Editors’ picks: food, fun, shopping and outdoors

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FOOD

 

 

P. Terry’s

You may think that this is just like any other burger joint, but you’d be wrong. It is impossible to deny  —unless you happen to be a vegetarian, in which case it is pretty easy to deny. If you want a delicious burger that you cannot get anywhere else but Austin, look no further than P. Terry’s. The burger joint has thick, delicious beef, chicken and veggie burgers, made and topped with all-natural ingredients and vegetables. If you go, do not, under any circumstance, forget to ask for pickles on your burger. That would be the biggest mistake of your life.

Chi’Lantro

If you are going to be living in Austin, you will soon be well-acquainted with food trucks, and you are going to love your life even more for it. One of the food trucks you should make a point to check out is Chi’Lantro, which serves “Korean + Mexican Fusion,” which might sound odd, but just trust me. They serve burgers, burritos, tacos and fries all filled with delicious bulgogi, which is a type of Korean marinated beef, and what they call “magic sauce,” which is both mysterious and magical.

VERTS

VERTS is probably one of the best restaurants in Austin. The first location opened in 2011 and it has already expanded to four more locations with two others forthcoming. VERTS serves döner kebaps, a beef/lamb combination or chicken served in freshly-baked bread, topped with vegetables and sauces. The dish is a staple of Germany, served as street food on practically every street. Anyone who has been to Germany can tell you with certainty that VERTS is the real deal. Every time you go there for a bite to eat, it will be like you are in the streets of Münster.

 

FREE FUN

 

HOPE Outdoor Gallery

If you blink, you might just miss this glorious–and legal–outdoor graffiti park on the outskirts of downtown. Founded by graffiti artist Shepard Fairey, the outdoor gallery is a haven for creativity and spontaneous art through the medium of spray paint. Amateur and experienced artists display their art on the slab that was once a condo development and the interesting designs and vivid colors will keep you entertained for hours. This gallery is one of the most unique and Austin-y sights you will come across and is completely free.

Austin Pets Alive!

Austin’s no-kill animal shelter, Austin Pets Alive!, is housed at the Town Lake Animal Center. Besides their mission being admirable, the Austin Pets Alive! shelter is a fun place to spend a Saturday. After one orientation, anybody is able to hang out and take care of the dogs and cats housed at the shelter. Not only will you be able to spend time with some furry friends, but you will be contributing to a great local cause.

Blanton Museum

Admission is free every Thursday at the Blanton Museum at the University of Texas. The art museum that recently celebrated its 50th anniversary has over 17,000 pieces of art. The Blanton specializes in modern and contemporary art and European art in a 180,000 sq. foot complex. You do not have to travel far to experience a rich collection of art. Just drive a few miles down the road to the Blanton.

 

THRIFTING

 

Family Thrift

Entering Family Thrift for the first time is a highly spiritual experience. It can be intimidating at first, but do not fret. That overwhelming feeling transforms into pure elation in no time. There are rows upon rows of wonderfully inexpensive clothing for both guys and gals, from uncanny T-shirts to wacky dresses. Plus, there is an assortment of kitschy oddities for the irony-enthusiasts to gawk at. Come sweater season, Family Thrift is your own cozy-knit kind of heaven.

Savers

Thrifting can often be a hit-or-miss kind of experience, but who ever said it was for the faint of heart? Savers is where the thrifting elite find the steals and gems in South Austin at extremely cheap to extremely reasonable prices. Seriously, you could go to Savers for a leather belt and leave with five leather belts, a J. Crew blazer, dress shoes, and some vintage tees. Of course, that’s on a good day. Keep Savers in mind for Halloween, when the place becomes a hot spot for costume shopping.

Prototype

If Thrifting is an artform, then there is no better place in South Austin to practice your work than Prototype. Tucked away on Milton Street, right off South Congress, Prototype is the hidden treasure of SoCo vintage shopping. It’s interior is less like the warehouse, free-for-all that is Savers or Family Thrift; instead, Prototype has a distinct boutique vibe. Regardless, it’s stocked full of amazing finds, from classic brands like Le Tigre to quirky originals to vintage Versace. Feel like living the lavish life? Treat yourself to a trip to Prototype.

 

OUTDOORS

 

Blunn Creek

Located only steps away from campus, Blunn Creek is a hidden natural wonderland. Blunn Creek has it all–a dormant volcano that you can hike, a babbling brook running through it and wildlife around every corner. Although it is not every large, Blunn Creek is an unexpected oasis in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It is a perfect place to relax.

Barton Springs

One of Austin’s most famous natural beauties, Barton Springs is an all-natural pool located less than three miles from campus. Because it is spring-fed, the pool is unaffected by the drought and stays full at a cool 68 degrees all year round. It is also home to the endangered species of Barton Springs Salamander–an amphibian found only in Barton Springs. Although it can get crowded, Barton Springs is the perfect place to take a refreshing swim, especially in the Texas heat.

The Greenbelt

The Greenbelt is an area surrounding Barton Creek with hike and bike trails, rope swings and swimming areas. The Greenbelt is massive, covering 7.8 square miles and requires a bit of hiking to reach the water, but the river is worth it. Depending on the water level, several areas of the Greenbelt have cascading waterfalls. Another wonderful aspect of the Greenbelt is that there are always puppies around begging to be played with.