Let me begin by saying I love Austin. I could probably write a blog a week on this vibrant city. We live a mere 55-minute drive away so we can be there in no time- depending on the dreaded traffic on I35. We recently had family visit so before they flew out of town, we opted on a day away in the city.
Austin has so much to offer for everyone, eclectic shopping, amazing food choices, the arts and of course the amazing music scene – what’s not to love!!! This visit we chose a more laid-back approach which had to of course include bats. Family from out of town just has to see the bats in Austin……
The State Capital
Whether it’s a quick visit to Austin or a long stay a visit to the State Capital is a must. This is a beautiful building with lovely grounds all of which are worth exploring for an hour or two. I have been many times, but I am always thrilled to visit, I love standing in the rotunda under the dome. The star in the dome looms 218 feet above and measures eight feet from point to point- thoroughly Texas!!
From here you can opt to take a guided tour or follow the provided information for a self-guided tour. Be sure to check out the House of Representatives Chamber; behind the speakers desk hangs the flag from 1836 Battle of San Jacinto.
In Need of Refreshments.................
Just a short walk down from the State Capital is the Driskill Hotel. I absolutely love the place and especially love their bar and happy hour. We opted to spend a couple of hours enjoying delightful refreshments that included half price bar snacks- the dates with bacon and blue cheese are a must !!
I highly recommend a visit here especially if you are not from Texas the atmosphere is one of old time Texas nostalgia.
Finally, refreshed and ready we decided it was time to see some bats. If you do decide to see the bats and spend the night, I highly recommend The Hyatt Regency. This hotel is literally a few minutes’ walk from Congress Bridge where of course the bat colony is. I chose the hotel as it is within walking distance and has a great view of Town Lake. I was pleasantly surprised at the updates of the hotel and the excellent service. The view from our room was excellent, the rooms clean and very well appointed. Another great reason to stay in the deal they offer on breakfast. For $15 you can build your own omelet or enjoy 3 delicious tacos and a killer bloody Mary- best hotel breakfast around!!!
In 1980 renovation of Congress Ave. Bridge in Austin transformed the area into the perfect summer spot for Mexican Free-Tailed Bats. Locals love the bats and visitors flock to the bridge throughout the summer months. I first visited with my two children when they were 5 and 6 and they loved the site of the bats flowing out into the night air. I though it was crowded 20 years ago but on this last visit I realized just what a tourist phenomenon the bats of Austin have become. We arrived around 8:20 right before sundown and the regular viewing area on the grassy hill was overflowing. Uptop on the bridge there was no spots to be had. The crowd waits in anticipation as the first “scouts” emerge to check out the night sky and then…………streams of bats flow from under the bridge. It really is quite a sight to see. Camera wise I was not equipped but take it from me it’s worth seeing.
To end the night walk or grab a scooter and head to The Cedar Door. This is a great place for a late-night dinner and drinks. There is a decent late night menu and the service was great. Enjoy the signature Mexican margarita to end your quick stay in Austin- another great trip to an always great town!!!
If you can be sure to check out Austin and see the bats, enjoy some Texan hospitality at The Driskill and kayak on Town Lake it’s a blast !!!
Exploring our world one trip at a time................................