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Austin
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Travel Guide: Austin, TX
The
Austin Chronicle is the alternative weekly.
Memorial Day weekend is the annual Revival Rockabilly Festival.
Obviously most folks already know the South by Southwest music festival in mid March.

Nightlife
Austin is famous for the music, with tons of clubs around.  Sixth Street is the center of it, resembling New Orleans on weekend evenings with a pedestrian only passage.  Fourth Street is more for the martini set.  The Hole in the Wall (2538 Guadalupe) is a decent campus-area club.
There is  the Continental Club (1315 S. Congress) in South Austin with good very diverse shows.
When I visited Austin, we hung out at a multi level club on 6th street called Maggie Mays.  Downstairs was a cover band playing radio favorites, while upstairs was an original band called Rosemarys Color Wheel.  I was not crazy about the name, but the music was great.  I wonder where they are now?
Austin bands I have seen recently and enjoyed: Kino eye and the Octopus Project.

Live Music-
emos austin, 603 red river, austin (512)477-EMOS
Room 710-710 Red River Street, Austin, TX (512) 476-0997  Punk rock club.
Red 7 Night Club -611 East 7th Street, Austin - (512) 476-8100

Other than music
Cloak Room 1300 Colorado St., Austin, 512/472-9808  -dark basement bar near the state capitol . drinking, smoking , and low talking.  Good makeout place.
Fado (214 W. 4th), just west of Congress,  Irish bar.
Gingerman Bar (304 W. 4th)
The Dog & Duck (406 W. 17th at Guadalupe) is a campus/capitol area pub enormously popular with all ages, as is the downtown bar Lovejoy's.

The nearby Velveeta Room (521 E. 6th) hosts comics. Johnny Hardwick (the voice of Dale on "King of the Hill")polished his material here.


Big acts
Big shows perform at the Frank Erwin Center, Bates Recital Hall and Bass Concert Hall (University of Texas campus) and at downtown's Paramount Theatre (713 Congress) and the Austin Music Hall (208 Nueces). The Music Hall's sister venue is the Backyard (1301 W. Hwy 71) outside of town, closes for the season, while Southpark Meadows (6800 S. Interstate 35) is the scene for festivals.

Even more
The Parish at Jazzkitchen-214 E Sixth St, Austin, TX 78701
Casino El Camino-517 E. 6th Street-Burger joint with colorful crowd.
Ritz Theatre Lounge-320 E. Sixth St. 512-474-2270-Old theater/hangout
La Zona Rosa 612 W. 4th Street Austin  512.263.4240
Emo's (603 Red River)  punk palace
Spiro's (611 Red River) upscale
Flamingo Cantina (515 E. 6th) Reggae
Mon.
Stubbs (801 Red River) is two blocks past Emo's; eat barbecue and stay for the music from George Clinton to George Jones.

Records:
Waterloo 600 A. North Lamar Blvd.  512-474-2500
Thirty-three Degrees, 4017 Guadelupe St., Austin,TX 78751
Sound Exchange, 2100 A Guadalupe St., Austin,TX 78705


Antone's (213 W. 5th) Blues, has the "hottest" band in town Tuesday night when The Scabs play. Its bluesy raunch and roll. The popularity  also ensures that the most attractive club crowd possible. The other six days, the club features world-class blues, R&B and soul.

Guadalupe Street in the West Campus area of UT is called The Drag and is jam-packed with stores and shops of every sort. Recommended stops include the Cadeau for more eclectic gifts, and Toy Joy(2900 Guadalupe St), a time machine of toys. Oat Willie's is the town's original head shop. Wild About Music carries stuff from art to CDs, if it reflects music in Austin, you'll find it there.

Just about 20 blocks south across the bridge is the shopping enclave of South Congress. Stores include New Bohemia clothing store, costumes and retro-wear at Electric Ladyland, but only across the street at Under the Sun for western wear. Lots of cool antique shops, too.

Emeralds is a funky kind of Urban Outfitters place but with a bit more character.  (624 North Lamar Blvd)

Readers check out BookPeople (603 North Lamar Blvd), Adventures in Crime and Space, Mysteries & More, Congress Avenue Booksellers and the many locations of Half-Price Books. BookPeople hosts many book signings.

