My best friend Frank and his wife visited us in Austin six weeks ago. I saw them earlier in the year in New York. With about a day in a half in Austin, what do I show them? What destinations in Austin are tourist worthy?
I’m the first to admit while Austin is a great place to live, it doesn’t particularly have many tourist spots. While it’s a bachelorette party destination, bar-hopping on 6th Street isn’t exactly an activity for us middle-aged folk. And the other nightlife activities, like listening to live music, weren’t compelling.
I made sure my guests had a good taste of Texas food — that meant barbecue and tacos. I then gave them a driving tour of the city, starting first at the scenic overlook at Mount Bonnell and moving south from there.
We drove through the now upscale and touristy South Congress, past all the new downtown skyscrapers, and to Rainey Street. I showed them dirty 6th, west 6th, and the Whole Foods flagship. Then we drove up to the State Capitol and the University of Texas. They enjoyed the relaxed and easy view from the car and had no strong inclination to tour the sites on foot.
One place that did pique their interest was The Oasis on Lake Travis, which they heard about on Instagram. Located in the extreme northwest corner of Austin, it’s touristy and not a place most Austinites admit they want to go. The restaurant features spectacular views and mediocre food. It’s a place to get over-priced drinks and take in the sunset over Lake Travis.
Architecturally, the multi-tiered decks on the cliff are almost an engineering marvel, and the facility seems to grow with every visit. We ordered some finger food and margaritas. The conversation was fantastic. However, the view was disappointing. Moderate drought has formed cancerous islands popping up in the middle of the lake, and cloud cover robbed us of a beautiful sunset.
Being with friends, however, was priceless.
Blog readers, you’ll love my free monthly photography magazine. Signup for the free magazine to get articles and topics not discussed on the blog.