Are you really a local if you've never spent the weekend soaking up the hot summer sun and lounging on Lady Bird Lake? The pastime is so popular that if you find yourself cruising over one of the Lake's many bridges on a weekend, you're likely to see hundreds of people clumped together on the water in a formation locals call "Party Island."
With temperatures in the mid-90s this week, the Colorado River's cooling waters welcome paddleboarders, boaters and kayakers alike. Though it is well known that swimming is prohibited in Lady Bird Lake, nothing can stop partiers from perching on the shallow sandbar that leads into Barton Springs Pool—not even a global pandemic.
Like every sunny weekend, paddle boarders, kayakers, boaters, tubers and bridge-jumpers gathered at the intersection between Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake.
The lake is adjacent to the Lady Bird Lake Trail, which is also a busy recreation destination for runners, bikers and lovers of nature.
Jumping from the bridge is prohibited by the city, though you can see groups jumping off the bridge nearly every weekend.
Dozens of lake-goers gather to jump the bridge—performing flips and tricks into the water below.
Zach Melton, a 22-year-old DJ that goes by the name Maniac, lives in the Zilker Park area and jumped the bridge for the first time on Sunday. A Dallas native, Melton said he loves the nature, scenery and people that live in Austin. "I love the vibes of this city," Melton said.
The love of Lady Bird Lake transcends species—dogs can often be spotted enjoying the lake with their humans.
Or spot some other four-legged friends—Lady Bird Lake is an excellent area to turtle-watch.
People-watch long enough and you'll probably see a few people fall off their boards.
August is the hottest month of the year in Austin, so Lady Bird Lake season is in full swing. There's still time to enjoy the greenery and water sports that Austinites love so much.
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Summertime sure does fly by, doesn't it? It's time to jam-pack as many summer activities as you can while there is still about a month left before school starts up again and the grind gets going. Luckily, Austin is full of places to visit that will fill your season full of memories.
To get you started, check out some of these seasonably-fit museums, galleries and snacks.
Beyond Van Gogh, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd.
Like the name suggests, Beyond Van Gogh Austin takes visitors deeper into the Dutch painter's work by surrounding them in his post-impressionist world. Aptly taking place at the Starry Night Pavilion at the Circuit of the Americas, this immersive exhibit allows Vincent Van Gogh's masterpieces to be "freed from frames" as they are projected onto the walls and floors for guests to explore. Van Gogh's thoughts, dreams and words are set to a symphonic score to drive the narrative as you walk through the rooms, giving visitors insight into the tortured artist's swirly world. Adult tickets start at $46.99, children at $28.99 and it offers student and military discounts while the museum runs through Sept. 5.
Museum of Ice Cream, 11506 Century Oaks Terrace
The runaway hit from New York City has made its way to Austin, complete with a rainbow sprinkle pool, banana forest and bright-pink-everything exterior. The Museum of Ice Cream is a favorite of major celebrities—Beyoncé, Ryan Reynolds and the Kardashian Krew have all been spotted at the New York Location. The whimsical museum promises an undisclosed "Texas twist" at its new Austin location, which also has an on-brand café that serves Museum of Ice Cream original treats. You didn't think you'd leave without ice cream, did you? Tickets run $39 per person.
The Selfie Galleries, 3220 Amy Donovan Plaza
Looking for a place to get that perfect summer selfie? Look no further, because the newly-opened Selfie Galleries has 20 wildly decorated different rooms to roam through, capturing an unforgettable photo of yourself and your faves in each one. The backdrops were made so you can flex your creative muscle and make some documented memories at the same time. The gallery also hosts mixers for all age groups so you can meet local Austinites in a safe setting. Tickets start at $20 for an hour, $40 for two, depending on how many people you bring along.
Wonderspaces, 1205 Sheldon Cove
The self-proclaimed "new home for extraordinary art," Wonderspaces is an interactive art gallery like you've never experienced before. With rotating exhibits that you can touch, Instagram and ogle, the artwork is designed for everyone to create their own unique experience when visiting. Virtual reality, a house of mirrors, anonymous conversations and a dragon made of teabags are just a few of the wild installations that make this museum what it is—plus, you can enjoy some local brews at the Wonderspaces Bar. Adults can visit for $24, kids for $15 or you can get an annual pass for $99 and visit each new piece.
