1. Don’t waste your time with bad Tex-Mex.
Sorry, Chuy’s lovers — and that includes a lot of people — but your chips are soft, your food greasy, and your location on Barton Springs definitely not worth the wait and noise. I know it’s an Austin institution, but there are far better options out there.
Do enjoy all of Austin’s culinary delights
2. Don’t drink on East 6th Street
Also known as Dirty Sixth, this part of downtown is probably the busiest on a Saturday night, frequented by UT students. While it is worthwhile to go at least once, Austin has so many other options for alcohol-fueled fun. Not to mention APD may try to arrest you for the heinous crime of jaywalking… when the street is practically closed off.
Do drink on Rainey Street
Take a block of run-down houses, fix them up like new, and add a few bars and you’ve got Rainey Street. Although students and professionals do make the nightlife here a little crowded, the atmosphere is decidedly better than that a few blocks away. Not to mention Via 313 offers some amazing pizza.
3. Don’t stay inside. Ever.
As UT students learn their freshman year, we Texans keep our buildings far too cold to combat the raging summer heat. Personally, I can’t stand going back and forth between 70 and 105 degrees F at all hours of the day. Reminds me of walking the endless halls of the malls in Dubai.
Do everything you possibly can outside
Wake up for an early free swim at Barton Springs Pool, followed by a run or cycling Town Lake Trail, then stretch and play with the puppies at Auditorium Shores. Take a road trip and hike Enchanted Rock, or stay close and stick with Mount Bonnell.
4. Don’t think of Austin as part of Texas
It is, and it isn’t. In a sense, we’re the most Texan place in the state: we have the capitol building, lots of money, and good ol’ boys dressed in full cowboy regalia keeping an eye on the cattle (Bevo, anyway). The government is nothing but conservative, in their policies and even on watch on the capitol steps..On the other hand…
Do embrace the weirdness only Austin can offer
Keep Austin Weird. Just do it. Stroll through the Cathedral of Junk and don’t ask why. Cover yourself in body paint and dance down Congress while playing the harmonica during Friday night happy hour. Listen to some less-than-mainstream live music that will never be heard outside of Sixth Street (though most it will, hopefully).
5. Don’t get discouraged by our Republican lawmakers
In order to subvert democracy, our handsomest politicians came up with a plan to completely incorporate a blue area like Travis County into red Texas; the city of Austin is divided into five districts, all predominantly Republican. In addition to gerrymandering, Austin is famous for its conservative policies in schools, in particular setting the standards for textbooks across the country and preaching abstinence-only education.
Do attend at least one of our famous festivals
What better way to distract yourself from a few individuals in Texas government whose outdated and uninformed opinions no one really cares about than by learning more about the world, or drowning your sorrows with a bottle of Shiner Bock? SXSW brings in artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, filmmakers, and the like from all over the world. Austin City Limits (ACL) provides live music underneath a beautiful blue Texas sky. Eeyore’s Birthday, with its namesake alone, embodies Keep Austin Weird.