<<< Guest post by Jill Coody Smits >>>
If you’re like my husband and I, “date night” on family vacation often amounts to a glass of wine and chat by the pool while watching the kids swim. On one trip to Boulder when our daughter was two, I recall watching a movie in our hotel room while she slept in the Pack and Play we set up in the bathroom. Romantic!
Occasionally, though, if we’re traveling with relatives or another family, we get to have a bona fide date. In my mind, a bona fide date includes multiple destinations, a leisurely dinner wherever we want and perhaps an event that starts after 6:00pm—ideally somewhere that would horrify a child. It does not require cramming a bag full of crayons, books or Squinkies, and definitely reminds you why your hot date is totally awesome.
While there are plenty of places to have fun with kids in Austin, there are some things you just can’t do right with the family unit trailing along behind. So hire a sitter or call on a friend, and spend a few hours experiencing the adult side of Austin with your significant other.
Step Out on South Congress
There’s a reason SoCo is always hopping: it’s awesome.
4:00-6:00pm. Arrange for an early sitter, so you can hit a happy hour show at The Continental Club, an Austin classic. If you happen to be there on an evening when Miss Toni Price performs—even better.
6:00-7:00pm. Walk across the street to the Hotel San Jose lounge, sit amongst the beautiful people in the beautiful courtyard and sip on a Tinto de Verano. Kick yourself for not staying there.
7:00-8:00pm. Stroll up South Congress, wander into the cool shops and galleries, and peruse menus at Home Slice, Botticelli’s, Guero’s, South Congress Café, Enoteca or Little Barrel and Brown. If one of them piques your interest, put your name on the inevitable list and hang out with your sweetie while you wait. Gaze intently at one another and talk about deep, important things… like how you don’t miss the kids right now.
Welcome to the Neighborhood
You can find pretty much everything on or around Burnet Road. Light bulb store? Check. Vacuum cleaner repair shop? Naturally. Magical cocktails and old school dive bars? Yes indeed. Hop in a taxi or Uber your way just north of the UT campus for a fun night of old and new Austin in one of the city’s most neighborhoody neighborhoods.
6:00pm. Start at The Tigress Pub for a really, really, really good cocktail. Only one, though, especially if you have a Corpse Reviver. Sit at the bar and visit with the lovely and fascinating Pam.
7:00pm. Walk across the street to Drink.Well. for a few delicious bites in a cozy local place. Don’t be shy when it comes to grabbing a table—seating is first-come, first-served.
8:45pm. Catch another ride to Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon for a taste of some traditional Austin atmosphere, music and beer. This is the dive bar every other dive bar wishes it could be. While there will be a lively band playing most nights, if you’re lucky, Dale Watson will be on stage.
For more information check out our Austin, Texas Destination Guide.
Jill Coody Smits is the author of Paris When It Giggles: A Realistic Travel Guide for Adventurous Parents, as well as the writer of many articles, blog posts, op-eds and essays. Her work has appeared in Psychology Today, Southwest Airlines’ Spirit Magazine, Southern Living, The Washington Post, CNN.com, GivingCity and many other publications. She’s currently researching the second destination to be featured in the “Realistic Travel Guide for Adventurous Parents” series (It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it). She lives in Austin with her husband, daughter and two four-footed sons.