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Regardless of what time of year you're in Austin, 6th Street is where you will find the most debauchery. It is here that the crowds gather to party, with an endless stream of bars attracting a young, high-energy vibe. It is a site worth seeing, especially during festivals like South by Southwest, when the road is closed off and the party spills out onto the street.
But when you're ready to take a chill pill, consider checking out another segment of Austin's social scene, Rainey Street. While there is still plenty of partying and fun to be had, the mood is much more low-key and "neighborhoody" than the one you find on 6th Street. Think quieter streets, nearby houses, food trucks, trendy settings, and lots of outside picnic table seating.
Easy Day Trips / Austin Travel / SXSW / Texas Travel / Food Travel / Lockhart Travel / Barbecue Capital of Texas / → All Tags
Barbecue is the cornerstone of Austin cuisine, especially for people in town for South by Southwest looking for a local experience. There are a number of great places to try within the city limits to get your fix of ribs and brisket, such as Black's, Rudy's, and Franklin. But if you're looking to escape the crowds for a couple hours, you might consider a lunch trip to Lockhart, the "barbecue capital of the Texas" just 40 minutes south.
The title of being the barbecue capital of Texas was first given to Lockhart by the 76th Texas Legislature and House Resolution #1024 in 1999, which officially named Lockhart the "Barbecue Capital of Texas." The title was again reaffirmed by the Senate in the Fall of 2003. Hearing that, we expected to find endless options in Lockhart, but amazingly there are only four barbecue restaurants in the entire town.
Ribs at Angelo's Barbecue in Fort Worth
We've talked up the metro-cowboy contrast and cattle drive history that makes Fort Worth special, but now it's time to get down to the good old fashion Texas appeal: Barbecue, beer, and bourbon. In this addition of Street Food Friday, we round up a few of our favorite Fort Worth establishments:
The main entrance to the Stockyards.
Simply put, the Stockyards is a Fort Worth neighborhood that has been restored to its early 20th century form. There are cattle pens, saloons, and the world's largest honky tonk (and I'm not kidding about that last part). But it’s so much more than a tourist trap. Within the Stockyards still lives Fort Worth’s past as a town of cowboys and cattle drives, the blocks upon which the city was built.
It all revolves around its role on the Chisholm Trail, a 200-plus mile long cattle drive from Texas to Kansas. What’s a cattle drive? It’s the movement of cattle by cowboys from one place to another. In this case, the Chisholm Trail saw herds of cattle, most with a couple thousand heads in total, transported from Texas and sold to packing plants in Kansas, where they were worth more.
Fort Worth – specifically the Stockyards and a section of downtown called Hell’s half acre – was the last stop on the Chisholm Trail where the cowboys could buy supplies and find entertainment before embarking on the 90-day journey north. What sort of entertainment? The cowboy variety, of course. Saloons, gambling houses, honky tonks, and brothels were the main attractions to go along with general stores and the like. It would be months before they rejoined civilization, so whatever fun was had needed to provide ample memories and stories for nights around the campfire.
Fort Worth Travel / Dallas Travel / Texas Travel / Fort Worth Stockyards / Sundance Square / → All Tags
Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth
Fort Worth has a well-developed, friendly rivalry with Dallas, one that pins the country feel of the former against the modern development of the latter. Compared to Dallas, the pace of life in Fort Worth is slow, and as one cab driver put it to me, "When my coworkers come back [to Fort Worth] from Dallas, they're going a mile a minute. I have to tell them to take a walk and chill out."
Overall, it's hard to think of two big cities that are that close and that different (Dallas is the 9th biggest city in the U.S., Fort Worth is number 17). That's a pretty cool platform for travel in its own right. But it gets more specific than that. After spending a few days in Fort Worth, I had a hard time thinking of a city where there was such a drastic contrast within itself. Sure, all cities have neighborhoods with different personalities, but Fort Worth has one of the strongest ying and yangs I've experienced in some time: The push towards modern times against the pull of its western past.
