Spring outdoor opportunities not limited to Barton Springs

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Phil, America’s most famous groundhog from Punxsutawney, Pa. can be blamed for the six extra weeks of winter the country experienced this year. Thankfully, spring is here, having made its debut on March 20. 

As the temperature rises, so does the number of options for entertainment in Austin. From outdoor music shows to picnics, the opportunities to enjoy the city from outside of a dorm, apartment or thick coat are unlimited.

Austinites often limit their outdoor activities to swimming at Barton Springs and running at Zilker Park, while Austin offers much more to do. Just a six-minute car ride away from the St. Edward’s campus, the Barton Creek Greenbelt offers miles of trail to hike or bike, perfect for finding peace in nature while challenging the body. Climbing the natural rock walls there can also provide a climber serenity of the mind while challenging his or her muscles and willpower. The sense of accomplishment when reaching the top of one of the Greenbelt’s walls is another benefit to visiting the Greenbelt.

Social Cycling ATX, a group that frequently bikes around Austin together, offers another way to enjoy spring weather by keeping active. Every Thursday, Austin cyclists are invited to join the group in riding to a different destination where they can enjoy the outdoors together. The group often meets to swim, play games like Frisbee or just socialize. Last week, the group met at the Festival Beach Community Gardens to socialize after a casual ride through Austin.

In addition to offering hundreds of places to exercise outside, Austin serves as the host city for a variety of outdoor farmer’s markets. Weekly and biweekly, local vendors and farmers in Austin come together to sell their fresh, organic and original products. 

The Sustainable Food Center (SFC), a non-profit company based in Austin, organizes a market each week in four different locations, one of which is hosted just eight minutes (by car) away from the St. Edward’s campus at Republic Square Park on 4th and Guadalupe. The markets offer everything from Kombucha to cage-free eggs. 

Among other unusual vendors at the SFC markets are the 100th Monkey Mushroom Farm, which offers different strains of non-GMO mushrooms and Straw Dog Art, which sells paintings of all breeds of pooches.

In Texas, spring weather usually lasts for about a month before dissipating into a 102 degree summer-like heat. Before long, hiking at the Greenbelt may cause heatstroke, and the natural rock walls will be too hot to touch or climb. 

Although many, Austin’s different opportunities to appreciate the spring season are ephemeral. 

Austinites should revel in the first few weeks of spring by getting outside as much as possible, whether that be through shopping at a farmer’s market or joining a cycling club.