Travel

Six Must-See Places in Austin, Texas

Posted on: December 27th, 2013 by Jason Clement 3 Comments

 

"Hi How Are You" mural in Austin, Texas. Credit: memorycardfull, Flickr
"Hi How Are You" mural in Austin, Texas

Keep Austin weird.

Printed on countless bumper stickers and tie-dye t-shirts, this phrase has become synonymous with the Hill Country metropolis. (You'll see Hill Country featured in the Winter 2014 issue of Preservation.) But is it true? Is Austin really that weird?

It depends on your definition. Having spent four amazing years there (UT, class of 2004) and many more plotting a return, I think what makes Austin "weird" is the premium it places on people, places, and experiences. With a keen eye for detail and a healthy dose of ego, the city is designed at every turn to surprise, delight, and inspire. And at the end of the day, it’s not so much that Austin is weird for doing that; it’s weird that so few places try to do the same.

So, if you come to Texas and find yourself with one day in this neck of the woods, this post is for you. I invite you to experience these six inspiring places in and around Austin and see for yourself.

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

 

View from the lobby in Macy's Center City, Philadelphia. Credit: Beth Lennon, RetroRoadmap.com
View from the lobby in the old Wanamaker's Department Store (now Macy's Center City, Philadelphia), a National Historic Landmark.

A visit to one of the last remaining downtown department stores during the holidays is considered a must-do for many in the Philadelphia area, and not just for shopping. What is now Macy’s in Center City was once the Wanamaker Department Store, one of the first department stores in the country -- and much more.

Only here can you still do your shopping while hearing the reverberation of music from the largest operating pipe organ in the world, and delight in the holiday light show in an historic building. Online shopping doesn’t hold a candle to this experience.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beth Lennon

Beth Lennon is the creator of the website RetroRoadmap.com. As "Mod Betty," she delights as the retro travel "hostess with the mostess," scouting out cool vintage places and sharing them with the world.

 

Methuen Music Hall Grand Organ. Credit: Beth Lennon, RetroRoadmap.org

Upon first glance the stately brick building with a bell tower on Broadway in Methuen, Mass., looks like it could be one of the many churches that dot the New England landscape. Viewing the understated decoration of the brick exterior, you’d never know the confection of delights both visual and aural, that await inside the Methuen Memorial Music Hall, built as the permanent home for the first concert organ in the country.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beth Lennon

Beth Lennon is the creator of the website RetroRoadmap.com. As "Mod Betty," she delights as the retro travel "hostess with the mostess," scouting out cool vintage places and sharing them with the world.

 

Daniel Chester French was born in 1850 and was hailed as the “Dean of American Sculpture” during his lifetime. One of his first works was a bust of prominent Concord intellectual Ralph Waldo Emerson, cast here in bronze. (He also completed plaster and marble casts.) Credit: Concord Museum
Daniel Chester French was born in 1850 and was hailed as the “Dean of American Sculpture” during his lifetime. One of his first works was a bust of prominent Concord intellectual Ralph Waldo Emerson, cast here in bronze.

“All over the landscape, but kind of invisible.” That’s how Concord Museum curator David Wood describes sculptor Daniel Chester French, possibly the most famous artist you may never have heard of.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.

 

Written by Katherine Malone-France, Director of Education, Outreach, & Support, Historic Sites Department

The crowd gathers for the Boogie in a open space ringed by historic buildings and pecan, oak, and sassafras trees. Credit: Katherine Malone-France
The crowd gathers for the Boogie in a open space ringed by historic buildings and pecan, oak, and sassafras trees.

When I was growing up in Alabama, we often passed through the small town of Waverly as we travelled along Highway 280 on the way to Auburn football games. I remembered the town primarily for its cemetery with a distinctive stone wall and a collection of small frame houses close to the road.

I had not been through Waverly in years, but, at the end of September, I was fortunate enough to spend a perfect fall day there at an event called the Old 280 Boogie. The Boogie is an outdoor concert that brings together all kinds of people -- musicians, music lovers, artists, and entrepreneurs -- to enjoy, enliven, and be inspired by this historic town in east central Alabama.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.