Even though the latest incarnation of Dallas was canceled, life goes on at The Ewings' homestead.
The iconic Southfork Ranch in Parker TX which served as the backdrop for the original series and the recent TNT reboot, is still welcoming visitors daily for tours and events.
Bus Travel / Dallas Travel / Austin Travel / Texas Travel / Vonlane / DFW / AUS / → All Tags
We’ve done the 3+ hour drive from Dallas to Austin at least 100 times and can safely say that it is an incredibly boring way to spend an afternoon.
Difficulties include such things as keeping the car between the lines and staying awake, not to mention trying our best to avoid stopping off at Loves truck stop for the chicken fried chicken. Driving also makes us unable to get any work done as using our laptop while speeding down the highway is almost always frowned upon by police.
Thankfully, the smart people at Vonlane have introduced a new way to get from Dallas to Austin that avoids the stress of air travel and the turtle-like speeds of Amtrak while providing as luxurious an experience as public bus travel can manage. They also offer the flexibility to book in advance or on the day of your trip without paying the exorbitant prices you’d pay for a last-minute flight. One-way trips are $100.
Travel Politics / DAL / Dallas Travel / Texas Travel / Southwest / American Airlines / Airline News / Airport News / Airports / DFW / Wright Amendment / → All Tags
...As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas - even if the federal government has to force it to be.
The Wright Amendment was enacted in 1980 as a change to the Federal Aviation Act of 1958. It was all about protecting the risk and financial investment put into opening Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport in 1974, sheltering it from the older, smaller Love Field just a 21-minute drive away.
While the amendment was not technically created because of Southwest Airlines, the fear was that if Southwest, or any large carrier, continued to operate out of Love Field (previously the main airport in North Texas) it would decrease passenger numbers at the shiny, new and expensive DFW Airport.
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For whatever reason big airports seem to have big problems when it comes to concourse connectivity. Of course WiFi is available everywhere, but it usually comes with an annoying fee. Some of the big boy airports—like Atlanta—have finally flipped the switch to make things free, and now yet another major airport is finally doing the same.
It’s time for the WiFi to be free for all across Houston, as the airport authority has opened up the network to passengers at both George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport. The rollout is complete over at Hobby Airport, but a couple of the terminals at Bush Intercontinental will need another month or so to work things out—so just be aware.
Airline News / Virgin America / Texas Travel / DFW / DAL / Airlines / Airport News / New Routes / Wright Amendment / → All Tags
If you’re heading to Texas anytime soon, you should know of the switcheroo taking place with the planes and people over at Virgin America. In case you don’t study the carrier’s route network on a daily basis—we just might—the airline has been flying to and from Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, but that’s about to change.
Thanks to all the complicated details surrounding the merger between American Airlines and US Airways, plus the lifting of the restrictive Wright Amendment, the area’s other airportDallas Love Fieldis now open to new airlines and destinations.
Virgin America filled out their paperwork in number two pencil, and recently received good news. They’re now getting the green light to put their planes at Dallas' Love Field, and that means that they will do the nonstop thing to spots like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York (LGA), and Washington (DCA) this October.
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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After a long winter it’s finally time to come out of hibernation, and there’s no better way to celebrate the season and warmer weather than with a little food and a little wine. April is packed with food festivals for the next few weekends, so now’s the time to cancel those plans with the family and head out on your own getaway. Here’s three spots worth checking out.
Pebble Beach Food & Wine – April 10 – 13
If you’re not already in California you have until tomorrow to get there, as the events surrounding Pebble Beach Food & Wine kick off tomorrow and run throughout the weekend. Expect celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations, plenty of sips and samples, and of course event after event tailored to your food favorites. Most of the cooking demonstrations start at around $100, and things go up from there.
Plenty of tickets are still available on what they call an “a la carte”—ha—basis, but you can also go all in an order a package of events. Things start off at around $1,000 for their magnum set of events, and things get pricier as you select from the jeroboam or imperial options.