For the past several years, several enterprising individuals in Austin have been experimenting with alternative forms of transport, including electric scooters and bikes. Now it’s easier than ever to zip from one spot to the next without having to endure the constant congestion on Austin’s roadways.
Scooter travel and biking in Austin just got an upgrade with OJO ride-share scooters (first ride free with code OJOAUSTIN) and Austin B-cyle. With parking no longer a concern, visiting some of the coolest stops in Austin just got a whole lot more comfortable.
Start at the Austin Motel
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The Austin Motel was built in the 1930s | Courtesy of Austin Motel / Hotels.com
Even if you don’t stay in the Austin Motel, chances are you will walk away from your trip in Austin remembering its famous neon sign and marquee. The motel, built in the 1930s, sits prominently at the beginning of the South Congress neighborhood. It’s a cozy spot that emanates quintessential Austin weird. The artistically designed interior and rooms pop with color, and the pool area provides an opportunity to relax and catch some sun. Only a short scooter ride from downtown, the motel is located near restaurants and shops.
Set your sights north and scoot up to the Convention Center. As the epicenter for all things SXSW, it is conveniently situated close to hotels, major attractions and entertainment districts. The venue occupies at least 247,000 square feet (23,000 square meters) and includes 54 meeting rooms, ballrooms and generous exhibition space. It hosts the world-famous SXSW Festival, which includes live shows and performances from a variety of genres and disciplines, such as tech, music, film and more.
Hear live music at the Empire Control Room and Garage
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Located at the intersection where East Austin meets West Austin, the Empire Control Room & Garage is an indoor-outdoor venue whose three stages often feature some of the best music acts to visit Austin. From hip-hop to funk to synth electro-pop, the performances here are eclectic and embody the city’s values of inclusivity and “Keep Austin weird.”
Guero’s is an Austin classic that has been open longer than most restaurants in the city, and for good reason. The pet-friendly restaurant includes a patio and an enclosed stone courtyard. Grab a seat in the dining area or enjoy a bowl of queso in the atrium. Just take your time and people-watch. After your meal, hop on your scooter to any of the vintage shops nearby.
Have a ghostly encounter at the historic Scoot Inn
Bar, Grocery Store, American, $$$
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If bars with history are your scene, head almost directly east of the Empire Control Room & Garage to the Scoot Inn. Founded in 1871, the bar is the oldest continuously running beer joint in central Texas. Recently remodeled, the Scoot no longer suffers from sagging floors and leaning door frames, but the old piano is still there. Stop by on any given night to take in live performances by indie bands. Plus, according to the staff, a ghostly presence dwells within the walls of the Scoot Inn. (According to the inn’s venue operations manager, Crisene Casper, the spirit is harmless.) (Remember: do not drink and scoot. Please ride responsibly.)
A few blocks south, you’ll stumble upon Lucy in Disguise, a zebra dressed up as the Chiquita Banana Lady. She is the iconic image associated with Austin’s beloved Lucy in Disguise With Diamonds, a costume and vintage store in the South Congress District. Since 1984, it has offered an eclectic variety of goods that encapsulate the spirit of the city’s slogan, “Keep Austin weird.” With rooms upon rooms of dresses, wigs, props and jewelry to choose from, you can assemble almost any outfit you want from Lucy’s stock. Tip: If you don’t plan on reusing your outfit, Lucy has a rental policy and also provides special discounts for theatrical productions.
After you’ve scooted all around town, you might need a quick bite to eat before you get ready for after-hours fun. Opened by the Veracruz-born Vasquez sisters in 2010, Veracruz All Natural Food Truck creates tacos that have established the vendor as a premier taco trailer in the city. The Food Network even recognized them for serving one of the five best tacos in America – a well-deserved accolade. If you’re looking for something really authentic, try the Al Pastor or the Chicken Mole. If you’re still at a loose end after all that scooting, there are tons of great things to do in Austin.
When the hustle and bustle of city streets becomes too much, sometimes the solution is a walk in the park. On the eastern edge of downtown flows Waller Creek, along which you can stroll from the University of Texas campus all the way to Lady Bird Lake. With many entrance points along the way, this creek path makes for a beautiful and safe walk to many of the must-see downtown destinations. However, as it is not a scooter-friendly path, the best way to access it is to park your scooter along the edge of Waterloo Park. From there it is a five- to 10-minute walk to the center of SXSW. Plus, with your scooter tucked out of the way, you won’t have to worry about navigating one-way streets as you look for a parking slot.