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If Austin-area jazz lovers feel ignored, it is justified; the local music scene, multi-faceted as it may be, has always neglected their genre of choice. However, what the region lacks in quantity, the Elephant Room more than makes up for in quality. It has been deemed as one of the finest venues in the country by none other than Wynton Marsalis (and subsequently honored by a unanimous resolution of the Texas Senate for having earned the jazz legend's admiration). The appeal stems largely from the club's unceasing lineup of regional favorites, touring greats, and, once in a while, plain ol' jam sessions consisting of anyone who cares to take the stage.
This is an intimate venue for those with sophisticated taste. From jazz to house, from acid rock to rap, from shoegaze to dub, the Parish Room runs the musical gamut. Touring acts such as Smog, Guided By Voices, Autechre and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have graced the stage here. Texas artists Sub Oslo, Lift To Experience, Explosions in the Sky, the Swells and more have also played here. This is the ultimate haven for music lovers and party animals.
Museum of the Weird is a locally-owned museum in the Sixth Street area of Austin. With its inventory of curios and classic horror charm, Museum of the Weird is worth a visit for those in the area. The walk-through museum doesn't take long but it's packed with the unexplained, freaky and supernatural wonders of the world. The museum has their own house acts with live weird and wonderful attractions that will definitely keep your attention. There's a gift shop that is free to enter.
Located inside Austin’s Central Fire Station No. 1, this hidden gem is an interesting museum about the history of the Austin fire department. Learn about how the department used to be run by volunteers and see historic artifacts chronicling how firefighting has evolved over the years, including exhibits with old uniforms and a Hook and Ladder No. 1 lantern. Although this small museum doesn't feature flashy interactive displays, this is a fun place to bring the kids if they're interested in learning more about fire fighting and want to see part of a working fire station along with the historic exhibits.
Short story writer William Sydney Porter, whose pen name was O. Henry, lived in this home for three years while he spent time in Austin. It was constructed in 1891 and is filled with rare books, O. Henry's writing desk, original furniture, photographs, personal belongings and the chairs that brought The Gift of the Magi to life. Enjoy a guided tour and learn about the history of this home and its famous occupant. The house has been moved twice since from its original location at 308 East Fourth Street. It now features a gift shop with books, videotapes and more. The museum offers writing clubs for Austin children and sponsors many local events such as the Victorian Christmas celebration and the "O. Henry Pun-Off." Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
This little shop in the heart of downtown Austin is an ideal place to find souvenirs of your Texas (culinary) adventure. Beware, however: the hot sauces and salsas you will find here are probably hotter than what you have found in other restaurants. Among the hundreds of salsas, Firewater is the most popular and Dave's Insanity Special Reserve is the hottest. The spice rubs, barbecue sauces and marinades here are world-class, shipped to discerning palates around the country. Another specialty here are the chicken, veggie and black bean O'Shucks tamales, which you can eat there, take-out or have shipped anywhere.
Located on the 6th Street, Bella Salon and Spa offers a range of beauty and body treatments for both, men and women. The service menu for hair includes haircuts, hair styling, coloring, perming and straightening, whereas skin and makeup treatments comprise of facials, waxing, dermabrasion, collagen masks and lots more. Apart from these, there is also a limited selection of massages that professionals here are great at.
Charles Umlauf (1911-1994), one of the more famous Austin artists, was a prolific sculptor. This museum displays many of his works in a fantastic garden spot located close to Zilker Park and just minutes from downtown. His sculptures range from realism to abstraction and include families, religious figures, animals and mythological characters.
With its little stage having played host to some big names over the decades, Hole in the Wall has long been regarded as one of the city's most storied venues. Today, it mostly serves as a launching pad for local up-and-comers ranging in size and genre from 9-piece bluegrass bands to individual singer-songwriters. And although the nature of the crowd itself is subject to similarly sudden shifts (this often being a function of the performing schedule), the bar's proximity to UT brings in a steady flow of students and associated youngsters, most of whom come in for pitchers of Shiner and Lone Star.
The studio and home of artist James Edward Talbot is known as Casa Neverlandia, as everything from its exterior to the art displayed inside represents something out of this world. Once you're done exploring the house, take the plank bridge to the tree house in the back yard, then take the firefighter pole back down to ground level. The museum is open by appointment only, and is definitely worth the planning ahead. The entire house is "green", as in solar panels and the like, so it is definitely a treat for the eco-friendly! Check out his website to know more about Talbot and call to book your visit!
Austin art from the 1960s is on display here at the South Austin Popular Culture Center for all to come and see. Visitors can visually notice the changing times in the production art in the gallery. Appointments can also be made, call or see the website for more information.
This member-owned cooperative grocery store is full of organic produce, natural health products, great magazines and bulk foods. They have a large beer and wine selection, including organic wines that taste wonderful with the selection of chocolate bars in the front of the store! There is also a full-service deli with sandwiches, soups, salads, tacos, smoothies and many creative specials. Everyone is welcome to shop in this great environment where you will never hear bad music or get a headache from the fluorescent lights.