It's almost America's birthday and you know what that means—time to celebrate like it's 2019.
With fireworks, corn dog eating contests, cookouts and crawfish boils galore, Austin businesses and restaurants are pulling out all the stops to make up for lost time and get people excited to exercise the freedom to party. Happening all on Sunday, no matter who you spend the holiday with, you're guaranteed to find an event for anyone but here are a few options to get you started.
H-E-B Austin Symphony 4th of July Concert, 8 p.m.
The Austin Symphony Orchestra and the City of Austin are banding together for the return of its Fourth of July concert, putting on a symphonic and patriotic free concert under the stars. Enjoy vendors with food, crafts and gifts, as well as guest speakers who will kick off the event at Auditorium Shores and the Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive, ending the evening with a brilliant fireworks display over the expanding skyline.
Hill Country Galleria’s Independence Day Festival, 4-10 p.m.
After a year of hiatus, the Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd, is resurrecting the annual Independence Day Festival with fun for the whole family. The free event will take place in the shopping center's expansive outdoor space with live local music, more than 75 vendors and kids entertainment in addition to the permanent restaurants and shops on the property. The celebration will conclude with a fireworks show on the lawn at the end of the night.
Fireworks at Dreamland, 10 p.m.
There is no better place in Central Texas to watch fireworks than Dripping Springs, where the dark sky community provides the perfect blank canvas for Dreamland, 2770 US-290, to put on a vibrant display. The outdoor arts and entertainment center will have all the normal activities, like mini-golf and pickleball, plus locally sourced food and drink specials available from its on-site food trucks and taproom. Fireworks will begin on the main stage at 10 p.m.
Lobster & Friends at Launderette, 12-8 p.m.
If you're looking to break tradition and skip the traditional backyard cookout this year, Launderette, 2115 Holly Street, is holding its third annual Lobster & Friends seafood boil in celebration of Independence Day. For $50 per guest, the menu includes plenty of lobster, shrimp, crab, clams, mussels, sausage, corn, potatoes, sides and festive desserts to nosh on. Tickets must be reserved beforehand either for dine-in or to-go orders.
4th Of July Corn Dog Eating Contest, 4 p.m.
If a little competition is what you're after for America's birthday, Black Sheep Lodge, 2108 S. Lamar Blvd., is exercising the freedom "to eat as damn much as we can, as fast as we can" by hosting its 11th annual corn dog eating contest in addition to food and drink specials for the holiday. Contestants must pay a $20 entrance fee that will earn you a chance for the gold and a commemorative T-shirt, while the "Grand Champeen" will score $250 in cash. Reserve a spot by emailing email@example.com.
Read more about Fourth of July:
Memorial Day is today and, as you honor the men and women who laid down their lives to serve our country, leave some room to celebrate yourself with that extra time off. Austin will be celebrating all over the city, all day.
So in honor of the coveted three-day weekend that comes with the holiday, get out of the house and enjoy a free relaxing day at Barton Springs Pool, crawfish in a beer garden or maybe getting some fresh air out in the countryside.
Austin Eastciders Memorial Day Party, 1530 Barton Springs Rd.
From noon-8 p.m. Austin Eastciders is throwing a Memorial Day party packed to the brim with drink specials and live music. Music starts at 2 p.m. with singer-songwriter Parker Chapin, then Evan Charles at 4 p.m., followed by Austin-based "rock and roller" Danny Golden. There will be $4 draft ciders and seltzers, $8 crowlers and $7 summer cocktails all day!
South Austin Beer Garden Crawfish Boil, 10700 Menchaca Rd.
South Austin Beer Garden isn't throwing your average crawfish boil, it's throwing an event with games specials, pet adoptions through Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and free crawfish with the purchase of a drink. You read that right—free mudbugs. The party starts at 2 p.m., so come for the boil, stay for some drinks and maybe leave with a new best friend.
Take a dip at Barton Springs Pool for free, 2201 William Barton Drive
For one day only, enjoy Austin's famous Barton Springs Pool without a reservation or entry fee. The pool will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. so you can swim to your heart's content, but you might want to get there early, as capacity limits will be enforced due to a lifeguard shortage.
