I'm in Austin!

<p>When I visit this time of year, it makes me wonder why I moved away! What beautiful weather. I went to the UT baseball game with my dad this afternoon. The Longhorns looked pathetic against Texas Southern! We left after 8 innings (it was supposed to be a 7-inning game, but it was tied 1-1). It's in the 11th inning now! I still had a great time. I've been going to games with my dad since I was 4 (1966!), so it was special going with him today.</p>

<p>So I will be here ten days. Besides the old standbys (The Oasis, Barton Springs, etc.), do you have suggestions for what my son and I should do? Austin has changed so much since I moved to Maine in 1986, lol!</p>

<p>ML..sooo glad you are there!! Enjoy every minute of it!!</p>

<p>You can always go tubbing in New Branfels!</p>

<p>We're planning to go tubing in San Marcos after finals. We also went to Krause Springs in Spicewood (which was better than Barton Springs). Lots of things to do here indeed.</p>

<p>Go see Ester's Folley's on 6th street. It is a blast.</p>

<p>I hate to be the nerdy guy, but the Bob Bullock History of Texas museum is actually pretty cool. You walk in on the ground floor and the first exhibit is some Karankawa indians, with an armored Spaniard on horseback right behind them. You can't help but feel the clash of cultures. Moving upstairs, indians become businessmen, and then you see Texas go from almost entirely rural and agricultural to urban and industrial in the space of two generations. The Spirit of Texas theater is an extra cost ($11?) for a 20-minute movie, but it's a fun experience and worth it for the novelty.</p>

<p>The Texas Memorial Museum is a geologic history museum at UT with some totally awesome displays. It's also free, although they welcome donations in the jar by the door. The bottom floor of the museum is a panorama through time, from pre-dinosaur reptiles up through the age of mammals. The museum also has smatterings of natural history, meteorites, rocks and minerals, and on the top floor modern science including DNA, genetic tracers in evolution, and the evolution of the AISD virus. If you park in the San Jacinto Garage and exit out the east side (toward the Interstate), the Texas Memorial Museum is right in front of you.</p>

<p>Longhorn baseball is the best, isn't it?! </p>

<p>Welcome home! All terrific ideas so far. Here are a few more that occurred to me:</p>

<p>Has your son ever climbed Enchanted Rock? had legendary Texas Hill Country BBQ at Cooper's in Llano or Salt Lick in Dripping Springs? splashed in Hamilton Pool? Nearby Westcave Preserve is also an interesting little spot if you are out that way, and sometimes, they have star nights. </p>

<p>The locals' favorite instead of Mt. Bonnell is climbing to the mesa tops of the cliffs on either side of the 360 bridge on the N side of the river. But you really need a local to show you the way...oh, I guess not, that's just me being a mom! Y'all would figure it out--and someone's almost always there.</p>

<p>My HS senior's gang played pub trivia every Wed. night this year. It's great big fun! They don't like us to show up, so the adults have played a couple of times at another place. There are several restaurants/bars around town that offer trivia nights. You can Google it and find one near your parents' home. The 4+ of you would make a killer team!</p>

<p>The hike and bike trail just keeps getting better and better. And paddling in Lady Bird Lake (it's not Town Lake anymore!) is always fun--several kayak and canoe rental outfits. </p>

<p>Check the Alamo Drafthouse schedule for wacky movie events and BookPeople for author appearances.</p>

<p>Because UT is winding down, there is probably a bit of a music lull. But a couple of things caught my eye when I was thumbing through this week's Austin Chronicle (free, pick it up if you haven't already). If you've caught the Sarah Jarosz bug, I believe she's playing while you're here. And there are plenty of "free with food" or just plain free options, e.g., Thursday nights "Unplugged" at Shady Grove are always fun (good burgers--Huts is still #1 with me--and although I don't think your son is 21, you can try the Shady Thang!). Sunday nights in May on the plaza at the Bob Bullock (I was so excited when I saw Beto y los Fairlanes and RoTel and the Hot Tomatoes on the line-up for the 22nd--I am older than you are, but you might recall them from your UT days!). There's often live music at Whole Foods and Central Market (and their cooking classes are fun if he'd like that sort of thing). Re: classes, REI is always offering something interesting.</p>

<p>I think South Congress is best at night when it has cooled off and you can just stroll, shop, eat, gawk. Have you taken him to Allen's for a pair of boots?! Trailer food there and all over town! The East Side is for hip dining these days. Two French bistros I like over there are Justine's and Blue Dahlia--so nice to have a French option to Chez Nous! Takoba is sort of "new interior Mexican" with wickedly delicious mango habanero margaritas. G'Raj Mahal (east downtown, not across 35) is popular for Indian (although I am partial to Tarka--you know Clay Pit, this is their casual, line up to order joint in South Austin). A hip sushi/Japanese that's not on the East Side, but North Lamar, is Uchiko, the new Uchi baby (don't know if your parents are Uchi fans, but the chef just won the James Beard award for the SW). Ooops! Getting carried away with libations and bites! Oh, but I do have to add, Mozart's on Lake Austin Blvd. (by Hula Hut) for late night lakeside coffee and dessert.</p>

<p>Have a fabulous time! I hope this glorious weather hangs on your entire stay. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.</p>

<p>TxArtemis..you are a WEALTH of information..lol...I am going to save your post..H and I are in Austin about every 3-4 weeks to visit D and we are always looking for new restaurants etc..although she is home for the summer..we will be back in August...it's funny how alot of the students get in thier comfort zone right around campus and dont venture out..thanks again!!</p>

<p>ML..if you are on Facebook..look up "365 things to do in Austin" and "like" it..the blogger that writes that had some really good suggestions..</p>

<p>Thanks for all the tips! Tonight we watched the outdoor concert at the Bullock Museum. Beto and the Fairlanes (they changed the name, since they said people pronounced the Spanish words incorrectly!) were really amazing! I wish my younger daughter, who plays jazz piano, could have heard them. It was Beto's (Bob's) birthday, so they brought out a cake and shared it with the audience. Rotel and the Hot Tomatoes were fun, too. Museum admission is free during the concerts, so between sets we got to wander around and look at some exhibits.</p>

<p>I highly recommend these concerts if you get a chance to go! The atmosphere was great. People, including older women and small children, were dancing up a storm. There is a cash bar for the adults in the group!</p>