Art City Austin


Art is everywhere in Austin, in galleries, museums, and in parks and other public spaces throughout the city. This weekend it’s taking over the streets of downtown Austin too, through Austin Art Alliance’s annual Art City Austin – a two-day outdoor art festival and block party that will transform Cesar Chavez Street and the hip 2nd Street District into an artistic and cultural mecca this Saturday and Sunday, April 13th and 14th. So pile the family into the car for a short jaunt up north for a day full of art, culture, food and live music out on the streets of downtown Austin.

Plum Creek Texas

Photo courtesy of Austin 360

Art, of course, is front and center at the event, with two different kinds of art browsing experiences available for attendees this year. As in past years, Art City Austin features more than 100 temporary outdoor art galleries set against the streets, plazas and open spaces along Cesar Chavez Street and in the 2nd Street District. These galleries feature an array of art types and mediums, and you’re given the opportunity to meet the artists themselves at the event, too. New to the festival this year, though, is the People’s Gallery inside Austin City Hall, on Lavaca between Cesar Chavez and 2nd Street. This part of the festival is made possible by the Cultural Arts Division of the Austin Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office and features only Austin-based artists and creatives, to showcase the regional talent and creativity available in Central Texas. And we all know there’s A LOT of that!

Additionally, festival-goers are given the multiple opportunities to watch art in action over the course of the weekend. Articulture Designs will create and install living art pieces throughout the festival site to beautify and set the stage for the festival, while local artists from the Hatch Workshop will weld a sculpture from unusable bike parts in the middle of the fest. Once complete, the sculpture will live at one of Austin’s many bike shops.

Articulture Design

Photo courtesy of the Articulture Designs Facebook page

While these galleries and exhibits are geared toward the teenage plus crowds, Art City Austin doesn’t leave out the kiddos. In fact, they’ve got a whole Kid’s Block that is chock full of fun, arts-related activities. Activities include making action paintings with marbles with Abrakadoodle, making masks with the Mexic-Arte Museum, crafts with the Mexican American Cultural Center, face painting, decorating bags, street chalk and more.

Two other activities at the fest unite the creative talents of many into group artworks.  These include Building a City with the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, where kids are given a single ceramic tile to decorate, which will then be assembled and featured at the Sculpture Garden during the May 5th Umlauf Family First Sunday; and the massive origami peace crane installation. This eventual art piece will incorporate colored twine and the origami peace cranes made at Art City to create a public art installation that will revitalize and transform an ordinary alleyway in downtown Austin. The installation will be on display on 9th street between Congress and Brazos through May 5th.

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Riders Against the Storm, courtesy of Do512

In addition to these art activities, Art City Austin will feature live music and food from a number of favorite Austin food trucks. Five different bands perform each day at stages that are a part of the outdoor block party. The musical selection is diverse and eclectic, ranging from Texas folk, to positive hip hop, to world music in order to reflect the diversity and quality of Austin and Texas’ music scenes. For more information about the musical performers, visit the Art City Austin music page, for band bios and to listen to some tunes.

Add a Couple Notches to Your Belt | Local Eateries in the GO20


Dining is an art that we’re well versed in and while long-time Plum Creek residents may know where to find the best grub in town, Kyle newcomers may need some guidance. So if you’re new to town, and haven’t learned the restaurant ropes, never fear – we’ve got you covered.

Los Vega 

Plum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

(Photo credit: Yelp)

Start the day off right with a tasty breakfast at Los Vega. No, you can’t plan ahead and look at their menu online. This place is “off the grid” with plenty of small-town, local charm. Customer favorites include classic breakfast tacos and migas. This isn’t your typical breakfast diner so get ready for a bit more of a rustic experience. However, if you keep an open mind, you won’t be disappointed! Forks at the ready, now…

Bailey’s Burgers

Plum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

(Photo credit: Yelp)

A bit hard to find but definitely worth the adventure, Bailey’s Burgers serves up stellar burgers, onion rings and the sweetest sweet potato fries your buds every met. The burger joint can be found at the Thunderhill Raceway, just off of I-35 North. Be sure to squeeze this into your lunch rotation because they’re only open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

Milt’s Pit BBQ

Plum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

(Photo credit: Yelp)

Living in Texas does have its perks; one of those being the delicious BBQ that can be found in small town across the state. Luckily, residents of Plum Creek don’t have to worry about searching very far – just head towards I-35 by way of Old Highway 81 and you won’t miss Milt’s Pit BBQ. Just look for the line out the door. Known for their brisket, sausage, mac and cheese, Frito Pie…and, well just about anything you can imagine a BBQ joint serves, Milt’s is a favorite among locals and out-of-towners alike. Now, if only we could thank Milt…

Bordeaux’sPlum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

(Photo credit: Yelp)

Just because Kyle isn’t a bustling metropolitan area doesn’t mean residents can’t enjoy a little fine dining. Make a reservation for dinner at Bordeaux’s and thank us later. A little French eatery located in the heart of the city, Bordeaux’s has made a name for itself by offering delicious steaks, seafood and pasta, with a top notch wine menu to boot.

Did we gloss over any other local goodness? By all means, let us know! In this department, we love to be wrong.

Ambassador’s B.A.S.H.


Plum Creek, Homes for Sale Kyle TX

The Kyle Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Ambassador’s B.A.S.H. this Thursday, June 7th at Mather Park, located in the Plum Creek neighborhood. Set to a Cuban theme, the Ambassador’s B.A.S.H. will provide authentic food catered by Austin’s well-loved Cuban eatery, Habana.  Libations will include mojitos, a selection of beers and non-alcoholic mango drinks.

