Valentine’s Day in Austin: 13 Unique Date Ideas for You

Valentine’s Day in Austin: 13 Unique Date Ideas for You

Austin’s motto is ‘Keep Austin Weird’ and there are plenty of places that live up to this theme. Read on to find out the places you should visit with your special someone this Valentine's Day.

Austin’s motto is ‘Keep Austin Weird’ and with Valentine’s Day coming up, it would be great to spend this special day with your loved one by keeping up with the theme. There are different kinds of unique places to see in Austin. The Cathedral of Junk has a lot of stuff that looks like junk at first but becomes beautiful the longer you stay there, Hope Outdoor Gallery is a great place to unleash your creative side and make some graffiti of your own, Austin Zoo and Sanctuary lets you get an up close view of the animals, and Barton Springs Pool provides an opportunity to just relax, swim, read a good book, and escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whatever it is you’re looking for, Austin definitely has it.

Zilker Botanical Gardens

A park is one of the best places to take your special someone on a date. Get in touch with your inner zen as you gaze at the peaceful greenery and beautiful sights. There are waterfalls, log cabins, a cactus trail, a bamboo forest, streams with lots of colorful fishes, a Japanese garden with a koi pond and lots of small bonsai plants, a trail with a dinosaur called Hartman Prehistoric Garden, and literally stop by to smell the roses at the Rose Garden which also include a few rare species. There’s a small stream that leads to different pathways of the park and a small bridge over the river perfect for children. There are stones in the middle of the pond perfect for skipping and a beautiful Butterfly Garden to see different kinds of colorful butterflies. Make sure to wear proper shoes as it can be a bit of a walk and bring water to keep yourself hydrated. The best part is that admission is cheap. It’s only $3 for adults and $2 for locals. Zilker Botanical Garden is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

2220 Barton Springs Rd
Austin, TX 78746
United States
78704 (South Austin), Barton Hills, Town Lake
Phone: +1-512-477-8672
Website: http://www.zilkergarden.org

Lady Bird Lake

Exercising with your loved one is a great way to stay healthy and spend some quality time together. Lady Bird Lake was made in 1960 as a reliable source of water for the citizens. It’s a total of 6 miles from Driskill Hotel, going around the whole loop, and back to the hotel. You can run, bring a bike, take your time walking, or if that gets boring, go to the lake and ride canoes and kayaks. Nothing can beat working out outdoors compared to the stuffy interiors of a gym. You can be under the shade of trees, going through small fields, under big bridges where cars pass by, small pedestrian bridges, and your view of the river changes depending on where you are, from river, creek, and lake. If you have a dog, you can even bring them along. The park is dog friendly and you can find other pups playing or swimming in the river. There are many rental outlets for kayaks, paddle boards, and water bikes. Another popular feature is ‘Bat Bridge’ which contains the largest urban bat population on the planet. From March to November, you can see 750,000 to 1,500,000 bats fly from beneath the bridge at dusk which is a marvelous spectacle to see whether you’re a tourist or local.

Austin, TX
United States

Barton Springs Pool

Going swimming is a great way to relax and have fun. Barton Spring Pools has beautiful azure blue waters to swim and enjoy. The water is cold so it’s best to go when the sun is out but if you’d like, you can dip your toes first and let your body slowly adjust to the temperature. There’s a nearby hill where you can lay down, take a nap, read a book, go people watching, and more. If you’d like to do a bit of walking, there’s a trail near the area where people can walk their dogs, hike, go jogging, and get some exercise. Unfortunately, people aren’t allowed to bring food and drinks but if you bring your own and wrap it in a towel, they probably won’t confiscate it. Just make sure to bring your trash and keep the place clean. Admission prices are pretty reasonable for $4 for non residents and $3 for residents. There’s a diving board and plenty of lifeguards around to make sure you and your date don’t drown. Make sure to bring a towel to put on the grass, sun block, and a floatie to just chill and float on the pool.

2201 Barton Springs Rd
Austin, TX 78704
United States
78704 (South Austin), Barton Hills
Phone: +1-512-476-9044

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“#BartonSprings #LaborDay”

Hope Outdoor Gallery

Just like its name suggests, it’s an outdoor gallery 3 stories tall and is known as one of the biggest outdoor galleries in the United States. These concrete walls are constantly updated with new works of art covering old creations. It’s a great picture taking opportunity and you can use the murals as backgrounds for your shots. There’s just so much color so take some time to orient yourself before looking at the different pieces. Take caution while exploring as there are some broken glass, thrown away spray paint cans, and exposed pieces of steel covering the property. Wear closed shoes and bring some cans of paint along to add your own art work if you wish. Others consider graffiti art or an annoyance but Hope Outdoor Gallery gives it an opportunity to be art and a way for artists to express themselves without vandalising city property. They definitely live up to the city’s motto of ‘Keep Austin Weird’ because there are very few places in the country that will provide you an experience like this. Climb all the way to the top and you are treated to a spectacular view of the Austin skyline.

