Let’s face it. First dates are awkward in general. However, they tend to be SUPER AWKWARD when you um, well you know, “met” online. So unless you’ve been blowing up each other’s Facetime/Skype/(insert other video chat app here) and feel comfortable with said person, I suggest you do something other than rely on conversation and alcohol for your first real encounter, and with some many great things to do in Austin, it will be easy to find that perfect first date activity. Check out my suggestions below: Express Your Creativity Art & Soul, Austin’s newest art studio, has taken the ATX by storm with it’s twist to the traditional art class. Not only are they open 7 days a week, but they are also open to 10pm every evening, making catching a “Creativity & Wine” class very do-able after work or on the weekend. During the class, you and your date will create a beautiful acrylic painting, step by step, while also learning the history of the artist and masterpiece you are recreating. The class is BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine) and caters to all levels of artists so no experience is necessary. Fitness Fanatics They say the couple who sweats together, stays together right? If both of you have fitness as a common denominator, why not have fall back on that for a first date? It’ll be an awesome way to bond and test your actual, real life chemistry, because nothing brings out a person’s character more than when they’re faced with physical challenges. If running around Town Lake or hiking Mt. Bonnell seems a little too easy, I suggest taking an indoor cycling class at RIDE Austin or trying out rock climbing at one of Austin Rock Gym’s various locations. Both places have lots of different options regarding time and level of experience, so you can have the freedom to choose how easy or how challenging you’d like the experience to be. Word to the wise however, maybe inform your partner beforehand of what the date involves instead of doing the whole, “meet me here, text me when you get here” thing. I’d hate for your date to show up in their best heels/best outfit, hair done, etc. only to find out you’re going cycling or rock climbing. Oops. Movie Buffs If you’ve done a sufficient background check (Facebook stalked, Google’d Searched, etc.) and feel like said date is not the next Norman Bates, I’d suggest trying out Austin’s mini-urban drive-in movie venue, The Blue Starlite. As where other modern drive-ins are sprawling, rural affairs, the Blue Starlite happens right in the heart of the city thus making it more exclusive, more personal, and way more convenient. Their movie selections are always crowd pleasers and if you do decide to sit in the pedestrian section, picnics and outside alcohol are welcome. Doesn’t that sound enticing? An evening under the stars, watching an awesome movie, without the glow of a smartphone in sight. Seems too good be true, eh? Well, remember, you still have to acknowledge your date. Music Lovers Did you and your future OkCupid success story bond over the music you listed in your profile? Or maybe you spent countless hours texting about your record collections and how they compare? Whatever the reason is that made you agree to the date in the first place, you should definitely do something that will spark both parties interests and leave you with a better impression of the person. After all, someone can only be SO charming via text right? If music is your thing, go to Austin’s best kept secret, Motown Mondays at One-2-One Bar on South Lamar. Not only will you be able to enjoy live Motown, funk, and soul cover bands all night long but you can show off some of those dance moves that only make their appearance at weddings or family functions. If dancing isn’t your thing, the music itself is enough to go. The bands are amazing and will get your foot tapping to your favorite Motown jam no matter how awkward your date gets. Promise! Just be sure to get there early as it gets VERY packed and parking is limited.Read More
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Barton Creek Greenbelt – This is easily one of the most popular hiking trails in the city. Unfortunately, it has been many moons since water was at bottom of the greenbelt, but it still makes for a great hike. There are over seven miles of trails that you can hike, run, or bike. The hike is nothing too strenuous but it will certainly get your heart rate going. Dogs are allowed and will love to accompany you on this hike. 3755-B Capital of Texas Highway Austin, Texas 78704 St Edward’s Park – This is one of my favorite parks and hiking trails in town, and it’s great for dog owners. The trails are off-leash and dogs love that! It’s the perfect distance for a mid-range hike (about three miles), and Bull Creek runs through it, giving your furry friend a perfect place to cool down. There are two different trails and both of them are pretty easy walks, and kids and adults should both be able to enjoy them without any real difficulty. The one I've traveled is the 'Creek Trail'- the 'Hill Trail' may prove to be a little more challenging. Of the countless adventures I've had there, it's never been too crowded, and the scenery is some of the best in Austin; very peaceful and relaxing. I once ran into a couple riding horses, and it was the last thing my dog and I were expecting- so fair warning! 