As this year comes to a close, I’ve been reviewing my blog entries and reflecting on my favorite downtown activities over the past twelve months. Bill and I are very fortunate to live in a city that’s as vibrant and active as Austin. Here’s my Top Five picks for 2014…
5. The Boardwalk Trail – The south shore extension of the Hike-and-Bike Trail opened in June. Walking or biking on this part of the trail that juts out over Lady Bird Lake is really relaxing and makes you realize how many people use the lake for rowing, kyaking, water-biking, and fishing. And the views of the city skyline are fantastic.
Blog Entry: The Boardwalk Trail
4. EAST and WEST – This year I was able to attend both the East and the West Austin Studio Tours. I’m amazed at how many talented artists live here. Some of the tour locations are studios, some are businesses, and some are even private homes. It’s fun just trying to find the locations, and even more fun to speak to the artists and admire their work.
3. Texas Book Festival – I’ve attended this annual free festival for many years now. The authors and panel discussions are always interesting. This year I particularly liked the sessions with John Dean and Douglas Brinkley on Nixon, and also Lawrence Wright’s discussion on Sadat, Begin, and Carter at Camp David.
2. ACL-Live Concerts – Bill and I enjoy living near the ACL-Moody Theater. We try to attend as many Austin City Limits TV tapings as possible. For regular concerts, we often buy last-minute tickets and sit in the cheap seats in the back. We’ve seen some great acts there over the past year, including Ed Sheeran, The Avett Brothers, Janelle Monáe, The National, and a whole bunch of people at ACL’s 40th anniversary show.
1. South by Southwest – After years of leaving town over spring break, I finally decided to stay around for SxSW. I loved it. SxSW Interactive was my favorite part of the conference, with speakers like Chelsea Clinton, Edward Snowdon, and George Takei. I also enjoyed SxSW Music, especially Johnnyswim, Janelle Monáe (again!), and Gary Clark Jr. And Bill and I both loved all four of The Hold Steady shows!
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