South by Southwest is three conferences and two festivals over about two weeks every March. Record-company execs, booking agents, A&R reps, musicians, famous musicians, wannabe famous musicians and  other hopefuls pour into the city for beer, barbecue and bacchanalia at the music conference. Wristbands get you into any of the three dozen or so venues during the five-night club crawl. And that's only the music part of it— SXSW Multimedia and SXSW Film attract all the right high-tech hopefuls and cinephiles. (512-467-7979)

Going bat crazy
The coolest, most unusual sight in Austin is totally free, though seasonal. When the Congress Bridge was rebuilt in the '80s, its new design offered a flock of Mexican freetail bats a home in the under-structure.
Around sunset, hordes of bats going out on their nightly feed has grown into hundreds of thousands, Flying  into the evening sky.
People line up just before sunset along the Congress bridge and A bat-watching area is set up below the southwest corner of the bridge with seating and information on the bats. Just go south of the river on the bridge and look for the large sculpture of a bat on a median to the right; the viewing area is across the street to the left.  Beware though, if it rains, the show won't happen.

For barbecue its Ruby's. They use organic meats and the restaurant smokes 'em 'til they fall apart. Make a stop before you fly out and get a sandwich to go, then eat it on the plane. Address: 512 W. 29th,  512-477-1651 Price: $2.95 and up
Also on the BBQ Front-
Kreuz Market-619 N. Colorado St. , Lockhart, TX  512-398-2361.  Lockhart is actually 30 minutes from Austin.  Its a town that hasnt changed in decades and is known as the BBQ capitol of the world.  Other BBQ places in Lockhart are Blacks and Smittys.
Artz Rib House, 2330 S Lamar Blvd., Austin, 514-442-8283-Best for baby back ribs.  Also a blues club.
Casino El Camino 517 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701 , bar on the busy sixth st with green chili cheeseburgers, fried hot dogs and their chili cheese fries are made with a green tomatillo sauce instead

Marias Taco Xpress
-Mexican joint run by an argentinian woman where you can get tacos and top them with Chimichura sauce. 2529 S. Lamar, 444-0261 www.tacoxpress.com

Jovita's is Tex-Mex all the way with a bonus: it has a stage that features some of the best music in town.  1619 South First  512-447-7825 $4.95 and up

The Texicalli Grille offers no-frills Southern-style cooking like chicken-fried steak.  534 E. Olto, Phone: 512-442-2799  $3.95 and up

The two locations of Threadgill's are named for musician Kenneth Threadgill, spiritual father of Austin's folk music scene. The north location features a shrine to Janis Joplin, who performed in the renovated gas station in the '60s. The south location pays homage to Austin's legendary music hall, the Armadillo World Headquarters. Diner food extraordinaire.
    Address: 301 W. Riverside; 6416 N. Lamar
    Phone: 512-472-9304 (south); 512-451-5440 (north)
    Price: $5.95 and up

Hoover's Home Cooking  is the home of the best chicken-fried steak in town- 2002 Manor Rd, Phone: 512-479-5006
    Price: $4.95 and up

Texas French Bread also has locations all over town. The breakfast-and-lunch crew crowd in every morning for coffee, freshly baked croissants, bagels and other goods to warm the tummy. Grab some of the Texas-shaped butter cookies for a treat later.
    Address: 1722 S. Congress; 2900 Rio Grande
    Phone: 512-440-1122; 512-499-0544
    Price: $1 and up

Fran's Hamburgers (1822 S. Congress), a cool, locally owned burger stand. You'll see them around town as Fran's or Dan's; they're all good and they're all cheap.

Green Pastures
(811 West Live Oak)-Southern Cuisine on an old plantation.  Very Pretty.

Star Seeds (3101 North I-35) 24 hour vintage diner with art and a funky waitstaff.

Alamo Drafthouse Theater
(409 Colorado Street) Why cant we have one of these?  Art and Cult film house with bar and food service.

Barton Springs Pool (2201 Barton Springs Rd) 68 degree natural freshwater swimming pool.

HOTELS
THIS PLACE IS COOL AND REASONABLE!
Austin Motel-1220 South Congress Avenue.  2 story red brick motel loaded with 40s Kitsch and themed rooms.
San Jose Hotel-Shared or private baths-1316 South Congress-Hipster gathering place.  Bar Action. 
Dallas

The Local weekly alternative paper is the
Dallas Observer. Fort Worth has the Fort Worth Weekly.   Also check the DFW SCENE.
Slightly disturbing has a pretty good Dallas site with a focus on gay clubs, though it covers all the bases.
Deep Ellum is said to be the "hip" neighborhood, however it has become more monied of late.

