Friday, August 1, 2014

24 Hours in Austin

Only a four hour drive away, Austin is great for a quick weekend getaway. With so many of my friends attending UT and my grandparents living just outside the city, I've always got an excuse to visit. This past weekend, Clarissa and I headed down for a quick trip; we didn't plan a whole lot, but it's fine because there is always something to do!

A very 'Texas' mural on South Congress, one of my favorite streets in Austin. It's full of crazy shops, vintage treasures, and cool food trucks. On the weekends you can hit up the outdoor flea markets, with vendors selling handmade crafts, jewelry, and anything else you could want. 

I may or may not have screamed, "Gatsby!!" when we parked near this beauty. 

This awesome planter (I'd love to do this as a DIY project) was in the backyard of the TOMS store on SoCo. Yes, the TOMS store has a backyard, as well as a front, since it has taken over an old home. Half of the house is set up like a store, while the other half features a coffee shop (with amazing iced lattes) and a little seating area in the back, where you can look out over the yard. 

I didn't even know the TOMS store existed, and we were a bit confused by the "TOMS Roasting Co." sign out front, but we needed air conditioning and a drink so we figured we'd give it a try. I would love to go back just for the atmosphere; very cool and very Austin. 

Our next stop was the capital building. Ever since Girls State in high school when we visited the capital (and held a legislative session inside the senate and house chambers!) I've loved stopping in every time I'm in the city. It's free, and you can pop in for an hour or even just a few minutes, but its worth it if you're interested in Texas history and politics. 

You know you're an architecture major when you slap the side of the building and declare, "That's good stone."

Each of the circles represent the Six Flags of Texas (Six Flags amusement park? Yeah, that's what it's named for). Texas was underneath the flag of 6 different countries: Spain, France, Mexico, Texas (we're the only state in the union to have ever been our own country in case we haven't reminded you enough times), the Confederate States, and the United States of America. 

The House chambers; the Senate chambers were closed, unfortunately- I was a senator at Girls State so I'm a little biased. 

We left the beautiful grounds of the capital for a very different part of town; Castle Hill Graffiti Park, the only spot in the city where you can legally spray paint to your heart's desire. If this all looks familiar, we stopped by Castle Hill last time we were in Austin. In between we stopped for lunch at Kerbey Lane- make sure to order the queso!

Castle Hill looks completely different every time I visit, as people are painting new things all over the park every day. This exact spot looked completely different in January. Also that is not our spray paint, someone had left it and it seemed to add to the picture. 

It's kind of a hike to get to the top of the park (there aren't any stairs and you have to maneuver up a very tiny and very overgrown pathway straight up the hill), but the view of the Austin skyline is completely worth it.

"All you need!!"

I always love heading down to Austin, even if it is only for a quick girl's weekend! Hopefully I'll be back in August before school starts, there are still so many things I want to do!

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