Things to Do and See in Austin Texas

Things to Do and See in Austin Texas

The most difficult choice the new Austinite faces is “where to begin.” Perhaps you’d enjoy a trip to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, or a day of shopping along “the Drag” on Guadalupe. Need to cool off? Lake Travis is a great place to spend the day water skiing, sailing, fishing, or just people watching. Want to experience more of Texas? Try a weekend trip to one of our neighbors. San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston are all just a short drive away. Austin’s central location makes it an ideal location for experiencing Texas.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN AUSTIN TEXAS

Check out this video highlighting the Top 10 attractions you must not miss in Austin Texas!


PLACES YOU’VE HEARD OF, AND HAVE TO VISIT

Barton Springs Pool (www.ci.austin.tx.us): Barton Springs Pool is a man-made recreational swimming pool located on the grounds of Zilker Park in Austin Texas. The pool exists in the channel of Barton Creek and is filled by water from Main Barton Spring, the fourth largest spring in Texas. The pool is a popular venue for year-round swimming, as its temperature maintains a narrow range from about 68.0 °F (20.0 °C) in the winter to about 71.6 °F (22.0 °C) in the summer. In 1837, soon after incorporation of the city of Austin, William (“Uncle Billy”) Barton, the springs’ namesake, settled the area. Barton named the three separate springs after his three daughters: Parthenia, Eliza, and Zenobia. He, and subsequent owners of the property, recognized its value as a tourist attraction, and promoted it vigorously, thus leading to the swimming hole’s lasting popularity.

Hamilton Pool (www.co.travis.tx.us/tnr/parks): Thousands of years in the making, this uniquely beautiful grotto and its swimming hole have access limited to the 100 cars that fit in its parking lot. Swimmers should call ahead to check availability.

Hippie Hollow (www.co.travis.tx.us/tnr/parks): Situated on 109 peaceful acres, Hippie Hollow is renowned as a clothing optional park securely nestled in the natural beauty of the Hill County of Lake Travis, only 20 minutes off Interstate 35. Hippie Hollow is internationally popular for sunbathing and swimming, welcoming visitors from all over the world. Entry is restricted to those 18 years and older.

Inner Space Cavern (www.myinnerspacecavern.com): Beauty is more than surface deep, and nowhere could that be truer than Georgetown’s Inner Space Cavern. This living cavern is estimated to be over 100 million years old and continues to grow and develop.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center (www.wildflower.org): A veritable garden of delights, this native plant botanical garden features beautiful terraces, arbors, courtyards and meadows. Enjoy the observation tower, visitor’s gallery, café, gift store and nature trails.

Mt. Bonnell (www.austinparks.org): To visit Mt. Bonnell is to indulge in a time-honored tradition. Climb the 99 steps to one of the highest vantage points in Austin and enjoy the beautiful sunset overlooking one of the most beautiful vistas in the city.

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch (www.nbwildliferanchtx.com): Ever long to visit exciting, exotic, wild places, but lack the money and time to do so? Now there’s a way to scratch that itch for adventure – take a photo safari at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. You’ll get a taste of the African Savannah, jungles of Madagascar, the outback of Australia, the North American Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and other wild habitats around the world. Visitors can also see over 500 animals from six of the seven continents, and photograph to their hearts content as they drive through this beautiful rolling Hill Country ranch.

Zilker Park (www.ci.austin.tx.us/zilker/): Located at 2100 Barton Springs Road, Zilker Metropolitan Park is considered “Austin’s most loved park.” This 351 acre park is home to a variety of recreation opportunities and special events for the individual or the whole family, including the Zilker Zephyr miniature train ride, Town Lake Canoeing, and Barton Springs Pool (see above) extraordinary trail of lights at Christmas. It is named after its benefactor Andrew Jackson Zilker, who donated the land to the city in 1917. It was developed into the park during the Great Depression in the 1930s. The park serves as a hub for many recreational activities and the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake, both of which run next to the park. The park was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on 1997.


UNIQUE ATTRACTIONS THAT DEFINE AUSTIN TEXAS

Alamo Draft House Cinemas (www.drafthouse.com): The Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas are a movie buff’s dream come true. Films include independent releases, Anime, the latest from Hong Kong, spaghetti western nights, midnight movies, and of course, the ever-popular Mr. Sinus Theatre – an experience unto itself. There’s even UT football on the big screen. Ever true to their motto: Dinner – Drinks – Movies – Events.

