Austin, 65mph means to go 55 in the right lane, 60 in the middle lane, and MAYBE, just maybe if you’re lucky, 65 in the left lane. This obviously doesn’t help the traffic situation.
By far my biggest pet peeve in Austin… bunch of wimps on the road. Just wait until you’re stuck behind some loser in a Volkswagen with a bunch of lame bumper stickers clogging up the road. Drives me nuts. And don’t even get me started on those bumper stickers.
- Public Transport and Taxi Cabs
I’ve been on two buses since moving here, and one was to get from downtown to the tailgating areas near the stadium.
Here’s some cab numbers for you – don’t drink and drive please:
American Yellow Checker Cab (512.452.9999) and Roy’s Taxi (512.482.0000).
- The People
I’ve been wanting to write this for quite some time. Warning: If you don’t like strong stereotyping, then skip this section.
I have found that, on average, if you meet a random person in Austin, TX (or Texas in general) and a person from Columbus, OH (or central Ohio), the Texan is FAR more likely to be a good, nice person.
Austin has a great mix of geeks, hippies, country folk, and Hispanics. Sure, there’s trash, but it’s far and few between. I play full-contact flag football with people of all sorts – whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians – and everyone gets along great (of course there’s scuffles, but it’s way less than I had expected). This just doesn’t happen in many cities.
I love Ohio State to death, and would seriously kill to get back to freshman year, but I’ll be honest – I’m glad to be here.
After our showing last year, I honestly have no clue how the Horns are going to treat us. I’d like to think they’ll be nice, but everyone down here knows what shitty, trashy hosts we were, so I’m not expecting the best. We’ll see.
So that’s the dilemma — I came down here loving the nice people, but at the same time, I’m still a dirty Italian from Cleveland, OH who is far too rough around the edges for these people. I love the niceness, but man, once in a while this happy sunshine shit needs to be put to a stop. I hope the Buckeyes can do that.
Now on to the girls. Man are they hot. This city is fit, and the girls are FAR hotter than up north. However, I often miss a good looking girl of Mediterranean descent. You just don’t have any Greeks or Italians down here, and they are what I digg.
It took me a while to figure out the girls down here. Most of these Texas girls are simply far too boring and conservative for me. Maybe they’d be great to marry when I’m 30, but I’m 24, and I like my girls loud and outgoing. All of my favorite females down here are from outside of Texas. This is why I miss the Annies, Allisons, and Jamies of the world who were in my group during college.
So in Austin, it gets interesting. You have all these “liberal” “hippies”, who claim to be open about everything. That is, of course, until religion comes up.
The same goes for the intelligence of the people here. As much as I love em, I really thought that being in such a tech-based city, they’d be a lot smarter here. But I was wrong. Whether they like it or not, they are still in the state with the lowest high school graduation rate.
So the point of my rant is this: As much as many Austinites try to abstract themselves from Texas, they are still Texans, and with that comes a lot of people who are more conservative than they’re willing to realize, and often not the smartest bunch.
But at the same time, those are minor details compared to what I’ve seen go down in Central Ohio (a certain 270 shooter, a certain murder of one of my favorite guitarists, horribly rude fans…). I love Austin and my gripes are completely minor.
I quickly mentioned the Texas pride thing – there is a LOT of it, so be prepared. Texas everything. Your can of Budweiser will definitely have a Texas shape on it. There are stars on everything. In Ohio, you see people driving around with American flags. In Texas, they have Texas flags. It was cute at first, and I noticed it immediately, but at this point, it’s old.
A lot of these people have no worldview either (this isn’t much different than lots of middle America). They look at me like I have 3 heads when I mention that I’ve traveled around Europe. At this point, I’m used to it: To these people, life does not exist outside of Texas, and there’s no possibility of anywhere being as superior as Texas. Yeah…
And one last thing – don’t expect anyone here to understand sarcastic humor. Talk about people looking at you like you have 3 heads. They simply don’t get it, and I have no idea why. Maybe someone can enlighten me.
So long story short, I love Austin, but man am I looking forward to hanging out with some midwest girls here. And Jer, Kirby, Dustin, and Andy too!
LOTS of comments on this one obviously. Let’s start with more from Charles:
Yes, you OSU fans were pretty ugly to your Texas counterparts on your turf. Actually, insulting. I hope we treat you better, I really do. I look forward to a great game and the unveiling of the next national champion.
This hurts to hear every time, but it’s so true. What kills me more is the fact that Ohioans argue it, and then shrug it off like it’s normal behavior. I honestly hope we don’t get treated like crap, but if we do, I won’t be all that surprised.