1101 Baylor St
Austin, TX 78703
United States
Downtown, Clarksville
Website: http://hopecampaign.org/hopeprojects/hope-outdoor-gallery/

Cathedral of Junk

Stepping inside the Cathedral of Junk is like entering a whole new world. It’s located on a residential street and can be found in a backyard. Visitors have to call ahead and the owner, a man named Vince, will let you in. Pay a $10 donation per group and you get to see three story structure made of junk and why it’s called a cathedral. You can find everything from rubber ducks, doll parts, a toilet, a surfboard, broken calculators, CDs, and just about everything else. Have you heard of the saying ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’? Well, one can be truly amazed at how much beauty can be built out of things people throw away. Viewers can simply stay here for hours, looking at all the different kinds of knick knacks. Because it is all made of junk, there are a number of mosquitos around. I recommend wearing long sleeves and to bring bug spray to avoid getting covered in bug bites. The Cathedral of Junk gives a different twist on places to go on a date but it does contribute to the ‘Keep Austin Weird’ sentiment.

4422 Lareina Dr
Austin, TX 78798
United States
Website: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/7816

Texas State Capitol

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Austin is Texas State Capitol and with good reason too. There are so many well detailed features inside the building. From the intricately decorated door handles, the word TEXAS carved on the chandelier’s lightbulbs, and pictures that tell the city’s history. There are free tours held and you can see the schedule on the foyer and south entrance. These tours include the grand hall under the dome, central atrium, the senate, different artworks found all over the building, house of republicans, and so much more. The tour features many architectural and historical facts that are so much more interesting to find out in real life than any book. Visitors are free to go in most of the rooms they want to. Talk to the employees and they may even tell you a few ghost stories about the place. The grass is perfect for taking a nap, sketching, reading, and other relaxing activities. The building grounds are gorgeous and are a must to visit in Austin.

1100 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701
Downtown
Phone: (512) 463-0063
Website: http://www.tspb.state.tx.us

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“Getting to know Austin... #DirtyThirty #KeepAustinWeird #AustinDetours”

Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary

There are different kinds of lions, bears, birds, goats, snakes, foxes, wolves, wolf hybrids, tigers, and other creatures. You can even buy feed pellets for only $2.50 and the amount is quite satisfying. Feeding the animals is a lot of fun ,just don’t do it around noon because the animals tend to be full from lunch and may not want to eat the feed. There are also plenty of opportunities for getting up close with the animals. The only thing separating you is a fence and a small barrier. Just be careful so they don’t bite your head off. Seeing black bears, leopards, and lions so close is quite a thrilling experience. You can tell that the zoo really cares for the animals. The big cats have plenty of room to roam around, the Bengal tigers have a pool to play and splash around in, a monkey playing with a tennis ball, and some others have blankets and toys. For food, there are a number of snacks available like hotdogs, snow cones, and corn dogs. Drive five to 10 minutes away from the zoo and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.

10808 Rawhide Trl
Austin, TX 78736
Phone: (512) 288-1490
Website: http://austinzoo.org

10362236 1619351928290951 1344131394 n
“Cymba the lioness was rescued from a traveling circus by the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary. The Austin Zoo's mission is to rescue animals from abusive…”

Mount Bonnell

Even though it has the word ‘mount’, climbing this mountain doesn’t take too much effort. It’s a light hike and only takes 10-15 minutes to climb the stairs and you’ll find yourself on the highest point in Austin. If you and your date come at night, you’ll be able to see sparkling city lights and gaze at the stars. So what will you see once you get to the top? On the west side you’ll find the Penny Backer Bridge, famous Colorado River, and Hill Country. You can also see some of the charming houses along the water. Venture into he forest and you’ll find minerals like limestones, strontianite, celestine, and calcite which will fascinate the archaeologist in you. If you’re looking to take some of these home, don’t bring too much as rocks can be quite heavy. Bring some wine, a blanket, and bug spray to protect yourself. Mound Bonnell is worth the drive and short walk.

3800 Mt Bonnell Rd
Austin, TX 78731
United States
Phone: +1-512-974-6700
Website: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/parks-and-recreation

Bullock Texas State History Museum

Entering a museum isn’t just limited to history buffs. Bullock Texas State History Museum has a variety of exhibits that will surely amaze you. The entire history of Texas is covered and there are facts that will blow your mind away. The videos and exhibits are very entertaining, visual, clean, and memorable. One of their most popular exhibits is the La Belle ship, a 350 year old wooden ship all the way from France that was assembled in the middle of the museum. The theatre presentation of “The Spirit of Texas” is a highly suggested film to see. The “Wild West” terrain is pretty cool but not so wheel chair friendly so keep that in mind if you or your partner have mobility problems. There are snacks and drinks available at the cafe on the second floor. Cap off your tour by watching one of the several IMAX movies offered. The gift shop has a lot of things from cookbooks, local books, Texan gifts, arts and crafts, and other types of knick knacks. To enter, it costs $12 for adults while kids, students, military, and seniors get a discount.