Austin City Limits (www.austincitylimits.org): Since 1975, KLRU’s public television live music show has brought the best and brightest in the music world to its intimate shows, where the admission and beer is always free. Past artists have included Bonnie Raitt,Merle Haggard,WillieNelson, Dolly Parton, Sheryl Crow and many, many more. Call for ticket distribution information,and realize that timing really is everything, as sometimes tickets disappear within the first five minutes of distribution. Also, having a ticket doesn’t always guarantee admission, so arrive early. Seating is limited, to 400, and is handled on a “first-come” basis.

Austin Duck Adventures (www.austinducks.com): Make a splash, and enjoy the best touring on both land and lake! Austin Duck Adventures offers the best of both land and water worlds as you tour downtown on wheels and see the State Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion, the Bob Bullock Museum, Congress Avenue and 6th Street before taking to the lake in a revamped amphibious vehicle – a British Alvis Stewart.

Cap City Comedy Club (www.capcitycomedy.com): Blessed with some of the best local and national comic talents to hit the stage, Cap City has been keeping their audiences laughing in Central Texas for more than 15 years. The club presents and promotes newer talents from the Austin area, while assembling a strong line-up of Austin favorites, and headlining appearances by touring national comic talents. Shows are every night at 8 p.m.

Congress Avenue Bats (www.batcon.org): Bat’s Entertainment! The summer home of the 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats that migrate here every year, the Congress Avenue Bridge also is a great place to witness the dramatic night flight that occurs every evening.

East Sixth Street (www.6street.com): This is truly a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde experience. By day this section of Sixth Street is bustling with the office workers going about their normal routine and tourists attracted by the many landmarks and historical buildings in the area. By night the area is transformed, becoming a glittering strip of bars and live music clubs.

First Thursday – South Congress Avenue (SOCO): What started as a neighborhood block party shared among a few local businesses has grown to epic proportions. The First Thursday of each month, merchants and restaurants all along South Congress Avenue in the enchanting SoCo District throw open their doors until 10 p.m., playing host to an array of events and activities.

Fredericksburg (www.fredericksburg-texas.com): A short daytrip away, this quaint German colony town seems almost like a fairy tale. Antique shops abound, as do the historic buildings, boutiques, and German restaurants. Take the time to check out the cute peach and fruit stands, vineyards and orchards that dot Hwy 290.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort (www.schlitterbahn.com): Unlike any other area waterpark, Schlitterbahn means cool relief from the hot Texas summer heat for thousands of Texas families. Jump into the refreshing waters of the Comal River, and find out what all the fuss is about. With high tech rides, slides, pools, inner tube floats, and kiddie parks, it is no wonder that Schlitterbahn is consistently voted one of the top waterparks in the world, and it is located right in Austin’s backyard.

Zilker Botanical Gardens (www.zilkergarden.org): Twenty-two acres, forty garden clubs, and a lot of green thumbs went into making this a paradise. The acreage now includes an Oriental garden, a butterfly garden, cactus garden and the Mabel Davis Rose Garden among others.

FORKS UP! BARBECUE IN CENTRAL TEXAS

If there’s one pastime in Austin Texas that hasn’t changed over the years, it’s eating. From Tex-Mex to nationally known chefs and restaurants, there’s no question that Austin is a foodie kind of town. After all, we were one of the first cities to have a “food trailer” subculture; those early beginnings have since spawned food trailer parks in at least three different areas of the city and inspired many more.

 

FOOD, SCHMOOD – WHAT ABOUT BARBECUE?

While Austinites certainly have an appreciation for all things edible, they’re obsessive about barbecue. That’s because in Texas, beef is king. And its rulers and subjects are mostly located right here in Central Texas. In fact, the brisket, a cut that is the cornerstone of the Texas tradition, owes its status to the long cattle drives of that bygone era – and to the creative culinary genius of multiple Texas barbecue masters. Considered tough and almost worthless in the beginning, it’s what was left over after the so-called prime cuts had been taken. Other meat staples in a true Texas barbecue include sausage (normally made from beef) and pork ribs, an import from the Midwest.

