Austin Overtures Mercedes-Benz City Tour
The next time you find yourself in the capital of Texas consider soaking in some of Austin’s history. Get your bearings by hoping on board one of Austin Overtures’ air conditioned Mercedes-Benz vans for a 90 minute tour of city highlights.
Start the tour at the Austin Visitor’s Center (209 East 6th Street) where your guide will point out the historical highlights of downtown Austin including the haunted Driskill Hotel and the historic bars along 6th Street and the Warehouse District that gave Austin its name “The Live Music Capitol of the World.” Then wind your way up to the Texas Capitol Complex, the University of Texas home of the Texas Longhorns and the historic homes dotting Bremond Block. Next you’ll head out to explore Old East Austin with its offbeat arts scene and the Texas Hill Country in West Austin. All along the way, your guide will offer their suggestions for the best places to catch a show, do some shopping, grab some barbecue, and any other items that might be of interest to you. These tours cost $25 for adults and $17 for children 12 and younger.
Austin Duck Adventure Tour
Another way to explore the city while revisiting your inner child, is hopping on board one of Austin Duck Adventures US coast guard inspected, Hydra Terra vehicles and experience a 75-minute amphibious tour. This tour also leaves from the Austin Visitor’s Center. Included in this tour is Historic Sixth Street, the State Capitol Building, Bob Bullock State History Museum, the Governor’s Mansion, and the banks of Lake Austin. The boat is steady enough that you won’t get splashed during the water portion of this trip. But be prepared for the noise especially after the guide distributes the plastic duck horns to the kiddies. These tickets cost $25.95 + tax for adults, and $ 15.95 + tax for children ages 3-12. Children under 2 can ride along for free.
Lunch at the Noble Pig
After your jaunt by Mercedes or Duck, consider heading up fourth along Route 620 North to The Noble Pig for lunch. Don’t let the deli-like exterior fool you. Inside, you will find some of the best sandwiches in town. Try their speciality sandwich, the Noble Pig, which contains spicy ham, pulled pork, provolone and bacon. If you want something a bit lighter, get their smoked duck pastrami sandwich.
An Afternoon Exploring
Then walk off your lunch but spending the afternoon exploring some of Austin’s best vintage thrift stores or art galleries. If you are in the mood to continue touring, be sure to pick up some free self-guided tours at the Austin Visitor’s Center. In particular, be sure to check out the Texas State Capital (1100 Congress Avenue), an impressive granite building that in true Texas tradition is actually taller than the US Capitol. Be sure to stroll around and see the statues gracing the Capitol grounds and check out the free historical exhibits on display at the nearby Capitol Visitors Center (112 East 11th Street).
Dinner and a Show
For dinner, check out some Austin’s barbecue. While everyone claims to have their favorite place, you can’t go wrong if you swing by Franklin Barbecue located over in East Austin at 900 E. 11th Street. Then cap your night off by checking out a live music show. To get an up to date list of local shows, check out the Austin Chronicle or just stroll down Sixth Street or the Warehouse District and see what catches your eye.
Austin Folk House Bed and Breakfast
Conclude your day, when you crawl into bed at the Austin Folk House Bed and Breakfast . Located on W. 22nd right across from the University of Texas at Austin, this B&B is about 16 blocks from downtown, so you’re near all the action yet tucked away enough that you won’t hear the urban vibe when you’re trying to sleep. Their nine rooms each have their own unique character so go online and select the room that best suits your personality. All rooms come with a king or queen size bed and individual bathrooms so you will. Central air and heat will ensure that you can remain comfortable regardless of the weather outside.
When you wake up, you’ll be treated to a full breakfast at Folk House. The daily menu varies and includes some items as raspberry pancake, big waffles, Migas (extra jalapenos on request) for those who enjoy spicy food, a Green chile casserole and various quiches. After breakfast, grab and extra cup of coffee and maybe even a bagel and relax on the rocking chairs on the front porch until your noon check out.
What & Where:
Austin Duck Adventures (512-4-SPLASH)
Austin Overtures (512-659-9478)
Austin Visitor’s Center (209 East 6th St; 512-478-0098 or 866-GO-AUSTIN)
Austin Folk House Bed and Breakfast (506 W. 22nd St; 512-472-6700)
Franklin Barbecue (900 E. 11th St; 512-653-1187)
The Noble Pig (11815 620 N, Suite 4; 512-382-6248)
Texas Capitol Tours (201 E. 14th St; 512-463-0063)
Mary R. Garrison is a freelance writer and global nomad currently based in the Pacific Northwest. Follow her travels on Instagram at instagram.com/becky_garrison.