Austin Travel Guide
Tax day is here, and you're probably excited...but not because you love sifting through receipts and credit card statements. You're excited because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" tripa Tax Refund Vacation.
In case you didn’t hear, today’s the day you'll need to finalize your tax return and, if all goes according to plan, your refund should be arriving by check or direct deposit within the next few weeks. At last update, the friendly folks at the IRS report that the average refund this year is just shy of $3,000, so we say it’s time to take that money and head out of town.
Affordability is key during tax season, so today we're featuring a domestic destination, to Texas' capital of cool—Austin. Now’s the time to visit before the sweltering summer weather rolls in, and with an average April temperature of nearly 80 degrees, you can enjoy the sun without the humidity of the tropics.
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In case you've been living in a cave (without WiFi, naturally), the South By Southwest festival is in full swing right now, with networking, screenings and, of course, partying. Austin, Texas is abuzz with people from all over the planet and, even though SXSW has plenty of things to keep visitors occupied for 10 days, not everyone is interested in visiting the city during this time of the year.
Thus, we've come up with a hearty list of things to do if you're headed to Austin when the city isn't packed with conference attendees.
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We’re right in the middle of SXSW, and if you’re lucky enough to be in attendance this year chances are that AUS will be in your plans. We discussed some of our favorite airport eats last year, and the same holds true in 2014—get some ice cream and barbeque before departing town. This year Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is rolling out the welcome mat for visitors yet again, as they’re bringing plenty of live music and other entertainment right into the terminal.
If you're headed to Austin next week without a SXSW badge there is still plenty to do, and most of it is free too.
Among the best of the badge-free activities is Rachael Ray's Feedback. Forget whatever preconceived notions you might have about TV's perkiest host because no matter what you think of her, the girl can throw a party.
This month eight of the films screened during Austin's Fantastic Fest back in September will be played at Alamo Drafthouse theaters across the country.
“We wanted to bring the excitement of Fantastic Fest to other cities around the country,” Fantastic Fest founder Tim League said. “Genre film fans will get a sneak peek at this year’s hands-down craziest and wickedly enjoyable movies.”
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Celebs! They're just like us! Well, "us" in general, since we would probably never find ourselves in the messy predicament actress and comedian Jenny Slate (Parks and Recreation, SNL, Marcel the Shell) found herself in on a flight yesterday:
I'd like to apologize to everyone on @JetBlue flight 794 for throwing up on myself the plane, to thank the very kind staff, &to die of shame— jenny slate (@jennyslate) November 10, 2013
JetBlue's flight number 794 travels from Austin, TX to New York, NY, a popular route with filmmakers, musicians and others in creative industries.
Thanks to Slate's attention to detail and inclusion of the flight number in her tweet, @jetblue responded that they will go the extra mile to make sure the crew receives her thanks and appreciation.
Also onboard was fellow comedian and new author Rob Delaney, who also took the time to tweet an observation at JetBlue, to which JetBlue replied with their usual social media brilliance.
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It might have one of the worst names in festival history, but it sure has caught on and gathered attention as a pretty big deal in Austin, a city that doesn't take its music lightly. The Fun Fun Fun Fest returns for its 8th year on November 8-10 with a lineup that goes well beyond music to showcase stand-up comedy, alternative sports, and the local food scene.
In addition to big acts like Snoop Dog (Lion), M.I.A., and Slayer, the FFF Fest will feature dozens of musicians as well as comedians, led by Sarah Silverman and Tenacious D. You can see the full lineup here. There will also be some extreme sports on site, including vert ramp skating and biking, wrestling (there's apparently a ring), and the good ole' fashioned Texas favorite, the mechanical bull.
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The summer heat has been kind to many areas across the country the last couple of weeks, but that’s not necessarily the case over in Austin, Texas. A quick look at the extended forecast shows high temperatures flirting with almost 100 degrees well into the weekend. The warm weather is a great excuse to take a break with a sweet treat, so it’s perfect timing for the area’s annual ice cream festival.
The seventh scoop is taking place this weekend on Saturday, August 17, and the fun is scheduled to run between 10am and 7pm at Fiesta Gardens right at the shores of Ladybird Lake. The city’s ice cream festival is exactly what you’d expect, but we say that in the best way possible. Games, activities, contests, and plenty of live entertainment, and of course all the ice cream you care to enjoy—it’s all included with the cost of admission. Even your dog is welcome to tag along as well, and we’re pretty sure someone will be there with some pet friendly deserts.
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The annual Fun Fun Fun Fest has announced this year's lineup, including M.I.A., Slayer, MGMT, Snoop Dogg, The Descendents, Jurassic 5, and Ice-T, just in time for tickets to go on sale today.
The festival will run from November 8-10 at the Auditorium Shores in Austin, TX and will also include a comedy show and action sports experience.
Three-day passes to the festival are now available for $179, which includes entry to all 3 days of FFF 8, entry into FFF Nites, and all taxes, fees, and shipping charges. To purchase passes, visit funfunfunfest.com soon because they are sure to go fast!
Austin is already known for its film and music festivals and now the Texas city can add a successful TV fest to its roster, too.
For the second consecutive year, the people behind TV's most beloved shows (past and present) came together to celebrate the medium at the ATX Television Festival. And, once again, Southwest Airlines flew most of them to Texas on the ATX Party Plane.
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We call bullsh*t on TMZ.
Earlier this week, attendees of Austin, Texas' SXSW festival and, by extension, the entire internet, got in a huge uproar over the VIP treatment and attention paid to one festival attendee in particular. That attendee was a catthe meme-famous "Grumpy Cat."
Grumpy Cat (whose real name is "Tardar Sauce," or "Tard" for short), headed to Austin for several days to do some promo work for Friskies and pose with legions of adoring fans, some of whom waited in line for hours just to get a Facebook-worthy photo with the naturally frowny kitty.
TMZ pounced on the story, blowing it up with an "exclusive" in their characteristic way, claiming "Grumpy flew first class ... and she's been living it up ... with her own, full-time assistant to brush her, an endless supply of Friskies as well as other treats, bottled water and her very own room at a four-diamond hotel ... king-sized bed included."
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For those heading to or from SXSW down in Austin this week or next we’ve got one recommendation for you—save some time for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Sure it’s not quite the same as what the festival has to offer downtown, but definitely don’t dread heading back to the airport a little early. Thankfully the airport has plenty of local flair to make Austin proud, so even if your flight gets in before your hotel is ready—it might just be worth hanging around for a few as a brief introduction to Austin.
The very first sanctioned shows of the festival finish up today, as the annual SXSW Airport Showcase will do its thing on March 12 between 1pm and 3pm and then again between 3:30pm and 5:30pm. Everything takes place over by Gate 10 on the Asleep at the Wheel stage, and the artists and musicians will be back on March 18 to start closing things down.