So you've just moved to Austin, in the heart of Central Texas, and you can't get out of the state without driving eight hours in any given direction. Are your road trips ruined?
Absolutely not. In fact, they're just getting started.
This week, you'll see stories useful for someone new to Austin in anticipation of Austonia's "How to Austin" event. To attend, sign up here.
You know what they say about Texas, everything is bigger here. In fact, one of the best things about living in Texas is its size—you never have to leave to find a good time. Here are some of the Lone Star State's humble sights and scenes, both near and far. The drive time estimate is measured from downtown Austin.
San Marcos - 45 minute drive
Ask any local San Martians and they will tell you there's no place they'd rather spend the weekend than sun-bathing at Sewell Park or on the Blanco River, floating to their heart's content. It may look like just an ordinary body of water but the river naturally stays 70 degrees year-round, is kept very clean with the help of the community and is brimming with local plant life and creatures.
However, nature isn't the only thing this college town has to offer. Home to Texas State University and a widely-renowned set of outlet malls, San Marcos also has a quaint downtown with dozens of shops, restaurants and bars. Stay for Gil's Manske rolls and Rhea's world-famous artisan ice cream—it is worth the trip.
Wimberley - 55 minute drive
With its homemade boutiques, locally-sourced restaurants and even Tiki bars, Wimberley's cute and colorful town is enough to make anyone stop in. The town is a quintessential example of the Hill Country with its sprawling mounds and luscious atmosphere. Stop by on a Saturday for its famous Market Days, which features almost 500 vendors, before chowing down at The Leaning Pear.
Although the town is picturesque, it isn't even the main attraction. Wimberley is the home to Jacob's Well and the Blue Hole, one of the most popular swimming holes in Central Texas. Feel your inner daredevil come to life when you jump off a 15-foot cliff into Jacob's Well and then go for a peaceful swim in crystal clear waters at Blue Hole.
Johnson City - 1 hour drive
The former home of the 36th president of the U.S., Lyndon B. Johnson, Johnson City is appropriately named. There, you'll find the LBJ Ranch, where you can tour the former president's childhood home, ranch and the Texas Whitehouse.
After you've wrapped up in Johnson City, Pedernales Falls State Park is just a quick drive away and is an excellent place to spend the day hiking, swimming and enjoying the Texas view. The park was immortalized in Richard Linklater's film "Boyhood," so it has a special connection to Austin.
Marble Falls - 1 hour 10 minute drive
Fitting the same vibe as many other small towns on the list, Marble Falls has a charming downtown with a bevy of local eateries. However, the real attraction to Marble Falls is the beautiful nature that surrounds it. With rock formations galore, Longhorn Cavern State Park will bring out your inner adventurer while you tour, hike and picnic in the Cave of Legends.
If you would rather spend your day in the sunshine, Sweet Berry Farm is a great way to spend an afternoon and get your berry fix at the same time. Just remember to go in-season and share your goodies with your loved ones.
San Antonio - 1 hour 15 minute drive
As one of the bigger cities in Texas, San Antonio is packed to the brim with things to do. You're not a true Texan until you've walked the halls of the Alamo. And if that isn't enough history for you, check out the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
While in SA, you simply can't miss the famous Riverwalk. San Antonio's Riverwalk is home to delicious Mexican food that you can eat riverside, levels upon levels of shops and attractions, a pavilion for live bands and dancers, all complete with beautiful scenery to follow you as you walk.
Fredericksburg - 1 hour 20 minute drive
This small town is not just known for its peaches, though make sure you don't leave until you get some. With more than 30 wineries and tasting rooms to visit while you're in town, you'll practically be swimming in local wine— there is even a road, Wine Road 290, dedicated to the nectar.
If drinking isn't your bag, roam the 200 Instagram-worthy acres of Wildseed Farms to pick a lush wildflower bouquet or take a hike up to Enchanted Rock for the view of a lifetime.
