Austin Corporate Attractions

Englishwoman Tracy Carols came to Austin in 2003 with a unique food product and an interest in entrepreneurship. She arrived to Austin as a speech and language therapist, but was ready for a career change. So she founded the Sticky Toffee Pudding Co. in 2004 and began to sell puddings, scones, quiches, and desserts at the Downtown Farmers’ Market that same year. Fast forwarding to this spring, Claros’ delicious sticky toffee, lemon and chocolate puddings are now available at all eight Central Market stores in Texas, outlets in nine national Whole Foods Market regions, plus Costco stores in Texas and Northern California. Claros’ story is a bona fide Austin Artisanal food success story, but she is only one of about 100 small local food producers with products in various stages of marketing success currently blossoming in Austin. It turns out that the same city that is famous for producing band and singer-songwriters, is also a breeding ground for artisanal food talent as well. So, yes, today’s Austin is a completely different city from the college town with cheap rent where our music scene first took root.

Modern Austin also boasts several small neighborhood markets, for example,Wheatsville Co-op, Farm to MarketRoyal Blue Grocery, Live Oak Market,Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, and Con’Olio Oils & Vinegar, all which enthusiastically stock local food items. Perhaps all the community support stems from that famous,  indefinable “Austin vibe” – the  keep Austin weird, we consume local (music, food, sports, books, theatre, art, movies, whatever) zeitgeist that has encouraged all manner of talented people to settle and blossom in this city. Some of the few Austin-based companies who have made it possible for culinary entrepreneurs are Whole Foods Market, Central Market, and the Farmers Market Phenomenon.

Whole Foods Market, which has a great location in the heart of downtown, was founded in Austin in 1980. The first Austin store has then grown into a natural foods giant with 11 U.S. regions and they just added a store in London. In the past few years the company has established a local product loan program with different products pertaining to the various regions.

Central Market is a Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B chose Austin as the home base for its specailty grocery concept Central Market in 1994. It is a food store with a high-quality, unique product line; a casual cafe that regularly hosted live music; a cooking school that presented bout national and local cooking talent; and a family-friendly outdoor seating area complete with a playscape. Central market also has an interest in discovering and developing new products, so they have a whole department of buyers and now the chain has grown to eight stores.

The Farmers Market Phenomenon grew from Austin’s modern organic farm movement that was cultivated in the early Nineties by a group of urban farm pioneers, which was encouraged by Whole Foods Market and the Sustainable Food Center, and grew to its current condition by a network of urban farm stands, community-supported agriculture programs, and eight area farmers’ markets. Austinites can now shop markets on Saturday mornings (Downtown, Barton Creek, Sunset Valley, Lakeline Mall, and 6701 Burnet Road) Sunday Morning (HOPE market), Wednesday afternoons (the Triangle and Round Rock), and Thursday afternoons (6701 Burnet Rd.) Each market has a vast selection of fresh produce, locally produced artisanal foods, meats, cheeses, baked goods, dairy products, and live music!

1. Watch the largest urban Mexican Freetail bat colony in North America fly out from under Congress Avenue bridge at sunset.

2. Tour the restored historical and architecturally unique State Capitol.

3. By day enjoy the history of 6th. Street and by night experience the live music that makes Austin the Live Music Capitol of the World.

4. Swim in Barton Springs Pool, a local favorite swimming hole.

5. Spend the day along the shores of Lake Travis, enjoying the water sports, restaurants and picnic areas.

6. Ascend all 99 steps to the top of Mt. Bonnell, one of Austin’s finest vantage points.

7. Take a ride on a miniature train, explore nature trails or test your skills with a game of disc golf at Zilker Park, home to the Botanical Gardens, Science & Nature Center, Barton Springs Pool and The Zilker Zepher.

8. Visit the Alamo Drafthouse at The Ritz. A unique combination of theater and restaurant. The Alamo shows first-run and independent films and offers an extensive menu beyond typical movie fare.

9. Entertain the kids at the interactive Austin Children’s Museum.

10. Tour the sights and history of the University of Texas at Austin.

11. Stroll along Guadalupe St., locally known as The Drag.

12. See the city lights with a horse and carriage ride around downtown.

13. Visit the Blanton Museum of Art or take a walk back through time at the Texas Memorial Museum.

14. Take a trip on s Austin Duck Tour. A fun, narrated, amphibious tour of downtown Austin that ends with a splash on Lake Austin.

15. Take in a concert or cultural event or cheer the home team at the Frank Erwin Center.

16. Visit the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection of over 630,000 books, periodicals, maps and pamphlets.

17. Explore the recreational offerings around Town Lake, a piece of paradise in the middle of town.

18. Dust off your dancing boots at the Broken Spoke, the last of the true Texas dance halls, with live music & country dancing.

19. Climb the University Of Texas clock tower for the best view of downtown, recently re-opened after 25 years.

20. Enjoy a culinary tour at Whole Foods Market’s flagship store. Everything in the 80,000 sq. ft. store is certified organic.

21. Explore the Eco-Detective Trail, hands-on activities, mammals, reptiles and birds at the Austin Nature and Science Center.

