Guide to the Ultimate Dog Friendly Day in Austin

Dog-Friendly-Austin-Pekingese

Meet Mr. Ming. It’s been a long, harsh winter for this pampered Pekingese. The weather has been rainy. The squirrels are all hibernating. He’s hasn’t had a hair cut in months.

But now that spring has sprung, it’s time for Mr. Ming to head out on the town for a day of fun, sun and luxury. Is your dog feeling the winter blues? Let’s follow in Mr. Ming’s paw prints as he checks out some of Austin’s most dog friendly spots during his best day ever in the ATX. [Read more…]

Introducing Star Kibble, Game for Finding Celebrities in Austin

Finding Celebrities in Austin

You may collect baseball cards. You may be a birder, coin collector or coffee mug junkie.

Or you may collect celebrities.

If you’re familiar with the Kevin Bacon Game or the six degrees of separation theory first theorized by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929, you know society is more closely intertwined than it often seems. The world has shrunk since 1929 because of social networking and globalization. In the past five years alone, you’ve probably noticed the shrinkage personally as you’ve unexpectedly bumped elbows not only friends, not only with strangers, but also with the famous.

Welcome to Star Kibble, a game I developed a few years ago. Star Kibble is played by seeing and photographing celebrities. [Read more…]

7 of the Most Amazing Aerial Photos of Austin You’ll Ever See

Drone Photo of Downtown Austin and Lady Bird Lake

Photo taken by Christopher Sherman during our interview on the Saturday of SXSW Interactive 2015

It’s a sleepy Saturday morning during South by Southwest and the city of Austin is not fully awake yet. The sun is minutes away from making its debut when I meet Christopher Sherman, of Over Austin fame, just south of the river next to the Zach Theatre. We have a perfect vantage point to do a little flying and capture beautiful panoramas of the downtown Austin skyline. [Read more…]

Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy Your (Wine) Flight at Departure Lounge

Departure Lounge in Austin, TX

Departure Lounge at W 5th and Guadalupe in Austin

Guest article by Judy Rae Merhar

Departure Lounge Sign in Austin

Above the entrance to Departure Lounge

It bodes well for a place that can make a woman with four kids recall the sensation that accompanies the words sleek and sexy. It took a departure from suburbia for me to embrace this opportunity to escape.

Once settled into your plush seat, you too may decide to linger. No flotation device required and you won’t find safety information in your seat back pocket. But this downtown destination may induce wanderlust you’ve been stowing in your overhead compartment.

Departure Lounge inspires your mind to open and – like a fine glass of wine – breathe. This isn’t your typical travel agency; Departure Lounge is a coffee and wine bar that happens to sell customized travel. [Read more…]

Austin’s Jennifer Cunningham Hearts Art

Jennifer Cunningham Custom Ring

Jennifer blends her love of pop culture and art (Credit: Rebecca L. Bennett)

As an artist, mother and comic book geek, Jennifer Cunningham is the embodiment of Austin, TX.

Art from Early Age

Her life long love of art started early. Despite life throwing her curve balls, Jennifer has never forgotten how it feels to create. In her own words, “I’ve been drawing and creating various things for as long as I can remember. My mother still has a thing I drew when I was about 4 years old, an illustration of a dinosaur behind an X-ray screen with a mouse in its belly among the bones. My first recollection of getting in trouble at school was a result of me coloring the bunny’s eyes the wrong color in a kindergarten class assignment.” [Read more…]

Texas Card House Opens First Legal Poker Room in Austin

Texas Card House in Austin

Texas Card House on Manchaca in South Austin (Credit Taylor Wier)

It almost sounds too good to be true. Legal gambling in Austin? Short of a four hour drive to Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass, it simply didn’t exist before now. Texas Card House has changed all that, offering the first legal poker room in Austin–and in the whole state of Texas outside reservations.

The trick is in the language. Texas Card House offers membership to a “card and social club” and provides a facility where members can gamble. [Read more…]

Heartless Machine Finds New Purpose for Antique Instruments

Heartless Machine by Christopher Locke

One of Christopher Locke’s “Heartless Machines:” an old brass instrument which connects to your iPod or iPhone

Guest article by Judy Rae Merhar

Thankfully the sun wasn’t shining the day I met Christopher Locke, owner of Heartless Machine, or I would’ve been blinded by the countless brass instruments strung across his shop, oddly resembling the dangling nocturnal colony that clings to the underbelly of Congress Bridge.

These discarded musical remnants wait to be freed from restraint. Though the metal scraps may not have a heartbeat, Mr. Locke has engineered a way to unlock a melody that caused my heart to skip a few beats.

Where Vintage and Modern Co-Exist

Alternating from smooth as glass to an aching quiver, Ruthie Foster’s cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” was amplified and clear. Her lyrics weren’t coming from a live performance and I wasn’t idling in traffic listening to the radio, nor was this melody coming from an electrical box requiring an outlet. Instead, it came from a recycled brass instrument attached to an iPod [Read more…]

Guide to Bat Season in Austin

Guide to Bat Season in Austin

Background photo: Peter17 via Wikimedia Commons

Though we see bat imagery all over Austin, many Austinites have yet to experience one of the most incredible sights that takes place along one of our busiest streets every year from March to November.

Underneath the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge lives the largest urban bat colony in North America. When they emerge in the evening during “bat season,” it’s like a cloud flying toward the east.

There are several locations where you can see the group of bats. [Read more…]

Make Lady Bird Lake’s Eastside Loop Your Go-To Route

Lady Bird Lake Eastside Loop

Lady Bird Lake’s 4-mile eastside loop (Credit: Jim Innes courtesy of The Trail Foundation)

Guest article by Leah Fisher Nyfeler

Back in the 1990s, the trail around Town Lake (now known as Lady Bird Lake) had real issues. Maintenance of the crushed granite pathway wasn’t at its finest, sections were confusing, crossing I-35 dangerous, and the eastside segment was pretty much only populated by serious souls covering the full 10-mile loop.

But as Austin has grown, trail usage exploded, and The Trail Foundation (TTF) upped its stewardship, everything has changed. When the new Boardwalk section opened in 2014, the rechristened Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail took the loop experience to 11.

If you’re looking for a taste of the new Boardwalk, beautiful scenery, bountiful bird watching, hassle-free parking, and fewer crowds, all rolled into a shorter distance loop, try the eastside loop. Here’s a step-by-step tour of what can be enjoyed when covering this 4-mile trail option in the heart of Austin. [Read more…]