One part vaudeville and one part stinging political/social satire, this place has been amusing and delighting its guests, as well as the pedestrians who pass by its front-stage windows and observe its goings-on, since the late 1970s. A troupe of multi-talented performers write, act, sing and dance their way across a broad and constantly updated comedic map that pokes fun at our elected officials, celebrity icons, and regular citizens. It is not all for laughs, though; a magical act comes on a couple of times per show to startle and captivate your senses. This is a true downtown institution.
One of the most visited presidential libraries in the nation, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum is supplied with information regarding one of the most controversial times in United States history. Peeking inside the life of the 36th President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the LBJ tapes provide listeners the opportunity to learn about the John F. Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War. Along with the famous tapes, visitors can see a to-scale replica of the Oval Office, political memorabilia and more than 39 million pages of historical notes. Plan on a full day at this library and museum, but if you are a real history buff, you will barely scratch the surface of what this fantastic archive has to offer.
This venue, south of the river, is a throwback to the 1950s. Roots rock and country reign supreme in this bar, where one can often find men in leather jackets and classic Cadillacs out front. With live music nightly, tributes to Elvis, and celebrations of Hank William's birthday, this place is great for dancing, drinking and kicking back on the high stools. Happy hours feature some of Austin's favorite songwriters. The venue has broadened its range of live music to include occasional indie rock.
This museum has grown into one of the most fabulous experiences for children in Austin. Find out about the development of children from birth to adolescence, climb a "time tower," and learn about everything from dinosaurs to computers. Special programs for children and their parents are regular parts of the museum's curriculum. Take tiny tots to the 2-and-under special explore time, or learn about multimedia with your teen. With excellent specialty programs and wonderful exhibits, this is a museum the whole family can enjoy.
This company knows how to push the limits and still keep the traditional form. The traditional Christmas production of The Nutcracker always brings a smile to patrons' faces. Each year an innovative twist or take on this classic ballet provides a new perspective on this timeless work. Ballet Austin is very familiar with the eclectic nature of the Austin arts scene, and keeps that in mind when developing the seasonal productions.
A 35-foot (10.7 meters) bronze Lone Star sculpture greets visitors at the entrance of this epic museum. This place narrates the story of Texas, sharing its rich cultural heritage and traditions. The three floors of the impressive building present interactive exhibits, special effects shows and more. On the first floor, you will find a permanent exhibit called Encounters on the Land, which highlights the first meetings between Native Americans and European explorers. The second and third floors have exhibits that showcase the evolution of Texas from the time of its inception. The museum boasts a total of 17 media installations and over 700 artifacts, not to mention Austin's only IMAX Theater.
Building a love affair between you and the stage, The New Movement Theater is a place that nurtures the performer within. Renowned theater artists mold the novices who wish to excel in the field of comedy acting. A constant supply of not just acting lessons but comedy shows can also be witnessed at the theater. Laughter and fun is provided in large dozes, as the shows are appropriate for all ages and don't cost a penny. So while in the city, catch a show at the theater and take a few classes to keep smiling all day long. For further information, log on to their website.
The Roosevelt Room is a 1920s style cocktail bar and entertainment venue where you can treat yourself to delicious handcrafted concoctions like the Westside Story which is a blend of vodka, cucumber, mint, lemon, orgeat and peychaud or the White Tuxedo prepared with gin, dry sherry, grapefruit bitters and salted olive oil. You can also opt for their signature cocktail De Rigueur. Packed to the brim with a young, hippy crowd, The Roosevelt Room is the ideal place to go to, if you want to have a lively evening out, meet new people or listen to eclectic live music as you sip tantalizing cocktails. The wonderful atmosphere at this place is sure to lift the spirits of anyone who walks in.
This is an intimate outdoor venue with a pleasant courtyard feel. Live jazz music is played nightly to a sophisticated crowd. The martinis are a definite must, and there is also an excellent cigar selection to choose from inside. This is a great place to sit under the oak trees and enjoy the breeze while watching some of Austin's best dancers dance up front. Better yet, why not join in?
As one of the galleries of the Texas Fine Arts Association, The Contemporary's Jones Center focuses on nurturing fine art in Central Texas. This gallery brings together artists, curators, art writers, collectors and the general public to appreciate exquisite Texan artwork. TFAA is dedicated to contributing to the growth of art and art education in the state; it offers exhibitions of modern artists, seminars and panel discussions in order to achieve this goal. It can accommodate educational visits of school students and teachers. It also offers art classes for children and adults on topics such as mosaics, photography, collage, watercolor and glass painting, metal art, jewelry design, pottery and digital art.
The Townsend is a lively bar and music venue in downtown Austin. Located in the historic Thompson Building, the bar makes use of the vast remodeled space to provide a setup for a classy lounge and cocktail bar. Come in during any of their live music concerts which feature well-known artists as well as up and coming indie groups. The combination of zippy cocktails, delicious sharing plates of cheese, pate or cured meats, and quality music seems to be the perfect recipe for an entertaining evening out with friends.
The Hideout Theatre & Coffeehouse is a perfect mix of Austin quirk and Texas charm. With two tiny stages and an accompanying coffee shop, Hideout offers patrons a fun-filled evening of improvisational comedy, rich baked goods, aromatic coffee, and wine by the glass. This Congress Avenue locale sits in the heart of Austin and offers hour-long elimination-style improv comedy troupe performances and poetry slam events. Try their sugared cinnamon roll with a scoop of Amy's vanilla ice cream and a glass of Chardonnay. If you need some help in the humor department, Hideout offers weekly improv classes at moderate prices. Disabled access in coffeehouse and downstairs theater only. Check their website for weekly show times.