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Cindy Brzostowski

Cindy Brzostowski

Articles (13)

The best weekend getaways from Austin

The best weekend getaways from Austin

Although Austin is packed with many awesome things to do – from checking out its best attractions to dining at its ever-growing list of best restaurants – the surrounding cities are equally abundant and worthy of a weekend jaunt. Austin’s central location makes for the ideal starting point whether the drive takes you north, east, south, or west of it. Even just an hour and a half south will get you into the buzzing city of San Antonio, where you’ll discover a rich and diverse history. The same distance in a western direction will take you to the rolling Hill Country where you’ll be able to sample the finest wines down south. How about some space discovery and a ton of international cuisine? Houston is your best bet two and a half hours away. Or answer the calls for a beach vacay… head to Galveston, the Texan answer to Coney Island, three hours on the road. Whatever floats your boat, here are the best escapes from Austin by car, all the way to neighboring Louisiana.  RECOMMENDED: The best hikes in Austin

The best hidden Austin parks for a secret retreat

The best hidden Austin parks for a secret retreat

When it comes to the best things to do in Austin – which includes the best hikes and outdoor activities – it often seems like everyone else in town has the same idea. The crowds during the summer weekends can be heaving, making it problematic to find a quiet patch of grass to park on and enjoy lunch on. Yes, Austin is all about live music events, rooftop bars and fun in the sun, but sometimes even the most social of us need a respite. If that’s the case, then we suggest skipping past Zilker Park, Mount Bonnell and Barton Creek Greenbelt...and wandering off the beaten path. Whether you’re planning on a romantic date on a picnic blanket, a nap,or just a few uninterrupted hours with a good book, here are some lesser-known natural spots in Bat City that’ll give you that much-needed breathing space to just be. Recommended: Where to hike in Austin

The 16 best fast food restaurants in Austin

The 16 best fast food restaurants in Austin

When it comes to quick meals in Texas, the best fast food restaurants in Austin take a front seat. But we’re not just talking about just any drive-thru staple. Austin is where the first Hopdoddy patty was flipped, and where the first Torchy’s Taco was stuffed—this is where fast food legends are made. Some of Austin’s best fast food joints specialize in anything from Korean BBQ to vegan smoothies and, most surprisingly, sensational soups. And is it really all that surprising in a town that takes its restaurants as seriously as Austin? With options that range from fancy fine dining to no-frills food trucks, it makes sense that Austin has plenty of quick, affordable, and unapologetically delicious eats to go around. These are the places that are there for you in a pinch, when you need good grub on the go. So let’s skip the small talk and get going—here are the 16 best fast food restaurants in Austin.RECOMMENDED: the best restaurants in Austin

The best speakeasies in Austin

The best speakeasies in Austin

Austin is known for its charming quirks and fiercely independent spirit, and it’s no secret you’ll find amazing breweries and wine bars around every corner of the city. A little more secret, though, is a stellar selection of hush hush hidden bars and speakeasies in Austin. For our list of top watering holes off the beaten path you’ll need to look beyond the velvet curtain, enter through a bookcase, or whisper an exclusive password. If it seems like a challenge to find some of these venues, just know it’s worth the effort to discover some of Austin’s best cocktails.  RECOMMENDED: The best bars in Austin

Get in shape at these 11 Austin gyms

Get in shape at these 11 Austin gyms

Living in an active city like Austin means there’s no shortage of fun things to do, amazing restaurants to try and incredible cocktail bars to check out. But exploring all that the Texas capital has to offer may also mean that, unless you're signed up at one of Austin's best gyms, your fitness ends up on the backburner. Get back on track with your exercise and health goals (or start off on the right foot with your New Year’s resolution) by joining one of the top Austin gyms, whether you're into pilates or plyometrics. Get 1 month of free workouts with Classpass

The best farmers’ markets in Austin

The best farmers’ markets in Austin

Austinites like to eat well, and that extends beyond dining out at its best restaurants. Since ours is a city passionate about buying local, frequenting the best farmers’ markets in Austin is a full-blown treat, one where you can shop for fresh ingredients year-round. If you’re torn between visiting that grocery store around the corner or your local market, consider this: Shopping at the farmers’ market means supporting local farms, connecting with your community, eating seasonally and enjoying fresher produce. Not to mention the markets serve as some of Austin’s best attractions in their own right and make for fun some of the best things to do with kids, too. Find your go-to among this list of the best farmers’ markets in Austin.

The 15 best Austin tours

The 15 best Austin tours

Whether you’ve just moved here or you love being a tourist in your own town, one of the best things to do in Austin is to experience a handful of Austin tours. From helicopter tours and boat tours to brewery tours at Austin’s best breweries, you’ll be able to visit some of the city’s most popular sites—or partake in one of the capital’s under-the-radar experiences. Either way, you’re sure to learn a little bit more about Austin—and have a seriously good time along the way.

