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Local Flair

  • Writer's pictureMarcy Lytle

Markets, Museums and Movies

Sometimes you just need some fun things to do, not far from home, to get away and get out, and enjoy the things your own city has to offer. We did just that this past weekend, so I’ll share it with you, in case you need some inspiration to turn a boring weekend into a blast!

It seems there’s always a market to visit on the weekend in the Austin area, and this particular Saturday was no exception. The Violet Crown Clubhouse was open in the middle of old Austin, and we visited the few tents set up there – Austin Flea – then had an ice cream at the clubhouse. We didn’t know that the clubhouse was so cute! Inside are vintage games and colored booths and all things decorated retro – it’s a place for kids to hang out in safety and have fun. That whole area is cute, with a deli across the parking lot with lots of picnic tables for eating outside.

After that, we decided to drive in that neighborhood (Crestview) – old Austin – where houses had been modernized and painted with the cutest front doors and cozy porches. That was a treat, and we took several pictures, for inspiration with our own home in the future. Driving old neighborhoods is so fun, and we even found a shade tree where we parked and chilled for a bit before…

We headed to the Blue Starlite Drive-in for the evening to see the movie Clue from 1985. It’s a very rustic and kitschy venue – set off Manor Road – with various choices for movie viewing. We chose the “tiki beach” area. It’s a sandy spot in the woods with about a dozen beach chairs and fake water and a screen…like I said…very rustic and very Austin. There’s also a food trailer where we ordered fried pickles, grilled cheese and a chicken sandwich. Honestly, the place is a bit spooky but all the more fun for seeing a murder mystery from the past…

Sunday was Austin Museum Day! 25 museums in Austin were open for free visitation, so we made our list and chose a few. There was no way to visit all 25 in an afternoon! We packed a lunch, as the first stop – Neill Cochran House – was an invitation to picnic on their lawn under the big shade trees, tour the home, and visit the art vendors. There was also free homemade ice cream and lemonade – all was so delightful and fun!

Our next stop was the Briscoe Center on the UT campus, where the exhibit was on Nagasaki and Hiroshima – with visuals and text – very worth the visit. And outback we snapped a picture with a huge fountain behind us. On to the Blanton Museum, also on campus. It’s a huge art museum with immersive exhibits, visuals, arts of all kinds, and it was all intriguing and a wonder to behold. The cool thing about many museums is they change exhibits often, so that each time you visit it’s a new experience.

The final museum we visited was the Texas Capitol Visitors Center and Museum. We watched a couple of films about the building of the capitol building, viewed a huge Lego replica, and received some great books for traveling in Texas.

These four were all we had time for this Sunday, as we also had tickets (free!) for Sound and Cinema – a free film on the lawn – at the Long Center lawn. There was a giant screen and the movie this night was Almost Famous. Also, a free concert was an hour before the movie, and there were also food trucks there. Amy’s Ice Cream, a Mediterranean food fare, Italian ice, pizza and more. People brought their blankets and chairs and set up for the evening, for entertainment as the sun set over our beautiful Austin. (We did have to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test – so there’s that.)

We love to check out Do512 for events happening around our city, and this particular weekend in early fall turned out to be like a mini vacation right here at home!

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