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35 Things Everyone Should Do In Austin, Texas, Before They Die

Whether you're a longtime resident or just trying to hang like a local during SXSW, these are the things that everyone should check off their bucket list in ATX. Mostly they involve eating, drinking, and natural beauty — that's how we do it in Texas.

1. Pack a picnic and head to gorgeous natural swimming grotto Hamilton Pool.

2. Watch cute old people two-steppin' at the Broken Spoke.

3. See the city's 1.5 million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats emerge from underneath the Congress Bridge at dusk.

4. Compare the breakfast tacos at as many local favorites as your stomach can handle and determine your own personal winner.

Are you more of a Torchy's girl or a Taco Mex lady? Oh, you prefer Papalote? Good choice, v. classy.

5. Jump into the giant year-round 70-degree spring-fed heart of the city, Barton Springs Pool.

6. Spend some time in the amazing ladies bathroom at Donn's Depot.

The most amazing little bathroom in the world is attached to an almost equally amazing divey piano bar on West 5th St. There's a CARPETED NOOK that you have to climb up a ladder to get to where you can look out over the entire bar / spy on your boyfriend.

7. Sift through the photographs and antique whimsy of strangers at Uncommon Objects.

The South Congress store is packed from ceiling to floor with baubles, dolls, furniture, jewels, taxidermied animals, and my favorite — mysterious antique photos from strangers whose memories are just waiting for you to come rescue them.

8. Watch the fireworks over Lady Bird Lake or Lake Austin from a tiny boat.

9. Get drunk on margaritas at Polvos Mexican Restaurant.

10. Hike up to Mount Bonnell and make out.

11. Do some hipster gazing and coffee drinking at Spiderhouse.

12. Get contemplative among the waterlilies and quiet statues at Umlauf Sculpture Garden.

13. Go pore over David Foster Wallace's papers at the Harry Ransom Center and see if you get more intelligent by osmosis.

14. Witness the burnt orange insanity of a University of Texas home football game.

15. Nosh on some delightfully weird and delicious vegetarian dishes at Veggie Heaven.

16. Go to see your favorite movie like you've never seen it before at the Alamo Drafthouse.

17. Worship at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

18. Finally get a chance to sing your real favorite song at karaoke with Karaoke Underground.

19. Eat at East Side Kings and drink all night on the back porch of The Liberty.

Paul Qui's been serving up beet fries and deliciousness from a trailer in the back of the Liberty Bar since before he won Top Chef and got all fancy on us. It's still my favorite of his now many institutions, and as a bonus you're at the favorite bar of the coolest people in Austin (my friends).

20. Get lost in the rows upon rows of new and vintage pinball machines and arcade games at Pinballz Arcade.

21. Spend a date playing among the uncanny valley characters of Peter Pan Mini-Golf.

22. Do the full loop of the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail.

23. Dig through stacks on stacks on stacks of wonder at the Austin City Wide Garage Sale.

24. Stumble upon some "yarn-bombed" trees.

25. Try a selection of beer served lovingly by the experts at The Whip In.

And while you're there try some hot curry at the dhabapub and see some tunes on its tiny perfect stage.

26. Stuff yourself on authentic cajun food at Nubian Queen Lola's Soul Food.

27. Spend one (ONE!) regrettable night on Dirty Sixth.

28. Gather up the courage to visit Hippie Hollow, Austin's clothing-optional swimming spot.

29. Wait in line for hours for Franklin BBQ.

30. Admire the peacocks just wanderin' around at Mayfield Park.

31. Explore the eerily beautiful natural wonder of Longhorn Caverns.

32. Wander through the wonder of the Cathedral of Junk.

33. Look at an amazing collection of natural artifacts you can examine yourself at the Austin Nature & Science Center.

34. See a show or a summer movie at the historic Paramount theater.

35. Admire the spring splendor at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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