As far as the intelligence thing goes, I should clarify a bit, as this obviously pissed off plenty of people. First and foremost, I’ll admit that UT is all-around academically better than Ohio Staet. There, I said it. The studies show it, and the guys from UT that I work with are just absolute studs. However, I still feel that the average person in Ohio is of more intelligence than the average Texan… whereas the studs in Texas and UT just destroy the studs at OSU. Texas just has a way bigger range.
The main reason for that sentiment are all of the simply ridiculous situations I’ve been in during the last year in Austin that just never happened to me in Ohio. I’m constantly getting wrong change. I have to explain to people how to do their own jobs. “No Ma’am, my dry cleaning should NOT be $3 per shirt”. Hearing educated people viciously argue about who is more liberal… are you kidding me? Or how about when my friend and I said “we’re from Ohio, but we LOVE it here in Austin” and getting yelled at because Texas is so much better than Ohio.
And then there’s the woman who told me that God talked to her four times on the radio that day. At some point you just have to wonder, are all of these weird conversations just bad luck, or does Texas just have a crazy range of intelligence?
So that’s where I stand. Feel free to disagree, but I’ve never seen such smart people next to such ridiculousness at the same time.
I love Austin (moreso than Columbus/Cleveland/Cincinnati all together), and I really like Texas, but come on Texans… don’t expect me to kiss your asses ALL day long on this blog!
I doubt anyone’s reading this far along, but if you are, thanks. This is what I’ve learned, among other stuff, in the past year. I am happy to pass it on to my Buckeyes.
At this time, I must tell you that by January, I will be in West LA with my own engineering field sales territory. It is going to hurt to leave this city, but I need to get out of the walls of corporate America, and get out fast.
I look forward to some day returning to Austin and setting up permanent shop.
I hope you have fun, because I sure as hell have!
- Ohio State 30, Texas 24
PS: If you need to contact me, e-mail me at my [email protected] (sorry, already get too much spam, not gonna make a link).. or just leave a comment or find me on Bucknuts. AOL IM: MicroBerto
Oh God where do I start… OK, well Texas brings 2 things: BBQ and Tex-Mex. After a year here, I can say that I’m pretty bored with the same ol’ Tex-Mex, but I will NEVER tire of the BBQ down here.
I’ll be honest – before moving to Texas, I’d never had brisket. I’d been missing out! Get BEEF BBQ, these people don’t do pork.
Comment from J.D… it really looks like I missed a good one and will have to check this place out:
I honestly think you’ve done one hell of a job on the write up for the city, there’s really hardly anything left to add, except there’s a BBQ place for the downtown located folk called Iron Works on Cesar Chavez (aka 1st St) that for 10.99 you get a MASSIVE beef rib, sausage, and brisket with two sides. Some of the better BBQ I’ve found within the close downtown vicinity.
Comment from Francisco, who was one of those who thought I should recommend the REAL deal Mexican places. If that’s what you want, let me know and I’ll get you some maps:
good write up but damn man, i’m mexican and sorry, all the mexican spots you picked are only for white folks and not that great by any means. do you ever go east of 35? not completely hating but any authentic mexican will tell you all your spots are over priced or geared for whitey. not that there is anything specifically wrong with that but i wouldnt necessarily call it the best places to eat mexican food. actually, i definitely would not call them the best places to eat mexican food. try south congress, cesear chavez, riverside late at night. that is the real deal. just saying.
Austin has the coolest breakfast joints around. These make ATX special:
Late Night Food
- On 6th street, you’ll see the two main pizza shops, Rappolo’s and Hoeks. By your Ohio State standards, these places SUCK. I like Hoeks because they play all sorts of death metal.
Katz’s Deli is very good (especially at 3:00AM after getting kicked off of 6th street) but overpriced. Google Map to Katz
Also, Thai Passion can serve you up some SPICY food so that you drink tons of water and don’t have as bad of a hangover the next morning. Google Map to Thai Passion
If you are coming from Ohio to Texas looking for Italian, I will slap you. And bring me down some Adriatico’s and Fly-Pi while you’re at it! And Mama Santa’s if you’re up in Cleveland.
Burgers – Do yourself a favor and stick with Thurman’s in Columbus (and please oh please bring me a Thurmanburger!)… but if you must have a Burger, go to Hut’s Hamburgers on 6th street, this is a few blocks from where I live. Greasy and lots of options. Map it
Korean – I like Korea House, it’s the real deal. I hear it has good sushi too, but I don’t order Sushi from Korean spots. Impossible to find though. Google map.. good luck