Posted by Brian Talley on Friday, January 20th, 2012 at 4:10pm.
Austin isn’t known for its winter weather. Meaning: don’t count on a snow storm for an unexpected day off! It may be too warm to model a new parka, but that means more time to enjoy the pool of an Austin luxury home or a community center like the Circle C neighborhood club. Despite the lack of continuous cold, Austin’s winter days, ranging from icy streets to 80 degrees and sunny, offer a variety of ways to find fun. Below are a few activities to keep a winter weekend wonderful:
Kite Flying at Zilker Park
Zilker Park is a 351 acre outdoor space not far from Barton Creek West with a variety of recreational opportunities for Austinites that accommodate every season. Winter can be mild while still bringing wind, an ideal scenario for kite flying. Wide open fields mean there’s little worry of tree branches snagging kite strings. When winter subsides, kite lovers will celebrate on the first Sunday of March with The Kite Festival, an open invite kite flying party that benefits local charities.
Blanton B Scene
The Blanton Art Museum on the University of Texas campus hosts the Blanton B Scene on the first Friday of every other month. The event features live music, an art show, cocktails, and food. Guests can browse the galleries of the museum as they sip wine and munch on tapas. Museum members pay a $5 admission charge, and other guests pay $12.
The colorful sign of Esther’s Follies is hard to miss downtown, and the show would be equally hard to miss once hearing all the rave reviews the cast receives. Conceived as a combination topical vaudeville/satirical musical comedy revue, Esther's Follies has grown to become the state's premier comedy complex, garnering national praise and a loyal following. Musical comedy, magic, and political satire fill the Sixth Street venue, just steps away from the food and beverage hubs of Downtown Austin. Admission prices range from $22 to $27.
City Wide Garage Sale
Filling the Palmer Events Center, the City Wide Garage Sale is an annual marketplace for antiques, vintage objects, and collectibles. Booths display everything from tea linens to furniture to collectible vinyl. The 2012 Austin schedule includes January 28-29, March 17-18, April 21-22, June 16-17, July 21-22, August 11-12, September 1-2, October 20-21, and November 24-25, all at the Palmer Events Center.
Hot Chocolate & Treats
It may be actually cold outside, or it may just be a great moment for a hot chocolate and cookie break, but either way there are a multitude of options for a special winter’s day treat. The Driskill Hotel hosts an elegant but warm coffee shop on its ground level that offers delectable gourmet coffees, teas, sweets, and more. The Driskill Hotel was built in 1886 and is an Austin landmark, offering a perfect stopover in between downtown shopping or seeing a show.
Inner Space Caverns
Located just down IH-35 in Georgetown, Inner Space Caverns is a limestone cavern etched over thousands of years and hidden underground until 1963. Tours will reveal the beauty formed in the stalactites and stalagmites and the history of the caves, which includes the discovery of prehistoric animals. Inner Space Cavern was discovered by the Texas Highway Department while drilling through 40 feet of solid limestone. The bit broke into what is now known as Inner Space Cavern. An adventurous employee of the highway department was lowered into the hole while standing on the drill bit and holding tightly to the stem. He was the first human being to enter the cave. Anyone can follow in his footsteps now, riding a train underground to the trails that lead through a peek into the past.
Austin Poetry Slam
A poetry slam is not to be confused with a poetry reading. Poems are original, often loud, sometimes funny, and never dull. Judges for the competition are randomly selected from the audience to score poetry on a scale from zero to ten. Poets perform for three minutes each using nothing but their body and a microphone. At the end of the night the three highest-scoring poets are awarded cash prizes. Slams are held every Tuesday night at the 29th Street Ballroom — 2906 Fruth Street next to Spiderhouse Cafe. The show starts at 8:30 PM. Come early, get a drink, and hang out before watching Austin spoken word artists for only $5.
Austin doesn’t offer much in the way of idyllic frozen ponds, but it does have a state of the art skating rink in Chaparral Ice. Admission for public skating sessions is only $6, and skate rental is $4 for children and adults. The rink also offers skating lessons, hockey leagues, figure skating sessions, and party planning.