Where is the WEIRDEST spot in AUSTIN?

Oct 18th, 2009, 01:56 AM
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Where is the WEIRDEST spot in AUSTIN?

My husband and I are intrigued by the concept of "Keeping Austin Weird". We're in our 50's and headed to Texas for the first time, for a relaxing getaway.

I am looking forward to feeling the pulse of the city of Austin. What is the WEIRDEST spot in Austin, in YOUR subjective opinion, and why? (Feel free to answer creatively and with your own personal opinion.)
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2009, 04:49 AM
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I'd have to go with Hippie Hollow, but I'm not sure you'd want to go there. Friends took me there in college without telling me what it was - it's a swimming spot full of old naked people.

In a less weird, and more unique way, we love seeing the bats on the Congress Ave. bridge; they fly out every night until the end of the season, literally about a million of them - right over the lake; it's very cool to watch and sort of an event.
volcanogirl is offline  
Oct 18th, 2009, 06:00 AM
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I've lived here for 15 years, and frankly, have never understood the "weird" aspect of Austin.

Like many cities across the U.S., we've got an interesting eclectic mix of people with differing economic and demographic backgrounds.

It may be just the laid back attitude of folks. They're friendly as heck, not afraid to stop and help a stranger.

But with so many moving here from big cities (myself included), looking for a change in lifestyle, this aspect may disappear. I hope not.

Having a nude beach certainly is unique, as are the bats.

Some may think Austin's weirdness comes from its politics. While Texas is well-known for its Republican leanings, Austin is located in the only county in the state that votes Democratic. That's pretty weird, to me.

Hook 'em Horns!
swisshiker is offline  
Oct 18th, 2009, 07:53 AM
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I have to agree with swisshiker. I grew up in Texas, went to the University of Texas in Austin (of course!), married an Austinite and still have lots of relatives in Austin so I'm back there at least once or twice a year. I don't find Austin weird at all--just interesting, eclectic and fun.
Some places you might enjoy visiting are the campus of the University of Texas (guided or self-tour)and walking down Guadalupe Street (the Drag). At 2900 Guadalupe St. is a retro toy and candy store called "Toy Joy". I stopped by there this summer and it was a blast seeing toys and candies from my childhood (the '60's). If you are there over a weekend, you might enjoy seeing the show at Esther's Follies. Unfortunately, if you are going to Austin at this time of year, you've pretty much missed out on the bats.
longhorn55 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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I consider Austin's famous blues club Antone's pretty weird - in a positive sense.

If you want it weirder, drive to Luckenbach.
traveller1959 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2009, 09:03 AM
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You can read all about "Keep Austin Weird" and see a lot of "weird" things on this site:


This is the site of the original founders of the slogan, which has now, of course, been taken over by a corporation that filed for a trademark on the slogan. Exactly the opposite of the true meaning of Keep Austin Weird which was to encourage you to shop locally and stop rampant commercialization.
AustinTraveler is offline  
Oct 19th, 2009, 01:03 AM
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AustinTraveller, I vow to shop (and eat) locally and boycott rampant commercialization! I also like to stay in locally owned b&bs. It has been fascinating to read people's varying answers to the original question, Where is the Weirdest spot in Austin?

We have to change the dates of our trip to Austin, since my foot & toe needs more time to heal. So we can't come in October after all. That's disappointing, but I guess I have more time now to read my Austin guidebook.

Longhorn55: I love retro toy & candy stores...I'll have to check out Toy Joy!

Traveller1959: Tell me more about Austin's famous blues club Antone's...

Please keep Austin Weird til we get there!
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2009, 01:15 AM
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AustinTraveler: I promise NOT to buy an over-sized coffee mug made in China that says "Keep Austin Weird, Support Local Business". That is an interesting web-site that you posted above, thanks for sharing that.
Melissa5 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 03:31 PM
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If you want some weird shopping check out the South Congress area. There are many Austin-style weird stores and great food. And don't forget Hey Cupcake, which is a silver trailer selling killer cupcakes. I also recommend seeing a show at Esther's Follies on 6th Street. It's really weird but hysterically funny. You might need to book in advance.


The bats are great but they always go back to Mexico for the winter. Usually October is the latest they are seen. I think it's weird they would rather be in Mexico than Austin. Why would they rather be ANYWHERE than Austin?

Keep Austin Weird!!
P_M is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 03:36 PM
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One other weird thought--if you will be here around Christmas time please don't miss the 37th street Christmas light. That is by far the weirdest thing in Austin. It's at 37th and Guadelupe. After seeing the lights go to nearby Amy's Ice Cream, which is another weird Austin original. Amy's is on Guadelupe near 37th.