Texas barbecue can even be broken down by region. In west Texas, the meat is cooked using direct heat with mesquite wood, an approach also seen in Arizona and New Mexico. In eastern Texas, beef is often slow-cooked over hickory after marinating in a tomato sauce. And here in Central Texas, meat is often dry-rubbed with spices and cooked using indirect heat over either oak, pecan or mesquite. The South Texas style features thick sauces, normally with a molasses base.

WHO NEEDS A PLATE? ORDER UP!

When it comes to ordering barbecue, Texans have their own style there, too. Most places serve beef ribs, brisket, chicken and pork ribs by the pound, or by the link for sausage, and forgo plates – instead choosing to serve meats on plain white butcher paper.

Typical side dishes and drinks here in the Lone Star state include pinto beans, potato salad, coleslaw, creamed corn, pickles, onions, jalapenos, cold beer, iced tea, lemonade – and, of course, plenty of slices of plain white bread.

As for the sauce, it’s generally an optional thing – and some Central Texas barbecue institutions don’t offer sauce at all. That’s because the emphasis is on the meat, not necessarily the sauce. Roll it up in a slice of white bread, add pickles, onions and maybe some coleslaw on top, and it’s like heaven on earth.

YOU SAY TOMATO…

According to the National Barbecue Association, the three essential elements of barbecue are good meat; the process of slow cooking at a low temperature; and the fuel used for heat and flavor. This is not the backyard style barbecue where Mom or Dad fires up the gas or charcoal grill. At its heart, barbecue is slow cooking, using cuts of meat that, in the past, were considered inferior – until super slow cooking for hours at a time turned them into something worth savoring and craving.

The native peoples of the Caribbean, who used a combination of low heat, wood smoke and sun to preserve their meat, first practiced what we know as barbecue at the time Columbus discovered the New World. Known first as “barbacoa,” it made its way to the mainland where it diversified, both in location and style.

Now? It’s an art form – and it varies from state to state, region to region, and neighbor to neighbor. From the pulled pork of the Carolinas to the heavy sauciness of Kansas City to the sweetness of Memphis, barbecue – and the way it’s cooked – is a varied culinary tradition whose rules are based mainly on location and what Grandpa did. Pork or pork sausage are a barbecue stalwart, especially in the southeastern United States. And it’s not surprising to find very expensive smokers cooking up brisket, sausage, ham, turkey and more for a crowd at University of Texas tailgates (and at every other college football game in Texas).

ROAD TRIP: NO FORKS NECESSARY

Clearly, the best way to experience this mouth-watering culinary experience is to take a road trip and try it all. Because we’re famous for this stuff, especially here in Central Texas – and those who live here know all too well what a gift it is to experience it when the craving strikes. And it will. Over and over again.

The following is a guide to Central Texas barbecue Meccas – use our tips to take your own delicious, sticky fingers jaunt across barbecue heaven. For more information, visit www.tourism-tools.com/texasbbq. And don’t forget the napkins!

AUSTIN

Artz Rib House
2330 South Lamar, 512-442-8283

With a tagline of “Having a tough day? Come eat some ribs!” Artz is an Austin favorite for – you guessed it – mouth-watering ribs. Founder Art Blondin started serving both baby back and country-style ribs in an old caboose north of the river and immediately started winning food awards – and lots of fans. Equally known for its dedication to local and live music, Artz even has its own record label, called Rib House Records, of course.

The County Line
County Line on the Hill (original location), 6500 W. Bee Cave Rd., 512-327-11742
County Line on the Lake, 5204 FM 2222 (off Bull Creek), 512-346-3664

Founded in 1975 and now boasting several locations, The County Line is an Austin barbecue institution. The restaurant’s barbecue philosophy has just four principles: Deliver highest quality smoked barbecue – ribs, brisket, sausage and chicken – with traditional sides of cole slaw, potato salad and beans; Offer generous portions at reasonable prices; Hire staff and offer friendly table service with linens and bar service; and Serve it all in an authentic location that celebrates the heritage of Texas. It’s no wonder that the restaurant’s tagline is that it’s so good, you’ll want to “Get It All Over Ya!”

