Our Favorite things to do in Austin


We want to thank all our friends and family for taking the time to celebrate the day we embark on our new life together. And while you are in Austin, we hope you can have a new adventure yourself! We've put together a few lists of some of our favorite things to do, places to eat, hot spots to drink and  hear some good music. Our favorite outdoor experiences and indoor AC havens. Let us know if you have any questions, we love talking about Austin. 

One small qualification is both Jason and I left Austin in the end of 2013, so much has changed in the small "town" we left that has now almost doubled in rent prices and high rises. We picked our favorite haunts from five years ago when we were both a little bit broke and a little bit hipster.

Events to attend in Austin over Labor Day 2018


Austin has a funky, music-infused, laid-back culture, very different from the rest of Texas. If you have time, check out some of the funky events going on around town, from comedy, to music, to theater and some weird stuff in-between. Best to book your tickets ahead of time!

See more of our favorites below:

Events in Auston over Labor Day 2018

Here are some events going on over Labor Day weekend if you want to see something fun.

Leon Bridges - 9/1 | Calendar | ACL Live

hello everyone listening to the Big Little Lies soundtrack

The City Theatre Austin presents The Grapes of Wrath

8.30.18 | 8:00 pm
8.31.18 | 8:00 pm
9.1.18 | 8:00 pm
9.2.18 | 3:00 pm

Beauty and the Beast at the ZACH Theater


Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 12.58.57 AM.png


Cap City Comedy presents Chris Gethard

Fri, Aug 31    Austin, TX
Sat, Sep 1    Austin, TX
Sun, Sep 2    Austin, TX

Babes Fest

The festival is an event for women-identifying and non binary artists, producers, entertainers, cultural organizers, and audience members in a collaborative effort for gender equality.

8.30.18 | 8:00 pm
8.31.18 | 7:00 pm
9.1.18 | 1:00 pm

Capital of Texas Aerial Championships

8.30.18 | 7:00 pm
8.31.18 | 7:00 pm
9.1.18 | 2:00 pm

University of Texas Libraries presents Lone Star Zine Fest

9.2.18 | 1:00 pm

Austin Film Society presents 2001: A Space Odyssey

8.31.18 | 6:30 pm
9.1.18 | 12:30 pm
9.2.18 | 2:30 pm

Paramount Theatre presents Summer Classic Film Series

August 29: The Searchers
August 30: Once Upon a Time in the West
August 31: Giant
September 1: Gone with the Wind

Umphrey's McGee in concert with Nth Power featuring The Spirit Horns

8.31.18 | 7:30 pm

TexARTS presents The Great American Trailer Park Musical

8.30.18 | 7:30 pm
8.31.18 | 7:30 pm
9.1.18 | 2:00 pm
9.1.18 | 7:30 pm

Capital City Black Film Festival

August 30 — September 2

Viola Davis will be speaking

Out of Bounds Comedy Festival | Labor Day Weekend | Austin, TX

See more of our favorites below:

Where to shop and thrift in Austin


Keep in mind when Jason and I lived in Austin we were two broke twenty-somethings. If you are into thrifting and consignment clothes, Austin is one of my favorite cities for reasonably-priced fashion (much better than San Francisco or New York City!). There's also tons of funky stores on South Congress and West 2nd street, as well as traditional shopping at the Domain.

See more of our favorites below:

Places to Shop in Austin

Moss Designer

Probably the first thing I will be doing in Austin when I arrive. Consigment store with designers brands and reasonable prices.  

Goodwill Outlet Store

If I had time to go here, I would. Absolutely the best experience in thrifting if you've never been to a Goodwill outlet store. Here's how it works: rows and rows of leftover items from Goodwill stores are places in large blue plastic bins. Every 30 minutes a section of bins in the store is removed and new bins are placed out.

You have to wait on the sidelines with everyone until the green light is given. Suddenly everyone runs out towards the bins and you start rushing to look through all the treasure. 