22. Explore the Austin Area Botanical Garden Center and view a one-room schoolhouse or follow the butterfly trail.

23. Discover the Moonlight Towers located through Austin.

24. Strut with the peacocks and visit the beautiful ponds at Mayfield Park.

25. Swim laps or just watch the kids in the spring feed pool at Deep Eddy.

26. Visit one of the areas award-winning wineries.

27. Shop till you drop at one of Austin’s many malls or specialty stores.

28. Wander the trails through Umlauf Sculpture Gardensto view the 130 works by Charles Umlauf.

29. Visit the numerous art galleries and view the works of gifted artists.

30. Ride glass bottom boats and see exhibits of endangered species at the Aquarena Center in San Marcos.

31. Tour the George Washington Carver Museum, Texas’ first neighborhood museum promoting African American heritage.

32. Go for a hike or bike ride on Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail, a gravel lakeside trail. You can also rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboat to navigate Town Lake.

33. Take your sweetheart canoeing, sculling or paddle boating on Town Lake.

34. Play golf on one of Austin’s many first-class private or public courses.

35. Saddle up! Enjoy horseback riding along the Onion Creek Greenbelt at the White Fences Equestrian Center.

36. Eat a meal at one of Austins top rated restaurants.

37. Picnic or camp at one of the Lower Colorado River Authority Parks.

38. Bicycle on scenic Loop 360.

39. Spend the day on Lake Travis with your favorite water sport.

40. Take a guided walking tour of Congress Ave, which is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

41. Take sailboat lessons at Windy Point on Lake Travis.

42. Spend the day swimming, picnicking ormountain biking at Lake Austin’s Emma Long Metropolitan Park.

43. Enter one or the many 5K and 10K runs held through the year.

44. Play Tennis at one of the many public courts.

45. Take a nature hike or a dip at geologically unique Hamilton Pool.

46. Enjoy great fishing on any of the Highland Lakes, a legacy of Lyndon Bains Johnson.

47. Go horseback riding at one of the many area riding stables.

48. Visit Austin’s own version of a mini-Smithsonian, the Harry Ransom Center. See a hodge-podge of art and artifacts to interest every member of the family! Free.

49. Explore the 7-mile long Barton Creek Greenbelt Preserve on foot or bike and appreciate the many species of wild plants and birds.

50. Enjoy the Breathtaking view from Pennybacker Bridge on Loop 360 over Lake Austin.

51. Join the hundreds standing in line for a chance to see a taping of Austin City Limits.

52. Appreciate the finer things with a performance of the Austin Symphony.

53. Go for a ride on the Lone Star Riverboat or a Capitol Cruise.

54. Have a chuckle at one of the many comedy clubs in Town.

55. Explore the national Wildflower Research Center, Lady Bird Johnson’s lifelong dream and her gift to America.

56. Taste some quality beer at one of Austin’s many brewpubs, all within walking distance of each other.

57. Enjoy a breathtaking performance of Ballet Austin.

58. Take the updated guided walking tour of the Capitol Grounds.

59. See Texas Army & Guard airplanes, helicopters, tanks & cannons at Camp Mabry, and Military Forces Museum.

60. Visit the Lyndon B. Johnson Museum, one of the most visited museums in the country because it is one of those few museums which shed light on controversial topics like the JFK assassination, the Vietnam War and the life of Lyndon B. Johnson.

61. Follow the path of famous Texans on the Walk of Stars.

62. Walk through the prehistory era following the Dinosaur Tracks in Zilker Park.

63. Explore Volente Beach, a beach club on Lake Travis featuring a water park with slides, sandy beach, pirate boat and wading area for the kids.

64. View some of the state’s most important documents and collections at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library.

65. Visit the Old General Land Office Building, Texas’ oldest standing state building.

66. Tour the Gracious Governor’s Mansion, the residence of every Texas governor since 1856.

67. Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Old Bakery and Emporium, where Austin seniors’ citizens sell home-baked goods and crafts.

68. Behold the Paramount Theatre, one of the nation’s most beautifully detailed and lavish historic performing arts theatres.

69. Feel imperial as you take the walking tour of the grand Driskill Hotel, where Texas elite have stayed for more than a century.

70. Feast your eyes on the famous gothic arched doorway and Rose Window at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

71. Drive to New Braunfels to visit Schlitterbahn Water Park. Schlitterbahn has more than 65 acres of thrill, spills and floats to entertain your family for the day.

72. Get lost in the Austin History Center’s 1,000,000 items of local history

73. Visit the studio and works of art by the state’s first eminent sculptor at the castle-like Elisabet Ney Museum.

74. Refresh yourself with a stein-full of brew from Scholz Garten-Texas’ oldest German Bier garten.

75. Open your imagination with tails of ghost stories and family histories at the Neil-Cochran House, a Greek Revival Limestonemuseum.

76. Step back in time at Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farm, a living history farm recreating the pioneer life of Texas.

77. Go to t he Chaparral Ice Arena, an expansive area in which children can indulge in group skating, broomball, dodge ball and curling.

78. Go to the Texas State Cemetery which is the resting-place of Stephen F. Austin, John Connally and other Texas heroes.

