GROUPON GUIDE TO AUSTIN

What to See at SXSW, and How to Explore Austin Afterward BY: SARAH GORR | 3.10.2015

See SXSW’s best in film, music, and technology before escaping the crowds with some of Austin’s hidden treasures.




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Things to Do in Austin: Saturday, October 11, to Friday, October 17
This week in Austin brings beverages, bites, and a Beatle. You’ll find the first at Hops & Grain brewery’s anniversary party, the second at the art/food crossover event Art Bites, and the last at Austin City Limits Live, where Ringo is performing Sunday. Elsewhere you can have family fun at a Barton Hill Farms festival or take on a packed agenda of adventures thanks to #Besomebody Weekend. As always, check Groupon for more ideas for things to do in Austin.
The Critical Couple Reviews Luc Besson’s “Lucy”
Watching movies may be one of America's most popular date-night activities, but it can also be one of the most contentious. That's where critics and real-life couple Roy and Adriane step in, putting their relationship on the line so you don't have to.
Things to Do in Austin: Saturday, September 13, to Friday, September 19
A major rock act and some beloved alt comedians are in town this week, but the most exciting arrival just might be a bunch of folks bearing pork: Texas Monthly’s BBQ Fest is bringing together 25 of the state’s best barbecue joints. Elsewhere, catch a Frozen sing-along in the park and a Robin Williams tribute at Blue Starlite Drive-In. And as always, check Groupon for more ideas for things to do in Austin.
Things to Do in Austin: Saturday, August 30, to Friday, September 5
If Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, this week is the time to squeeze in your last hurrahs of the season. That makes it the perfect time to take in a baseball game, float down the San Marcos River, or enjoy the anniversary cookout at Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company. Of course, any time of year you can check Groupon for more ideas for things to do in Austin.
Things to Do in Austin: Saturday, August 23, to Friday, August 29
On this week’s agenda: the stage version of The Who’s Tommy, the Austin Chronicle’s Hot Sauce Festival, Man Man at the Mohawk, the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, and '80s teen movies under the stars. Enjoy yourself and, as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Austin.
Things to Do in Austin: Saturday, August 16, to Friday, August 22
We’ve still got another week before school is back in session, but there’s plenty to learn this week in Austin: video-game history at the Classic Game Fest, DIY techniques at the Craft Riot Summer Show, and the effects of exhaustion on your aim at an all-night laser-tag event. As always, check Groupon for plenty of other fun things to do in Austin.
Things to Do in Austin: Saturday, August 9, to Friday, August 15
Is the summer winding down already? It seems so, since this week’s to-do list features two summer-long events that are approaching their conclusions: Sound and Cinema, and the Zilker Summer Musical. You can still enjoy the hot weather during a celebration at Barton Springs—or, if you prefer, look ahead to the fall with an open Longhorns football practice. It’s worth noting that every event listed this week is free to enter. Just remember, you can always check Groupon for more ideas for things to do in Austin that won’t break the bank.
Things to Do in Austin: Saturday, August 2, to Friday, August 8
Nostalgia’s in the air this week in Austin. Cirque du Soleil is honoring the King of Pop with a show that reinterprets his greatest hits, and both Summer Stock Austin and Frank are celebrating milestone anniversaries with concerts. Of course, no one’s looking back further in time than the interactive exhibit Discover the Dinosaurs. All of which reminds us: remember that time Groupon had lots of other ideas for things to do in Austin? We do too.
How to Avoid Sixth for Your Bachelorette Weekend
You’ve seen them. A group of women, clad in customized pink T-shirts, parades down Sixth Street, proudly proclaiming their purpose. One is wearing a “Bride to Be” sash or, better yet, a veil. It happens every night of the weekend (and sometimes weekdays) on our beloved Sixth. All well and good—if your main goal is to not remember a single event of your precious last hurrah.
Don’t Look for “No Climbing” Signs at the Luci and Ian Family Garden
There’s a reason the Luci and Ian Family Garden has been dubbed the “Garden of Yes.” The new addition to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is more interested in letting kids enjoy themselves outdoors than imposing restrictions on their play. It says to kids: yes, you may climb on that precarious-looking felled log. Yes, you may walk behind the waterfall. Yes, you may hop across the pond on little stepping stones and dig in the dirt. And yes, you may dump water all over the porous rocks (and yourself).
Take the Kids Out for a Day Trip Near Austin
As my children excitedly count down the days to the start of summer vacation, I feel increasingly nervous about my decision to skip signing up for camps this year. Entertaining five kids full time for three months will either be awesome or… not. Thankfully, there is no shortage of family fun in Austin, and when we need a little break, we can hop in the car to explore Central Texas. There are several tried-and true day trips from Austin that my kids always enjoy.
Best Bluebonnet Photo Ops
It’s officially Bluebonnet season in the Central Texas, and that means it's time for your annual family photos in the patches of the state flower. Here are a few places in Austin that will provide the perfect canvas for your Bluebonnet masterpiece.
First Date Ideas for Those Who Met Online
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:
Learn Anything You Ever Wanted To Learn In Austin
I graduated from UT a few years ago and figured it would be a while before I stepped back into a classroom. Once I was out of school I realized just how much I missed 'learning.' The cool thing about a class that you're not 'required' to take, is that it's most likely on a subject that you actually really want to learn about. Luckily, in Austin, there's a plethora of classes offered from various organizations that can help you master anything from properly using a kitchen knife to raising your own backyard chickens.
Best Places To Hike In Austin
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.
Best Places to Play Tennis in Austin
Big Stacy Park | 700 E. Live Oak Street This set of tennis courts is nestled in the Travis Heights neighborhood and is surrounded by giant trees. The location is serene and perfect for an afternoon of tennis. It's just a public park so there are no reservations, you do run the risk of showing up and the courts being occupied. Free to play.
