Austin City: No Limits

ruby's bbqEven without a fast horse, you can cover a lot of ground in Austin in just 72 hours. Get off the plane and head straight for Rudy's BBQ on Guadalupe. Yes, it’s a gas station too, but once you hit the door you’re greeted by red and white checked table lines and fun-loving staff that likes nothing better than giving "newbies" some free samples.  All the glass bottled drinks come to the table in old fashioned metal containers with plenty of ice. There’s hot sausage, chopped beef, traditional brisket (someone’s most favorite because it melts in your mouth), smoked chicken, pork ribs, and even a vegetaran jambalya. And yes, the sign says Worst Bar-B-Q in Texas.

If all that food makes you a little drowsy, your next stop is Austin Java, but it’s a lot more than just coffee. You can always hit one of their locations in the morning for caffeine and a great breakfast taco, and an awful lot of locals 6th streetpitstop for one of the great desserts, like the lemon pucker cookie.

Your second day would be a great time to visit the Crossings for some well-deserved pampering. It’s a hotel and wellness spa where you can relax and get mellow. All spa treatments include a day pass allowing you to take classes, enjoy a buffet meal, use the infinity pool, hot tub and cold plunge, and have the run of the grounds, including a hiking trail, a sanctuary and a labrynith.

An afternoon on SoCo (South Congress) is a great way to extend your mellow vibe. There’s the usual quota of funky stores, plenty of tattoos and piercings, and even roving box of coffee vendors. Check out the Austin Motel for celebrity gawking..and one of the greater slogans around...So Close Yet So Far Out.

the oasisNightime in Austin means 6th Street. It’s loud, it’s open air clubs (most without cover charges) and hawkers who try to lure you in. There’s every genre in what locals call the capital of third coast music. The elegant Driskill Hotel is here alongside cafes, galleries, and bars. They’ve got jazz, blues, country, rock, hip hop, beat, progressive, metal and punk. Add the chili, ribs, Tex-Mex, cajun or deli, and you have a big night out.

Make a pilgrimage to The Oasis on your last day in town. The view and the aura of the place are hard to top. The 500 acre site features 40 decks with fantastic views overlooking Lake Travis and restaurants galore. There’s also furniture and antiques store.

Austin’s a capital city that has capitalized on what it’s got. From bats under the bridge to the big SXSW fest, Austin is a hoot.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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