Get Active During VIVA! STREETS When Roads Shut Down

VIVA STREETS! Festival in Austin

Couples yoga near the Alamo Ritz at the first VIVA! STREETS Festival (Credit Megan Ann via Flickr CC)

It’s 12:02 PM on a bright Sunday afternoon in Austin and 6th Street is completely empty of cars, trucks and delivery vans. It’s a little disconcerting at first – you’re not used to seeing 6th Street like this in the middle of the day. But as you turn a corner and near I-35, you see a group of kids and adults on yoga mats trying out a frog pose.

Although festivals shut down 6th frequently, the street usually isn’t quite this empty. For VIVA! STREETS Austin, that’s precisely the point. City Council Member Chris Riley, often a proponent of safer transportation options, has been a huge supporter of the event. “Ciclovías have been held regularly in Latin America since the 1970s, and our burgeoning bike and fitness culture makes VIVA! STREETS a perfect fit for Austin.”

The idea behind the event was to build community by transforming a street into public space and encourage active living through [Read more...]

Become a Maker at LeafDistrict Artisan Workshops

LeafDistrict glassblowing workshop

LeafDistrict glassblowing workshop (Credit: Kelli Niewohner)

If you’re tired of routine social activities and want a new way to spend time with friends or reconnect with yourself, the intimate creative workshops shared through LeafDistrict may offer you the perfect solution.

LeafDistrict is a virtual platform that artisans or “makers” use to connect with the community. Created as the brainchild and labor of love by Kelli Niewohner and Nicole Lutz, the website hosts workshops that bring crafts as common as knitting and as wild as glassblowing to those in Austin ready to indulge their creative side or try something new.

These workshops are a fulfilling way to spend your time because there is always something tangible you take [Read more...]

House of Torment Is the Best Haunted House in Austin

House of Torment Monster

Commander Nemesis
(Credit: House of Torment)

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Every year, one of the things I look forward to in Austin is our coolest haunted house, House of Torment.

I never used to think of Halloween haunted houses as having large or small budgets. They all blended together. However, in the last ten years House of Torment has dominated the market in Austin, becoming the go-to place for Halloween scares.

Starting in 2003 at North Cross Mall, House of Torment eventually moved to the former Laser Quest building in Highland Mall’s parking lot. Back when I was in high school, Laser Quest was a rad laser tag attraction that had multiple stories (and before that it was the movie theater for Highland Mall). Eventually it was shut down and in 2005 the building was renovated into a haunted house attraction. This former laser tag building was perfect for a haunted house because it had multiple stories, paths to walk through and the walls were already painted black.

Film Quality Production

Over the years, House of Torment had raised the production quality to the point where it feels like walking into a big budget movie. [Read more...]

Austin Street Hockey Lets You Get Your Gretzky On

Austin Freetails Street Hockey

Austin Freetails Street Hockey in Cedar Park

Guest article by Bill Tucker

When you think of Austin sports, what comes to mind? Jogging around Lady Bird? Co-ed kickball with Austin Sports and Social? Maybe you’re a fan of disc golf.

No matter what you’re into, there’s a organization to scratch the itch. But what if you’re a hockey fan? Austin’s 100 degree summers are unkind to ice. And unless you grew up around the stuff, strapping on skates can be daunting. Enter the Austin Freetails, an up and coming social street hockey group that gives local puck-heads the chance to get their Gretzky on. [Read more...]

3 Affordable Downtown Group Fitness Classes

Castle Hill Fitness

Guest article by Adrienne Purdue

Maybe you’ve noticed: Austin is a good looking town. The locals take care of themselves, which might have something to do with combatting the BBQ and Tex-Mex that’s always on the menu. Also, our weather doesn’t require us to put on that “extra layer of fat” in the winter months. It’s fantastic.

Maybe You Also Noticed…

Austinites are obsessed with supporting local businesses. We keep it close to home. Personally, I keep it literally as close to home as possible because I don’t own a car. So when I started looking for a downtown gym, I thought I’d be out of luck [Read more...]

5 Best Local Grocery Stores in Austin

As I’ve visited local markets and grocery stores in Austin that many neighborhood residents frequent, it has quickly became apparent what Austinites value: organic food, local products and craft beer.

Though the atmosphere of these local businesses varies, they all make shopping local convenient and offer easy access to unique foods that are difficult to find anywhere else. Here’s a list of what I consider the 5 best local grocery stores in Austin.

What’s on Tap at Royal Blue Grocery?

Royal Blue Grocery in Austin

Royal Blue Grocery on Brazos

There are five Royal Blue Grocery stores in Austn, all in the central downtown area and each carefully adapted to its immediate neighborhood.

Both the Brazos and Congress locations boast outdoor seating where you can drink the beer, wine or coffee you just bought. The high ceiling and white wood paneled walls of the Brazos location enclose extra grocery options, due to the apartment-centric location, while Congress caters to grab-and-go customers with many prepared food items made in-house. The Rainey St. location also blends into the surrounding neighborhood with beer on tap. [Read more...]

Celebrate Autumn at Sweet Berry Farm with Fun Activities

Sweet Berry Farm Pumpkins Near Austin

Take one of these guys home to spruce up your porch (Credit: Sweet Berry Farm)

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” -Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1842

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Hawthorne, and I’m convinced he was specifically talking about autumn in the Hill Country. Fall here is its own unique kind of wonderful.

Maybe it’s the way the hills light up as the sun sets and gives way to cooler nights, or maybe it’s the fact that we feel like we’ve waited an eternity for some sort of relief from the sweltering heat, anything that would allow us to wear boots and scarves and flannel shirts. (You know dressing up is your favorite thing about fall, too.) [Read more...]

I Luv Video Is Austin’s Oldest and Largest Video Store

IMG_6550

Before the over abundance of Video on Demand, video stores were almost the only way to find most movies. Having vastly more of a selection than movie theaters, you could always discover older movies you had never heard of, or find goofy-awesome looking movies made for video.

Across the country, video rental is a dying business. But Austin loves its movie rental stores and these local businesses remain strong here. [Read more...]

Get a Leg Up on Austin Dog Park Etiquette

Austin Dog Off Leash Area

Guest article by Adrienne Purdue

There’s a protocol regarding acceptable human behaviors behind the gates of Austin’s dog parks. If you are new to town (or old to town and new to dog ownership), here’s what you need to know about Austin dog park etiquette.

The First Rule of Dog Park Is: We Do Not Talk About Dog Park

The second rule of Dog Park is [Read more...]

How to Dress Like an Austin Local

Guest article by Dawn Sarnecky

Every Austinite knows that dressing appropriately for the Texas weather is an absolutely necessary task each day. The trick is to be comfortable as the beads of sweat drip down during summer and to be cozy during the winter (a.k.a. fall?). If you to dress like an Austin local with wardrobe pieces no one else will have, skip the mall action and check out these local stores.

Tip of the Brim at Hatbox

Hatbox in Austin

Hatbox (Credit: Ashley Brinkman)

If you are looking to cover your dome from the severe sun with style, then look no further than

[Read more...]