1800 N Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701
United States
Downtown
Phone: +1-512-936-8746
Website: http://www.thestoryoftexas.com

12407239 173146023045954 572328115 n
“A look straight down the #engine of an old #aircraft from the second world war era at the #bullocktexasstatehistorymuseum in #austin #texas #US #USA…”

Monkey See Monkey Do

Take a blast to the past by stepping inside Monkey See Monkey Do. A lot of 90s kids will recognise the novelty items sold here. Do you remember exchanging trading cards back when you were a kid? They have those from Power Rangers, Back to the Future, different types of Topps, and so much more. Go further to the back and you’ll find action figures like Batman, Ninja Turtles, Star Wars 1, and other types of villains and superheroes. They have a lot of fun and quirky items from magnets, toys, keychains, collectibles. clocks, books, and so much more. Monkey See Monkey Do is a place to go to for some window shopping and killing some time.

1712 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
78704 (South Austin), SoCo (S. Congress Ave.), Bouldin Creek
Phone: (512) 443-4999
Website: https://myspace.com/msmd

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“Look who I just pulled!!! Rare dunny from the Mardivale Series!! #kidrobot #dunny”

Big Top Candy Shop

For anyone who has a sweet tooth, Big Top Candy Shop is like heaven on earth. There’s candy and sugar everywhere you turn your eyes. You may even find candies you thought were discontinued on their shelves. There’s also an old fashioned soda fountain where you can get milkshakes, regular sodas, Italian sodas, malt, and if it’s your birthday, you even get a free milkshake. Are you a fan of chocolate covered balls? They have an impressive collection of not just chocolate covered malt balls but mint cookie balls, Irish cream balls, sea salt caramel balls, chocolate espresso balls, and other types of balls to fill you to your hearts content. Whatever kinds of candy you’re looking for - gummy bears, truffles, saltwater taffy, fudge, Charleston Chews, truffles, chocolate bars, pop rocks, they have it all. You won’t want to leave without purchasing at least one bag of candy.

1706 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
78704 (South Austin), SoCo (S. Congress Ave.), Bouldin Creek
Phone: (512) 462-2220

11357903 1582041672045899 1239635852 n
“Heaven on So Co. 🍭🍬🍫”

Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library

LBJ Library doesn’t look like much from afar but upon closer inspection, it looks like a beautiful jewelry box made of marble. It’s not just a library but a museum and archives as well. It’s composed of four floors chock full of interactive displays, short movies, and realistic replicas of the Lady Bird’s Office, Oval Office, and cars used by presidents. There’s no need to go to Washington D.C. when you got a near identical replica here. If you’re a fan of The Beatles, there’s also a special presentation about them. You can get an inside look of what happens inside the former presidents lives by picking up one of the many phones scattered throughout the museum. You get to hear actual recordings of conversations that happened inside the Oval Office. The LBJ Presidential library will awaken your zest for history. It features different displays that portray one of the most important decades in the history of the United States and the impact LBJ had on the country. The staff are very friendly and very enthusiastic to share their knowledge with you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions because they are more than likely happy to answer them.


2313 Red River St
Austin, TX 78705
United States
University of Texas
Phone: +1-512-721-0200
Website: http://www.lbjlibrary.org

12547492 152988381742207 1068736395 n
“Limo used by LBJ. #Texas #POTUS”

Uncommon Objects

Just like its name suggests, one can find all manner of crazy items in this store. It’s full of unusual and mysterious objects. It’s a thrift store like no other and constantly gets filled with new stuff to keep it interesting for everybody. Creepy doll parts, antlers, records, maps, ancient photographs, chandeliers, board games from decades ago you didn’t even know existed, they have it all. You and your partner could get lost for hours just looking at all the knick knacks around. If you’re in the market for something weird, antique, and vintage, then you’ve come to the right place. Some of their items may be a bit on the pricey side and others are fairly priced but you don’t have to spend in order to have some fun. Browsing at all the different collections is a fun activity and you may even find some things you didn’t know you wanted. Uncommon Objects is the thrift store to beat all thrift stores and one worth checking out.

1512 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
United States
78704 (South Austin), SoCo (S. Congress Ave.), Bouldin Creek
Phone: +1-512-442-4000
Website: http://www.uncommonobjects.com

11881725 805066299639991 1650423399 n
“#austin had the coolest stores!”

There you have it folks. A list of some of the places you must see while in Austin, Texas. Make sure to bring your camera, wear the right shoes, and bring sunblock and bug spray if you must. Stay here long enough and you’ll see why their motto is ‘Keep Austin Weird’.

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