Austin, Texas is famous for its barbecue, breakfast tacos and music festivals. The city’s boutique hotels, including Hotel Saint Cecilia and Hotel San José have become Instagram darlings in their own right – Saint Cecilia’s poolside “Soul” sign deserves an account all its own. But while the city’s well-trodden attractions are still worth experiencing, veering off Austin’s hit list is also encouraged. Here, we take a look at some of the more unusual spots to visit during your trip to the Texas capital. After all, ‘Keep Austin Weird’ is the city’s unofficial motto, so… go ahead and weird out.
Cathedral of Junk
4422-4424 Lareina Dr
Hi, hello, and welcome to the strangest thing you’ll see in Austin. The Cathedral of Junk, which sits in the backyard of a small house on a suburban street, is the brainchild of Vince Hannermann, who began building the fort of odds and ends in 1988. Today, it stands as a clubhouse of sorts, built from castoffs and illuminated by working neon signs.
1601 Waterston Avenue
Set in Austin’s Clarksville neighbourhood, Josephine House is a brunch spot (as well as a casual spin-off of Jeffrey’s next door) with a rocking cocktail menu. The libations, such as Break on Through, Little Less Conversation and Drunk In Love, are all named after songs. Beyond brunch, head over on Mondays for steak frites night, which is so tasty, it’s like to inspire a ballad to beef.
Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery
2250 E Hwy 290, Dripping Springs
Located just outside Austin, Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery is also a tasting room and a bar with outdoor space. In other words, bring friends and lots of them. Sample vodka flavors such as red grapefruit, lemon, and peach, then order a cocktail served in a Mason jar and head to the backyard for a couple of rounds of cornhole.
Yippee Ki Yay in Austin Pease Park
1100 Kingsbury St
Built with saplings gathered from the area, Yippee Ki Yay is a public art piece dreamed up by sculptor Patrick Dougherty, who has placed more than 275 Stickwork projects in public spaces around the world, from Australia to France. When it came to assembly, Dougherty got a hand from over 200 Pease Park Conservancy volunteers. Go at dusk when the woven branches are illuminated and wander through the maze created by the five individual structures. Eventually, the installation will be dismantled and used as mulch in the park, so check it out while you can.
The Avenue B Grocery and Market
4403 Avenue B
Grab a sandwich at the historic Avenue B Grocery and Market, which is the oldest and longest-running grocery store in Austin – it dates back to 1909. Classic sammies include the King Combo (roast beef, ham, turkey and three kinds of cheese) and the Queen B (avocado, cheese, mushrooms and jalapeños). Add a deviled egg for only 46 cents and eat on the porch for a true taste of old-school Austin.
Featured image is courtesy Geoff Duncan of Visit Austin