Speed tourism in Austin
There’s a lot to love in Austin, Texas, and we only had 24 hours. So, we went for it. Here’s our visit hour by hour.
4 p.m. – Arrive in town.
5 p.m. – Hit Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew for barbecue. I had brisket, with a side of beans and slaw. Tom had a Texas-sized beef rib, with beans and corn casserole. Beers, too.
7 p.m. – Honky-tonk time. The White Horse, where we had more beers and listened to Jesse Ebaugh & the Tender Things, while we watched some experts and non-experts two-step on the dance floor.
11 p.m. – Bedtime. We had to sleep.
8 a.m. – Downtown for a quick drive around the Capitol, which is bigger than the U.S. Capitol (isn’t everything in Texas).
10 a.m. – The Bullock Texas State History museum, where we perused the exhibition of La Belle, the reconstructed ship sunk in Texas’s Matagorda Bay in 1684, part of La Salle’s doomed efforts to colonize the mouth of the Mississippi (yea, they were way off course.) The 600-piece jigsaw puzzle and its artifacts have been called one of the most important shipwrecks in North America. The exhibit and the reclamation efforts are amazing.
Noon – The Double-decker bus tour, with a whirlwind view of the Museum of the Weird, SOCO, or South Congress Street for the uninitiated, the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, home of the burnt-orange Longhorns, the classical-revival style Paramount Theater, which opened in 1915 and still operates, and Austin’s moon towers. The moon towers, popular in the late 19th century, are 165-foot-tall towers designed to illuminate a 1,500-foot radius with six carbon arc lamps, known for their bright and harsh light. The problem: men had to continually be hauled up in little cages to replace the short-lived lamps. Today, the moon towers are electric. And Austin is the only city in the world that still has them.
3 p.m. – Late lunch/early dinner at Torchy’s Tacos, where President Obama ate when he was in town. Tom had two: the Alabama Shake, with corn-meal crusted catfish and poblano slaw, and I had the Tipsy Chick, with fajita chicken, and a side of bacon bourbon marmalade, deliciously southern, and the Democrat, barbacoa, in honor of Obama.
4 p.m. – On the road again – 24 hours of fun and we didn’t turn into pumpkins. The only regret: Our inability to plan ahead meant we missed connecting with our Austin friend, Kim Sue Lia. Next time.