Exploring Austin

by Natalie K. Gould in Summer 2017

Add a few new haunts to your regular summer rotation. These Austin destinations and activities appeal to both visitors and those who’ve lived in the area their whole lives.

Enchanted Rock

Spend a day or a weekend outside Austin’s city limits at Enchanted Rock. The pink granite dome is full of history and legend. Tonkawa Indians believed a Spanish conquistador placed a spell on the 425- foot rock, which created magical ghost fires appear at the top. Hence the name Enchanted Rock. Just 18 miles north of Fredericksburg, the state natural area offers 11 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing routes and camping sites. For less than $20 per night, pitch a tent either in a walk-in campsite with all the modern conveniences, or hike one to three miles to a primitive campsite to really get away from it all. At Enchanted Rock, the skies are dark enough to see the Milky Way, so both seasoned and amateur stargazers can take in the beauty of the universe. It’s even been designated as an International Dark Sky Park.

Paddleboard Yoga on Lady Bird Lake

Who said exercise had to be boring? Create some zen in your life while also enjoying beautiful Lady Bird Lake. Breath and Body Yoga offers this unique take on a yoga class. You’ll work on your flexibility and refining yoga poses while practicing stability on a stand-up paddleboard. For $40, all equipment and instruction is included. On those hot Texas summer days, nothing feels better than a dip in the lake. (Even better with an incredible view of the city behind you.) Just bring yourself, a water bottle, clothes that can get wet and a willingness to try something new! Both experienced and new yogis welcome.

Texas Music Museum

When people hear E. 11th Street in Austin, they immediately associate it with Franklin Barbecue. But across the street from the iconic barbecue joint is a museum appropriate only for the Live Music Capital of the World. The Texas Music Museum is an Austin mainstay. Since 1984, it has been a destination for music lovers near and far. The museum seeks to educate and preserve the history and tradition that is Texas music. Exhibits include Texas country classics, Tejano and conjunto music, Texas blues, sheet music and others. Exhibits change on a regular basis, so check back often.

texasmusicmuseum.org

The White Horse

When you think Texas honky tonk, look no further than The White Horse. This East Austin gem has hosted country music favorites Willie Nelson and Kacey Musgraves, and is known among locals as one of the best whiskey bars in Austin. It’s open every day until late, has a taco truck on-site, local beer on tap, and most of its shows are free. Come for free swing and two-step lessons and stay all night for a variety of musical acts. While much of the music you’ll hear is country, jazz and blues, musicians also play here weekly. You’re sure to meet some interesting characters at The White Horse and maybe even run into a celebrity or two.

500 COMAL | AUSTIN thewhitehorseaustin.com

Jugo

Parkside Restaurant Group, the geniuses behind Parkside, Backspace, Olive and June, and Bullfight, brings us a new venture just in time for perfecting that summer bod. JUGO serves up fresh juices and smoothies as well as healthy bites on the go. Chef Shawn Cirkiel and culinary director Justin Rupp create menus with the busy Austin lifestyle in mind. Whether you’re headed to work (they’re open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) or on your way to the lake, stop by JUGO to try fresh, creative and nutritious meals. Expect to see raw carrot hummus, crunchy rice noodle spring rolls, cilantro-lime spaghetti squash, beef bone broth and other from-scratch snacks and entrees. Change up your smoothie game with an inventive combination like peach, kale, peanut butter and apple, or try a fresh juice combo. Perfect for a day out in the hot Texas sun.

Tip: JUGO is next door to the Firehouse Hostel, where the quirky hidden bar (enter through the bookcase) hosts nightly classic pre-hipster happy hours.

603 BRAZOS | AUSTIN jugo-austin.com