Not ideal for germaphobes.

6505 Burleson Road
Austin, Texas 78744
Mon-Sun 7am - 10pm


    "Gucci" Goodwill

    Named the "Gucci" Goodwill by the in-the-know thrifting circles in Austin, this West Lake Goodwill is stocked with more designer brands than your average Marshalls. Nestled on the west side of town just of Lake Austin Boulevard, this Goodwill is the closest drop-off location for many of the well-to-do in Austin. Location is accessibly by public transportation, walkable and bike-able, and close to a JuiceLand for after-shopping pick-me-up.

    Goodwill Lake Austin
    701 Newman Drive
    Austin, Texas 78703
    Mon-Sat: 8:00am - 9:00pm
    Sun: 10:00am - 7:00pm

    The Domain

    Not everything is thrift-life in Austin, and if you want to experience the most popular outdoor mall in Austin, head up to the Domain. Stores include Anthropologie, Madewell, Dillard's, Tiffinay's, Zara, Neiman Marcus, and Forever 21.

    Mellow Johnny's

    For the bike-lovers out there who also want a coffee shop when they fix up their ride.

    Nice Kicks

    For you sneaker heads like Jason, get your fill of popular and rare Nikes, Jordans and Yeezys.

    See more of our favorites below:

    Escape the heat with Our favorite indoor activities in Austin


    Austin is an amazing place for outdoor adventures, but often it's just too damn hot. With lots of cafes and shops, you can always find some small oasis of AC, but your best bet for a sweat-free afternoon is too bring your activities inside. You'll notice our recommendations are very art-heavy, which can't be helped.

    See more of our favorites below:

    Coffee in Austin

    Whole Foods HQ

    Visit Whole Food's headquarters at there mothership location on N. Lamar. This location is like Austin's piazza, you'll see outdoor yoga, youngters on dates, and senators now and again. A change meeting at Whole Foods was one of the main reasons Jason and Megan got back together. Jason was eating sushi and Megan was eating a salad with chop sticks. We had a seamless conversation but didn't make any plans to see each other again. A few weeks later Jason reached out again. 

    The Texas State Capitol

    Everything's bigger in Texas, including the capitol building. It's the largest in gross square footage of all state capitols and is the second biggest after the U.S. capitol in Washington, D.C.

    Jason and I worked here for the Spring session of 2011 and got to see some of the most startling women's rights issues (this was the session before Wendy Davis's famous thirteen-hour-long filibuster). Our short stint helped both of us determine politics wasn't the route for us.

    Blanton Museum of Art

    Blanton is our favorite art museum in Austin, with a beautiful blue stairs entrance. With the right light you feel like you are walking through water. Imfamously, the original architexts for the art museum were the reknowned Herzog & de Meuron firm, however due to creative differences, they resigned and the building is what you see today by another architect. 

    Yard Dog Art Gallery

    Funky little art gallery off South Congress main drag, also owned by one cool former colleague of the bride. 

    The Thinkery (KIDS)

    Never been here but it looks super cool and interactive for kiddos in town. 

    Chicken Shit Bingo | Little Longhorn Saloon

    It's all in the name. It looks like it's only on Sundays so you'll miss this one-of-a-kind opportunities. Maybe next time you are in ATX!

    The Contemporary Austin

    Like the name, contemporary art in Austin with locations down town and out by the lake. 

    Mexic-Arte Museum

    Traditional and contemporary Mexican and Latino art. We weren't able to visit when we lived here so hoping this time round. 

    George Washington Carver Museum

    The George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center is dedicated to the collection, preservation, research, interpretation, and exhibition of historical and cultural material reflecting all dimensions of experiences of persons of African decent living in Austin, Travis County, Texas, and the United States. The museum is also a key source of information on the history and celebration of Juneteenth. 

    O. Henry Museum

    Preserved Victorian cottage where short story writer "O. Henry" resided with his wife and daughter.

    Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

    Visit the original Alamo Drafthouse located in downtown Austin, and kick up our heals while you watch a great movie with food and drink (including beers) brought to you when you put up a card. This movie theater is infamous for kicking people out for bad movie-going etiquette, so no talking, please!

    LBG Presidential Library

    While we've never attended ourselves, you can go see the library and museum of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States

    The Bullock Texas State History Museum

    Great place to catch an IMAX in Austin or learner about the history of Texas, with several special exhibitions as well.

    See more of our favorites below:

    Our favorite outdoor activities in Austin


    Austin is definitely a city for nature lovers! If you've never been, you'll be surprised by how much greenery and water surround this small city. If you can only do one thing definitely visit Barton Springs, which has 68 degree natural spring water all year round. 

    See more of our favorites below:

    Outdoor adventures, Austin style

    If you can stand the 100 degree heat you'll have an endless list of things to do in Austin!

    Hike Green belt

    200 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704-1046
    +1 512-499-6700
    Head to the Greenbelt AKA Barton Creek Greenbelt for over 12 miles of hiking on beautiful paths with watering holes and birds galore. Great for children and bikers. 

    Several access points including a favorite by Taco Deli, link to overview of trail access points here. 

    Barton Springs

    2201 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704, USA
    Did we mention it's hot in Texas? Well jump in Barton Springs Pool will be your salvation. This natural waterway is three acres in size, and is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 68-70F degrees year round. Free from 5am - 8am.  Robert Redford learned to swim at the pool when he was five years old. This was a favorite of Megan's who lived a five minutes walk away, up a hidden trail.

    Wimberly Blue Hole

    Swim in an actual aqua-marine watering hole just south of Austin in a sleepy town called Wimberly. You can bring you blanked and a raft if you like, as well as some cold beers to sip on by this cold stream fed watering hole. You'll feel like you're in an old-time generation. But don't expect to layout in the sun, there's so many trees here!

    Hamilton Pool

    You'll need to make a reservation for each car that wants to visit this picturesque watering hole outside of Austin. Expect a little hike from the parking lot. Sometimes you cannot swim due to bacteria. Worth the visit just to see the scenery. 

    Bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge at Sundown

    From March to October, 1.5 million bats emerge nightly from narrow crevices in the underside of the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. They usually start to emerge from the bridge around 20 minutes before sundown.

    Float the river

    Floating the river on a black inner tube with a tallboy in hand is a time-honored Texas tradition. There are several rivers to float on outside of Austin and you'll have to book ahead. We also recommend you get a driver. We recommend you do not float the river on Sunday, the day of the wedding, as folks have a tendency to get dehydrated and sleep the night away with strange sunburns. 

    Walk around Town Lake

    KA Ann & Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, Town Lake Trail, Lady Bird Lake Trail.

    10-mile urban trail around Lady  Bird Lake and a picturesque path to get from north to south Austin. 

    You can find many sporting activities, including paddle boarding, kayaking, and canoeing at various points around the lake.

    One of Megan and Jason's favorite workout routines.

    Butler Park Pitch & Putt

    Get your golf fix with this nine-hole par three on South Lamar. You can bring a cooler and play as the sun goes down to avoid the heat. 

    UT Austin Tour

    Wander around the large campus on your own or take the general public two-mile walking tour to learn more about the strange mishmash of building on this famous campus. 

    UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum

    See Charle's Umlauf's work surrounded by the natural green beauty of Austin. Directly across from Barton Springs and around the corner from delicious JuiceLand.

    Watch the Sunset from Mount Bonnell

    A small hike will take you to a beautiful overlook of the expansive Texas scenery and the lakes below. Usually crowded with teenagers if I recall. 

    I Love You So Much Mural

    The most famous mural in Austin is a simple hand drawn love to humanity, "I Love you so much." Then grab a drink at Jo's Coffee!