Live Music
Trees-said to have the best live music in Dallas, with the room painted as a forest.
Club Clearview-2803 Main St., Dallas,  (214) 939-0077-an old favorite, updated for the yups with multiple clubs, but this one still has its edge.
The
Curtain Club-2800 Main St., Dallas, TX  (214) 742-2336
The
Gypsy Tea Room -2548 Elm St.-Dallas,  (214) 744-9779-this is where you will find touring bands like Jon Spencer, etc.
Club Dada-2720 Elm St., Dallas, TX (214) 744-3232


Record stores
Bill's Records and Tapes -8118 Spring Valley Road, Dallas  972-234-1496
CD World-5706 East Mockingbird Road #110-972-826-1885
Collectors -10616 Garland Road, Dallas 214-327-3313 vinyl

I'm always embarrassed when I find amazing food at a chain and a themed chain in particular.  But I have to say
TRAIL DUST has the most amazing baby back ribs I have ever had.  They are dry rubbed, then "sopped" with a thin liquid while smoking and finished with a tasty sauce while heated over mesquite wood.  Bring a walkman if you hate country music, don't wear a tie because they will cut it off, and if you like line dancing, this is your joint to hit-various locations

Other Eats-
Sol's Taco Lounge -2626 Commerce St., Dallas  214-651-7657
Cafe Brazil - Deep Ellum and other locations-2815 Elm St., Dallas  214-747-2730
Sushi Nights -2604 Main St., Dallas  214-752-0100
Denton, TX
About 30 miles north of Dallas lies the college town of Denton, home to the University of North Texas.

Alernative Art-Good/Bad Art Collective-120 Exposition, 940-591-1725

Nightclubs and bars
Cool Beans-1210 West Hickory-940-382-7025-grunge vintage jukebox
The Tomato-1226 West Hickory-940-383-1111-where the punk kids hang
Ricks Place-125 Avenue A-940-382-4141-Frat boy bar with good bands
Dans Bar-119 South Elm-940-891-1549-great venue for local acts
Lucky Lous-1207 West Hickory-Grown up frat boy bar
Best Indie venue-Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios-411 East Sycamore-940-387-7781-Bands like Quasi and Solex have played here.

Check out Local Acts Brave Combo, Budapest One and Corn Mo.

Eats
Denton County Burger Company-113 West Hickory-940-383-1022  They make their burgers with shredded cheese on top.
Mazalan Restaurant-1928 N. Ruddell-940-566-1718-Mexican
El Matador-720 W. University-940-387-1137-more Mexican
Mr. Chopsticks-1120 W. Hickory-940-382-5437-unfortunately named chinese with cheap food.
Mr. Gattis Pizza on the Square-118 West Oak-940-383-0944-Pizza with live bands in a tiny basement.
Houston

The Local weekly alternative paper is the
Houston Press.
Houston has some unusual folk art around town.  People decorate their own lawns with "art".  Check out
The ORANGE SHOW.  There is more art in the restored Row Houses on 2501 Holman Street. 713-526-7662.

Record Stores
Cactus-2930 South Shepard

All through Texas we would hit BBQ joints.  I would always try the sausage hoping for a sublime taste sensation.  I didn't find good sausage until, ironically enough, we stopped at Goode Company BBQ for an amazing Jalapeno Sausage, tasty ribs and creamy cole slaw- 8911 Katy Fwy,Houston, TX 77024
Also you can try the bbq at Gumbeaux Restaurant, 2316 Southmore Boulevard , Houston (713) 520-9962-Call first as this is a catering truck and may have changed locations.

Clubs-
Spy-112 Travis Street at: Franklin Street
Houston tel: (713) 225-2229-cool friendly dance club.  Open til 2 am.

Hotels-
Allen Park Inn, 2121 Allen Parkway, 713-521-9321-voted best value hotel for great location and reasonable rates.
Aside from all the national chains you can also try the quirky
Robin's Nest Bed and Breakfast.

Lubbock, TX

Lubbock Online
Best of 2000.  Also check their club listings page.
San Antonio, TX

The Local alternative paper is the
San Antonio Current.

Finally I remember the Alamo.  If you are in San Antonio, you will go there so just give in.  I went there when I was little, but I didn't remember it.  Seriously.