The Green Mesquite
1400 Barton Springs Road, 512-479-0485
9900 South IH-35 at Southpark Meadows, 512-282-7100

Known for “BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass,” the Green Mesquite is another Austin favorite with two locations – the original on Barton Springs and another in the Southpark Meadows shopping center off I-35 South. With a menu that includes such classic and delicious sides as fried okra, hush puppies, green beans, cole slaw, and potato salad, and barbecue plates with a choice of beef brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, chicken, sausage, ham, smoked wings or turkey – plus live music – it’s a meat lover’s (and music lover’s!) paradise.

Hoover’s Cooking
2002 Manor Rd., 512-479-5006 (original location)
13376 Research Blvd., #400 (at Anderson Mill), 512-335-0300

Known more for its traditional Southern-style cooking and deep Texas roots of founder Hoover Alexander – a fifth-generation Texan whose food include elements of his mom’s home cooking, East Texas Cajun flavors, and the mouth-watering fare of barbeque pit bosses – Hoover’s isn’t your traditional barbecue restaurant. But Alexander’s ribs are out of this world, and the restaurant has become known equally for its barbecue offerings. Choose from chicken wings or halves, pork ribs, Elgin sausage and even jerk chicken – all come in giant portions with a deep-red-brown and spicy-sweet sauce. Sides include the decadent macaroni and cheese, jalapeño creamed spinach, cole slaw, and classic pork and beans, among classic Southern specialties as mustard greens and fried okra.

House Park Bar-B-Q
900 W. 12th (at Lamar), 512-472-9621

When your eyes find the “Need Teef to Eat my Beef” sign, you’ll know you’ve arrived at House Park Bar-B-Q. Open since 1943, this favorite neighborhood (and city-wide) barbeque joint takes the best brisket cuts, lays them in a pit – and leaves them alone for up to 18 hours. The result is flaky, super-tender brisket cooked over a mesquite fire that is so tender that, well, if you didn’t happen to have “teef,” it wouldn’t matter. House Park also serves up pork and beef sausage, and pork loin, plus such sides as sweet beans (secret recipe; don’t ask – and same goes for the sauce), coleslaw, and a sweet potato-and-egg salad.

Ironworks Barbecue
100 Red River, 512-478-4855

A family-owned ironworks before it became a barbecue favorite in 1978 (check out the Weigl family-crafted weathervane on the restaurant’s roof), Ironworks is not only an Austin favorite, but also counts among its many fans such visiting Austin celebs as Kevin Costner, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bob Dylan, and Jay Leno. Offering both barbecue plates and meat by the pound, specialties include sliced beef brisket, chopped beef, beef ribs, smoked pork loin, pork ribs, chicken, Ironworks hot sausage, ham and smoked turkey, plus classic sides that include beans and potato salad.

Ruby’s BBQ
29th & Guadalupe, 512-477-1651

Open since 1988, Ruby’s specializes in “real, pit-smoked barbecue” with traditional and non-traditional sides, plus several Cajun and vegetarian dishes. What? Vegetarian dishes at a barbecue joint? Ruby’s is all that and more – and it’s still a favorite. With tender, juicy, hormone-free beef, smoked Elgin sausage, pork ribs, and a spicy sauce, it’ll make meat lovers happy, too. Sides include enough variety for all persuasions, including two kinds of beans (black and BBQ), several kinds of cole slaw, collard greens, and such Cajun classics as chicken/sausage gumbo, red beans, and jambalaya.

Rudy’s Country Store & BBQ
11570 Research Blvd., 512-418-9898
2451 S. Capital of Texas Hwy., 512-329-5554
7709 Ranch Road 620, 512-250-8002

Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q had its early beginnings in Leon Springs – a small community founded just outside of San Antonio in the 1800s by Max Aue. Max’s son Rudolph later opened a one-stop gas station, garage, and grocery store. It took a while, but barbecue was added to the operation in 1989, and Rudy´s Country Store and Bar-B-Q was born. Rudy’s uses 100 percent wood-fired pits with oak, a slower burning wood than mesquite, and cook brisket, sausage, turkey and more with a dry spice for unique flavors. Add Rudy’s famous “Sause,” dill pickles, onions and white bread, and a tasty meal is minutes away.

