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One of the first streets surveyed in Austin, Sixth was originally known as Pecan Street. During the day, shops, restaurants and historic buildings are the main attraction, but by night, the street becomes festive with live music, shows and special events. On Friday and Saturday nights, the blocks are closed to automobile traffic for an all-out street party. Stop by for a beer or a show, or just enjoy watching the eclectic nightlife of Austin.
This creek winds through Central and South Austin, featuring beautiful hiking and bike trails as well as many choice swimming holes. The natural surroundings have been left to flourish as only the Texas countryside can. One of the more popular areas is at the far north end of the park—the Scottish Woods Trails, a rocky path leading to a gorgeous private swimming hole at the base of a small waterfall. Barton Creek Greenbelt runs west and north from Zilker Park for nearly eight miles. Contact the Austin Parks and Recreation Department for a map of the greenbelt and access areas.
Patrons will enjoy a huge variety of activities at Zilker Park. You can check out the hike and bike trails, picnic facilities, Zilker Botanical Garden, canoe rentals, soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, riverboat rides on Town Lake, concerts, festivals and even a miniature train. The wide-open stretches of grass in this park are just minutes from the downtown area. There is plenty of room and various diversions for the kids, so you can get a suntan, take long walks by the river or just curl up with a book down by the river.
Cross the river from downtown and enter the wonderful South Congress Avenue District. Browse through its many shops and check out eateries that tantalize the taste buds and the pocketbooks. Check out Uncommon Objects, a wonderful import and knick knack shop, or The Armadillo Market, which carries everything Texas. For the famished shopper, there are more than enough options: Tex-Mex at Guerro's or the eclectic Magnolia Café are all favorites with the locals. After a cup of coffee or lunch, you should browse the retro resale shops along the avenue.
The West Lake Beach is a private area that is open for use by the public at a small cost. Located a short distance from the West Lake Hills area of Austin, this park has a number of activities to amuse you and your kids. The most striking feature about the park is its pier beach, where you can spend hours floating about. They also have several picnic areas, where you can enjoy a delicious meal when all the swimming makes you hungry. Or go with your friends, and enjoy a game of volleyball. The park has several areas that can be booked for birthday parties and other events.
Tucked away in the backyard of a residential neighborhood is the Cathedral of Junk, a work in progress over 20 years in the making. Created by Vince Hanneman, the Cathedral turns old and discarded items into an ever-evolving structural work of art. Using old tires, hubcaps, all manner of metal scraps, pipes and more, Hanneman works and reworks the multi-level space into a playground of sorts for adults and children alike. As far out as it is, the Cathedral of Junk is, surprisingly, invisible from the street in front of it — only upon entering the backyard are visitors met with the mass of tangled metal and functioning electric items.
From challenging trails for mountain bikes to scenic paths along a lovely creek to an off-leash spot where dogs can run free, you'll find something for everyone at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park! Bring the family during the summer to take a dip in the public pool. For a memorable day date bring a picnic and have lunch beside the water. And of course adrenaline seekers will love biking over hills or playing a game on one of the softball fields.