I am delighted that the ABA is coming back to Austin for the 2020 Midyear Meeting, where TIPS will be headquartered at the JW Marriott. The capital of Texas has grown so much in the many years since our last Austin meeting. If you haven’t been here recently, you may not recognize it!
Austin offers so much to do and see in and around the city. First, we call ourselves the Live Music Capital of the World because we are known for our eclectic, live-music scene that is centered around country, blues, and rock. Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, Antone’s, Stubbs, and the Continental Club are all iconic, downtown music venues.
If you’d prefer shopping, Congress Avenue south of Lady Bird Lake is a great place to stroll, shop, and people-watch. We call the area “SoCo” (or South Congress). For your pair of custom cowboy boots, be sure to stop in Allens Boots, which has made custom boots for any number of dignitaries and stars. Second Street near the hotel features a wide variety of shops as well.
Only a few blocks from the JW Marriott, the new Central Library offers a spectacular view and rooftop garden and deck to read and ponder. And Whole Foods Market’s global headquarters is located only a few blocks further at Sixth Street and Lamar.
For outdoors, there is hiking (with amazing views) on Mount Bonnell or at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve or McKinney Falls State Park. The trail around Lady Bird Lake is easy to access from our hotel and makes for a great walk or run. You should also consider visiting the Botanical Gardens at Zilker Metropolitan Park and the nearby Umlauf Sculpture Garden—all are easily accessible. Barton Springs Pool is in the heart of Zilker Park, and some Austinites (and snowbirds) actually swim in the pool year round. Also check out the Pennybacker Bridge on Loop 360 spanning Lake Austin, which provides fabulous views and wonderful photo opportunities.
Austin has a lot to offer for history buffs: the Texas State Capitol, LBJ Presidential Library, Bullock Texas State History Museum, George Washington Carver Museum, Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, and Texas State Cemetery are all within a short distance of downtown. And for the curious, there is the Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata, which houses a collection of curiosities, such as the last cigarette smoked by Marilyn Monroe and Willie Nelson’s hair.
Bat watching from the Congress Avenue Bridge is always a special treat. At dusk, literally millions of Mexican freetail bats blanket the skies near Congress when they fly out from under the bridge.
Food and drink are plentiful here. Great restaurants are everywhere. Be sure to visit some food trucks and airstreams for local Austin flavor. And there are numerous vineyards in the Hill Country near Austin. In Fredericksburg, you can get a seat on a wine-tasting bus. There are also local tap rooms throughout Austin where you can enjoy local brews. Although the distillery is not open to the public, Austin is the home of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, so that fabulous product is plentiful throughout the city.
Come prepared to have a Texas ton of fun, ya’ll!