Stubb’s
801 Red River, 512-480-8341

Stubb’s is the delicious brainchild of Christopher B. Stubblefield of Navasota, Texas, who learned to cook in the 1930s when the family moved to Lubbock to pick cotton – and Stubb started working in local restaurants and hotels. Those skills translated into his own restaurant, which he opened in Lubbock in 1968 – cooking barbecue on a hickory pit behind his place and playing the blues on the jukebox. The Lubbock location closed – and an Austin location followed. It soon became as much known for good music as for good barbecue, with musicians like Joe Ely and Stevie Ray Vaughn, Muddy Waters, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and others playing there regularly. Today, it’s still about the food, music and cold beer – try the brisket, pork ribs, chicken, pork loin, turkey or sausage plate – and definitely add the sauce made in-house, and the beans, cole slaw and potato salad.

Texas Rib Kings
9012 Research Blvd, Suite C-4 (near Burnet Road), 512-451-7427

Founded in 1986, Texas Rib Kings BBQ & Catering had its beginnings in the west campus area near the University of Texas. The restaurant moved to north Austin in 1994, and has earned rave reviews for its brisket, sausage, boneless skinless chicken or turkey breast, honey glazed ham, and signature pork and beef ribs. With daily lunch specials that include a sandwich, side and drink, and an all-you-can-eat Monday buffet, there’s something for everyone.

The Pit on Burnet Road
4707 Burnet Road, 512-453-6464

Family-owned and operated since 1969, The Pit is another Austin Texas favorite, with area residents flocking to this small, down-home restaurant to feast on juicy brisket, turkey, sausage, ribs, and chicken, plus the Pit’s signature peach cobbler and banana pudding. All meats are smoked in-house, and the Pit is known for its house-made sides – including potato salad and beans.

DRIFTWOOD

The Salt Lick
18300 FM 1826, Driftwood, 512-894-3117 (original location)

Founded in Driftwood 1967 by the Roberts family, The Salt Lick has a long history of serving great barbecue. People drive from all over Central Texas and beyond to relax among the picnic tables at the rustic outdoor pavilion and enjoy juicy brisket, ribs, and more. Specialties include the family-style meal, which includes huge servings of beef, sausage, and pork ribs served with potato salad, cole slaw, beans, bread, pickles and onions. Homemade pecan pie and peach cobbler round out the simple and delicious menu – and those who have cravings but who don’t live in Central Texas can order complete meals online that are shipped directly to their door.

ELGIN

Southside Market & Barbeque
1212 U.S. 290 East, 512-281-4650

This more-than-100-year-old sausage factory is one of the main reasons Elgin is known as the “sausage capital of Texas.” Great varieties of sausage and $2 per pound brisket trimmings are a real treat, too. With such authentic Texas barbecue that includes beef brisket, signature sauce, a million awards and accolades and of course that sausage, it’s a barbecue lover’s must-stop destination – and an excellent reason to drive to Elgin.

Meyer’s Elgin Sausage & Smokehouse
188 U.S. 290 East, Elgin, 281-3331

A family-owned business, Meyer’s Elgin Sausage expanded the family business to a restaurant that serves smoked pork ribs, turkey breast, brisket, and that famous sausage. Try the three-meat combo with your choice of beef sausage, smoked turkey, pork ribs, lots of sauce, German-style potato salad, spicy beans, and a pickle. And definitely grab some sausage to take home so you can have it whenever you want.

LEXINGTON (Located between Austin & College Station)

Snow’s BBQ
516 Main Street, Lexington, 512-979-4640

One piece of advice about Snow’s? Get. There. Early. One of Central Texas’ most famous barbecue pilgrimages, Snow’s is only open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until the meat is gone – and that’s usually by noon. Why? Consider that the brisket at Snow’s is cooked at low heat (250 to 300 degrees) for six hours, then wrapped in foil and put back into the smoker for however long the pit experts at Snow’s think it should be in there. Kind of like the Jedi masters of barbecue. The result is you-don’t-need-teeth tender beef that’s smoked to perfection. The menu here is small and simple; the folks at Snow’s decided to focus only on doing a few things very well: brisket, sausage, chicken, pork, ribs, potato salad, cole slaw, and beans. After all, what else do you need?

LLANO

Laird’s BBQ
1600 Ford Street, 325-247-5234

Located just south of town, Laird’s is a Llano barbecue favorite founded by Ken and Esther Laird. Barbecue here is cooked in a pit using only mesquite wood, and the Laird’s smoke their briskets for up to eight hours. Everything except the white bread is made here, too. The sausage is half-beef and half-pork with lots of garlic, and the pork ribs are usually gone pretty quickly, so it’s always wise to get there early.

