What to Do in Austin, the Quirky Texas Capital
The somewhat quirky capital city of Austin, Texas is arguably different than all the rest in the Lone Star State. From its famous mouth-watering barbecue and an amazing music scene that includes venues like the historic bungalows that have been transformed into the city’s trendiest bars to watching the one-and-a-half-million bats fly out from under the Congress Bridge at sunset, it would be hard for any healthcare traveler to find a place more fun and unique as this to accept a travel job.
Catch a Live Music Event
As the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World, there is no shortage of outstanding music venues in Austin, home to more live music venues per capita than even legendary music cities like Los Angeles, Nashville and New York City. The historic bungalows on Rainey Street house places like Icenhauer’s which hosts live music and dance parties on Sundays, and Blackheart, with its dive-like vibe and live music, as well as being known as one of the top spots for a whiskey cocktail.
Other must-experience venues include Antone’s, the Continental Club and the Broken Spoke, where you can listen to country tunes and dance all night long.
Join the Fans for a Texas’ Longhorns Football Game
The University of Texas campus hosts a diverse 50,000+ student population, many of whom take their football quite seriously. Nationally known for their team spirit and high level of energy, the fans live for home games and tailgating. Allied travelers that want to experience the city like a local, really shouldn’t miss the opportunity to attend a home game like a local by wearing burnt orange, joining in the excitement at the Beir Garten for a pre-game pint and a bratwurst, and checking out the street-party-style tailgate scene. You’ll see fans of all ages preparing tasty foods on grills, tossing footballs and sipping a variety of beverages, and it all starts on 7 a.m. on any given game day.
Swim at Barton Springs Pool
No matter what the season, the spring-fed waters at Barton Springs Pool remain a steady 68 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. Of course, summer, when those temperatures can be sizzling, make it an ideal place to cool off from the heat. It’s also a great time for people watching, with all sorts of characters arriving this time of year, and nudity optional. It’s not uncommon to see bare-breasted females dancing to the beat of a drum circle, or twirling hula hoops.
Head to Congress Avenue Bridge to Watch the Bats Come Out at Sunset
The Congress Avenue Bridge plays host to North America’s largest urban bat colony in with one-and-a-half million bats coming to feed their hunger pangs, gorging on 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of insects each night. Annually in March, the bats return to give birth and raise their pups, and stick around through October. If you’re here in the summer, you’ll be able to catch them at their peak, particularly around late August and early September, when the pups join the moms in flight. Just before sunset each night, people gather on the bridge to marvel at the bats as they emerge. The best vantage point for viewing can be had by renting a boat and watching from the water, or right atop the bridge.
Hike Scenic Trails
Regular exercise is important for all healthcare travelers, not only for maintaining good health, but for fighting stress and having enough energy to do the job well. Hike up Mount Bonnell and you’ll get a workout and be rewarded with stunning views of Lake Austin, magnificent multimillion-dollar homes, the 360 bridge and the downtown skyline from nearly 800 feet above sea level. While the path is only about a third of a mile in length, there is a nearly 200-foot elevation gain from the bottom of the stairs to the top, so you’ll definitely get your heart pumping. If that’s still not enough, you can always head to Zilker Metropolitan Park with its miles and miles of hiking trails.
Sample Some of the World’s Best BBQ
You absolutely can’t miss sampling some of Austin’s world-famous BBQ while you’re on a travel job here. The best of the best can be had at Franklin Barbecue. It’s such a legend, that people travel from all corners of the globe to wait in line for a bite. While that line is going to be long, the reward is well-worth the wait. Make an event out of it by bringing chairs and drinks. You can use the time to try and decide what to order, and chat with others in line, some of whom probably traveled from a great distance.