Another treat at Christmas is the Trail of Lights. I'm not sure of the dates on that, but 37th street is lit all thru the season.
P_M is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 04:59 PM
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Maybe we just weren't in the right mood, although we'd really been looking forward to finding a different toy store from all the normal Toys R Us, Target etc, and had made the trip up...Guadalupe I believe...just for Toy Joy. Circled around looking for parking, difficult in that area and the little lot behind the store was full. Found a space in the strip mall behind them and went in expectantly. We've got 3 little grandkids who seemingly have everything, so different is good. we left empty handed. Perhaps ours are too young (4, 2, 2) for what they carried. Perhaps we needed to have the kids with us...perhaps they'd have found plenty, but we were very disappointed. We'd seen it written up in Fodors actually, and I'd meant to comment about that entry when we got back...then never got to it. Keep your expectations in line...maybe ours were too high so we were correspondingly disappointed.

Not to worry...I went and blew all that and more at Patagonia. That was happy shopping.

I heard there were some cute boutiques on 2nd, but we ran out of time...all the more reason to go back.
OO is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 06:52 PM
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i agree that there isn't THAT much wierd about Austin, except maybe Leslie and Kinky Friedman...

If you have a car, enjoy the beautiful parts of Austin - the surrounding lake areas. Drive Mopac to RR 2222 (careful) then at 620 turn left, head over past Mansfield Dam, through lakeway (where I live) and then turn Left on HWY 71 and head back to Austin, via Southwest Parkway. Or, turn right on 71 and hit a few wineries...
Austin is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 06:53 PM
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Oops, meant to add, when you turn left on 620, go about a mile and turn right on Comanche trail and stop at the oasis and have a drink. Beautiful place.
Austin is offline  
Apr 30th, 2010, 08:00 PM
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We are finally headed for Austin! (The original trip got postponed.) We'll be in Austin the first week in May...so I'm looking forward to discovering for myself what is the weirdest spot in Austin!
Melissa5 is offline  
Apr 30th, 2010, 09:13 PM
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Not exactly weird, but very uniquely Austin, is the Texas State Cemetery. It probably helps to know some Texas history – lots of Texas heroes (including modern ones) are buried there. http://www.cemetery.state.tx.us/

Also uniquely Austin are the moonlight towers - street lighting towers from the 1890s that are 165 feet tall and still in use They are scattered around town in various locations. For more information and a location map go here –http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/library/ahc/faq4.htm

The Umlauf Sculpture Garden near Zilker Park might qualify as weird. http://www.umlaufsculpture.org/

You should eat at Chuy's on Barton Springs Road for the Elvis decor (as well as the food). That is their original location, although now they have restaurants in several Texas cities, as well as two in Tennessee (go figure - I guess because of Elvis). http://www.chuys.com/#/story

The same people own Hula Hut (which is on Lake Austin – I love their Hawaiian fajitas!). http://www.hulahut.com/

They own Shady Grove as well. http://www.theshadygrove.com/
Cranachin is offline  
Apr 30th, 2010, 11:36 PM
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Thanks cranachin!
Melissa5 is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 06:29 AM
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My favorite weird spot in Austin is the Cathedral of Junk. It's truly amazing. However, it's a little too weird for the new yuppies who have moved into the neighborhood so the City is now trying to get the owner to bring the Cathedral up to code. Never mind that's it's been okay and structurally sound for the past 20+ years.

Make sure you call Vince first cause the Cathedral is sometimes closed now when Vince and his volunteers are busy bringing things up to code.

AustinTraveler is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 06:46 AM
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>>>Tell me more about Austin's famous blues club Antone's...<<<

Antone's is the world's famous blues club. Founded by Clifford Antone (1949-2006), not only the greatest blues players from all parts of the US (e.g. Fats Domino, Muddy Waters, Albert Collins, Jimmy Reed, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, ZZ Top) performed at Antone's, the club's band produced some really great blues musicians, with Austin's most famous son, Stevie Ray Vaughn, as the most successful one. 96-year-old Pinetop Perkins still plays at Antone's.

With this history in mind, we travelled from Germany to Austin, found the club at the corner of 5th and Lavaca and what did we see? - A pretty weird and surprisingly small industrial hall with a corrugated iron roof. Inside, it is very down-to-earth, but the music is fascinating. Just weird. One evening, a funk band was playing and a couple of boys out of the audience were brilliantly performing breakdances, just in the middle of the hall, where the found a spot on the cement floor. The weird thing was, the breakdancers were white.

For a weird night, this is the place.

Echnaton is offline  
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