    See more of our favorites below:

    Our favorite place for drinks and/or live music in Austin


    While most of the bars have changed up since we left Austin, many of our favorites remain and there's a great vibe to each part of Austin that never changes. We've includes an overview of the area so you can pick your best spot to grab a Lone Star or dance to a band in the Music Capitol of the World.

    See more of our favorites below:

    Drinks and Music in Austin

    Since much has changed over the years, we wanted to give you an overview of the vibe of the bar neighborhoods and where to find music. 

    M = Music

    Dirty 6th Street

    The most famous strip of bars in Austin, filled with music at various locations. Also filled with underage students from UT Austin.

    Bars West 6th Street

    The more "classy" and "bro-y" side of Austin bars. Great for a drink with a very Texas-y vibe and possibly Two-Step!

    Rainey Street

    Megan and Jason's favorite spots to grab a drink. The bars seemed to have changed but the quant vibe remains. Our favorite bar here is Clive Bar and it's still up-and-running!

    East Sixth Street

    If you want to visit the hipster side of Austin, head to east 6th where you'll find grungier dive bars and hipsters galore. Needless to say Megan and Jason went out here many times back in the early teens. 

    The Cloak Room

    The infamous bar where state senators and representatives go to have a stiff drink during session. You must need a tall glass when you undermine the state's education system. 

    Elephant Room - M - Jazz

    Underground jazz bar with nightly music. This dark dark bar is a great place sip on a cocktail listening to local music. It's hard to hear anything else

    The Continental Club - M - Blues, Rock, Jazz, Country, Funk

    Probably the most famous music bar in Austin, you can catch an act any night of the week. See schedule here. The Gallery upstairs offers another stage with a little bit more funky vibe. 

    Cheer Up Charlies - M - Hipster

    An LGBTQ friendly bar with nightly music including 9/1 Beyoncé v Rihanna mashup. If you want to dance, I recommend!

    Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden

    Homemade sausage and beer garden. 

    Jester King Brewery

    World famous brewery home to Austin, Texas! If you are a beer lover you are already going here.

    Hotel Vegas - M - hipster

    Modern hipster music with Two-Step lessons on Wednesdays!


    See more of our favorites below:

    Our favorite Coffee joints in Austin


    It's important to stay hydrated in the heat of Austin and to stay caffeinated for late night dancing. You can't go wrong with any local coffee roaster, but here are some of the ones Megan frequented most!

    See more of our favorites below:

    Coffee in Austin


    Megan and Michelle had some delicious coffee here. There are multiple locations located exactly where you need a little jolt in your day. 

    Cafe Medici

    We have lots of fond visits to Cafe Medici when we were working on our dreams, favorite location is the West Lynn location, a small slice of the neighborhood that surounds it. 

    Mellow Johnny's

    Also a bikeshop for riders out there. Good downtown coffee shop.


    Megan's first time to Austin, Casey and Megan went to Hula Hut down the street from this cute coffee shop with lake view. Megan later had an interview sipping coffee here.

    See more of our favorites below:


    Our favorite Places to Eat in Austin

    If you love tacos, Tex-Mex, vegan food, and/or BBQ, you are in the right city. Austin has a great and growing culture of food, from simple breakfast tacos and food trucks to fancy sushi (for real!) and French cuisine. We've put our favorites below, but so much has changed we urge to explore!

    See more of our favorites below:


    Food in Austin

    V = Vegan friendly

    Bouldin Creek Cafe - V

    One of our go-to spots for vegetarian food, we used to eat here at least twice a month. Megan met Jasmine and Cindy here for the first time! Megan highly recommends the Tofu Broccoli Salad and add the tofu scramble. 

    Tacodeli - V

    Megan's favorite breakfast tacos in the city, you can  walk to Tacodeli from the Greenbel and grab delicious avocado salsa. 

