Austin IS Weird
I recently had the opportunity to go to Austin, TX for a work conference. It was a great time, but Austin sure is a weird place.
First of all, I didn't bring my camera. It's not the worst thing in the world as I was on a business trip, however, my phone doesn't do much justice to the landscapes. Usually, I like to get my photos and do some editing, but these are simply the untouched, straight-from-the-iPhone pics.
It's a beautiful place, but when I was there, it was a bit smelly, and they do have a pan-handler/begging problem. I hesitate to use the word "homeless" as some of the folks asking for money looked like they were fine, they were just asking for money.
We did get a couple of moments doing non-work events. One the developers I work with and two of my clients came out to dinner with me one night and we went to the bridge in Austin where 1.5 Million bats live and come out each evening at dusk to start the night. It was pretty awesome and hundreds of people gather on this bridge to see the bats. Pretty cool experience... Unless you don't like bats, then maybe, you walk the other way.
Sixth Street is a curious amalgamation of bars, restaurants, and more bars. There is a dueling piano bar, a barcade (drinking + skee ball = no thank you), and more $3 margaritas than you can shake a stick at. It's a really fun place, especially Thursday- Saturday where they close down the whole street and people are partying all over the place. It's a great atmosphere, and even my typical introverted self enjoyed the vibe of Sixth Street.
Everywhere has cocktails, speciality cocktails, and signature cocktails. Even if you're not into drinking, they can make some of these drinks virgin and they are delicious.
Here's a Gin Gin Mule (a delightful take on a Moscow Mule)
Hello, Texas. Austin, like most of the other places in Texas I've visited, loves meat. Steaks, burgers, BBQ; meat is the focus and everything else is "why bother." Nothing wrong with that and I am certainly not judging. That being said, I had the fortune of dining out each night I was there, and it didn't seem to matter what restaurant we chose, meat was the focus of every meal.
So, go big or go home! We found Cooper's BBQ in downtown. It's not the original location, but they have pretty decent BBQ. I can't say it's amazing or out of this world given that I'm from Eastern NC, but Cooper's was really good for Texas BBQ, if ya know what I mean.
I mean, do you see all that meat! You buy it by the pound and it's so easy to rack up some serious dollars in meat and sides at Cooper's. It's pretty awesome. That giant cauldron in the middle, that's the BBQ sauce, so you can get your meat sauced and unsauced. They've also got the fixins: potato salad, mac & cheese, cobbler, slaw, you name it, they have it.
And if this doesn't convince you that Austin is a beautifully weird town, then just know there are a whole host of places with great food, great drinks, and tons of fun. The best part about Austin is how great of a walking city it is. Anything you need or want is in downtown and nothing is more than a 15 minute walk away.
Keep it weird, Austin.