An All-American Adventure in the Lone Star State
Despite being one of the USA’s fastest growing cities, and irrefutably one of its hippest, Austin still retains a kind of humble, down-home charm. This is a place where you can watch world-class musicians at a honky tonk, try “farm-to-trailer” food truck cuisine, and attend a full moon party at Barton Springs outdoor pool. And thanks to the city’s incredibly friendly locals, you’ll feel right at home doing it.
Don your most flamboyant cowboy-inspired getup for an evening at the Broken Spoke, one of Austin’s last remaining dance halls. This family-run establishment is the epitome of a Texan honky tonk, with red-checkered tablecloths, refrigerators loaded with Lone Star beers, Stetson-wearing locals and live country music. If you want to hold your own on the dance floor, show up for Broken Spoke’s free two-step lessons: 8pm–9pm, Wednesday through Saturday.
Don’t let its elegant Victorian facade fool you, the Hotel Saint Cecilia has a rebellious soul. Each of its uniquely decorated rooms was inspired by the rock artists and beat poets of the 60s and 70s. Think black and red accents with plush velvet headboards and leather armchairs, plus turntables for utilizing the hotel’s lending library of vintage LPs. Catch a show at The Continental Club, a legendary live music venue around the corner on South Congress, then dive into Saint Cecilia’s 24-hour, neon-lit pool. Bonus points for doing it the rock ‘n’ roll way: fully clothed.
By day The Spider House is packed with people on laptops dosed with too-strong coffee, but by night it morphs into one of Central Austin’s most happening venues. Illuminated by colorful string lights, the expansive courtyard hosts bands, stand-up comedy, slam poetry and movie nights for a friendly crowd of regulars. Meanwhile, in the adjoining lot known as Spider House Village, you’ll find a photobooth, tattoo studio and some of Austin’s best food truck vendors.
Great Mexican cuisine is everywhere in this city. On one end of the spectrum you’ve got fast-casual taco joints like the ubiquitous Torchys, and on the other you have Comedor – an upscale restaurant in Downtown Austin, famous for inventive dishes like deconstructed bone marrow tacos. Take an heirloom blue corn tortilla and top it with quelites (Mexican greens) sautéed in a smokey butter. Then scoop out the roasted marrow mixed with fiery peppers and toasted pecans and devour what one food critic called “the single most unique bite I’ve had in Austin this year.”
Take a quick water taxi from the city proper to Lake Austin Spa Resort – an award-winning venue snuggled in a picturesque U-bend on the Colorado River. Here you can spend the day enjoying doorstop nature, getting therapeutic treatments at the LakeHouse spa and napping by the pool. “Blue mind” (the theory that being in and around water has profound benefits for our mental and physical health) is at the core of the resort’s offerings, and day-trippers can try restorative aquatic treatments like floating meditation, underwater massage and assisted stretch for myofascial release.