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que
604 W. Young (Hwy. 71 West), 915-247-5713

The original location and still the most famous of all the Cooper’s outlets (there’s also one in New Braunfels and in Fort Worth), Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que is usually tops on the list for obsessed barbeque fans. Known for its “Big Chop” – a 2-inch-thick, center cut juicy pork chop cooked over mesquite coals – the Llano institution that’s “All About the Meat” invites guests to pick their favorite from a number of huge grills just outside the front door, whether it’s ribs, brisket, pork, sausage or that famous chop. Walk inside to add beans, cole slaw, potato salad, pickles and all the fixins’ inside, and then enjoy your feast at family-style tables.

Inman’s Kitchen Pit Bar-B-Q & Catering
809 W. Young (Hwy. 71 West), Llano, 915-247-5257

Inman’s has been “Smokin’ the Good Stuff Since 1967,” and they’re not kidding. The Inman family recipe for turkey sausage is what made Inman’s famous, and it still does. A caterer for everything from weddings, birthdays and anniversaries to Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July Picnic and even Huntsville Prison Rodeos, Inman’s meat specialties include the famous turkey sausage, jalapeno turkey sausage, beef brisket, ham, pork ribs, turkey breast, and chicken – plus all-you-can-eat pinto beans and fixin’s and of course potato salad and cole slaw.

LOCKHART

Kreuz Market
619 N. Colorado, 512-398-2361

Yet another famous Hill Country barbecue Mecca, Charles Kreuz opened Kreuz Market as a meat market and grocery store in 1900. Charles Kreuz opened Kreuz Market in 1900 as a meat market and grocery store. Customers would buy slow-smoked barbecue and sausage wrapped in butcher paper, add some staples from the store to go with it – like crackers, bread, pickles, onions and cheese – and eat it off the butcher paper with their hands, and without sauce. A family-owned business until Charles Kreuz sold it in 1948 to longtime employee Edgar Schmidt, and today it’s Schmidt’s sons who run Kreuz Market. And the same traditions are still alive and well – super-tender meat, no silverware, and still no sauce. Besides brisket and sausage, this German-inspired barbecue landmark also features such other favorites as pork spare ribs, beans, German potato salad, sauerkraut, and jalapeno-cheese sausage.

Black’s Barbecue
215 N. Main Street, 512-398-2712

Besides its reputation for great barbecue, Black’s is also known as the oldest barbecue restaurant in Central Texas that is still operated by the same family. Founded in 1932 by Norma and Edgar Black, this barbecue institution has a slogan of “8 Days a Week,” and the sign out front says it, too. Even though Black’s is open seven days a week, Norma Black says “if you’re here as much as we are, you find a few extra days in that time. It’s easier to remember when we’re closed – Thanksgiving and Christmas – than when we’re open.” That dedication comes through in the barbecue – slow-smoked beef brisket, pork ribs, pork loin, turkey, homemade sausage, chicken, a range of sandwiches and classic sides like black-eyed peas, cole slaw, pinto beans, creamed corn and more.

Smitty’s Market
208 S. Commerce Street, 512-398-9344

In Texas, good barbecue runs in the family – and Smitty’s is just one example. Ina Schmidt Sells started Smitty’s Market in 1999 in the building that was the home to her father Edgar Schmidt’s Kreuz Market for more than 50 years – after he purchased the business from original owner Charles Kreuz. Sells’ son is now the pit master at Smitty’s, and the restaurant is known for its long-smoked brisket and juicy boneless prime rib – plus potato salad, beans, and coleslaw. And, just like at Kreuz’s, there aren’t any forks (thought you can get a knife and spoon if you ask), and no sauce.

MARBLE FALLS

Peete Mesquite Bar-B-Que
2407 Hwy. 281 N., Marble Falls, 830-693-6531

Regularly voted the “Best Barbecue in Burnet County,” Peete Mesquite’s is the perfect pick-up joint for those heading to the lake, or those who just have a craving for darn good barbecue. Owned by Wayne and Lanell Henderson and serving the Marble Falls area for the last 20 years, Peete Mesquite’s menu includes Angus brisket, pork ribs, pork steak, smoked chicken, turkey breast and regular or jalapeno sausage. With your choice of seven side dishes, seven varieties of sandwiches, and homemade peach and blackberry cobblers and pecan pies, you can guarantee that no one’s going home hungry.