Where to find the best queso in Austin

Where to find the best queso in Austin

It's hard not to fall in love with a bowl of Austin's best queso, a mouthwatering appetizer that the entire table can get behind when ordering. Hell, it’s almost considered sacrilege in this city if you’re not a fan of it. Along with scouting out the best tacos in Austin, guzzling down the best margaritas and arguing over the best barbecue in town, being a good Austinite means falling in love with this addictive, melted cheese dip. Due to queso’s incredible popularity, you’ll find this perfect dish on plenty of menus across town, but here are our favorites.

The 12 best places to go camping in Austin

The 12 best places to go camping in Austin

Have an urge to go camping in Austin—or at least somewhere nearby where you can take in the great outdoors? We wouldn’t blame you for wanting to escape the city life. Don’t get us wrong—there are plenty of incredible things to do in Austin, but sometimes you need more than just an afternoon at the best Austin parks and gardens or on one of our top hiking trails to detox from the hustle and bustle of the city. Whether a tent or an RV is more your style, here are some of these best places to camp in Austin (or right outside of it) when you hear the call of the wild. Reservations for all of the state parks can be made here.

The best costume shops in Austin

The best costume shops in Austin

You’ve picked up a pumpkin at the best pumpkin patches around Austin and taken in a scary movie at the top movie theaters in town, but have you been to the best costume shops in Austin to find a killer costume this Halloween season? We’ve rounded up some of the most wild costume stores in the city where you can find everything you need to create that enviable head-to-toe look. Whether you’re heading to a house party, walking down Sixth Street or visiting one of the best haunted houses in Austin, get ready to play dress up!

The best haunted houses in Austin

The best haunted houses in Austin

October isn’t just about celebrating Oktoberfest; it’s also a time to embrace the frightful, freaky fun of Halloween—and that means hitting up the scariest haunted houses in Austin. When you’re ready for something more than just catching the latest horror flick at one of the best movie theaters in town—or you’ve finished the adult-approved version of trick or treating by sampling some of the best desserts in Austin—take a trip to these six Austin haunted houses for a spooktacular evening. We won't blame you for crying a little.

The best things to do in downtown Austin

The best things to do in downtown Austin

Don't just stop at Sixth Street when making your way through the best things to do in Austin. The thriving neighborhood is chock full of some of Austin's best restaurants and top rooftop bars, but it also has a rich history and plenty of cultural attractions. If you find yourself in the downtown district, fill your day by paying a visit to one or more of these spots. From the best museums in Austin to downtown and historic sites to unique, local hangouts, there’s something for everyone right here in the city’s center.

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Texas Farmers’ Market at Lakeline

Texas Farmers’ Market at Lakeline

Barton Creek isn’t the only mall in town where you can find a farmers’ market on the weekends. Lakeline Mall has its own on Saturdays that is organized by Texas Farmers’ Market, the same people who host the market at Mueller. This location gives those living in North Austin and Cedar Park a convenient way to support local vendors and farmers and pick up fresh vegetables and other assorted local goods. The Texas Farmers’ Market at Lakeline is open rain or shine from 9am to 1pm.

Lone Star Farmers Market

Lone Star Farmers Market

Technically not in Austin proper, the Lone Star Farmers Market is around 25 minutes outside of the city in Bee Cave. The market is at the Shops at the Galleria in Bee Cave, just a little past the Austin Zoo, and open every Sunday. You’ll find 40+ local vendors, live music and fun activities for kids. On the first and third Sundays of the month, they have knife sharpening, and there’s also free yoga every first Sunday. The event runs from 10am to 2pm.

SFC Farmers’ Market at Sunset Valley

SFC Farmers’ Market at Sunset Valley

In addition to their market downtown, the Sustainable Food Center puts on another farmers’ market down in Sunset Valley at the Toney Burger Center. Parking is plentiful here—in fact, there’s 17 acres of it! Another notable feature of this market is that they have an Imagination Playground, which consists of interactive blocks that kids can move around to create their own play space. You can drop by the SFC Farmers’ Market at Sunset Valley on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.

Barton Creek Farmers Market

Barton Creek Farmers Market

You’re probably familiar with Barton Creek Square Mall, but did you know that they host a farmers market in their parking lot on Saturdays? Head over to the section between Macy’s and Dillard’s between 9am and 1pm to pick up some fresh produce, grass-fed meats, prepared foods and artisanal goods. You’ll also get the chance to listen to some live music, which can range from bluegrass to jazz. Southpaw Sharpening is there too for those who need to get their knives sharpened.

Boggy Creek Farm

Boggy Creek Farm

Shopping at a farmers’ market versus a grocery store brings you closer to the producer, but why not go a step further and shop at the farm itself? Once a 19th-century homestead, Boggy Creek Farm is an urban farm in East Austin that you can visit Wednesdays through Saturdays from 8am to 1pm. In addition to their super-fresh produce, they have dairy products, meat, assorted goods from other farms, and other specialty items from Larry’s kitchen for sale (Larry Butler is one of the farm’s owners, along with his wife Carol Ann Sayle). While here, you’re welcome to walk the fields and check out the hen house. Pro tip: Come early to choose from the best selection!