First of all, a half hour north of San Antonio is the town of New Braunfels, TX.  It is home to two wonderful things.  One is the most amazing waterpark ANYWHERE, ANYPLACE!  Its called
Schlitterbahn and its actually 3 waterparks, 2 of them share one parking lot while the other is a mile away.  Schlitterbahn invented what is called a "watercoaster"  which is a slide which shoots you uphill using water.  They have these featured all over the two newer parks.  The third park is most unusual.  Its built on the side of a hill and takes advantage of the terrain and its location on a river.  They have numerous "tube chutes" where you ride inner tubes through troughs of water which are sometimes gentle, sometimes rapids, all of them fun and relaxing and never boring.  One of them runs an hour!!  You must go here!  MUST!!
Also in New Braunfels, is the New Braunfels Smokehouse, what else?  A bbq place-
New Braunfels Smokehouse (The Original), Corner of Hwy 46 & I-35 Phone (830) 625-2416

Back to San Antonio,  they have a pretty decent amusement park
Six Flags Fiesta Texas.  It has a great tower drop ride and log flume and is built inside an old rock quarry.  They have a wave pool in the shape of texas, but there is no way to see that to confirm it since its so far from anything with height. 
Tip:  Buy a six flags seasons pass, and you can visit 3 parks in texas for the price of one in the triangle of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.
They also have a
SEA WORLD with a couple of good rollercoasters.

Eats-
I happened to be on a meat quest when I was on my Texas trip, so I had mucho BBQ but no mexican.  So I ate at Rudy's Country Store (various locations-one at 24152 W Ih 10 at: IH-10 and Boerne Stage Road-tel: (210) 698-2141.  You order meat by the pound and put sauce on it yourself.  The Pork Loin was bland and dry when I went but it was pretty good.  Caution:  Beware of overordering.  Try things in quarter pound increments, for we wound up with two much food.  No Frills here either.

I also hit a real sit down chain called the
County Line BBQ-many locations in San Antonio.  There was too much to choose from, but they have cheap good peel and eat shrimp, smoked prime rib yum and lots more in a less authentic but good atmosphere.  Great baby backs.  They had good looking desserts, but what-are you kidding me?  I can only eat so much.

And for steak, I went to the Texas Land & Cattle Steakhouse, 60 NE Loop 410 at: McCullough Ave-tel: (210) 342-4477 and many other locations statewide.  Yummy Mesquite grilled steaks, served with amazing garlic mashed potatoes swimming in butter and texas toast points, which you are to dip in the butter atop the potatoes.  Then they have the JACK DANIELS PIE which is not a pie at all but a caserole mess of chocolate chips and brownie, topped with jack daniels covered with chocolate chip cookie dough which is then baked then SMOTHERED in ice cream.  Best when shared so you don't pass out from the sugar rush.

Walk around  Market Square (W. Commerce at Santa Rosa) for galleries, restaurants, bars and a  Mexican market, where you can tacky souveniers.

The River Walk is a very touristy area, basically a canal with little cruise boats and tons of bars and restaurants. Its right across the street from the Alamo, so you can't really miss it.

The best restaurant on the River Walk is said to be
Boudro's (421 E. Commerce, 210-224-8484)- a hybrid of New Orleans and Texas cooking, and always packed.  Reasonably priced.

Rosario's-910 S Alamo St-San Antonio, (210) 223-1806-said to have the best margarita, as well as the best mexican food in all of San Antonio.
Schilo's Delicatessen -a historical landmark, and the best place for soup or homemade root beer. 424 E Commerce St. San Antonio, TX  (210) 223-6692
Acapulco Drive-inn & Catering   609 S. Alamo St.  San Antonio  (210)224-2452-Cheap, outside beer joint with picnic tables and great chips and refried bean dip.
Liberty Bar-328 E. Josephine St.  San Antonio  (210)227-1187-Tasty, decor free southwestern food.  CHEAP!!  Local favorite.

Nightlife
Nightlife centers around the River Walk.  Lots of Bars, and it's safe most hours of the night.

Dick's Last Resort (406 Navarro, 210-224-0026) the River Walk is big  with young tourists and conventioneers. They have live music on most nights.

Market Square is also full of bars and "cantinas" and you can find great margaritas everywhere.

Also, St. Mary's Strip (2400 North St, Mary's near Hwy. 281) has a big selection of bars, nightclubs and restaurants and a ton of live music.

Art-
Blue Star Arts Complex-1420 S Alamo -San Antonio-Old warehouses converted to Galleries.  Said to be the best in SA.

Hotels-
Adams House Bed & Breakfast Inn-231 Adams St, San Antonio (210) 224-4791-Highly recommened hotel with rooms about 100 dollars.  You may be able to get a AAA discount.

Painted Lady -620 Broadway St.  San Antonio  (210)220-1092-another B&B with charm and a Liberace room.  Hmmm

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