SAN MARCOS

Fuschak’s Pit BBQ
1701 I-35 South, San Marcos, 512/353-2712

Founded in 1966 in San Marcos, Fuschak’s Pit Bar-B-Q is family-owned and operated, with meat specialties that include brisket, fajitas, sausage, chicken, ribs smoked turkey, and a daily buffet. Meats are smoked over hickory in a rotisserie pit and are served with traditional sides like potato salad, cole slaw and beans, plus homemade banana pudding and pecan pie.

TAYLOR

Louie Mueller Barbecue
206 W. Second, 512-352-6206

Founded in 1949, this is one restaurant of many in the Texas Hill Country that is well worth the drive. A no-frills kind of place that puts all the emphasis on the meat, the men is written on butcher paper and there is always a line. Meats are sold by the pound and are mouth-wateringly tender. Try the famous brisket – made with a salt and pepper rub and then slow-cooked in 50 year-old horizontal brick and steel pits using post oak wood. Word to the wise: They often sell out, so if you’re bringing out-of-town guests (or planning to go yourself), it’s better to call and place your order in advance.

RICH IN TEXAS HISTORY

Caswell House: The Daniel H. Caswell House is a beautiful turn-of-the century home conveniently located near the state capitol and the University of Texas. Owned and operated by the Austin Junior Forum, all proceeds from the rental of the house go back into the community through grants and community service projects. This elegant mansion is also honored on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as a Texas Historic Landmark.

The Driskill Hotel: Opened in 1886, this luxurious hotel was designed to rival the grand palaces of Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco. Beautifully restored, and one of the “Leading Hotels of the World,” and a National Trust Historic Hotel. Step inside and step back into Austin’s past.

George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center: The George Washington Museum and Cultural Center is the first African-American neighborhood museum in the state of Texas. This one-time branch library has expanded to a wonderful 36,000 square-foot facility that includes four galleries, a conference room, classroom, darkroom, dance studio, 134-seat theatre, and archival space, The galleries feature a core exhibit on Juneteenth, a permanent exhibit on Austin African-American families, an Artists Gallery, and a children’s exhibit on African-American scientists and inventors.

O. Henry Home Museum: Famous for the short story, “The Gift of the Magi”, O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) lived in this 1881 Victorian cottage. His experiences as journalist, draftsman, bank teller, and with the Texas Rangers are reflected in his short stories. Memorabilia from the author’s life in Austin Texas furnish this National Literary Landmark.

Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial: This statue was erected in 1994 to honor legendary musician Stevie Ray Vaughan who died tragically in a helicopter crash in 1990. Music lovers still come to pay their respects to this tremendous talent and symbol of Austin’s music tradition.

Texas Governor’s Mansion: Home to Texas governors since 1856, the ante-bellum Mansion underwent a major restoration from 1979-1982, turning it into a museum of authentic period furniture and a modern home for the governor of Texas. Call first to check for tour times.

Texas State Capitol & Visitors Center: Get a historical perspective, and learn all about the Capitol, its grounds, and the General Land Office when you visit the Capitol Visitors Center. Open seven days a week (but closed on holidays), the CVC features a theatre, a Texas Department of Transportation information kiosk, and a gift shop. Park in the nearby State Visitor Parking garage, off 12th and 13th Streets on San Jacinto.

Texas State Cemetery: Walking through the Texas State Cemetery is like reading a history of Texas. Almost every aspect of Texas’ past is represented on the picturesque 18 acres in East Austin Texas. Notables such as Stephen F. Austin, “Bigfoot” Wallace, John Connally, Barbara Jordan, and Bob Bullock, along with hundreds of Confederate veterans, lend their personal stories that together make up Texas’ history.

Treaty Oak: Located on Baylor Street, between 5th and 6th Streets in Downtown Austin, the Treaty Oak southern live oak is the last surviving member of the Council Oaks, a grove of 14 trees that served as a sacred meeting place for Comanche and Tonkawa Tribes. Forestry experts estimate the Treaty Oak to be about 500 years old and, at one time, the tree’s branches had a spread of 127 feet. According to legend, the oak stood as a witness to a treaty betweenIndians and the Anglo settlers.

