After spending our first day exploring downtown Austin, we drove south of the river and parked up at Zilker Park, very close to Barton Springs Pool. There was zero chance of relaxing by the pool today as the temperature had dropped further, but there were some brave souls taking a dip in the natural spring water. I can imagine how beautiful it would be to spend time here in the summer.
We walked along the creek, crossed a footbridge, and continued parallel to Ladybird Lake. There were a few people out on the hiking trail, but we had much of it to ourselves – the wind was quite harsh coming off the water which I suspect kept people indoors. As we passed under Congress Avenue Bridge, we could hear (and smell) the hundreds of thousands of bats that live there – tiny little squeaks! At sunset, people watch them fly out from underneath the bridge – there are some amazing photos to be found online of this phenomenon.
We continued our walk down South Congress Avenue, stepping over the Bird scooters that had been liberally abandoned all over the place (I didn’t even know they were a thing). The road was a little trafficy, but it was a lovely to spend the morning checking out the unique shops and restaurants with their glorious signs.
We thought about going into Allen’s boot store but a) it was really busy and b) I knew I end up spending a lot of money on boots I’d never wear, so I settled for just photographing their sign. We then peered in more store windows before stopping for lunch at Jo’s Coffee, warming our hands around our hot cups because it had turned bitterly cold (I know – I keep complaining about the weather, but it was just so unexpected!). I spent way too much money on a Jo’s tote bag – in my defence, it’s an amazing tote bag – and headed back to Zilker Park to find the car.
This walk around South Congress had made me realise that I needed more suitable clothes – the t-shirts I’d packed were not remotely appropriate – so on the drive back to the hotel, we stopped at a few retail parks. We just visited some standard shops including Ulta and Skechers. Nothing special, but I really appreciated having the car so we could go and buy an emergency coat from an outlet store!
Back at The Domain, we went on a little wander for some more shopping. The Domain is a lot bigger than I expected, and we seem to have ended up walking about two miles and even then I don’t think we saw everything it had to offer. Once we’d had our fill of window shopping, I stopped by the Sprinkles cupcake ATM (conveniently opposite our hotel), Husband stopped by the Apple store (conveniently next to our hotel) and we went back to the room for a little nap.
We didn’t end up going out for dinner in the end as the Archer’s excellent room service tempted us. We spent the evening planning for the next day – a nervous drive north to see more of Texas.
I think we managed to see a lot of Austin over our two days in the city. If we had more time, we perhaps would have spent some time exploring east and west of downtown, maybe been a bit more courageous with our driving, or visited Lake Travis. There’s always next time