HOPE Farmers Market

HOPE Farmers Market

HOPE Farmers Market was founded as a way to bring together and celebrate the East Austin community. It all takes place at Plaza Saltillo—which is conveniently one of the Capital MetroRail stops—on Sundays from 11am to 3pm, no matter the weather. This local market has a wide range of goods for sale from produce to artisan food to jewelry. In addition to the vendors, they have live performances by local musicians throughout the day as well as free yoga.

Green Gate Farms

Green Gate Farms

Close to Walter E. Long Lake, there’s another farm you can visit: Green Gate Farms, a historic, certified organic farm. Their stand sells vegetables, honey, pastured eggs, free-range meats and flowers. It’s open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm, and on Tuesdays from 3pm to 6pm. You may also want to drop by on a Saturday at noon so you can join a hands-on tour of Green Gate Farms’ fields, gardens and buildings for $10 (or free if you’re one of their CSA members!).

Velvet Taco

Velvet Taco

Ready for a wildcard? Velvet Taco is the most unusual queso on this list, a red curry coconut queso served with pickled onion and Thai basil. You won’t find anything quite like it on the menus of other taco joints, and it’s a nice option for when your stomach is craving queso but you’re looking to spice things up a little.

Matt's El Rancho

Matt's El Rancho

Matt’s El Rancho dates back all the way to 1952 when its original location opened on East 1st Street. This family-owned and operated establishment is home to the beloved Bob Armstrong Dip, which is a reference to former Texas Land Commissioner Bob Armstrong who often visited the restaurant. The story goes that Armstrong came in one day, asked for something off the menu to satisfy his hunger and the kitchen whipped up a combination of their chile con queso, taco meat and guacamole. The rest is history! Let’s all give thanks to Bob Armstrong for inspiring the creation of this delicious dip.

Trudy's Texas Star

Trudy's Texas Star

Around since 1977, Trudy’s is a favorite in the Austin Tex-Mex rotation—and so is its queso. You can order the original chile con queso, or you can go with the Queso Especial (our pick), which includes guacamole and spicy pico de gallo. If you really want to treat yourself, we recommend adding in the beef brisket tinga, which is seasoned with a spicy chipotle and onion blend and slow mesquite smoked, for some extra oomph. In fact, you can add any of the meats they serve into your queso. Consider getting one of their famous Mexican martinis as the perfect accompaniment to your chips and dip.  

Curra's Grill

Curra's Grill

At Curra’s Grill, you have two options when it comes to your appetizer: the standard chili con queso and Kelly’s Queso. The difference? The first is made with ground beef, pico de gallo and guacamole. The second swaps the meat for whole black beans, and comes from the restaurant owner’s friend Kelly who would always order queso with the addition of black beans. Curra’s decided to just go ahead and slap her unique order on the menu itself. The base of both quesos is Land O’Lakes Extra Melt American Cheese—hey, it’s not like they’re trying to fool anyone.

Maudie's Cafe

Maudie's Cafe

With a name like Diablo Sol Food, you know it has to be good. That’s what Maudie’s special chile con queso is called, taking the restaurant’s savory original version and adding taco beef and pico de gallo. If your heart so desires, you can also add guacamole to the dish for an extra 25-cent charge. The fiery name makes this queso seem much spicier than it actually is, so don’t be discouraged from ordering one for the table.

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Shake up your exercise routine with 10 unique fitness classes in Austin

Shake up your exercise routine with 10 unique fitness classes in Austin

Austin is, undeniably, an active city (hello, abs), so it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of fun fitness options besides running and CrossFit right at your fingertips. Sign up for one of these unique exercise classes when you want to get a great workout in—and try your hand at something new while you’re at it. Sky Candy: Ever wanted to join the circus? You can come pretty close to it with an aerial arts class at Sky Candy. This studio offers classes in silks, hammock, trapeze and lyra (a hoop ring hung by one or two ropes). If you fall in love with a certain apparatus, you can give one of their four or six-week series classes a go. An intro to aerials class is $20 while a drop-in class is $25; sign up here. City Surf Fitness: Texas may not be known for surfing, but City Surf Fitness recreates the core and balance workout that comes with riding the waves—except this time, it's all indoors. They have a variety of classes centered on a stability surfboard, including strength and cardio. One session costs $25, and you can sign up here. Hey Paddle: If you've mastered SUP (stand-up paddleboarding), you can kick it up a notch by performing plyometrics, body weight exercises and more on top of one at Hey Paddle, which calls itself the only floating fitness studio in Austin. You'll work out on a paddleboard on Lady Bird Lake; depending on the class you choose, you may also use a combination of kettlebells and resistance bands. The first class is only $15; sign up here