    Taco Joint

    We have a little contention in our relationship, as Jason thinks Taco Joint is even better than Tacodeli. Megan hasn't been, but is positive Tacodeli is more delicious. You be the judge! 

    JuiceLand - V

    The best juices and smoothies in Austin. Our favorite is the Wundeshowzen, which we like to add blueberries to (Jason) and extra kale (Megan):


    • BANANA 
    • SPINACH 


    French upscale cuisine with delicious ratatouille. This is the spot where Jason first met Megan's parents. 

    P.Terrys - V

    Megan's favorite veggie burger. BETTER than In-and-Out! Ask for extra special sauce on the side for the fresh cut skinny potato fries.

    Vegan Yacht - V

    Yumm delicious vegan burritos and freeto pie! One of Megan's favorite food trucks.

    Uchi Austin & Uchiko

    The upscale Uchi and it's more affordable sister shop, Uchiko, are really the only places to get sushi if you want it. Remember, there are no natural bodies of water around Austin, but that's just me. Jason and I spent our first anniversary at Uchi, the most expensive meal we had in Austin.

    Franklin BBQ

    One of the most famous BBQ joins in the WORLD (no joke). You'll want to get here early,  8:00 a.m. on the weekday and 7:00 a.m on the weekends and prepare to waste for some of the best barbecue you'll ever have.

    Mr. Natural - V

    Vegetarian and vegan and gluten free Mexican buffet with delicious desserts and small supermarket for healthy natural medicines

      The Whip In - V

      One side is is a delicious homemade Indian food join and the other is a beer & liquor store. Rumor has it two brothers 

      Ramen Tatsu-Ya

      Raman in Austin! We've never been here but this ramen restaurant has come highly recommended by our friends n Austin.  

      Hill Side Pharmacy

      Oysters wine and spirts! 

      Salt Lick

      Another world famous BBQ joint just outside of Austin in Driftwood Texas, 

      Food Trucks!

      Austin has an amazing selection of Food Truck parks all over the city. They've all basically changed since we lived there, but here's the Thrillist's list of best Food Trucks in Austin


      Mmmmm. Brunch. Don't take it from us, but check out what experts say are the best brunch spots in Austin. 

      See more of our favorites below:


      Instructional Design Prototype for Medical Staff Training

      This post is a modified presentation to my learning technology class at SDSU. My final project was made in collaboration with Megan La Grange, Justin McNeely, Karen Meier, and Susan Merriman. I’d like to call out the specific hard work of Justin and Megan for all their design work and Captivate expertise

      Our project set out to ensure a practicing hospital staff got up to date with federal standards and then passed a certified course on the subject. 


      The best case for Far Transfer knowledge is through hands on experience. Without that option, online simulation and testing were the next best option. To simulate the working environment, we based our design on the EPIC electronic healthcare records. This as an UI that our learning audience (the hospital staff) used for record keeping continually throughout the day. The staff was well-familiar with the layout. This design decreased the time the learners required to navigate and interact with the course itself (less cognitive load, a theory with which some disagree).

      Other design considerations included:

      • Avoided extraneous graphics and design elements that have little to negative impact on learning
      • Created simple navigation locating the learners journey for self-paced learning (adults learners like choices)
      • Color choices, font placement, tables, and audio script complimented one another in layers to avoid distracted learning, based on cognitive load theory 

      For procedural content type, our team used decision tables when the procedure branched. Decision provide simple actions for if... then... scenarios. 

      When using a legend, the description is placed as close as possible to the photo following continuity principles.

      When using a legend, the description is placed as close as possible to the photo following continuity principles.

      Learning Theories in Action:

      Throughout the 160 slide Captivate file, we used simple text and one image per slide standard to focus learning. Pictures are meant to supplement the information when needed. We removed extraneous design and pictures to remove distractions. Text is placed next to pictures to eliminate the need for the eye to search for content.