7301 Spicewood Springs Road Austin, Texas 78759 Shoal Creek Greenbelt – You can take this trail from its starting point on 34th Street, all the way down to Lady Bird Lake. It follows along Shoal Creek (imagine that) right through Pease Park, and onto to the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. The terrain on the Shoal Creek Greenbelt has much more of a 'trail' feel to it than Lady Bird Lake. It certainly isn’t too difficult of a hike, and it has great scenery. I also like this trail because there's not as much foot traffic on it as the Lady Bird Lake trail. 2600 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, Texas 78705 Mount Bonnell – Okay, so this isn’t much of a hike in the traditional sense, as there are only about 100 stairs that you need to climb to reach the summit, but once you are on top, what a view. You’ll discover 360 degree views of downtown, and you can see everything from the 360 bridge to the University of Texas Tower. You can also bypass the stairs and take the 0.3 mile trail to the top if you prefer. For the best experience, plan your visit so you can watch the sunset. 3800 Mount Bonnell Road Austin, Texas 78731 Bull Creek District Park – I really enjoy the scenery here. There are several different routes you can take when exploring, and some of them are more treacherous than others. I find myself always spending more time here hiking and exploring than planned. I'll set out on a one hour adventure, and won't make it back to my car for several hours, which is just fine with me. 6701 Lakewood Drive Austin, Texas 78731Read More
Austin is such a photogenic city; it makes it tough to take a bad picture. These are some of my favorite places to play photographer. Mount Bonnell: Upon ascending the hundred or so stairs to the top of Mount Bonnell, you’ll understand why it’s a top destination for both locals and tourists. At 785 feet, it’s the highest point within the city limits. Standing at the top offers a one of a kind view in all directions from downtown to the 360 bridge. University of Texas Tower: The tower on its own always makes for an amazing photograph; it’s pretty much the icon of the University. The real treat though, is to go on a ‘Tower Tour,' and to take in the view from the top of the tower. Tower tours offer a complete 360 view of the city. ProTip: Go on the last tour of the day. They start right before sunset, so you get to witness a magnificent show as the colors change and the sun fades into the horizon. Tours are $6.00. Always check the schedule and be sure to make a reservation. 360 Bridge Overlook: The 360 Bridge, or Pennybacker Bridge, is as much part of Austin as the Capitol. There have been countless photos taken from the overlook, it often appears in Facebook profile pictures, it’s even one of the artifacts in my Austin Snow globe. You can climb up the extremely mild hike to get a first class view of the bridge with views all the way to downtown. While you’re in the area, I’d also recommend crossing the bridge and going over to the boat launch as you can get some pretty sweet angels from right underneath the bridge. Barton Springs: One of the things that I enjoy most about Barton Springs is it draws patrons of all walks of life. It’s like a freeze frame of Austin where, even though the faces change throughout the years, everyone is still going there for the same reasons: to enjoy the laid back freedom you feel while hanging out there. I always catch myself snapping photos of the gorgeous springs but also of others as they frolic in the waters or alongside the pool. Baylor Street Art Wall: Often called “graffiti park,” “art wall,” “castle hill,” or “the Foundation,” this is the place to go for street art in Austin. This property was once slated to be condos; the foundation was poured, but things never moved forward from there. Eventually, local artists used the blank concrete foundation as their canvas. Now it’s constantly changing, and you'll often find new works or old favorites covered up from visit to visit. This place really is a two-for-one photo op because you can explore all the graffiti, and then climb to the top to discover a breathtaking view of downtown. I can sit at the top for hours while taking in the beauty of the city. It’s truly a unique Austin treasure. Doug Sahm Hill: This hill located at Butler Park next to the Long Center provides a postcard view of the city’s skyline. Also, in the concrete at the top of the hill, there's a huge map of Texas carved into the ground with many city's names listed along with their distances to Austin.Read More
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