Austin is probably one of the strangest cities in the United States – in a good way. Places that keep Austin weird are numerous – that’s because the locals are creative, but also because of the Keep Austin Weird slogan adopted by Austin Independent Business Alliance. Its mission was supporting local businesses and the results were great. Lots of small companies opened in the recent years, one more original than the other. Austin is the kind of city that never ceases to amaze. Here’s a list of several examples that prove its charming weirdness.
Peter Pan Mini-Golf
Before 1948 (which was the time this place got open), mini-golf was just a sport. You grab a club, then you hit the ball and it either reaches a ball or not – that’s it. But doing it with the company of Peter Pan – ha, that’s a whole new game! The park’s full of quirky sculptures, from dragons, giant snickers, sharks and rabbits to, of course, characters from the Peter Pan book. It’s tons of fun for both children and imaginative grown-ups.
Austin City Wide Garage Sale
The idea to make a garage sale itself isn’t so weird, but the things you can find there definitely are. Cowboy boots, clocks that don’t count the time any more (but still look fabulous), beautiful music instruments, unique clothes and decorations for your house, these are just few examples of what kind of gems you may buy there. It’s located on the 900 Barton Springs Road, South of Downtown or check their website.
Cathedral of Junk
Yes, seriously, there’s a Cathedral of Junk in Austin. It’s situated in a peaceful neighborhood in South Austin, in one of the backyards (4422 Lareina Dr.). Vincent, the man who built it, didn’t really expect to get so much attention, but the Cathedral has become a famous building, so much that it even hosted some weddings (sic!), bachelor parties and other events. While some people have fun there, others get dramatically touched, probably because they recognize some of their own junk and can’t believe someone was able to use it so creatively. Even though many architects suspected it’d collapse, it didn’t – the Cathedral made of garbage stands proudly in Austin just like notable historic buildings do.
Photo by Chad Hanna ©
Lala’s Little Nugget
Do you love Christmas? Do you feel like to cry each year when the so called “serious and mature” people take off all the lovely Christmas decorations? No reason to be sad any more, in Lala’s Little Nugget the magic never ends. Little, colorful lights, sparkling tinsels and – most importantly – lovely, holiday-like atmosphere remain all year long. That’s where you’ll find it: 2207 Justin Ln (Burnet Ln).
“Last of the true Texas dance halls”, the Broken Spoke’s website says. It’s truly Texas-style indeed: country music, rusty look and people who, you could swear if you saw them, still remember how it was to be a Cowboy. Get a proper hat and dance till the morning comes, or longer if you can.
Photo by Stacey Huggins ©
The bats under Congress Bridge
Not only people, but also animals do their best so that there were as many places that keep Austin weird as possible. The world’s largest urban colony of bats lives right under the Congress Bridge over Lady Bird Lake (yes, the lake’s name suggests you should see some adorable lady birds in the area, and then you notice the bats – Austin loves surprising its visitors). They’re there in the summer and, when winter comes, head to Mexico. The best time to go watching is August, when little bat pups join their mommies during the nightly flights. You can see them from the bridge or, to make it even more interesting, take a boat ride on the Lady Bird Lake. Don’t be afraid, despite of what horror movie makers claim; bats are actually a lovely species.
Vortex Repertory Company
In Austin even the things that seem normal at the first glance are actually very quirky. Vortex Repertory Company is a theatre company – sounds okay, right? There are live performances, talented artists and tons of creativity in general. But, of course, there has to be something unique about it. First of all, since Vortex is open to innovative ideas, many performances are very special. Secondly, there’s the Butterfly Bar where some odd theme parties often take place. In the evenings you can hear music performances, watch belly dancers, attend poetry slams, have your tarot read or get a henna tattoo. Take a look at the website to find out more about the Vortex Repertory Company.
Ready for a trip to Austin? Share the list of places that keep Austin weird with your friends, some of them will surely want to join!