Think of this itinerary as a cultural exploration. The idea is less about accomplishing a set of tasks than it is about blending into Austin's easygoing culture. This trip should be done in midweek; otherwise, you'll have to work your way through the crowd of workaday wage slaves who only come out on the weekends. I include a lot of stops to give you options. Should you linger at one place longer than most, you can pick up the trail as you see fit. I don't include any places to take a break because, in practice, this whole day amounts to taking a break.
1. Hike-and-Bike Trail
The first activity is a leisurely stroll along the hike-and-bike trail (unless you're a late riser, in which case move on to the second activity if you want to avoid the heat and the crowds). One of the most attractive sections of the path is the loop from Congress Avenue west to the pedestrian bridge next to the Lamar Bridge.
2. South Congress Cafe
Walk up South Congress to this popular brunch spot, where you can enjoy a local favorite -- migas (eggs cooked with chopped tomato, onion, chili, and tortilla bits) -- or try something out of the ordinary, such as the wild boar pozole (Mexican-style hominy stew).
3. Tesoros Trading Co.
Tesoros is a large import business that carries a huge variety of things large and small. You don't have to buy anything; just enjoy the showroom's unique mix of ethno-crafts and ethno-kitsch.
4. Barton Springs Pool
By now, if it's gotten warm enough, it's time to relax at Barton Springs. A lot of folks show up at night in summer to cool off for free, but why not enjoy it during the hottest hours of the day? Catch some rays, or some shade on the grassy hillsides above the pool, then cool off in the clear water. Then repeat.
5. Shady Grove
This homey restaurant offers up some of the classics of Texas and American cuisine in a relaxed indoor/outdoor setting. The ample menu includes chili, meatloaf, and burgers. Perfect for a late lunch after a good swim.
6. Continental Club
By now it should be time for happy hour, and if reading the entertainment section of the paper didn't provide any guidance, make the Continental Club your default choice. Sometimes you get really lucky.
7. Waterloo Records
This is Austin's favorite music store. The staff is knowledgeable and can help you find what you didn't know you were missing. It's a great place just to browse through the CDs, and sample some of the music at one of the listening stations.
8. Whole Foods
Explore the flagship store of the chain of natural and organic foods. Whole Foods sells a lot besides food. It's also a great place to have a light lunch, as you can make your way through all the steam tables and food counters picking and choosing exactly what you want in just the right amount. It's perfect for eating light. There's a pretty little outdoor seating area, too.
9. Live Music
This stop is where your morning research should really be paying off. The clubs to pay special attention to are Antone's, Stubb's, the Elephant Room, and the Saxon Pub. Alternatively, you can decide to stroll through the downtown entertainment districts looking for the music that fits your taste. The entire area is compact enough to walk through it easily.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.