by Melissa Brightwell, Vayable Intern
“Keep Austin Weird” is a slogan that can be seen on T-shirts, bumper stickers, and hats displayed by proud locals around the city. The slogan, originally used to promote small, local businesses, encompasses the vibrant and eclectic culture of the live music capital.
At first glance, Austin may seem as normal as the next city: big buildings, traffic, construction. But look a little closer out your window as you’re arriving and you may notice some subtle oddities: a man riding his unicycle in the traffic, a street sign that says “Caution Zombies Ahead!”, or maybe you’re lucky enough to be in town during a city festival or race in which case you may see hordes of people running around in all sorts of crazy outfits (or lack thereof)!
To experience a full day of “weirdness” in Austin, start off in South Congress browsing some of the funky thrift stores, unique food trailers, coffee shops, and colorful artwork that give this part of the city a quirky and fun vibe. While in this area, be sure to stop by the Cathedral of Junk! This “cathedral” was started by a local Austinite in his backyard over 20 years ago and is made completely of recycled garbage (toys, appliances, pipes, etc.).
Cool off at the Alamo Drafthouse with a beer and a show. This is by far our favorite place to go for movies, and on “Weird Wednesday” they show bizarre cult classics. They also always have various sing-a-longs, quote-a-longs, and other performances in addition to the current movies in theater.
Be sure to hit up Lady Bird Lake and Barton Springs afterward to go for a run, swim, or kayaking trip on the lake. If you time this activity around sunset, you may get to witness hundreds of bats emerging from their home under the Congress bridge. If there happens to be a full moon that night, head to Barton Springs after watching the bats and be prepared to howl and dance with the circle of drummers paying homage to the moon.
Grab a few drinks to end the night right at one of the “weird” local bars around the city. If it is a Sunday, stop by Ginny’s Little Longhorn for Chicken Shit Bingo (yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like; if the Chicken shits on your number, you win!). If you feel like celebrating Christmas, hit up Lala’s Little Nugget, where you can celebrate Christmas everyday of the year. To experience a lot of different bars, spend some time around the infamous 6th street, where the street closes on weekends for people to roam freely from bar to bar.
So it has come to it – come rain, come shine. SXSW starts tomorrow, and we’re throwing an epic party with Airbnb and Getaround. So remember to let loose, have fun, and keep it weird!