New Year = New Resolutions = 365 Days to Realize How Little Self-Control and Discipline You Actually Possess. So while we watch others chase dreams of weight loss, promotions, and learning Chinese, here at Access ATX our 2016 resolution is to spend more time appreciating how awesome our city is and all the fun things to do in Austin. Which should be a pretty easy goal to keep.
While it is hard to do anything in this town that doesn’t involve delicious food or a cold Lone Star beer, for the sake of not outgrowing 2020’s wardrobe, I am going to try and appreciate the finer things of Austin that don’t involve caloric intake.
Here’s a few of the top spots on our to-do list:
- Challenge your Mind at The Austin Panic Room (1205 Rio Grande St., Austin, TX 78701, 512.920.2845): While for many of us, the thought of being locked into a small room with coworkers or family members is a nightmare worth avoiding at all costs, here at this downtown Austin hotspot people pay $20 for the privilege of doing so. Groups are locked in a room for 60 minutes with a series of challenges to solve using logic, smarts, and teamwork in order to earn their freedom. Only about 20 percent of groups solve the puzzle in the allowed time, but don’t let that stop you from testing your wits against the panic room!
- Dance the Night Away at Esquina Tango (209 Pedernales St., Austin, TX 78702, www.esquinatangoaustin.com): Not all of us will take up a passionate love affair with dance this year, but Esquina Tango makes it easy for newcomers to test the waters with their weekly classes and social dance events. Unlike many other dance studios, lessons are available without long-term commitments. Meaning that for $10-$20 per person, your group can have a fun night out learning Salsa, Bachata, Tango, and even Belly Dancing! Esquina Tango is a non-profit and offers a tax-deductible annual membership which includes special perks throughout the year.
- Laugh More at Hideout Theater (617 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, 512.443.3688): Thousands of people stroll by its nondescript downtown location each day without realizing the magic that is happening within. Nightly improv entertainment by some of the city’s finest performers will guarantee a good evening out. If you’re looking for more, Hideout offers both youth and adult improv classes. Free sample classes are available twice monthly if you’re hesitant about committing. But with studies showing that improv can greatly improve performance at work and in personal relationships, it could be a worthy new year’s investment.
- See a movie “Austin-Style” at Alamo Drafthouse (multiple locations, drafthouse.com): While watching a movie may not seem that unique of a concept, unique is the only way to describe the Austin-based movie theater chain founded by Tim and Karrie League. It is one of our favorite things to do in Austin. The theater hosts not only big blockbuster hits, but also quote-a-longs from past films, afternoon tea parties with time period classics, and even a traveling movie screen that will pop-up in locations all around town. While this list is supposed to be about activities that don’t involve eating, you will be hard-pressed to sit through a movie without sampling their gourmet adult milkshakes or bottomless popcorn bowl.
- Feed Your Mind: Everyone needs more music in their life. And books. Spend a few hours visiting two of the city’s most popular shops. Waterloo Records (600A N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703, waterloorecords.com) has been Austin’s go-to music shop since the 1980s. Boasting customer-friendly policies such as being able to listen to records in-store before purchase, and a no questions asked 10 day return policy, Waterloo won over Austinites and is consistently voted one of the Best Record/CD Stores in town. They also feature lots of great live music throughout the year. Across the street sits Waterloo’s literary counterpart, BookPeople (603 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78703, www.bookpeople.com). An Austin business since 1970, BookPeople has hosted internationally acclaimed authors and two presidents as guest lecturers. Their book selection features mainstream prints as well as local authors.
There are countless ways to pass your time and dozens of things to do in Austin. With our favorite, of course, being a custom premium experience put together by Twisted Texas Tour. If you’re visiting Austin with 2 people or 20, we’d love to help show you around!