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," and will let you relive high school in the 1970s, 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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Temperatures in Austin are projected to reach triple digits nearly every day this week, so strap in for a sweaty summer.
But it doesn't have to be miserable if you have a pool to beat the heat. These homes on the market offer a private oasis much-needed this time of year.
Newly-renovated and back on the market, this 1975 build has been fitted with updated finishes while retaining its retro charm. An open floor plan and high ceilings allow for tons of natural light, the kitchen is complete with all-new fixtures, a focal-point fireplace for the winter months, and a round backyard pool and patio combo for the stifling heat.
4 bedroom, 2 bathroom | 1,844 square feet
According to the Redfin listing, the owners of this house have invested over $200,000 making this house a home. Aside from the spacious resort-style backyard and pool, the inside of the house boasts a media room, game room, wraparound staircase and upstairs deck in sunny South Austin.
5 bedroom, 4 bathroom | 4,390 square feet
In the North Austin Westminster Glen neighborhood, this expansive one-story sits in a cul de sac on a spacious 1.3 acres. With a newly-renovated kitchen, home theater, office for work from home and multiple living areas, the home is a dream. The backyard, complete with a spa, is the oasis.
5 bedroom, 5 bathroom | 4,575 square feet
In the famously luxe West Lake Hills neighborhood, this home features a private zen garden, multiple wings, exposed brick walls and two acres of land to roam. Each of the grand central spaces overlook the infinity pool and basin, with fold-away doors opening to the outdoor kitchen on the ground floor for full indoor/outdoor living.
5 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom | 5,725 square feet
Nestled in the Hill Country, this Bee Cave home located in the equestrian community of Madrone Ranch is perfect for the horse enthusiast, complete with a barn on the property. Soaring beam ceilings allow in tons of natural light and stone accents give the home a rustic feel. The home really shines through its gigantic resort pool, with both covered and uncovered patios, and spa with a view.
5 bedroom, 5.5 bathroom | 7,153 square feet
By Samuel Stark
Hidden among the glimmering towers in Austin’s downtown district is a quaint trestle bridge that serves as a window into a bygone era. The bridge, located on Third Street, rests 35 feet above Shoal Creek and was constructed nearly a century ago by the International-Great Northern Railroad.
The trestle facilitated the transportation of goods in and out of Austin’s downtown area for decades of the 20th century before eventually becoming obsolete and left to deteriorate, albeit quite gracefully.
But Austin entities have worked hard to ensure this remnant of the past is not forgotten. On Friday, Shoal Creek Conservancy and the Austin Downtown Alliance held an event in front of Shoal Creek Bridge to celebrate its recent listing on the National Registry of Historic Places. They also discussed plans to revitalize the bridge so it can be used for transportation once again.
“(The plan) calls for the restoration of the trestle as a public plaza and a scenic overlook offering a leisurely route for pedestrians to traverse Shoal Creek or be able to sit amongst the beautiful backdrop,” said Ivey Kaiser, the executive director of Shoal Creek Conservancy.
If their plan is adopted, the bridge would become a public pedestrian space akin to the Pfluger Street Bridge over Lady Bird Lake. The plan also includes a proposal to construct another wider bridge, replacing one already there, next to the trestle for cyclists and faster traffic to use.
“The proposal shows the potential of historic preservation to create a bridge, no pun intended, between the past and the future,” Kaiser said.
The next steps involve finding an appropriate city department to purchase the trestle bridge from Union Pacific, its current owner. Advocacy to transfer ownership to the city is happening now, Kaiser said.
Then the interested parties will start the fundraising process so they can begin construction.
The restoration of the historic bridge is one of the many concepts in the Cypress & Shoal Creek Public Space Strategy project. Among other plans, they hope to revitalize parts of the existing Shoal Creek Trail and create public plazas on Third Street near the creek. If adopted, the plazas will create more space for pedestrians, limit the number of cars and add more greenery.
“With the tremendous growth we’re seeing, there is a need for good public space that’s managed and maintained. It is so important to the health and welfare, not only for us individually but collectively for the community. I think we learned a number of lessons during the pandemic, that open spaces are critical,” said Dewitt Peart, CEO of the Austin Downtown Alliance.
Some of the proposals in the Cypress & Shoal Creek project are intended to serve as an alternative to the Bowie underpass project, a $6.6 million plan that would have provided a link for cyclists and pedestrians to go under the railroad tracks between the Market District and the Pfluger Street Bridge. The Bowie plan was determined to be unfeasible last year.