I love Austin! It is just a great city. It is very pedestrian friendly and safe. I have come to Austin many times and driven around, but I have never really walked the city. You just get a better feel for a town once you have walked around to scope it out. There aren't many cities that you can do this in, but Austin just happens to be one of those cities.
I had to come for a visit due to work. We are attending the National Hispanic College Fairs here in Austin and San Antonio. We had another counselor that was supposed to come, but it fell through and I was chosen to make the trip. I was totally ok with that because I was ready to get out of dodge for a little bit anyways.
So I got into town around 6:45pm and checked into the Embassy Suites south of Downtown. I always try to stay here when I come to Austin because they have a kick ass breakfast. They have ready to order omelettes and other goodies, and it is a nice property too.
After I dropped off my bag, I went exploring. I walked over to the Whole Foods on the corner of 5th and Lamar. It was about a mile walk and it was a good way to make myself hungry for dinner. As I was getting closer to the Whole Foods, I was encountering these new developments that I saw last time that I was in town. They were just steel structures, so I didn't really know what they were to become. Well, it turns out that they are lofts. And beautiful lofts they are! They are in a part of town called the "Warehouse district" and they really reflected that. They all had balconies and whatnot and I really envy the people who live there. I am sure that they pay a pretty penny for them and that I cannot afford it, but one can hope.
When I walked into Whole Foods, it was great. I have been inside before, so I knew what it looked like, but this time, I had a pedestrian perspective and could see what it was like shopping there as a local from the neighborhood. As I walked over to the cafe, I fit right in as a patron looking around for dinner. I ended up having the London Broil with mashed sweet potatoes and a squash mix. It was very good, and only $10. Not bad.
After the adventures in Whole Foods, I walked across the street to a new shopping center where there was a REI and a bookstore. The bookstore was the only thing open, so I went in and walked around. I purchased a magazine and started to make my way back to Congress Ave. and to the Hotel (or so I thought).
At this point, I was on 6th Street. I remembered the Dizzy Rooster from the Austin season of the Real World, so I went to find that. Many blocks later, I found it around the corner of 6th and Lavaca; only 3 or so blocks away from the Real World House. It was pretty small, but cool looking nonetheless. I wanted to go in for a drink, but I really didn't want to go in solo. It would just be weird.
After peeking into the Dizzy Rooster, I walked back towards Congress Ave. and when I got there, I decided that I would walk up to the Capitol. I was half way there, so I figured why not.
The Capitol is beautiful at night, all lit up. When I got there, I found that the gates were surprisingly still open, so I walked on through. As I walked up to the stairs leading to the door, I noticed a family walking around as well. This was comforting at 9:30pm on a Sunday night.
I made my way around the building and took some pictures and made my way once again back towards Congress Ave.
When I got to 11th and Congress, I noticed that I was near the KTBC (Fox 7) studios, so I went over and snapped a few shots of one of their live trucks and the cover over their front door. Its not everyday that you walk right past a TV station!
And from there I made my way back to the Hotel, about 11 blocks away. I stopped on the Congress Ave. bridge to see if I could see any bats (I did.. they were out looking for food) and then went back to the Hotel.
It was dark for most of my trip and I felt safe the entire 4.2 miles of my trip. Again, you could make a walking trip like this in every city. I enjoy the fact that Austin is a very young city and that UT and the young, working professionals keep this city young. They also care about the environment and are also very laid back. It would be great to live here and grow a family here. Austinites have the right attitude to do so. They are a medium sized city with the big town amenities and the small town charm. These are the perfect elements for a great city!
(Pictures will be uploaded when I get home)