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.

Texas

Sandcastle Days are here! 🏖

Hey ya’ll, the Sandcastle Days festival is coming right up.

This festival is the annual chance for sand sculptors to work their magic on the beaches of South Padre Island while it’s not too not and not too cold.

👉 I’m a sucker for this kind of thing. Hitting South Padre Island every summer as a kid, I did my best to craft some badass sandcastles. But I must admit now that they were mostly just Hot Wheels race tracks, doomed sea levees, or abstract drip art.

I’d love to see what the pros can do.

I can’t make Sandcastle Days this year, but it’s officially on my list of stuff to do in Texas.

By the way, I found this festival on a list of Beaches That Are Even Better in the Fall right alongside La Jolla, Dubai, Costa Rica, Aruba, and Greece. So take that, Texas beach naysayers! 🤠

Austin

Places to play around Austin

Here’s a great post from do512 on places to go in and around Austin to play like a kid. Take the kids or be a kid for a while.

👉 Where To Be A Kid Again In Austin

This post has it all: mini golf, pickleball, disc golf, go-karting, arcade games, bowling, water parks, darts, karaoke, roller skating, rock climbing, laser tag, art, even snakes and alligators.

Cheat Sheet

Dreamland | Austin’s | Typhoon Texas | Peter Pan Mini Golf | Punch Bowl Social | Austin Panic Room | Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo | Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In | Toy Joy | Austin Bouldering Project | Austin Roller Rink | Pinballz Arcade | Blazer Tag | Upstairs Circus |

Travel

Ditch Your Itinerary and Explore

This is a great quick guide on exploring a city in a more spontaneous and fun way than just rushing between pre-planned sites. Explore and have fun!

👉 How to ditch an itinerary and discover a city

  • Research, ask around — ask your Uber driver, check local Instagram accounts
  • Be present — look around, pay attention to signs
  • Map a Google map — Yes! I always do this on a big trip. It’s fun and helpful. (NYC example)
  • Avoid making reservations — give yourself some flexibility
  • Walk different routes — go one way, come back the other way

I also liked that the cover art and some of the story mentions Austin as an example, mentioning legit local places like the Hope Outdoor Gallery and Caffe Medici. 😀