Milk Bar Bakery, delivery only
Maybe you want an experience without the outing. Thanks to ghost kitchens, the brainchild of Christina Tosi came all the way from The Big Apple to the Lone Star State. The well-celebrated Milk Bar Bakery is now available in Austin through third-party delivery only, meaning you can get the full line of milk bar cookies, bar pie, truffle crumb cakes and its famous layered birthday cakes through UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash and Postmates only. If you haven't had these rich cookies yet, it's time to fire up that delivery app and get to ordering!
Soak up the rest of summer while you can!
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With at least two months of extremely summer high temperatures ahead, Austinites in search of respite may find it in the form of a hotel pool day pass.
Although pricier than a day at Barton Springs or Deep Eddy pools, day passes often come with perks, such as free parking and the option to drink poolside. Here are 13 local hotels where you can cool down:
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sun., $20 Mon.-Thurs and $40 Fri.-Sun., reservations required
The South Congress mainstay offers passes for three-hour blocks at its iconic kidney-shaped pool. There's a pool bar, and kids under 5 can join in for free. There are also adult night swim passes available for a discounted price.
10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., $25, reservations required
This chic South Austin hotel, just down the street from Barton Springs, offers four-hour pool passes on weekdays, with access to the full hotel menu, shade for summer reading and buckets of beer.
Colton House Hotel
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sun., $20, reservations required
This brand new boutique hotel on South Congress offers daytime pool passes, parking and towel service included. Kids under 2 are free. There's also a coffee and cocktail bar, Simona's.
East Austin Hotel
12-4 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 12-4 p.m. Sun., $40, reservations required
Nestled along East Sixth Street, this hotel offers a hidden escape, with complimentary parking and poolside food and drink service for four-hour reservation holders. Kids under 5 are free.
6 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., $150-$600, reservations required
Austinites can reserve a cabana at this luxury downtown hotel's rooftop pool and enjoy unique perks, like an automated sunscreen kiosk, complimentary Evian facial spritzes and chilled towels. Cabanas come outfitted with a 50-inch television and provide great skyline views.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Thurs and Sun., $25, reservations required
This historic boutique hotel in West Campus offers daytime pool passes, with access to the hotel restaurant, Goodall's.
12-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., $40 for day pass, $100 for daybed, $200 for cabana, reservations required
This downtown pool features the Edge Pool, four floors above Congress Avenue and marked with a Texas state outline. Locals can reserve cabanas or book a spa treatment, which comes with free pool access Monday through Thursday.
Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
11 a.m.-sundown Mon.-Sun., $38 for day pass, $100-$500 for cabanas, reservations required
High above Rainey Street, this hotel pool offers choice views of Lady Bird Lake, complimentary sunscreen and rentable cabanas that can fit groups of up to 12 people.
10 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., $40, reservations required
This instantly recognizable hotel offers half- and full-day passes to its heated salt water infinity pool, which overlooks the Congress Avenue bridge and Lady Bird Lake. Complimentary parking and access to the hotel's Veracruz walk-up window included.
Omni Austin Hotel Downtown
9 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Sun., $35, reservations required
This downtown hotel's rooftop pool is another hidden gem, with complimentary parking and food and drink service available.
South Congress Hotel
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., $30, reservations required
Surrounded by lush gardens and overlooking South Congress Avenue, this rooftop pool pass comes with free parking and access to the hotel restaurant, Cafe No Sé.
11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. $30, reservations required
This hotel wet deck, high above downtown, offers pool access, rental cabanas, tanning shelves and a pair of outdoor showers to rinse off at the end of the day.
The Westin Austin
1-9 p.m. Mon.-Sun, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun., $40 for two reserved lounge chairs, $70 for daybed, $200-$300 for cabana, reservations required
This downtown hotel pool pass comes with reserved poolside lounge chairs and access to Azul, the tallest hotel rooftop bar in the city.
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