‘Keep Austin Weird,’ a phrase originally coined by Red Wassenich, an Austin Community College librarian, has stood relevant through time largely thanks to some of Austin’s quirkiest sights. Below are the sights so perfectly adding to the great weirdness that is Austin.
Austin contains 17 of the only surviving light towers in the world. They’re called moonlight towers because the lights give off a sort of artificial moonlight. Built in the 1890s, they are considered Texas State Landmarks and hold a place on the National Register of Historic Places. The light tower in Zilker Park was featured in the film Dazed and Confused, starring Austin resident Matthew McConaughey.
An artwork of junk located off the beaten path. Located in Vince Hanneman’s – the creator of the cathedral – backyard, this cathedral is a true example of the phrase, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’ Colors and odd objects pop out at you in forms you’d never imagine like old CDs now serving the purpose of wind chimes. Always make sure you make an appointment with the owner ahead of time.
One of America’s last remaining in-home museums, the Museum of Natural & Artificial Ephemerata is a gem in Austin proper. You’ll hear the stories connected to their odd relics and artifacts ranging from Venezuelan Ants to Marilyn Monroe’s last cigarette. Whether you believe the authenticity or not, the experience alone is worth the trip.
A remodeled bungalow turned into a three-story eco-friendly fairytale dream home. You can see this home on HGTV’s Offbeat America or in the Natural Homes magazine. The masters of this wonderland, architect James Talbot and artist Kay Pils, created a unique oasis fit with a foot bridge, fire poles, and mosaics. You can step into this one-of-a-kind storybook house on a scheduled tour by visiting their Facebook page or giving them a call.
Exactly how it sounds, Polka Dot Lawn is a residential lawn with polka dots painted over what might normally be green grass, or brown grass depending on the season. The lawn’s bold statement only adds to the already colorful home sitting just behind it, a true testament to ‘Keeping Austin Weird.’
Dry Creek Cafe & Boat Dock
Bar, Cafe, American, $$$
One of the last original dive bars in Austin, Dry Creek Cafe & Boat Dock is like stepping back in time. Dive bars normally take on the connotation of a shady neighborhood bar, but this specific dive bar is anything but. A hidden gem in the beautiful West Hills of Austin, you can enjoy a beer on the crooked deck while listening to 1980’s country on the jukebox.
The littlest park you ever did see, Sparky Park is an odd oasis in the middle of a cute Austin neighborhood. The park contains a wall of art by artist Berthold Haas, grotto-like structures, large Cedar Elms, and repurposed glass dishes and marbles. All together, this tiny public park is a great place to trigger imagination or plan an afternoon picnic.