MUSEUMS, GALLERYS AND MORE

Austin Children’s Museum: After different locations around the city, the Children’s Museum is finally in its permanent home on Colorado. Hands-on exploration is the order of the day, with a variety of activities and exhibits geared for kids from infancy to 100-plus. Spend some time in this 19,000-square-foot, two-story building, with permanent exhibits that allow children to role-play as doctors, grocers, and weathermen, explore the human body and more. Teens will appreciate the special multimedia classes and the facility’s recording studio. Look for special activities and classes for all ages throughout the year.

The Blanton Museum of Art: With a permanent collection of more than 13,000 pieces that represent the best of 20th century American art, contemporary Latin American art, prints, and drawings, with some Renaissance and Baroque pieces thrown in for good measure, it’s easy to see why this museum is considered one of the five top university art museums. Formerly known as the Archer H. Huntington Art Gallery, the museum was renamed when this Houston financial heavyweight made a significant contribution to create a new museum space. Previously housed at the Harry Ransom Center on campus, visitors can now see the total collection since the new Blanton Museum of Art facility opened in 2006. The new facility serves multiple audiences, offering a wide range of special exhibitions and public programs while developing teaching, research and educational initiatives in addition to its permanent collection.

The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum: Nestled between the Capitol Complex and The University of Texas at Austin, this museum is impressively large – but then, what else would do when it comes to telling the story of Texas? Museum pieces alternate between the somberly factual (cannons and old uniforms) to the refreshingly whimsical (a rhinestone-studded Cadillac) to the out-and-out amazing (an actual spacesuit from an Apollo mission)! State of the art media, including an IMAX theatre, make Texas history come alive.

Dougherty Arts Center Theatre: The old proscenium theatre has seen the full range of Austin talent cross its stage at one time or another. From cultural events to dance to original dramas to children’s plays, the 150-seat Dougherty has provided a space and an opportunity for Austin artists to present their talents to their community.

Esther’s Follies: An Austin Texas classic, Esther’s Follies is the reigning queen of comedy. Sharp wits and skits, combined with classic routines (Follies founder Shannon Sedwick’s Patsy Cline routine, for example), and mixed with biting, edgy, up-to-the-minute political satire makes sure that the crown never slips at the “Pool.”

Hyde Park Theatre: Home to resident theatre company Frontera, Hyde Park Theatre has built a solid reputation as it continues to produce some of the best alternative, original theatre in the region. The 80-seat venue also presents readings, performance art, children’s productions, dance performances, and other experimental projects. It also produces the annual Fronterafest, where for five weeks beginning in January, dozens of original plays are performed.

Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum: The most popular and most visited of all thirteen presidential libraries, the LBJ Library and Museum houses two facilities: the library with its archives and treasured by history-loving scholars, and the museum, which allows visitors in all year to see the artifacts from the Johnson era. LBJ’s colorful political career is extensively covered, from his humble Central Texas beginnings to his assumption of the Presidency. The museum is geared toward providing the visitor with an experience they’ll not soon forget – including outstanding permanent exhibits that cover the culture of the Sixties, to a reproduction of the Johnson’s Oval Office.

Long Center for The Performing Arts: Palmer Auditorium is slowly transitioning. As it is restored and given a make over, it will no longer be known as Palmer, but as the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts. No longer the site for car shows and gun shows, the new auditorium will be the stage for many fine arts productions.

The Paramount Theatre: The epicenter of Austin’s cultural scene, the Paramount Theatre has been bringing the arts to the capital city since 1915, and is one of Austin’s main attractions. With a seating capacity of 1300, the Paramount brings Broadway shows, classic movies, music, and dance to Austin and central Texas almost 300 nights a year.

Zilker Hillside Theatre, Zilker Park: Austinites have been coming here for years to enjoy performances under the stars. With room for more than 2,500, the annual Zilker Summer Musical is an Austin TexasAustin Texas tradition that has been performed here for more than 40 years. The Hillside Theatre is also home to the annual Austin Shakespeare Festival in the fall. The theatre provides a venue for other performances throughout the year. Pack a picnic basket, grab a blanket, and head out to the park for this unique experience.


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