This year, check out all the fun activities Austin has to offer.
By Madison Matous, Photos courtesy of Danielle Chloe Potts, Reese Vonderschmidt, Austin Central Library and Mint & Maple
Making New Year’s resolutions is a popular tradition, though some might admit they’re somewhat pointless. They can be as hard to manage as a toddler’s nap-time routine and are notorious, much like that last cinnamon roll on Christmas morning, for not sticking around too long. Instead of making a resolution you won’t want to keep, this year, make the decision to try new things and push the boundaries of your comfort zone. To start, here’s a handy checklist.
Go on a distillery tour. Distilleries are a fairly new enterprise in Texas. The first permit was issued in 1995, and it wasn’t until 2008 that the industry really started to take root in the Austin area. To make a day of it, head to Dripping Springs, Texas, where four distilleries, including Deep Eddy Vodka, offer tastings and tours. For a tour closer to home, Still Austin Whiskey will give you a behind-the-scenes look at its milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, barreling and bottling process.
Plant succulents in dinosaur planters. Succulents are just about the easiest plants to keep alive, hence the main reason they’ve become increasingly popular on Austin porch fronts and patios in the past few years. The almost self-sufficient plants make great additions to even the smallest residences, and brightly colored dinosaur planters just add to the fun. Get your very own dinosaur planter from Etsy store Plaid Pigeon, based in Austin, and explore a treasure trove of beautiful succulent arrangements at East Austin succulent shop Succulent Native.
Go stargazing. This year, take the time to slow down and look up at the stars. Free open-to-the-public star parties are offered on the University of Texas campus Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights throughout the school year. For a more romantic evening, consider a midnight cruise on Lady Bird Lake. Starting in mid-March, Lone Star Riverboat takes to the water for a scenic tour each Friday at 10:30 p.m.
Say hello to the peacocks. A mile or so west of the hustle and bustle of MoPac and 35th Street, step into a fairytale eco-land complete with a cottage, quaint gardens, lily-pad-spotted ponds and peacocks. Mayfield Park wasn’t always open to the public. Mary Mayfield Gutsch and her husband once lived on the grounds after they inherited the land from her father in 1922. The property backs up to an inlet of Lake Austin. Thirteen years later, they were gifted a pair of peacocks, whose descendants roam the property today.
Sign up for a library card. Don’t we all wish we read more? Head to the new Austin Central Library to sign up for a library card, which is free with proof of residency, and while you’re there, gaze in awe at all the amenities the library has to offer. Besides hosting more than half a million books, the library also has a rooftop butterfly garden; reading porches; access to new technology, including a 3-D printer; the Recycled Reads gift shop; a bike garage and a soon-to-be-open café, Cookbook.
Dine in secret. Started by three girlfriends, Foster ATX, an underground supper club, is a unique experience that brings together people in intimate settings to eat, drink and listen to great music. Whether you go alone or with a friend, you’ll more than likely leave a gathering with new pals and shared memories. Some Foster ATX gatherings focus on specific meals, like a garden brunch or sushi dinner, while others focus on spotlighting local musicians.
Learn a new craft. In the last couple years, adult coloring books have become a popular way to wind down and relax. If you’re ready to amp up your artistic side, take a class—from Watercolor 101 and Modern Calligraphy 101 to Brush Lettering 101—with Mint & Maple. The classes, hosted in Austin at Patricia’s Table, are a great way to meet other creative minds, and come catered with a set of take-home supplies, as well as snacks and wine.
Look out for summer. It’s never too early to start planning how you’ll stay cool when temperatures start to skyrocket. Before you head over for a Splash Party Movie Night at Deep Eddy Pool, grab a burger, some crinkle fries and maybe a Tiki cocktail or two at the new nearby and aptly named restaurant, Pool Burger.