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orlandouprise

Visiting Austin for the first time

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We will be arriving Friday November 16th at noon and traveling to San Antonio on Sunday November the 18th at noon. I have 3 kids, ages 14,11 and 8. Any suggestions on must see or do's will be greatly appreciated. Staying DT . Thanks in advance!

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Go to the Capital, get BBQ, get Torchy's, go to Barton Springs, take the lake walk along Lady Bird, go to a museum on Campus and walk campus, eat more BBQ.

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On 10/22/2018 at 8:31 AM, orlandouprise said:

We will be arriving Friday November 16th at noon and traveling to San Antonio on Sunday November the 18th at noon. I have 3 kids, ages 14,11 and 8. Any suggestions on must see or do's will be greatly appreciated. Staying DT . Thanks in advance!

It’s been a couple weeks since I checked in, but I see you haven’t left yet.  I’d say downtown night life is probably the biggest reason for leisure travel to Austin, but the age of your troupe precludes that I presume.

For history, there’s the Capitol building and the Texas State History (Bullock) Museum a few blocks North of the Capitol on Congress.  It’s a pretty good museum – especially considering it is based on the history of a single state.  It has The Spirit of Texas theater with special effects in the auditorium during the film.  Kids like it.  It’s a separate theater from the Imax in the same building.  Across the street from the Texas History Museum at the edge of the UT campus is the Blanton Museum of Art.  It functions as Austin’s main art museum.  The LBJ Presidential Museum is not too far from Blanton on the UT campus as well.

SoCo on South Congress just South of Downtown across the river is a really popular destination for shopping and people watching.  It’s kid friendly and mainly a day time thing to do with plenty of lunch/dinner options.

The 2nd St. District is also popular and is now anchored  on the West end by the new Austin Central Library.  SoCo is eclectic and more interesting to me, but the 2nd St District has a decent urban vibe and makes for a good walking tour of Downtown.

The nightly Congress Ave. bridge bat flight is an amazing sight and very popular with visitors.  But the peak bat watching season is in August.  The bats start heading a little further South to Mexico in November.  So I don’t know if there’s much left of the colony in November.

There are more great restaurants and food trailer areas than I can keep up with.  You’ll need to research this a little based on what food you like, and have some alternative places chosen because some of the more popular restaurants get ridiculously crowded (as in a three hour wait at Franklin BBQ).  But I would definitely pick places specializing in beef brisket and Tex-Mex/breakfast tacos.  The area just East of Downtown and I-35 is where a lot of the cool restaurants/food trailers and microbreweries have set up now.  This is classic Austin Hipster World and hyper-gentrification.

There are a lot of nice county parks along Lake Travis.  But they have been flooded recently and temporarily closed.  They may be opening up again by mid-November.  A trip to Lake Travis provides some nice Texas Hill Country scenery.  A stop at Mt. Bonnell along Lake Austin provides a good view of the city and Hill Country as well.  Kids like this place as well It’s a city park with a trail that includes 100 steps to the top.

I also take folks to the Alamo and Riverwalk in San Antonio as well since it's a short drive away.

Those are the main places I take visitors to during short visits to Austin.  One thing to keep in mind is that Austin’s traffic is absolutely horrendous for a Metro of 2+ million.  So try not to plan on much driving around peak rush hour.  I commute from the far suburbs to downtown for work, and just getting to work can make a grown man cry.   

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