In Winter 2020, pre-coronavirus, we spent a month in Austin, Texas. These are the things that nobody told us before visiting the city known for live music!
There is only one main freeway that goes through the city of Austin, and it seems like there’s terrible traffic all times of day. People drive fast and aggressively all over the city. In addition, it’s tough to find parking spots in most of the popular areas such as South Congress, downtown, Rainey Street, etc.
I’m from Southern California so I’m no stranger to terrible traffic and aggressive drivers, but this was on another level.
As it turns out, many people in Austin suffer from bad allergies. Austin is one of several cities with a year-round allergy season. It was nothing we couldn’t solve for ourselves with a bit of Claritin but our dogs (who typically have allergies) were itchier than usual.
The H-E-B is Everywhere
We stayed in Franklin Park, and discovered the H-E-B is one of the biggest grocery chains in Texas. We actually found very few other grocery stores! H-E-B is pronounced as such, not “HEB”. It’s a Texas-only chain that shows its Texas pride!
H-E-B stands for its founders’ name, Howard E. Butts. You can see why they abbreviated it. Don’t call it the HEB or you WILL be made fun of by locals.
Moon Towers Are Scattered Around the City
These moon towers, famously featured in the movie “Dazed and Confused”, were installed starting in 1894. They were intended to harness the moonlit to light the city.
According to Austin Not, these carbon-arc bulbs were so bright, in fact, that locals worried about potential crop overgrowth and wore umbrellas at night to protect their skin. What actually happened was that people kept climbing the towers and falling to their death. There are several controversies circulating around these towers, but they are cool to look at nonetheless.
Many People Drive Domestic Cars
I’ve never seen so many American-made cars in my life! Trucks, Camaros, and Corvettes seem to line every street corner. We didn’t see nearly as many non-American made cars as we do at home in Southern California.
You Should Eat at P. Terry’s
P. Terry’s is one of the best value hamburger chains I’ve ever been to, and yes that category includes In-N-Out. We were able to eat for under $10 and they have walk-up & drive-thru service at most locations. This is a chain that’s only located in Austin. They are also open late for your bar-hopping adventures.
Yes, this is a Californian telling you that P. Terry’s>In-N-Out. If you want more info, check out their website.
There Are Tacos & Coffee EVERYWHERE
You’ve probably heard about the taco-loving culture of Austin, but there are seriously hundreds of taco stands and restaurants across the city. They all offer a unique twist, and most of them are absolutely DELICIOUS. Check out our list of the best taco shops.
The coffee shops in Austin are also aplenty, and many offer unique twists like live music. Best of all, they serve beer and usually have live music/trivia nearly every night.
Austin is SUPER Dog-Friendly
There are so many places in Austin (like coffee shops and parks) who allow dogs! It’s a great place to own a dog, especially if your dog likes to go out and meet new people and other dogs.
It seems like anywhere with an outdoor patio/area allows dogs, and nobody seems to mind. We loved having our dogs in Austin for this reason. We took them to Rainey Street, Zilker Park, and many more places.
What Do You Think of Austin?
What are some things about Austin, Texas that nobody told you before you visited? Tell us in the comments below!