Downtown Austin for Pedestrians
October 14, 2022 12:03 AM   Subscribe

I’ll be in downtown Austin from October 21-26. I will be staying downtown and conferencing downtown. I won’t have a car, but I would like to walk and use transit to experience some of the neat things Austin has to offer.

Some great suggestions here and here. Any additional local events and or walkable/transit accessible vintage shops are a bonus!
posted by Juniper Toast to Travel & Transportation around Austin, TX (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: P.S. is there a local website that features “Best Of” as voted by local folks?
posted by Juniper Toast at 12:05 AM on October 14, 2022

One thing to know as a tourist on transit is that the 801 and 803 are dramatically nicer to use than other buses -- they get dedicated lanes and can hold traffic lights, and as a result they run often and (mostly) on time.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:40 AM on October 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

I don't see anyone talking about the bats under Congress street bridge. They come out at dusk and are still around in October. You should be able to walk there from downtown.
posted by soelo at 6:21 AM on October 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

There are a few vintage shops on North Loop Blvd, running west from the intersection with Duval. Looks like you could take the #7 bus there.

On the University of Texas campus, you can visit the Harry Ransom Center and see a Gutenberg bible, an original copy of the Canterbury Tales, and the very first photograph ever taken; they always have interesting rotating exhibits there as well.
posted by adamrice at 6:47 AM on October 14, 2022 [4 favorites]

Seconding the Ransom Center. I took colleagues there who have scant historical knowledge or curiosity, and they were amazed.
posted by Caxton1476 at 8:27 AM on October 14, 2022

Local website with "Best Of" information: alt-weekly Austin Chronicle. Here's their 2022 picks.
posted by mersen at 9:12 AM on October 14, 2022

The Chronicle's best-of list is just a list of its advertisers.
posted by adamrice at 9:32 AM on October 14, 2022

There are also a million little motorized scooters you can rent and run around on. I've been there for a work a bunch, can't remember what they are called but they seem popular.
posted by greta simone at 9:46 AM on October 14, 2022

Response by poster: For anybody who references this question in the future, I stayed downtown and went on a local walking tour discovered through Airbnb Experience. I walked across the bridge to South Congress, and enjoyed breakfast tacos and margaritas at Joann's. I window shopped along South Congress, and stopped in at Maufrais to do a bit of shopping for hat bands, and made my way through the masses at Allens Boots. I walked over to the Greetings From Austin mural.

October 22 turned out to be too late to see the bats. I waited for two hours under the Congress Avenue bridge (6:30 PM to 8:30 PM) and the bats didn't come out. Perhaps they'd gone to Mexico, a fellow bat watcher wondered if it was too windy. I gave up and went to Iron Works Barbecue for dinner.

When I wasn't conferencing, I explored a few restaurants in East Austin (via Uber) and had a Texas-shaped waffle at The Driskill Hotel. It was delicious and I'm happy I embraced my inner tourist.

As an aside, the Formula 1 race was happening that weekend. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this wasn't on the radar of MeFites. I was grateful I had booked my hotel months ago, and most bars/restaurants were heaving over the weekend. I didn't dare get one one of those scooters as I could not risk an injury in a foreign country.

I got in a LOT of steps and relied on Uber to get to East Austin.
posted by Juniper Toast at 11:04 PM on November 1, 2022

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