Friday, December 16, 2016

ThingsTo Do In Austin While At PCMA Convening Leaders

With the PCMA Convening Leaders event just days away I am getting some inquiries from friends and clients about fun things to do in Austin (since I have lived in the Texas Capital for 25 years).  Here are some ideas, but there are so many more.
Just a few restaurants you may want to try-- but you will need a car to get to some of them...or take Ride Austin (like Uber - but we dont have uber in Austin).
  • The Salt Lick (in Driftwood, about 30 miles away, but good if you are hungry and with a big group who want to do family style BBQ)
  • Guero's Taco Bar. (on South Congress) 
  • Geraldine's (Restaurant in Van Zandt Hotel- Rainey Street).  Wow, this is good food. Fun upscale atmosphere.
  • HopDoddy - Hamburgers (on South Congress)
  • The Vegan Yacht (a food truck of East Cesar Chavez)
  • Taco Deli (several locations). BEST TACOS (some will say Torchy's are the best tacos. They are wrong... but close 2nd). Note...Taco Deli is only open for breakfast and lunch.
  • East Side Cafe (on Manor)
  • Hula Hut. Sitting outside on the lake is awesome. 
  • Jo's Coffee on South Congress. This is where the famous "I love you so much" graffiti wall is locate (you may not know what I am talking about... but when you see it you will say "oh, I have seen that".... as everyone takes a photo in front of it and posts to FB).
  • Mozart's coffee. On Lake Austin. Great local coffee and a patio you will never forget if we have great weather.
  • Lick ice cream. Weird flavors.
  • Voodoo Donuts (yea, yea, they are HQ'd in Portland... but they are 5 blocks from Convention Center on 6th Street and open 24 hours. The donuts are awesome).
  • Wink (my favorite fine dining place... pricey but yum)
  • Italic (Downtown).
  • Iron Works... (dive BBQ place on back side of Convention Center... awesome).
  • Winflo is medium/high end but great food.
  • Three Forks is my favorite steakhouse, but Sullivan's, Vince Young Steak House, Bob's Chop House, and Perry's are all great.

This is just a start.
LIST of 25 famous old classic Austin restaurants…/historic-classic-austin-restauran…
The official food is BBQ, Mexican (TexMex), and Breakfast Tacos. The breakfast taco thing is a real local obsession that is not like any place. The New York Times even wrote an article a few years ago about Austin and their breakfast tacos.
Things to see:
  • The Whole Foods Flagship Store. They now have some big stores in other cities... but this is located on the bottom of their 9 story office HQ and was the first giant store they opened. Whole Foods was founded in Austin by hippies. When I moved here they had two small dumpy stores that sold healthy stuff. Now they are... well now they are what we all know (huge, expensive, etc...)
  • The Capital Building. I know it seems weird, but take a tour with a guide. It is cool
  • South Congress Ave. This is the Keep Austin Weird area, and mostly local shops.... but the chains are coming as the real estate is now pricey and it may lose its charm in a few years... so wander around now, as next time you come to town it will all be The Gap and Donna Karan stores. Also, one of the first Food Trucks that started the whole national food trailer "thing" is HEY CUPCAKE in SoCo.
  • Take a Segway tour. Yes, even as a local I have done this... they show you downtown and it is a lot of fun.
  • 6th Street. This is the famous street with all the bars and all the bands play on the weekends. Lots of live music, booze, etc... Mostly where the college kids go... and with 50K undergrads at UT... there are lots out at night.
  • Go to Esthers Follies. This is a vaudeville style show on 6th on Thurs, Fri and Sat. It sells out most nights, so buy tickets in advance. 8 PM and 10 PM Shows. One block from hotel.
  • 2nd/4th Street area (Warehouse District). Most warehouses being torn down for high rise condos ... but lots of good bars and restaurants. More grown up crowd.
  • Tour the UT campus. Maybe get a tour to top of tower (need reservations).
  • Texas State Museum. This is cooler than you would think.... and Texas has a really rich history. Most who go are surprised about all the stuff they learn about this state (we are more than cowboy boots and GW Bush).
  • Buy your Cowboy Boots (many come to town and shop at Allen's Boots on South Congress).  It is next door to Guero's Taco Bar.
  • You have heard about the Bats that live in the bridge? Yep, Austin is the home of the largest colony of bats... but they dont live here in the winter. Come back in July.
  • Walk along Lady Bird Lake. I call it Town Lake, as that was the name until the former first lady (Lady Bird Johnson) died in 2007 (yes, she lived that long). They have a nice running trail that goes on both sides. If you run... this is your trail.
  • If the weather is good go have drinks on the 2nd story outdoor patio at the Steven F Austin hotel (7th and Congress AV). this is my favorite place to drink beer or wine on a good day. Also there is an outdoor bar in the new Marriott Hotel (2nd and Congress).  And the bar in the Driskill Hotel has a cool copper ceiling..check it out.
  • Take the Duck Tour. Yes, many cities have these now... but Austin's has been around as long as I remember. You get to see a lot of thing.

There you have it folks.  This will keep you busy, but my list only scratches the surface. 

Welcome to all my PCMA Friends!!!  Austin is a wonderful and weird city. Enjoy the food, party feeling, and the super nice people. Buy lots of stuff (we appreciate the economic boost).  

Get up early on Monday and Tuesday at Convening Leaders and attend the morning orientation (I am leading this session both days... come say hello and start your day with some motivation, education, and I promise you will meet some new people.  Both sessions are different, so come to one or both).

Have A Great Experience at Convening Leaders

thom singer

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