12 Fox Beer Co. Beer-iversary Artisan Market, 4700 W Fitzhugh Rd
Closing out a four-day celebration of 12 Fox Beer Co. turning 2 years old, the local brewery will be open from 12-6 p.m. on Monday for a live performance by Brews Blues Band and an artisan market where wares like jewelry, home decor, skincare, clothing, dog treats and more await. While you're celebrating the veteran-owned beer garden, grab some food from nearby food truck Buns N Chicks.
Austin Spring Festival at Barton Hill Farms, 1115 FM 969
The Austin Spring Festival will come to a close this Monday after one last day of fun for the whole family. Take a scenic drive out to the Bastrop countryside where you can frolic among the zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers; go on a hayride; visit some farm animals; and listen to live music. Adults are invited to enjoy the Apfelwein & Biergarten for a craft brew, and it wouldn't be a festival if there wasn't funnel cake!
Halloween season is rapidly coming to a close but there is still time to celebrate. Austin is making the most out of the holiday with themed cookies, cakes, coffee, cocktails and more. If you're not too scared, you might still have time to try them all.
Here are nine places to get your Halloween treat fix.
Big Top Candy Shop
Where else would you get your Halloween candy other than South Congress' staple Big Top Candy Shop? Pick up all the candy your heart desires or stop by the soda fountain and milkshake bar for a fall-flavored concoction.
Capital City Bakery
Capital City Bakery, on East Cesar Chavez Street, has your spooky cupcake needs covered. With cupcake flavors like "cookies 'n scream," candy corn, "boonilla," "strawberry brains" and the classic pumpkin spice latte cupcake, the bakery has something for everybody. That's not all though—for those who aren't feeling cake, Capital City Bakery is serving up pumpkin pie kolaches and mini pumpkin and pecan pies.
Kerbey Lane Cafe
Kerbey Lane is famous for its seasonal menus and comfort food, and this year is no different. Stop in and try a harvest mimosa, pumpkin pancakes, chili queso fries or sweet potato hash. If you visit the university location, located on 2606 Guadalupe St., you might even get lucky enough to get a caricature.
Milky Way Shakes
Milky Way Shakes, also on East Cesar Chavez, serves a host of space-themed vegan milk shakes year-round but their Halloween shake, the "International Spice Station," takes the cake. The shake, made with a vanilla or chocolate base, blended with pumpkin purée, pecan caramel and topped with gluten-free pie crust, will have you wishing it was fall all year long.
Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop
Featuring a range of October specials, Sugar Mama's Bakeshop has a menu that rotates daily and provides only the freshest of treats. This fall, pick up a brownie at its S. 1st Street location topped with candy pieces or its classic pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake, which is back again this year.
Vegan ice cream shop Sweet Ritual, located on Airport Boulevard, is famous for its ever-changing seasonal scoops. This fall, catch flavors like pistachio rose, peach brown betty or sprinkle galaxy. Whatever you choose, there is a flavor for everyone.
If you're craving a more horror-inspired treat, Tellus Joe located on Windsor Road, is featuring a freaky "silence of the yams" ube (sweet potato) latte, complete with chocolate charcoal whipped cream. This drink ends on Halloween, so don't wait. Oh and don't worry, it's plant-based.
Miss Halloween night at the bar but don't want to go out? The Tigress, located at 100 W North Loop Blvd., is serving a list of Halloween themed cocktails to-go through Nov. 1. The pub is even selling cocktails for six in scorpion bowls for your at-home Halloween party.
From pumpkin bread to donuts to swirl cake, Zucchini Kill has all things Halloween in one place. If you like pumpkin everything, they sell their signature "punk'n spice" that you can add to coffee, pancakes or anything you set your mind to. These creative treats are only available in October, find them at 701 E. 53rd St.
Get the most out of spooky season while you still can!
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As Austinites head into a long Labor Day weekend—in which we honor the contributions of American workers by taking a much-needed Monday off work—typical celebrations may be a bit stymied by social distancing and rules against large gatherings.
