Is the Greenbelt Open? Reliable Answers to Common Questions

Flooded Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue in Austin

Stevie Ray Vaughan surveys a flooded city (Credit: Holp Photography)

When bad weather strikes, it’s important to get accurate information about conditions before heading out onto Austin’s trails and waterways. Here are several common questions with reliable resources to quickly answer whether the time is right to enjoy Austin’s many outdoor recreational areas. [Read more…]

Take a Glass Class at Helios Fused Glass Studio

Helios glass samples in Austin

Helios Glass class work and color samples

Helios Fused Glass Studio is one of the few studios in the world that focuses entirely on fused glass. Since 2007, Helios has offered classes and retail to the Austin community. I was fortunate enough to take the Absolute Beginners class from founder Paul Tarlow to jumpstart my discovery of this versatile medium and unique studio.

Paul’s interest in glass inspired him and his wife Karen to start the business. In January 2015, they moved to their new, more spacious location off of Highway 183. I found my class to be incredibly organized, accessible and not at all intimidating to a beginner. [Read more…]

10 Free Things to Do in Austin This Summer

Free Things to Do in Austin This Summer

After living here for a decade, I know a few things about Austinites. We love the summer (everything except the heat and mosquitoes), we love to stay busy and we love it when things are FREE.

Fortunately for us, there are plenty of things to do around the city that won’t cost us a penny and will keep us entertained during the year’s warmest season. Below are some of my favorite picks for summer 2015.

Zilker Park

Zilker Park Sunset

Zilker Park is a beautiful place to enjoy summer in Austin (Credit: JTPics.com)

Every time I go to Zilker Park, I think about how I should visit more often and not take it for granted. The open green spaces combine with a beautiful backdrop of [Read more…]

3 Austin Animal Shelters You Should Know

Guest article by Emily Burns

When it comes to animals, Austinites are known for compassion and care for their furry friends. The city of Austin has been a no-kill city for the past four years, and during that time has become the largest no-kill city in the country.

Whether you’re looking for your next best friend or are just an animal lover wanting to volunteer your time, Austin has some of the best animal shelters in Texas!

#1 Austin Pets Alive!

Baby Bottle Kitten at Austin Pets Alive

Credit: Eric Highland

Animals for Adoption: Dogs and cats [Read more…]

Backyard Story Night: The Hottest Trend in Austin

Backyard Story Night in Austin

Austin’s hottest trend, Backyard Story Night

There has been a notable upswing in storytelling events in Austin. And while many of these events are formal, paid affairs, there’s a movement to make them accessible to the average Austinite.

Backyard Story Night is part of this movement. The goal is simple: gather friends – and friends of friends – in a backyard to share real, unrehearsed stories.

So whether you’re a storyteller or love to hear a good story, here’s the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of Backyard Story Night in Austin. [Read more…]

Top 6 Boutique Hotels in Austin

Hotel Saint Cecilia SOUL Pool

Hotel Saint Cecilia’s “SOUL” Pool (Credit: Nick Simonite courtesy of Hotel Saint Cecilia)

Something all Austinites can be proud of: our city is a premiere vacation destination with 30,000 hotel rooms accommodating 19.7 million visitors each year.

So why settle for a big box hotel when you can stay at some of the city’s coolest boutique hotels in Austin? These hotels are located in prime locations around town and offer guests a unique opportunity to experience Austin. And you don’t have to be visiting from out of town to enjoy them. Staycation, anyone?

[Read more…]

Explore Austin Nature at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Austin wildflowers at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

At Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, you can see natural Austin as never before

Wildflowers don’t only line the highways of Central Texas.

Although you can find them scattered around town or further out in Hill Country, visiting the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a unique way to learn more about our native blooms and fully appreciate their beauty up close.

Originally established by Lady Bird Johnson and actress Helen Hayes in 1982, Austin’s Wildflower Center has become 279 acres of land dedicated to conservation, education and research of Texas’ original natural environment. [Read more…]

Esther’s Follies Summer Camps Teach Fine Art of Vaudeville

Esther's Follies Stage in Austin

Taking the stage at Esther’s Follies (Credit: Tamara via Flickr CC)

For 38 years, Esther’s Follies has been doing an important job for the city of Austin by blending old school Vaudeville shenanigans with political satire. Now they’re excited about training a new generation in the beloved art form that gave us Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and The Three Stooges with School of Comedy summer camps.

38 Years of Vaudeville

On April 1, 1977, Esther’s Follies presented its first show. Every week since, they’ve been playing to the crowd with sketch, improv, stand up comedy, musical numbers and magic shows, all the while poking fun at politics and society.

Named after famed actress and synchronized swimmer Esther Williams, the Follies carries on the vaunted tradition of Vaudeville entertainment. [Read more…]

There’s an Airstream for That: 6 Local Businesses on Wheels

Austin Business in Airstream

When you live in a city where technology, creativity and entrepreneurism intersect, I don’t recommend googling “Austin mobile businesses.” You must be more specific. Otherwise, you’ll get mixed results – 50% app developers and 50% companies operating out of Airstream trailers. For the record, I was trying to find the flip flop trailer on 3rd and Congress. I found it, as well as other local establishments that have said no to traditional brick and mortar in favor of operating a business on wheels. [Read more…]

Hill Country Day Trip Guide: Elgin, TX

Elgin TX

Elgin offers a taste of what the old days in Texas were like (Credit: The Second Shooter)

Have you ever stopped in Elgin? I’m not talking about gassing up on a trip or pulling over to grab a sausage (or two) at Meyer’s Texas BBQ or Southside Market. Downtown Elgin lies off the beaten path of US Hwy 290 and offers unique charms. To get a taste of small town Texas from yesteryears, make the short trip east for some weekend fun. [Read more…]