Houston - 2 hour 45 minute drive
It may be the furthest drive on the list but a well-versed Texan is one who is familiar with their sister cities. Houston is a cultural mecca and one of the most international cities in the U.S. All that to say, Houston has great food, fabulous museum culture and plenty of monuments to visit.
While you're there, make sure to visit the second-most populated Chinatown in the U.S., NASA's Space Center and the San Jacinto Monument and Museum. For a truly unique experience, visit the Rothko Chapel, which houses several original Mark Rothko paintings. The exhibit is free but you must follow one rule: complete silence once you enter.
There are so many sights to see in Texas so if you finish all these, don't worry, Texas is always going to be interesting.
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The Texas French Bread Bakery, located on 2900 Rio Grande Street, has been completely destroyed after a fire erupted on Monday night.
The Austin Fire Department responded to the fire just before 11 p.m., where they arrived to see flames coming from the roof of the bakery. Firefighters fought the fire for about an hour before the roof collapsed.
While no one was injured in the fire, firefighters say the historic building was completely totaled.
Texas French Bread just went up in flames pic.twitter.com/agXqKN3c00
— Jordan (@AimIessFriend) January 25, 2022
AFD determined that the fire was accidental and caused by mechanical failure. AFD said the damages amounted to $1.6 million total: $1.1 million in structural damage and $500,000 in damage to the contents of the bakery.
This year, Texas French Bread will celebrate 40 years of business. Before the bakery occupied the building, it was the Rome Inn, a music venue that hosted 1970s artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Austin's first major league team is ready to extend its reach with a new collaborative sports complex The Pitch, an Austin FC destination packed with local food, beverages and Verde fervor is set to open in Northeast Austin in February.
The Pitch, a collaboration between Austin FC and Karlin Real Estate, among other entities, will be located in the 50-acre Parmer Pond District, which already hosts the club's practice facility St. David's Performance Center.
Dubbed a "true destination" for both soccer fans and the community, The Pitch will consist of multilevel shipping containers designed by Mark Odom Studio that will carve out into a 1,200-seat stadium complete with a soccer pitch made of turf, food and beverage options and a five-acre "Parmer Pond" featuring jogging trails.
Made from multilevel shipping containers, The Pitch will include food and a 1,200-seat soccer pitch made from artificial turf. (The Pitch)
“The launch of Karlin’s new food and entertainment experience will greatly enhance the Parmer development while perfectly complimenting St. David’s Performance Center,” Austin FC founder Anthony Precourt said. "The Pitch... will offer a strong variety of food options and gathering spaces for guests who will utilize St. David’s Performance Center and Parmer Field for a variety of events.”
The Pitch project lead Dave Greeley, who helped come up with the concept, is a former president of Austin FC parent company, Two Oak Ventures.
“The vision behind The Pitch at the Parmer Pond District is to be a first-of-its-kind sports, dining and entertainment destination,” said Dave Greeley, The Pitch project lead and Team Orbis president. “This will be an unmatched experience for Parmer Austin tenants, Austin FC and club supporters, and the community."
With its proximity to the practice center, the venture hopes to contribute to the growing "soccer city" of Austin during Austin FC matches and youth games with the Austin FC Academy hosted at the St. David's Performance Center.
The Pitch hopes to converge both community and club interests with Austin FC. (The Pitch)
In addition to the soccer pitch, stadium and pond, The Pitch will provide a foody experience made by the creative team behind Austin staples like Fareground and Easy Tiger. The complex will offer local bites including:
- Ranger Burger, which offers beers and burgers made from highly-coveted Wagyu beef direct from Ranger Cattle in East Austin
- Ga Roti, which merges flavors from Northern Vietnam with the culinary techniques of France to create a unique rotisserie chicken joint
- Taco Flats, a local taco chain serving Mexico City-style tacos, micheladas and more
- Sand Bar, which fulfills its namesake with beauty cocktails, local beers and a sand volleyball court
- Coffee Club, a coffee shop and bakery
- Corner Kick Bar, the soccer-focused main bar of The Pitch complete with "tunes, TVs and (a) beer garden"
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