Austin

Fun things to do in Austin when it’s cold and wet ☔️

Austin is geared towards the outdoors. Even in the blazing hot summer, the mornings and nights are consistently outdoor-friendly. You may want to duck inside during the heat of the day, but you can reliably enjoy your favorite trail in the morning and your favorite coffee shop + beer garden at night.

But today, it is 37℉, the November rain is here — and my brother is visiting town expecting nice weather. 😆

Here’s the quick list of things I put together for him to do while stuck in “sunny” Austin during a bout of winter. It’s kind of specific to him, but you might like it too.

👉 See also: Places to play around Austin

Crux Climbing Center – bouldering, etc.  I even learned yoga at the original south one.

Punch Bowl Social – an entertainment “complex” in the middle of downtown; it’s a chain, but it’s cool what they’ve done in this historic building.

The Contemporary Austin – a small but amazing modern art museum downtown – very close to Punch Bowl Social. ^

The Blanton Museum of Art – another modern art museum downtown, this one featuring Ellsworth Kelly’s Temple for Light called “Austin”.

The Texas State Capital – leave politics aside for a bit and just enjoy this amazing 1882 building and surrounding park with panoramic views down Congress Avenue.

Violet Crown Cinema – a great artsy movie theater with good food and a stylish bar. Dare I say it’s even better than the Alamo Drafthouse?

Toy Joy – a fun little toy store across the street from Violet Crown. ^

Whole Foods flagship store – lots of good food, a nice rooftop patio in sunnier weather, but there’s also a bar in the back by the meat.

The Mean Eyed Cat, yeah, there are lots of bars around town, but this is the the Johnny Cash bar. 🙂

Cidercade – games & wings by the lake. I’ve never been, but I’ve hear it’s fun.

Pinballz – a classic arcade (they have a couple of locations).

Playland Skate Center – a retro rollerskating rink near Pinballz. ^

A cloudy, drizzly Austin.

Apps · Practical · Software Dev

UX teardown: make your own guides in  Maps

I always found the “favorites” feature in Apple Maps to be too general and dissatisfying. I quit using that feature once I had 48 places saved all across the world. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Before that, I saved specific lists of places in Google Maps, but found their mobile app to be cluttered and confusing. 😖 So I gave up and started using Trello.

Trello is cool for some things like trip planning and small projects, but it did not scale well and didn’t handle lists of places well. So I gave up on that. 😢

 Maps guides

I’m happy to have just discovered that you can save your favorite places as “guides” in Apple Maps. Finally, this is genuinely useful!

I just set up my own guide for coffee places open early for when I’m looking to get our early. Quick and easy and right to the point! 🤩. I can immediately see all the places I saved and their hours. Check it out for yourself! (This is my own personal guide, so it’s focused on Austin, TX.)

Of course this guide automatically syncs to my iPad and Mac as well. ✅

Rechecking Goole Maps

Forgive me if I sound like an  fanboy, but out of genuine curiosity I went back and I did the same thing in the latest Google maps. It was a bit painful. 😢

Notice how the “main” screen is oddly not a map but more of a picture of a cup of coffee and therefore not useful to me.

And even when I drilled into an actual map view, the places I care about are unlabeled in favor of (1) a notification that HEB has an offer and (2) the Texas Capitol and Congress Ave. Bridge exist. Again, not useful.

I just want to know where a coffee shop is open at 7am! Now that would be useful. 👆