Buy, Repair, Ride the Ramp at Austin Bike Farm

Shawn Bonifay Austin Bike Farm Employee

Tattooed Shawn Bonifay assists a customer with a single speed mountain bike

Here’s a little something about me: I love two wheeled vehicles. Motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, etc. So when a buddy told me about Austin Bike Farm, my ears perked up and I had to check the place out. It was right up my alley.

Leaving Dallas for North Austin

After working in bike shops for 13 years, Owen Weber — with the support of his wife, Christie — opted to start his own bicycle business.

He did, but he added a twist. The cool thing about Bike Farm is that it mixes bike sales, repair and salvage yard. When the Webers moved the business from Dallas to Austin five years ago, they settled on the corner of Brentwood St and Shirley Ave and have no plans to move. (In case you’re wondering where Brentwood is, it’s just north of Threadgill’s North and intersects Lamar Blvd.)

Since planting roots in our bike friendly city, the Webers have added [Read more…]

Top Local Stores for Last Minute Gifts Under $37

Toy Joy Gift Shop

Toy Joy on 2nd Street is a treasure trove of wonderfully odd gifts

You made up a list and checked it off twice.
You’ve cruised around Google for buying advice.
The presents all finished, it’s time to relax.
When holiday madness mounts an attack.

A knock on the door from your cousin Hannah
That last minute party, a work Secret Santa.
Panicked about all the season what-ifs?
Here’s 5 local places for last minute gifts!

Unexpected Guest: A-town

5502 Burnet Rd

Random visits from family may seem charming in It’s a Wonderful Life, but they can be panic inducing in the real world.

The solution? Cool, local gifts family members can actually use. From local art to clever ATX t-shirts, the massive A-town has options for every relative. [Read more…]

Enjoy Austin Ice Skating on Whole Foods Rooftop

Austin Ice Skating at Whole Foods

Ice skate on the rooftop of Whole Foods now through January 11th

Austin ice skating has returned to the rooftop of downtown’s Whole Foods location, and you can enjoy this wintery activity through January 11, 2015! It is real ice, so Austinites can relive children memories or expose their own children to this strange frozen substance we don’t see a lot of in Austin. [Read more…]

Trail of Lights 2014 Now Open! Here’s Your Preview

Trail of Lights Entrance

Welcome to the 50th anniversary of Trail of Lights (Image courtesy of Rebecca Belcher Photography)

I love the holidays. Lights hung from every tree. Kids running around in breathless anticipation. It’s an opportunity to be young again. To plug into our past and find the little joys we forget about all year long.

The Trail of Lights, Austin’s long running celebration of holiday fun, is one of the best ways to ring in this amazing time of year. 2014 marks the event’s 50th anniversary, and the well-worn trail has some new surprises to go with the old favorites as it opens on Sunday, December 7, 2014. [Read more…]

Get in the Spirit with Holiday Sing-Along, Downtown Stroll

Texas Capitol Christmas Tree

Our Capitol tree in all its glory (Image courtesy of KUTX)

It’s now December and the Christmas season is officially in full swing. The Zilker tree is lit, the beanies and scarves have been pulled from the closet, and yuletide is quickly taking over the city.

What better way to get yourself into the spirit of the season than by attending the Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll this weekend on December 6th?

The event starts at 6 PM on the south steps of the Capitol and will be hosted by the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA), KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station, and KUTX 98.9, The Austin Music Experience.

Attending won’t break the bank because all activities are free and open to the public, though it is suggested to bring non-perishable food items or cash donations for the Capital Area Food Bank. Over the past three years, donations have generated over 3,500 meals for Central Texans struggling with hunger. [Read more…]

Clayworks Has Carved and Fired Life in Clay for 35 Years

Clayworks Old Design and Log Book

Old design and log book at Clayworks, a local business dating back 35 years

If there was a book called Cool Things in Austin You Should Know About, Clayworks Studio/Gallery and the Gray Family would be in the first chapter.

The gallery on East Sixth Street displays tables, art work, tiles, architectural ceramics and more that the Grays have created. A working studio sits behind the gallery, where the Grays make and fire products for individual and company contracts.

Austin landmarks such as the Texas State Capitol Building, The Driskill Hotel and The University of Texas at Austin all house their creations.

The story of the Grays is a story, in microcosm, of what has happened in East Austin for the last three decades. [Read more…]

Austin Music Equipment Rental Company Supports Community

LoudMouth Rentals Music Equipment

LoudMouth Rentals offers music equipment for rent at rates everyday musicians can afford

Guest article by Gina Sigillito

When musicians, music professionals and music lovers walk into the newly-built, enormous, guitar and gear-filled space of LoudMouth Rentals in Northeast Austin, they are instantly hit by the feeling that something special is coming alive.

With enough room for several small stages and enough amps, drums, and lighting equipment to put on a large concert, it’s about to get noisy in this neighborhood, in the best way.

Located in the burgeoning area sprouting up along [Read more…]

Austin Brewery Tours Highlight City’s Growing Industry

Jesse and Andrew from ATXcursions

Jesse and Andrew of ATXcursions (Credit: ATXcursions)

When I was offered a chance to check out ATXcursions, Austin’s newest craft brewery tour company, I jumped at the opportunity. Austin has one of the fastest growing beer scenes in the nation and quality beer is popping up in every corner, so I figured I was bound to have a good time. I love being right. [Read more…]

You Wanna Be Crafty? Better Do What You Can and Bead It!

Bead It Storefront on S Lamar

Welcome to Bead It on S Lamar

Show how funky strong your style is at Bead It. Baskets and bowls of beads cover table after table, while strings of jewelry hang on the wall like sparkling tapestries. Everything is arranged by color or grouped with like items to inspire and create a beautiful house of delicate trinkets.

Visit this South Austin shop to discover a vast array of beads to take home, or stay for a jewelry design class. Classes range from beginner to advanced, but every participant leaves with a creation of their own making. [Read more…]

Be a BookPeople Person at Texas’ Largest Indie Bookstore

BookPeople Children's Area Mural

Colorful mural in BookPeople’s children’s area

BookPeople is a literary playground. Who needs a slide when there’s a Happy Hour book club and a maze of quirkily decorated shelves, each laden with new worlds to discover?

You may not be familiar with the BookPeople name because of its status as an independent bookstore. But its success is immediately apparent by its three story building located right across from Whole Foods and Waterloo Records on 6th Street. In fact, BookPeople is the largest independent bookstore in the state of Texas and was voted Bookstore of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly back in 2005.

Independent it is, and proud to be local. In fact, local is a critical part of BookPeople’s identity. According to one employee named Will (“They call me Wilbur”), “Being independent, we get to find different ways to interact with the community.” The drive to create opportunities, he said, is how BookPeople has continued to grow in the face of an allegedly dwindling publishing industry. “And it’s a fun place to work,” he added.

Opened in 1970 as “Grok Books” (grok means to fully understand something—a delightful reference to Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein), BookPeople has continued to grow over time as a beloved Austin classic. [Read more…]