Guests can mingle under the shade of Mather Park’s 100-year old live oak trees, catch a sneak peek of the new Plum Creek model homes (currently in various stages of completion) and collect giveaways from each home toured. Each guest will also be entered into a drawing for a free iPad, courtesy of Bigelow Homes. Additionally, chamber members in attendance will be entered into a drawing for a $400 cash prize.

The Business Advancement Social Hour (B.A.S.H.) is a free event open to the public and serves as a chance for business owners, Plum Creek residents and community members to socialize and get to know one another. With a multitude of new developments are unfolding in Plum Creek, including new home models and energy-efficient efforts, there’s no better way to celebrate than by jumping into a conga line with mojito in hand. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. and wraps up at 8 p.m. More information is available here.

The Congress Bridge Bat Colony


Up to 1.5 million bats summer under the Congress Street Bridge each year. ~via phoch_98, Flickr.com

Up to 1.5 million bats summer under the Congress Street Bridge each year. ~via phoch_98, Flickr.com

About:

Austin is home to the largest urban bat population in the world. Every night around sunset, millions of these tiny creatures pour out of the underbelly of the Congress Street Bridge to hunt insects around town.

Fun Facts:

  1. These bats eat between 10 and 30 THOUSAND lbs of critters a night, and help keep local mosquito populations at bay.
  2. This colony spends the winter months in Mexico, but always comes back to Austin in the spring to raise their children.
  3. Bats don’t just live under Congress bridge. Even some of the smaller overpasses along shoal creek host colonies.

Tips:

  1. While very rare, bats can carry rabies. You should never attempt to touch a bat, especially one laying on the ground.
  2. People often don’t realize that the bats come out before it is dark. Dusk is the best time, but consult the bat hot-line (512.416.5700) for the most accurate times.
  3. There are several places to watch the bats from. You can park at the Austin Statesman and watch from the park area immediately to the south east of the bridge or walk along the bridge itself. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, rent a kayak and watch from the water.

When to visit:

The best time to see the bats is during the summer months when the population almost doubles due to the birth of new bats. The bats are usually around from mid March till early November.

SoCo and First Thursdays


South Congress is covered with all kinds of eclectic shops including Unncommon Objects~ photo by texantiff23

South Congress is covered with all kinds of eclectic shops including Uncommon Objects~ photo by texantiff23

About 15 minutes up the road from Plum Creek lies Austin’s famed South Congress district, an eclectic assortment of artsy stores and local restaurants. SoCo is best know for it’s First Thursdays, a night when vendors from around the state and beyond come to shop their wares up and down the street. Some famous locales along South Congress include Guerros, Lucy in Disguise, and Uncommon Objects.

Tips:

  • Definitely try to hit the First Thursday. Its a great night to really soak in the atmosphere.
  • Parking can be a pain, especially at night. More often than not you will need to park in the neighborhood just to the west. Make sure to take a mental note of the street intersection so you can find it again later.
  • Lucy in Disguise is THE Austin Halloween costume provider with over 8,000 square feet of retail room. You won’t find a better selection of costumes anywhere in town. It can get pricey, but you can always rent. Don’t wait till the week before Halloween if you have something special in mind.
  • As you travel north on South Congress you will eventually reach the river then capital. You aren’t far from the bats or Lake Austin, or any other downtown venues.

The University of Texas, Austin


The lighting of The Tower is a common UT Tradition. Photo by Stephen Reidmiller

The lighting of "The Tower" is a common UT tradition. Photo by Stephen Reidmiller

About:

The University of Texas is one of the largest and respected Universities in the US. Sports Illustrated ranked UT as America’s Best Sports College” in 2002, and there is always a game to see somewhere on the 40 Acres.

Tips:

  • Football tickets are expensive and often hard to come by. If you don’t care who they are playing, try for a non-conference game. Additionally, save money and hassle by attending any of the other sports for a fraction of the cost. We recommend Men/Womens Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Volleyball, or Woman’s Soccer. All are quite fun.
  • Tower Tours are available and offer a great view of downtown. We suggest calling and reserving ahead of time.
  • The Frank Erwin Center is houses everything from UT Basketball to Ringling Brothers Circus. Check out their site often for the latest events.
  • UT is home to several museums. We suggest checking out the rotating archives at the Ransom Center, which includes an original Gutenberg Bible and the Watergate Files. There is also the LBJ Presidential Library, The Blanton Museum of Art, and the Texas Natural Science Center.
  • The Performing Arts Center is a great way to see broadway shows year round.

Alamo Drafthouse


Over the years, the Drafthouse has become a mecca for moviefiles around the world. ~photo by Bruce Turner

Over the years, the Drafthouse has become a nationally recognized movie venue. ~photo by Bruce Turner

About

Looking back, it’s amazing to think Austin’s iconic Alamo Drafthouse theater has only been in business since 1997 when it started out of a converted parking structure off of 4th street. Today, it spans three local theaters and franchises as far away as Virginia.

The Drafthouse is best known for serving food and beer, sometimes themed, to go along with their movies. The atmosphere is geared for an older crowd, and you have to be 18 to get in without a parent or guardian. That said, The Alamo Drafthouse offers day screening for mothers with young children and special events like the Rolling Roadshow that are fun for the whole family.

Tips:

  • Tickets at the Alamo tend to be cheaper than most other movie theaters in town, especially if you have a student ID. They make more money off of food.
  • Check out a special event. We recommend Master Pancake theater involves a group of comedians heckling an old classic like Rocky or Titanic. The sing along shows are also quite good.
  • Keep an eye on the Alamo website calendar for upcoming special events, they often sell out weeks in advance.

Links: