Top 5 Geek Spots in Austin

This guest blog article is by Mia Moore.

In a city famous for its “Keep Austin Weird” motto, it should come as no surprise that there are a multitude of places to get your geek on. From comic book shops to arcades, Austin has venues to celebrate every genre of geek. Below, you’ll find my picks for top 5 geek spots in Austin.

Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy

Dragon's Lair Comics and Fantasy

Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy

Tabletop games, miniatures, and comic books – Dragon’s Lair has a huge selection and storefront to match. In addition to traditional geekery, Dragon’s Lair also carries toys, vinyl figures, and even cosplay goods like Worbla and professional costume makeup. Dragon’s Lair also works with the local cosplay community, so you may spot a few of your favorite [Read more...]

Guzu Gallery Reflects Growth of Austin Geek Culture

Gallery Opening Guzu Gallery in Austin

Visitors flock to a Guzu Gallery opening

Over the past few years, Austin has developed a reputation for pop culture screen prints. It’s become part of Austin geek culture.

Austin Books is a time-tested expression of that culture. The store has been around for as long as I can remember, and just keeps getting bigger.

Recently, the business expanded with a couple of extra arms, through Outlaw Moon Games & Toys and Guzu Gallery.

Guzu Gallery is an art gallery and retail store that exists “to give fans an opportunity to view and purchase lowbrow artwork, including limited edition vinyl toys, art books, prints and original artwork showcased in the gallery,” explains Gallery Director Vince Torres. [Read more...]

Find Serenity and Peacocks at Mayfield Park

Cottage at Mayfield Park

Cottage at Mayfield Park

This guest blog article is by Kelli McDonald.

eeeeYAH eeeYAH eeeeYAH! That’s the best way I can describe the peacock chorus greeting I received when I walked into Mayfield Park. This gorgeous estate located in West Austin features these beautiful birds, trail systems, gardens, and a historical home.

Purchased in 1909 by Texas Secretary of State and Texas Railroad Commission chairman Allison Mayfield, the property was meant to be a summer getaway home for his family. In 1922, Mayfield’s daughter, Mary, and her husband, Dr. Milton Gutsch, moved into the home and set beautiful changes into motion. [Read more...]

Harris Blades Keeps Austin Sharp

Guy Harris of Harris Knives

Guy Harris has been a bladesmith for 24 years (Credit: David Thomas)

What do you do with an obsession? Do you embrace it? That’s what I did with motorcycles and that’s what Guy Harris did with knives.

From Obsession to Business

It was around 1990 that Harris bought a book entitled The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way to Perfection, by Jim Hrisoulas. That was the beginning of his quest to learn everything he could about the art of knife making.

In 1995, he received a phone call from a buddy. This friend wanted Harris to help him build a forge and, in the process, convinced Harris to build one of his own. As things sometimes work out, his buddy never finished his forge, but Harris completed his own.

Fast forward to 2004. Guy Harris decides to go all in and opens the doors to Harris Blades.  Over the past 10 years, he’s been happily perfecting the art of bladesmithing in the greater Austin area. [Read more...]

Kids Learn Video Game Development at Game Worlds

Game Worlds Video Game Camp for Kids in Austin

Lab time at Game Worlds (Credit: Alicia Andrew)

When I was a kid, video games like Nintendo and Atari were thought of as time wasters and brain drainers. Since then, they have developed into amazing pieces of creative art.

What hasn’t changed are parents wanting their kids to do something in the summer besides playing video games.

If a compromise can’t be made, or you want to focus your child’s interest towards something productive, I recommend Game Worlds. [Read more...]

The Long Center Hosts Free Fun All Summer Long

Bring a blanket, grab your favorite trailer food, and have yourself a picnic.

Bring a blanket, grab your favorite trailer food, and have yourself a picnic.

Summers in Austin are divine. That is, if you’re brave enough to put up with the sweltering heat, or are simply accustomed to it by now.

Those of us who have lived here long enough have found ways to deal with it, usually through a combination of live music, refreshing drinks, and food trucks.

For the third year in a row, Austin’s backyard, aka The Long Center, will be hosting several free and family friendly events that allow us to embrace  the heat together, against one of Austin’s most picturesque backgrounds. [Read more...]

Austin Streets Brightened by Real Life Mystery Machine

Mystery Machine Austin TX

Shaggy and the Mystery Machine in Austin

This guest blog article is by Kendra Wright.

I have an obsession with weirdness and oddities. It’s probably why I adore our quirky little city so much. When I discovered that a real life Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo was cruising our streets, I was determined to dig up the details.

Next thing I knew, I was dressed up as Velma Dinkley and going behind the scenes with a life sized Scooby to get the story.

If you’ve ever wondered who is behind the brightly colored mystery mobile, you’re about to get an Austinot insider scoop. [Read more...]

Try Cable Powered Wakeboarding at Quest ATX

Earl Ball of Quest ATX

Managing partner, Earl Ball, has been wakeboarding since college

Have you ever wanted to wakeboard, but you don’t have a boat or the other equipment you need? Quest ATX has you covered.

How It Started

A wakeboarder since college, Earl Ball worked at and managed businesses in the wakeboarding industry for 10 years until last September, when he opened Quest ATX with partners Bill Vaubel and Jerry Taylor.

After choosing their location at 10815 FM 1625, the trio got busy setting up Austin’s first and only cable powered wakeboarding park. Cable power means no boats and shorter wait times for customers.

When I asked Earl why the Quest ATX team chose to go with cables, he replied, “With a boat, you…have fewer people on the water. With cables, we can have up to [Read more...]

Tubing Spots Near Austin

Grab your coolers and SPF 30 because the heat is here and that means it’s time to float down a river somewhere.

We’re fortunate enough in Austin to be surrounded by varying bodies of water with plenty of opportune tubing spots. My quick advice is this. For a shorter float that’s family friendly, hit the Comal River (2-3 hrs). If you’ve got more time and want to make a day of it, try the Guadalupe River. For an in-between, head to the San Marcos River (less crowded when school is out of session). Most importantly, have fun!

Below are a few of my favorite tubing spots and companies that help make the fun happen.

San Marcos River: Texas State Tubes

Tubing Spots Near Austin San Marcos River

On the San Marcos River with Texas State Tubes (Credit: Texas State Tubes)

[Read more...]

Uncommon Day Trip: Glass Bottom Kayaks in San Marcos

Kayaking on Spring Lake in San Marcos

Beautiful Spring Lake (Credit: The Meadows Center)

Have you ever seen a swimming pig? Well, neither have I. But The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment in San Marcos, TX was once the location of Aquarena Springs. There you could take in an underwater show featuring mermaids and Ralph the Swimming Pig, and enjoy a glass bottom boat tour on Spring Lake.

Today, the area has been much restored to its natural beauty. And while you might not be able to catch an underwater theater performance, you will still be able to experience one of the most unique and beautiful ecosystems in the western United States.

Let’s be honest. As much as we all love Austin, sometimes we just need to get out of the city. Located just 25 minutes from South Austin, San Marcos is the perfect day trip destination.

I know what you might be thinking: what’s in San Marcos other than outlet malls, tubing and Texas State University? Only one of the oldest [Read more...]

This Small Business Blows Minds with Waterless Car Wash

Ty Mahoney Austin Eco Detailing

Ty Mahoney, Founder of Austin Eco Detailing

The easy road is to accept life the way it is. Question nothing. Be “normal.”

Austinite Ty Mahoney was climbing the corporate ladder, which at some point in many of our lives holds a magnetic allure. But he didn’t like the way he was treated, and he didn’t like the compromises being made in the name of success.

So, like many entrepreneurs, he jumped without knowing exactly where he was going to land. [Read more...]

Donating to Local Charity Makes These Cookies Sweeter

Lets Big Chipper cookies

Lets Big Chipper cookies at the Texas 4000 for Cancer Atlas Ride (Photo credit: Lets Big Chipper Facebook)

What’s sweeter than eating a soft peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie? Knowing a third of the price of the cookie is going to charity, that’s what.

Cookies and Charity

Karen Davis and her husband, Michael, were inspired to start Lets Big Chipper by a shopping excursion in Austin with one of their daughters. Their oldest walked up to a nondescript clothier on the Drag and said she wanted to buy a pair of Toms shoes. When Karen asked about the brand, her daughter mentioned how shoe sales benefit children in need.

After reading Blake Mycoskie’s book Start Something that Matters, the Davises took their love of baking and created a startup company where $1.00 of every cookie sold goes to a local charity. [Read more...]

Best Canoe Rental for Lady Bird Lake Adventures

2013-09-22 19.15.41

Hike and Bike trail (Photo credit: Jessica Pino)

Picture it. You’re on the hike and bike trail at Lady Bird Lake, aka Town Lake. All of a sudden, you have an urge to jump into the water. You might blame this urge on the Texas heat, but I know I fight it every time I’m on the trail. Barton Springs Pool is a good option, but who has their swimsuit with them at all times? The better option (in my opinion)? Rent a canoe or kayak to explore Austin’s oasis from within.

Next challenge: with five different boat rental locations along the river, where do you go for gear? [Read more...]

Now Playing: Paramount Summer Classic Film Series

The Paramount Theatre Marquee

Marquee at The Paramount Theatre

For the past 99 years, Austinites have enjoyed having The Paramount Theatre on Congress Avenue. When it first opened in 1915, it was called The Majestic Theatre.

When I was a kid, The Paramount presented a lot of kid-friendly plays that my parents and elementary school took me to all the time. I had always heard that it “used to” be a movie theater. What I didn’t understand then was that the venue hosted many types of shows, including plays, musical acts, cinema, and even Vaudeville in its early days.

One of the earliest memories I have of the theater was when my dad took me to see the entire Star Wars trilogy in one sitting. Today, The Paramount Theatre continues to show classic cinema favorites through its Paramount Summer Classic Film Series, allowing other Austinites to make memories of their own. [Read more...]

5 Ways to Support Local and Get Fit for Summer

There’s not a lot of time left before summer is officially here. But don’t fret, there are still plenty of things you can do to help you put some swagger in that stride when you hit Barton Springs.

Austin usually has a good three-month block with high temperatures that are just brutal, which may be a big reason why there are so many different opportunities in the city to hone that body you’ll soon be showing more of. Below are a few of my favorite ways to get fit for summer in Austin.

Congress Avenue Kayaks

CAK

Kayaking on Lady Bird Lake (Photo credit: Congress Avenue Kayaks)

Lady Bird Lake is such a wonderful part of Austin. Why not take advantage of its beauty by working out on it? Congress Avenue Kayaks (located at 74 Trinity Street below the Four Seasons) offers kayaks and standup paddle board rentals. Both water craft are great for improving your core strength and adding lean muscle, particularly to the upper body. [Read more...]