It may not be Hollywood but Austin has made a name for itself on the silver screen with its fair share of movies that all display the diversity the city has to offer.
These movies will have you pointing at the screen, shouting "I've been there!"
Directed by quintessential Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater, who started the Austin Film Society, "Boyhood" takes place in a small town in Texas and follows the life of Mason Jr. and his childhood in its entirety. The movie was filmed over the course of 12 years, using the same actors throughout. "Boyhood" has been credited with putting several Texas locations on the map. This movie is truly an Austin showcase—putting Texas at the forefront tends to be Linklater's niche—and there are plenty of icons to choose from.
"Boyhood" showcased Dart Bowl Cafe, formerly located on 5700 Grover Avenue, when Mason's father, played by Austin native Ethan Hawk, took him and his sister bowling after an untimely divorce. The institution closed in July due to the pandemic. The hybrid bowling alley and eatery had been open for 60 years.
Next, Mason heads to Pedernales Falls State Park, in Blanco County, where he and his father spend a few days camping together in the Hill Country.
Though it is certainly not the end of the Austin references in the film, Mason and his girlfriend Sheena also visit the Continental Club, at 1315 South Congress Avenue, which is widely renowned for cultivating South Congress and the live music scene in Austin.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Another Linklater classic, "Dazed and Confused" is a retroactive Austin A-list film. From the movie that brought you Matthew McConaughey's first feature film and his iconic line, "Alright, alright, alright," this classic is yet another that is full of Austin landmarks.
The immediately recognizable Top Notch Hamburgers, at 7525 Burnet Road, serves as the film's local burger joint. And to wash it down, you might want to run over to the Centennial Liquor, long closed but formerly on 6534 N. Lamar Blvd., and pick up a "sixer." After that, we heard there's a party at the moon tower going on at West Enfield Park, 2008 Enfield Road.
Heartbreak Hotel (1988)
This 1988 comedy, written by Chris Columbus, was filmed entirely in Austin. Sharing the same name as the famous Elvis Presley song, the film follows Johnny Wolfe's kidnapping of the singer to send him on a date with his mother. Though everything you see in the movie came from either Austin or Taylor, Texas, as the end credits state, the movie was filmed at Green Pastures, a historic Victorian house and restaurant located at 811 W Live Oak St.
Office Space (1999)
From soul-crushing job to revenge plan adventure, "Office Space" is a new age classic. The Initech Office is real, though it goes by a different name, and it's right here in Austin, located at 4120 Freidrich Lane. That isn't all, in fact, many of the mundane scenes you see in the movie are in Austin. Watch closely as Peter drives to work and you might see a few familiar sights along Braker Lane, stop by Chase Bank on 9739 Great Hills Trail to see the exterior of Chotchkie's, where Jennifer Aniston was forced to wear her "flair," or head home to the Morningwood Apartments, actually called the Trails at Walnut Creek, located on 11511 Metric Blvd.
Temple Grandin (2010)
This moving biopic recounts a girl who overcomes the challenges of autism during a time when the disorder was very misunderstood. Out of several filming locations in the running, including Arizona and New Mexico, Austin won out for the production of "Temple Grandin," a true story revolving around a girl of the same name, who was born autistic and non-communicative. The film started production at Austin studios in 2008 and ended the movie with a scene at the Austin Convention Center.
True Grit (2010)
Following teenager Mattie, with help from U.S. Marshal Reuben Cogburn, tracking down her father's murderer in a trek across the Texan frontier, "True Grit" was filmed all over Texas. Even though the movie takes place in Texas, the scene filmed in Austin passes as Memphis, Tennessee in the film. Stop by 110 East 9th St. and look for the Austin Club, formerly the Millett Opera House, to see where the film closes off. The filming was very careful—not a high rise in sight!
What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
Following a family in an Iowa small town just trying to get by, the oldest brother, Gilbert, must take charge of his severely overweight mother and mentally impaired brother. Although this drama, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp, wasn't technically filmed within Austin city limits, head just 16 miles east to Manor and you'll see a lot of familiar Endora landmarks. Just about everything was filmed in Manor: the water tower, downtown, the Carver house and Becky's campsite. The one thing that wasn't filmed there was the Grape house, which stood on Hodde Lane outside Pflugerville. It isn't there anymore but fans of the movie know why—if it still was, there would be no ending.
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🗓 All weekend
Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities
All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park
This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.
6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.
10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park
Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.
Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.
11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway
Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.
As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.
“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”
Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.
“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”
Actually, a purr-fect idea.
Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.
At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”
Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.
“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”
Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.
“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”
Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.
“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”
Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.
“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”
And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.
“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”
Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.
“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”