According to the Keep Austin Weird website, it all started way back in the year 2000.
A librarian named Red Wassenich called into The Lounge Show on a local radio station in Austin to pledge some money and the ensuing conversation produced a phrase that would change Austin forever. The radio DJ asked Wassenich why he supported the show, and without much thought, Wassenich replied, “I don’t know. It helps keep Austin weird.” With that simple turn of phrase, a movement was born.
Hands-down one of the quirkiest, eclectic, weirdest cities in the United States, Austin doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s exactly why it’s so cool!
With the University of Texas as the city's main pulse, Austin branches out into several distinct districts that offer a little something for everybody's tastes and weirdness levels. The historic bungalows on Rainey Street have been turned into some of the city's newest and hippest bars, along with their porches and backyards that offer a variety of games people can play. And it's a dog-friendly atmosphere where Fido can be weird too with you.
Other city must-sees include Lady Bird Lake. which has hiking and biking trails surrounding the shoreline, as well as paddleboarding, rowing and fishing.
The beautiful granite Texas State Capitol stands as a testament to the history of the Lone Star State and offers guided and self-guided tours. And don't miss the exclusive enormous bat colony that lives under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. For sure, no visit to Austin is complete without strolling the famous 6th street, with its colorful and bustling array of bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. If you like urban art be sure to head over to the Baylor Street Art Wall/Hope Outdoor Gallery - an abandoned concrete construction site that looks like something from a Blade Runner movie and is chock- full of dynamic graffiti art which is being constantly updated on an organic basis by rotating artists. What you see one day, may be completely painted over the next day. You can even climb around different levels and sections of the art, meet the artists, and it offers some pretty stunning views of downtown also.
For the most stunning views of Austin though head over to Mt. Bonnell (elevation 800 ft.) for camera ready vistas. There's a short stone stairwell (about 100 steps) that takes you up from the parking lot.
As it boasts, Austin just may be indeed the live music capital of the entire world. I recently traveled to Austin for the Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival, a 6-day live music extravaganza which takes place over 2 weekends in October, with hundreds of bands in a large, beautiful park named Zilker that has stunning views of downtown Austin as its backdrop behind the main stage. In addition to the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival, ACL is one of the busiest times of the year for this fast-growing progressive city. The 2017 lineup for ACL included such highlight acts as Jay-Z, Live, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Ice Cube, Solange, Ruffus du Sol,The Revivalists, and The Killers. Bands would start each day around 11a and the last evening concert would end around 10p. I sort of felt like I was at a modern "Woodstock" gathering...without the free love and mud of course (but oh the heat and humidity in Austin is for real !). But there was plenty of hydration zones. food options, craft beer and wine tasting tents and interactive concert-goer activities to keep everybody full, buzzed, happy and healthy for the first 3-day weekend of shows that I attended.
I gotta say, Austin is one of the coolest, hippest and funnest cities I've ever been to. I don't think I've ever seen so many craft beer bars and gardens per city block as I did in Austin. And, the people are all very genuinely friendly and hospitable. There's an open fresh atmosphere in Austin that seems to say; "enjoy life, have a good time, listen to some music, and be who you are".
Whether you are weird or not - you will really enjoy Austin and the Austin locals will embrace you like family.
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