79. Visit the Bob Bullock State History Museum.

80. Get some old-time religion at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Austin’s oldest African American church.

81. Lose yourself in the variety of changing exhibits of American art at Laguna Gloria Art Museum on the shores of Lake Austin.

82. Parasailing at Lake Travis. Get a new perspective on things by floating 600 feet above Lake Travis.

83. Venture South of the river on Congress for some of the funkiest shops and unique eateries in town.

84. Cheer for your favorite steed at Manor Downs.

85. Choose from 240 plays performed in Austin’s 50 area theatres.

86. Observe sports professionals in the making at a University of Texas collegiate sporting event.

87. Cycle or in-line skate on the Veloway, which winds through 3.1 miles of scenic Hill Country savannah.

88. Hike, bike, picnic, fish or swim in an outdoor paradise, McKinney Falls State Park.

89. Experience nature in the 227 acres of the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve.

90. The Boggy Creek Farm is an ideal venue for educating children about life on the farm which features tractors, animals and fresh farm produce.

91. Celebrate Austin’s Latin-American musical heritage at one of the Tejano, conjunto, tropical or band venues.

92. Spend First Thursday on South Congress Avenue window shopping and people watching.

93. Pay your respects to a beloved Austin Music legend at the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue on Auditorium Shores.

94. View the collection of Republic era artifacts on display at the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Museum.

95. Visit one of the most funk-a-dellic shops in Austin, Lucy in Disguise, specializing in costumes, on South Congress.

96. Visit the Austin Zoo which started out as a family owned farm consisting of farm animals and over a period of time expanded to become a wildlife sanctuary and a zoo featuring exotic animals.

97. Take in a performance of the Austin Lyric Opera.

98. Groove on the tunes of Austin’s favorite jazz clubs like the Elephant Room, Cedar Street, Jazz on 6th. St. Top of the Marc.

99. Find out why Austin is the Home of the Blues at Antone’s Night Club, which launched the careers of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Johnson, Charlie Saxton and more.

100. Tap your feet to acoustic fiddling music and get down-home Southern cooking on Wednesdays at Threadgill’s.

101. Visit the Domain’s 10 acres of parks, jogging trails, and a shopping, dining & entertainment district spiced w/the flavors of Austin and points beyond.

First Thursday is a popular monthly event that takes place along South Congress Avenue, generally from Barton Springs Road to Elizabeth Street. It is basically like one big block party, and it is perfect for all ages. On the first Thursday of each month, all of the stores along South Congress that normally close early stay open late (most stay open until 10 p.m., but some later). Some of the stores have special sales and give out free drinks on these nights. Some of the restaurants and bars have drink specials. Click here to take a virtual tour of some of the fabulous stores and restaurants on South Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704!

At Second Street District you can find just about everything your heart desires down here.  More than 50 (mostly locally owned) specialty shops, services, and dining destinations comprise the 2ND Street District, so whether you’re in the mood to sit outside with the perfect margarita, enjoy a leisurely dinner before catching a show, or ready to put on your shopping shoes and spruce up your wardrobe or your digs, we’ve gotcha covered.

29 DuO 512.391.9600
42 Estilo  512.236.0488
16 Etcetera, Etc 512.476.8300
6 gallery D  512.322.5241
39 Girl Next Door 512.322.0501
24 Langford Market 512.482.8500
26 MISSBEHAVE 512.542.9120
56 Peyton’s Place  512.477.5223
8 Plain Ivey Jane 512.377.6196
11 St. Bernard Sports  512.320.1999
31 Bang & Olufsen 512.481.1818
7 BoConcept 512.258.0835
43 Design Within Reach  512.472.7200
4 Finch  512.236.1414
32 mercury design studio 512.236.0100
44 Prize
47 1020 Glass Art 512.474.1020
27 Anne Moore 631.537.8476
4 Austin MacWorks COMING SOON!
28 Eliza Page 512.474.6500
18 Lofty Dog 512.476.5050
54 Royal Blue Grocery 512.499.3993
30 Teddies for Bettys  512.614.2103
17 teuscher 512.236.1657
13 Wee 512.236.1338
36 III Forks 512.474.1776
61 Austin Java 512.481.9400
46 Bar Chi  512.382.5557
48 Cantina Laredo 512.542.9670
41 Crú 512.472.9463
50 delish  512.473.4118
2 how do you roll? 512.320.8400
40 Jo’s Hot Coffee 512.469.9003
9 La Condesa  512.499.0300
19 Lamberts 512.494.1500
12 Leaf  512.474.LEAF
5 Málaga Tapas & Bar 512.236.8020
MZ9 Malverde 512.499.0300
34 Mama Fu’s 512.637.6774
25 tart.  512.803.1156
62 TRACE  512.542.3660
63 Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater    877.435.9849
51 Cathy’s Cleaners  512.320.8111
1 Dr. Shane Matt, D.D.S.  Authentic Smiles 512.330.9403
45 milk + honey Spa 512.236.1115
52 SALON by milk + honey 512.236.1115
MZ1 Violet Crown Cinema  512.495.9600