Picture Perfect: The Best Photo Ops Austin Has to Offer
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.
Austin Street Art Spots
Baylor Street Art Wall: (pictured above) Often called “graffiti park,” “art wall,” “castle hill,” or “the Foundation,” this is the mecca of graffiti spots in Austin. This property was once slated to be condos, and the foundation was poured but things never moved forward from there. Eventually, local artists used the blank concrete foundation as their canvas. Now it is constantly changing, and you're sure to find new works and old favorites covered up from visit to visit. Street art lovers will easily be able to spend hours exploring the plethora of works. Location: 11th & Baylor Street
Best Ways To "Treat Yo' Self"
The term “Treat yo self” can be interpreted in several different ways. In most cases, it refers to spending a little extra money on pampering yourself; or it could mean dining as if it's your last meal. In either case, the following offers some of the best ways to "treat yo self" in Austin, Texas. (Explore our things to do deals for even more ways to treat yo self.)
10 Awesome Austin Places to Play
When it comes to free places to play, Austin has got you covered.  There are parks, splash pads and shady playgrounds galore.  If you want to venture out of your neighborhood and explore someplace new, here are ten local favorites worth checking out.
These Neighborhoods Just Ain’t The Same: Rediscover Austin
Oh Austin. People come and go but your neighborhoods always stay the same. Or do they? If you’ve become accustomed to the same old thing, may I suggest re-visiting some of the city’s famous neighborhoods and discovering what’s new before the hipsters do? Quickly.
Discover the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary
Many locals may not realize it, but Austin actually has a zoo. Tucked into a semi-remote area west of the city, the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary is not the large, glitzy sort of animal retreat you may find in other major markets, but what Austin’s own version may lack in showiness it more than makes up for with charm and heart.
Affordable Golf Courses in Austin
It’s great to be a golfer in Austin because you can basically do it year-round (assuming you can take the summer heat)! Austin offers a variety of beautiful courses that even those on a budget can enjoy.
Girls Night Out
There's something about a girls night out that is just so much fun. You can dress up and paint the town red, or do something a little more casual. Either way, you're with your girls, so you're just about guaranteed to have a great time. These are some of my favorite things to do with my ladies in Austin.
Best Places To Go With Your Dog
Austin is a city that loves its furry friends. Luckily there are countless activities around town that are fun for both you and your pup. Here are our favorites.
The Thinkery
Austin's brand new children's museum, the Thinkery, is a tinkerer's paradise.  A veritable wonderland of hands-on exploration, the two-story red building beckons builders, makers, and artists of all ages to come and learn through play.  From water, to paint, to colored light, the media on offer provide seemingly endless opportunities for tactile experiences.  Parents will find it hard to resist playing alongside their child in this fun environment.
Best Places In Austin To Karaoke
Ego’s – 510 South Congress Avenue
Best Places To Spend a Sunday Funday In Austin
Kung Fu Saloon - 510 Rio Grande Street Arcade junkies, this is your destination for Sunday Funday. Their vintage arcade games are free all day so you can get lost in Ms. Packman for hours. They also have classics like Street Fighter, Big Buck Hunter and more. Be sure to hit up the Build Your Own Blood Mary Bar, or have a few dollar mimosas if that's more your speed. By Sunday afternoon, it gets pretty rowdy, and surely a few patrons end up calling in sick on Monday. Sundays 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
A Day Off in Austin
So you suddenly find yourself with an unexpected day off in the city. What to do you ask? A little bit of playing tourist in your own town, followed by checking off a few of those things you’ve ‘been meaning to get too.’  Start early, because you have a full day ahead of you.
Keep Austin Weird With Kids
Austin, Texas has been named National Geographic Kids' first-ever Weird But True Town of the Year. This is an honor we proudly accept. It's good to be recognized for the way we celebrate our quirky residents and embrace our city's eclectic small business community. To get the nod from a children's magazine is a nice touch, because Keeping Austin Weird is a family affair!
Fall Fun at Austin Area Farms
We may not see a lot of leaves changing color in Austin, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy some seasonal festivities out in the crisp Autumn air. Whether you're looking for pumpkins, corn mazes, scarecrow stuffing, or hayrides, Central Texas has plenty to offer.  Hop in the car and take the family to one of these three nearby farms to celebrate the cool change in the weather!
Family Friendly Improv in Austin
Improv comedy is all the rage right now in Austin.  So great, in fact, is the growing popularity of improvised theatre in Austin that a recent KLRU Arts in Context episode noted that the citywide movement is turning heads all across the nation.
Ways To Beat The Summer Heat
It is hot, hot and there are plenty of ways in Austin for you to try and beat the heat. Jumping into a pool of water is normally the go-to way to cool off but a snocone or concert under the shady trees at Shady Grove can also do the trick. Here are some of the best ways to stay cool.
Urban Adventure Quest
On a recent visit to the in Orlando, my three boys joined forces to play an interactive secret agent game.  Communicating by cell phone with Agent P – the secret identity of Perry the Platypus from the Disney show Phineas and Ferb - they set off on a mission to thwart the evil plots of Dr. Doofenshmirtz.  Racing around Epcot’s World Showcase, tracking down leads and solving clues, my little super spies succeeded in saving the world.  Not bad for a half hour adventure.
Zilker Park with Kids
As a mother of three small boys, who never seem to tire, I am ever on the hunt for kid-exhausting adventures. Wide-open spaces, to accommodate outside voices and boundless energy, are key. Throw in some scenery for an adult to enjoy, while the boys run in circles, and the deal is sealed.
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