Texas, Day 4, Part 2: Austin’s Happenin’ Downtown

The capital city of Texas also pretty much draws lots of free-thinkers.  Downtown fills up fast, after sundown.  There are dozens of places to unwind, but the streets themselves are not the least among them.  Even one of the swankiest venues in town, the ‘W’ Hotel, can claim to have a statue of one of Texas’ freest thinkers:


What restored my own capacity for free, or any other kind of, thinking, was a stop at a place recommended by Kate a few weeks ago:


I was not disappointed.  La Condesa has the best Mexican-German Fusion cuisine imaginable.  I had a Torta Ahogada de Carnitas.  I repeat myself; this was the best ever.  The chain has a presence in every major Texas city, plus Napa Valley and Phoenix, and is coming soon to Hollywood.

There is a spiritual side to Austin as well.  One place for this is the Austin Baha’i Center.  There is also a Buddhist temple, somewhere over on the West Side, and the Cathedral of St. Mary.


The movers and shakers have their shrine also.  Driskill Hotel is associated with both LBJ and the Bushes.


As for me, I prefer to do my hobnobbing and deal-making in a good coffee house.  In Austin, one can’t beat Halcyon.


For those who gather when it’s “too late” to drink coffee or chai, there is the original Austin honky-tonk:


Lambert’s is right across the street from La Condesa, so dinner and a show is easy in downtown Austin!  If one still needs dessert, after all this, there’s Lundberg Bakery.


Austin’s architecture does feature a blend of styles and periods, which somehow don’t seem to clash.


There is, as in any great city, a sense of upward striving.


I found that Austin, like Fort Worth, merits not one, but two or three days of exploration and enjoyment. I had much to ponder, while walking up to the Bob Bullock Museum of Texas History.

60 thoughts on “Texas, Day 4, Part 2: Austin’s Happenin’ Downtown

  1. I love the older architecture. The cathedral looks very much like a Methodist church here in town…they have the same “rose” window and tower. So…how many coffee houses were visited on this trip? LOL! And which was your favorite..not necessarily for the coffee, but for the ambiance?


    • Actually, I’ve sat down and had coffee in very few. My photo of Halcyon was more a mental note to myself for the next time I’m in Austin. My favourite this trip, in terms of beverages, is Amante Coffee, in Boulder.


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  3. We don’t go downtown very often, because I don’t like crowds, but it’s kind of impressive to see the streets full of pedestrians at night. It’s not as safe as it used to be, but where IS? I don’t advise coming here in the fall when the Indy Car race is happening, unless you like BIG crowds and high prices. Some of the hotels raise their rates by 300%. I hate that, but a lot of the people who travel around to those races have lots of money.


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