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As Texas navigates reopening restaurants and bars safely, al fresco spots provide the perfect place for long-quarantined Austin residents. Some of these favorites are open only on the patio, others are allowing customers to eat to-go orders in the space, and a few are full service—the details are subject to change. This is not an all-inclusive list, but here they are, in no particular order:
Upscale seafood fare is served under striped umbrellas on the tree-lined porch, with dogs allowed and an unfettered view of South Congress foot traffic.
Address: 1400 S. Congress Ave.
Serving craft cocktails with names like Riki Tiki Tavi and Lucid Dreams, Whisler's is a favorite on the city's East Side and is currently only open Thursday-Sunday for patio service.
Address: 1816 E. 6th St. (Photo: Whisler's)(Whisler's)
3. 77 Degrees
Exotic cocktails and tasty small plates are only a small part of the draw for this rooftop oasis in the Rock Rose section of the Domain, offering cushy seating, fans with misters and views of the action below.
Address: 11500 Rock Rose Ave. (Photo: Charlie L. Harper II)(Charlie L. Harper III)
4. Iron Cactus
Serving 100 tequilas in a turn-of-the-century building, this Mexican food restaurant's gorgeous and popular rooftop overlooks on historic Sixth Street.
Address: 606 Trinity St. (Photo: Iron Cactus)
This charming Greek eatery on South Lamar sports a relaxing front courtyard covered in shade trees and drenched in an Austin-hippie-meets-Mediterranean-village vibe.
Address: 2050 S. Lamar Blvd. (Photo: Charlie L. Harper II)(Charlie L. Harper III)
A converted house with porch and yard on the city's East Side serves interior Mexican cuisine in a setting that kind of resembles a chilled-out house party in Mexico City.
Address: 1306 E. 6th S. (Photo: Licha's Cantina)
Beer, wine, coffee and cafe food meet a distinctly local vibe in the laid-back courtyard, a neighborhood favorite just east of I-35.
Address: 1400 E 38th 1/2 St. (Photo: Charlie L. Harper II)(Charlie L. Harper III)
8. Posse East
Drink a beer, grab a burger and watch your favorite sports from a safe distance on the patio in this university-adjacent sports bar, a local favorite for nearly 50 years.
Address: 2900 Duval St. (Photo: Posse East)(Posse East)
One of Austin's food-truck-turned-restaurant success stories, this little haven on the East Side serves some of the city's most popular Turkish fast food - wraps and falafel shots and local beer.
Address: 1311 E. 7th St. (Photo: Charlie L. Harper II)(Charlie L. Harper III)
10. G'raj Mahal
Another food-truck success story, this Indian food joint has been a staple on Rainey Street for more than a decade and boasts a patio in the shade surrounded by decorative bicycle wheels and great people watching.
Address: 73 Rainey St. (Photo: Charlie L. Harper II)(Charlie L. Harper III)
Sit on the covered front porch with your buddies and your pups at this South Lamar favorite, with a full bar and menu that includes one of the best Chicago dogs in the city.
Address: 2108 S. Lamar Blvd. (Photo: Black Sheep Lodge)
This iconic South Congress restaurant and beer garden serves interior Mexican fare and boasts a full bar, house-made tortillas and excellent SoCo vibe. Its small front porch and the Oak Garden next door are both open.
Address: 1412 S. Congress (Photo: Guero's)
13. Culinary Dropout
This hip spot on the edge of the Domain's North Side plaza offers a spacious covered patio lined with white leather benches and tables with plenty of room between them, serving food and drinks in a casual but cosmopolitan setting.
Address: 11721 Rock Rose Ave. (Photo: Charlie L. Harper III)(Charlie L. Harper III)
This iconic three-level club downtown sports many cool indoor spots, but it made this list for its stellar rooftop, with cush seating, shade and views of the skyline.
Address: 412 Congress Ave. D (Photo: Speakeasy)(Speakeasy)
15. Jo's Coffee
A SoCo staple for decades, the window service and covered patio and sunnier street-side seating give a funky summer-camp-cantina feel to one of the city's trendiest urban neighborhoods. Don't forget the photo op with the iconic "I Love You So Much" message painted in red on its green north-facing wall.
Address: 1300 S. Congress Ave. (Photo: Jo's Coffee)
If you're dying for a date night and looking for a romantic outdoor space, this dreamy Italian eatery in the hills of Northwest Austin boasts beautiful views and elegant fare on its comfortable patio.
Address: 6203 N. Capital of Texas Hwy. (Photo: Siena Ristorante)(Siena Ristorante)
17. Hula Hut
A longtime Lake Austin favorite just west of downtown, the Hula Hut (and its neighbors along the lakefront) beckons with a decidedly summer vibe; the pina coladas and coconut shrimp are a bonus.
Address: 3825 Lake Austin Blvd. (Photo: Hula Hut)(Hula Hut)
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The city of Austin is warning residents of toxins that are dangerous to both humans and animals in Barton Creek waters at Sculpture Falls.
Concerning levels of cylindrospermopsin were discovered on Sept. 22 after a person got sick and samples were sent to get tested on Sept. 9. Signs will be posted at access points to Sculpture Falls that people and their pets should not injest or swim in the water.
Unlike the harmful algae making dogs sick in parts of Lake Travis and Lady Bird Lake in past summers, these toxins are found in the water, the city says. Barton Creek visitors are asked to avoid stagnant water especially.
The toxins also result in different health effects than the harmful algae in Lady Bird Lake, including liver and kidney damage. If exposed, people can feel:
- Bloody diarrhea
TinyFest Texas 2021
When: 10 a.m. Saturday – 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive
What: Tour tiny houses, van converstions, shipping container homes and more at this year's TinyFest. Grab tickets here for a weekend of speakers, workshops and panel discussions plus live music, food and more!
Fierce Whiskers Grand Opening
When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Fierce Whiskers, 5333 Fleming Court
What: Fan of whiskey? Come along to the free grand opening of Fierce Whiskers Distillery's new tasting room. Enjoy bites from a food truck, oysters, musical performances and a raffle.
Austin Summer Carnival
When: 6 p.m. Saturday – 2 a.m. Sunday
Where: The Venue ATX, 516 East 6th St.
What: Don your dancing outfit for this carnival that celebrates the African heritage with Brazilian, Latin and Caribbean rhythms in Austin. Snag your tickets here.
Beginner's Succulent Arrangement and Planting
When: 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Succulent Native, 5501 North Lamar Blvd.
What: Calling all first-time planters: Get your hands dirty and learn about succulent and cactus arrangement and care. No tools required! Grab your tickets here.