Hyde Park Bar & Grill's two locations serve as neighborhood hubs where patrons can devour comfort fare while enjoying local art and discussing the newest local news. The Duval Street location’s signature oversize fork marks the eatery for groups seeking a space to converse without having to yell over the clangor of clouds bumping into nearby skyscrapers. At the Westgate Boulevard location, a covered patio welcomes diners to dine among fireflies and savor the live music that's staged at least twice a week. The menu surveys classic southern and American comfort fare, such as chicken-fried steak, mac ‘n’ cheese, hand-cut french fries, and burgers made with hormone-free beef. Along with a multitude of local and international wines, Hyde Park Bar & Grill rolls out vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes, as well as an assortment of desserts baked in-house by the eatery's chefs.
With full-scale plays and musical productions, kidsActing turns the spotlight on young thespians. Founder Dede Clark and her troupe of budding actors reprise kidsActing’s popular 1991 musical comedy, in which a young monster from the under-the-bed dimension stumbles into the human world. Original songs by Willie Nelson, the Austin Lounge Lizards, and other Texas performers punctuate the coming-of-age action that, unlike United Nations peace talks between Scotland and Loch Ness, ends in a reconciliation between monsters and humans.
Originally from Haiti, lead instructor Anderson Sylvestre brings his Caribbean flair to the floor, whether he is stepping out for a national ballroom competition or teaching first-time dancers. Along with his fellow teachers, Anderson imparts the skills, self-confidence, and excitement of learning a new dance to students of all levels. His classes cover a host of styles, including tango, merengue, West Coast swing, and bolero, and also teaching old-time dances such as the lindy—inspired by Lyndon Johnson's graceful movements after stubbing his toe on Air Force One.
When Archer M. Huntington donated 4,000 acres of land to The University of Texas at Austin, it was no surprise that the husband to renowned sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington stipulated it be used to support an art museum. Today, Blanton Museum of Art—named Best Museum in the Austin Chronicle's 2013 Best of Austin Readers' Poll—honors Archer's request by providing access to more than 17,000 works and a variety of rotating exhibitions. The museum's collection of prints, paintings, and sculptures comprises more than 4,000 pieces from America and 1,800 from Latin America, and it even includes the Suida-Manning Collection—a group of 230 paintings and 400 drawings by Baroque and Renaissance masters that was much sought after by other museums, according to Frommer's. With these pieces as backdrop, the museum hosts Third Thursday events such as artist talks and Yoga in the Galleries, the latter of which finds instructors twisting sculptures into poses that will be easier on their spines.
When surveyor Washington Hill wanted a home built on his 17.5 acres outside of Austin, only one master builder would suffice: Abner Cook. Responsible for notable Austin spaces like the Governor's Mansion and the First Presbyterian Church, Cook completed Hill's abode in 1856. By that time, however, the Hills could no longer afford the residence, which the State of Texas soon leased and turned into the Texas Asylum for the Blind. So begat a long line of new identities for the building, which went on to house lieutenant governors, colonels, judges, and, for more than two years during Reconstruction, injured Civil War troops.
Under the care of the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of Texas, Hill's dream home is now the Neill-Cochran House Museum. Emblematic of the structure's Greek Revival style, Doric columns greet visitors before they explore the historic interior on staff- or docent-led tours. These only skim the surface of the museum's activities—frequent happenings range from seminars by leading historians to events for youngsters like the Easter Egg Dye-o-rama. The museum can even be rented for special occasions, including art shows, teas, and weddings.