If you’re lucky enough to spend the weekend in Austin, you don’t really need a travel guide. All one has to do is walk out the door and explore all that the emerging city has to offer. For those who must have a loose agenda for their visit, the following spots are worth the time. One of the best things about Austin is its unique sampling of activities. The city boasts an impressive nightlife scene while offering plenty of outdoor adventures, shopping, and great eateries to discover during the day.
If you’re looking for unconventional restaurants, try Veggie Heaven. This restaurant specializes in “vegan dishes with bold oriental flavors”, and has a signature dish called the “Protein 2000.” Stacy Chen, who owns and founded the restaurant with her mother at age 17, is currently working on relaunching the restaurant and plans to introduce another signature dish as well. Veggie Heaven is a great favorite in Austin and offers unique cuisine.
Umlauf Sculpture Garden
Adjacent to Zilker Park, this sculpture garden features the work of the American sculptor, Charles Umlauf. In the 1980s, Charles and his wife donated their home and garden to the City of Austin, along with nearly 200 sculptures. The city then built a museum and opened the grounds and museum to the public. The museum is staffed by volunteers, while Austin’s Parks and Recreation department maintains the sculpture garden. The admission fee is only a few dollars, so it’s definitely worth a visit, especially considering how close it is to Barton Springs Pool.
Barton Springs Pool
This pool is filled with water from nearby natural springs, keeping the temperature of the water at 68 degrees year-round. Native Americans once considered the pool a sacred site and would use it for purification rituals. In the 1960s, the pool became a popular site for the people of Austin to swim and is now a lovely place for locals and visitors to enjoy. The pool is located within Zilker Park.
In Austin, food trailers (or food trucks, as some people may know them) are all the rage! Dozens of food trailers are parked throughout the city, often at one specific location so it’s easy to look up their location and hours. There are many clusters of food trucks located on certain streets, so look up ones you’d be interested in trying. A particularly popular location is SoFi Food Court, situated at 1st and Live Oak. Here you can get Venezuelan Cuisine, Italian food, tacos, or even plain sandwiches. Look at this guide for more food trailer locations and options.
Hamilton Pool is a hidden swimming grotto a short drive from Austin. When the dome of an underground river collapsed, this swimming hole was formed. Besides the swimming area, there’s a small beach and even a 50-foot waterfall. There is a 232-acre nature preserve surrounding Hamilton Pool, which offers beautiful areas for hiking, exploring, and even camping if you’d like to make a reservation.
This article was orginially published on Judd Bagley’s travel website: Travel Like a Local: 5 Things to Do in Austin, Texas