But even though that big annual barbecue or Sunday night bash (because in Austin, that's probably a Thing) may not be going on as planned, there are plenty of fun, safe ways to spend time getting some fresh air and relaxation during this holiday.
With the weather forecast calling for scattered rain and mild(ish) temps ranging from the 70s to the mid-90s, it's a great time to get outside and have some fun on your extra day off.
Here are some of our favorite ideas.
Enjoy a flashback to simpler times with a drive-in movie at Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In, which is featuring a "Labor Daze" lineup of two '80s favorites: Ferris Beuller's Day Off and The Princess Bride.
Located in the Mueller neighborhood, Blue Starlite offers a socially distanced way to get out of the house and watch some classics with your favorite passengers. Be a righteous dude and take in a flick as you wish—under the stars.
From the city's website: "A mini version of traditional auto cinemas, Blue Starlite often features two films per night, with the option to add a vintage drive-in speaker and old-fashioned concessions to the package. The Blue Starlite is Austin's one and only Drive-In Movie theater."
Patio time(Charlie L. Harper III)
Hit up one of Austin's stellar patio dining areas for some al fresco drinks and noshes, with no need to rush back to work, head home early or worry about hangovers.
Do some people-watching at Graj Mahal, take in the Lake Austin vista and some Polynesian Tex-Mex at Hula Hut or hang out on the rooftop of 77 Degrees at the Domain, where this rooftop oasis in Rock Rose section of the Domain, offering exotic cocktails, small plates, cushy seating, fans with misters and views of the action below.
Hit the trail3. We're a great city for bikes(The City of Austin)
Take a long bike ride, or a long stroll, on the Walnut Creek Trail System, with more than 10 miles of car-free, stress-free, tree-lined trails stretching from North Austin through downtown. Monday promises sunshine, and the paved trail has plenty of room for social distancing. So get on your bike and ride!
Watch the bats
Mexican free-tail bats in the Austin skylinelive.staticflickr.com
Check out the world's largest urban bat colony on the Congress Avenue bridge at sunset, as we are right in the middle of the best season for watching the city's 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats pour out into the evening to find food.
The spectacular sight never gets old, attracting visitors to the bridge and to kayaks and tubes on Ladybird Lake below. Don't forget to bring your mask and social distance if you're watching it from Congress, but you can also find gorgeous and secluded viewing spots from anywhere along the banks of the lake—or from the boardwalk.
Reserve a spot in the cool waters of Blue Hole
The Blue Hole Swimming Area
The City of Wimberley
About 45 minutes south of Austin near Wimberley, you'll find the cool relaxation of the Blue Hole, located just outside of Wimberley. The 126-acre park includes 4.5 miles of trails, picnic areas, a community pavilion, playscape, basketball court, sand volleyball court, amphitheater and the shady Blue Hole Swimming Area, which stays 75 degrees all year round. Reservations are required for swimming, so make your reservation online here.
Take a Black Austin tour
Take a deep dive in Austin history with a Black Austin tour, developed by Native Austinite and PhD student Javier Wallace, whose roots in Austin go back some 200 years.
From Wallace's post on the city's website: "Black Austin Tours ensures that Black histories, experiences and contributions are included in Austin's story. Black Austin Tours Founder and Guide, Javier Wallace, provides both in-person and virtual experiences that tell the hard truths, including those about some of our most visited places like Barton Springs, Zilker Park and the Texas State Capitol Building. He does this to hold the city accountable and ensure that visitors have a better understanding of the city and the sites and spaces they are visiting while here."
Build a board gameThe Academy of Games
Don't feel like sweating and want to learn something new? Start learning how to build a board game with a free introductory session at The Academy of Games. Fun for kids and adults, these two-hour sessions can last for one intro or several weeks - your call!
From the website: "Designing a game is a launching pad for countless other skills, and a great way to develop socially. Things that would be frustrating or boring become interesting and engaging when they are part of a game you play with others."
Wait - a break from the frustrating and boring? Sign us up!
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