      At the beginning of the fourth training module on restraint management algorithms, we introduced a pedagogical agent. While the debate is still out on the efficacy of these simulated humans, there is a strong implication for the use of pedagogical agents when people may be losing interest in a course, as it creates a de facto visible author  (Clark & Mayer, E-learning and science of instruction, 2008). It helps to arouse the attention of the learner.

      At the fourth act, a polite pedagogical agent introduced the content, arousing the learners attention


      We also used a human, female voice. Female voices perform better across the board to promote learning. While the voice is polite, the commands within the course are too the point. Over politeness for commands in computer based training can detract from learning in experts according to the expert reversal theory.

      Since our target audience is adult learners, we provided our learners with the reason why they are learning at the beginning of the course as well as at the start of each module. Allowing adult learners to choose their own learning path and mode of learning is important. Our main page allows learners to choose where to start their course, as well as provided a time for the module. In addition, several of our modules allowed learners to watch a video, read the text, or both.  



      Assessment, Practice & Examples:

      Far transfer knowledge requires lots and lots of practice and examples. When there is a high cost for mistakes (as in the case at the hospital) more practice with simulated high-pressure situations to promote high psychological engagement is necessary. It's better to err on the side of more practice in these situations.

      Immediately challenging any learner, specifically adult leaners, helps promotes far transfer knowledge. This is needed for unique resolution, problem-solving skills for principle content types

      We also used worked examples, but sparingly. Worked examples are best for novice learners but can have a negative learning impact on experts. This is based on the Expertise Reversal Affect, where learning content and design that promotes learning for beginning learners is detrimental to those who are advanced in the area of study.

      When designing our scenarios and assessments, we made sure to keep the feedback next to the original question. This follows the continuity principle, that decreases confusion as learners look for the answer they selected. We also avoided all True/False questions as these problems do not promote the transfer of knowledge.


      Scenarios require learners to apply concepts and procedures,  requiring high phycological engagement

      Scenarios require learners to apply concepts and procedures,

      requiring high phycological engagement

      Feedback is returned next to the original selection

      following the Continuity Principle


      If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below.

      Methodologies for MOOC Inforgraphic

      A peak at my Mini MOOC Guide Infographic

      A peak at my Mini MOOC Guide Infographic

      In 2008, the first official Massive Open Online Course, or "MOOC" was held with over 2,225 students participating from around the globe. In 2014, over 183,703,144 students have signed up to take a MOOC. 

      All data in the following MOOC is based on information I gathered from the web on July 14–15, 2014. My main source of information was Stephen Downes, one of the founders of the first MOOC in the Fall of 2008. His site MOOC.ca lists all providers of MOOCs, which I compared with providers listed in Class-Central.com, a MOOC aggregator, as well as Wikipedia.

      From these, I gathered a total of 43 MOOC Providers, of which I checked out all 43 providers individually to access 1) the number of courses, 2) number of instructors; 3) number of institutions involved; and 4) students taking courses. The number of courses counted included past, current, and present. The number of instructors counted included instructors (not Teaching Assistants)  involved in all classes past and present. Where an instructor was not listed, I counted only 1 instructor and only counted an instructor once, regardless of multiple courses taught. Institutions of higher education, government, and corporate were included in connected institutions. Student taking courses is the estimated number from numbers disclosed by the MOOC providers information pages.

      Social engagements measures the amount of users interacting with the MOOC provider through Facebook and Twitter through comments, likes or favoriting, and sharing information. As education moves online, measuring this engagement is an important indicator of learning communities.  For a closer look at the social engagement, I used the site TrueSocialMetrics.com for the week of July 7–July 13 2014. Comments per post was measured by number of comments divided by number of posts. Shares per post is similar, with number of shares divided by number of posts over one week. This is the same for the number of Twitter favorites (starred posts) or Facebook "Likes" divided by posts. 

      Mini MOOC Guide: Top U.S. MOOC Providers in 2014