Spring Break, ATX Style
Who needs South Padre and Ft. Lauderdale when you can Spring Break right here in ATX, one of the top-rated tourist destinations in the world (or at least Texas). Sure, you live here all year, but when was the last time you actually took time off to do any of the fun stuff that tourists rave about? SXSW lands the week BEFORE spring break this year, so you won’t have the normal crop of day parties with free beer and BBQ. But never fear—we’ve pulled together some of our favorite local events and destinations. Also, don’t miss the Eastcation events happening right here in Easton Park for residents.
Events You Never Hit (But You Should):
March 16 – 30
It’s got tournament-style ProRodeo events, like bareback, barrel racing, bull riding, and our favorite, mutton bustin’. It’s got music, from bands like the Randy Rogers Band, Flo Rida, and Martina McBride. There’s a fair, with cotton candy, funnel cakes, and corn dogs, plus the rides to make them come up again. And a stock show, with exhibitors from around the nation. And honestly, we haven’t even scratched the surface—you could spend your whole Spring Break at the Rodeo and still not see everything.
Saturday, March 23
2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Known as the festival of colors, Holi is a traditional Indian festival that marks the arrival of spring, the season of hope and joy. At Radha Madhav Dham, Holi is celebrated in the same style as it is in Braj district of India – with the same colorful, playful, family-filled fun, including bright clouds of colorful Holi powder (called Gulal or Abeer). This year the Holi play will be accompanied by a live band from Braj singing Holi songs “to liven up the environment with uplifting music.” Don’t forget to wear white so your colors shine!
February 13 – March 31
Yes, it’s another one of those “immersive experiences” that all your friends are posting on the ‘gram, but this one actually features real art. Located in the home of the Blue Genie Art Bazaar, this show features interactive light-based artwork from international artists. Buy your tickets online ahead of time—and after 7 pm it’s 18+ only.
Places You Never Go (But You Should):
Franklin’s Barbeque: When else but Spring Break would us locals have time to wait in the Franklin’s line? And, March is the perfect month to make it happen—not too hot, not too cold. Experts say you should get there by 8 a.m. for the 11 a.m. open, and take a lawn chair and a cooler to make your wait easier (and make friends).
Mount Bonnell: Let’s be clear, it’s not really a mountain, per se, but more of an…overlook. Climb the 102 stairs and enjoy 360-degree views of Pennybacker Bridge and the Austin Skyline. Then hit Hula Hut for tubular tacos and margaritas.
Blanton Museum: Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin” is reason enough to check out the Blanton, but the art inside is just as stunning, with an extensive permanent collection of classic and contemporary works as well as thoughtful temporary exhibitions. Located on the University of Texas campus, the Blanton is right across from the Bob Bullock museum, so it’s easy to make a day of it. Note that the Blanton is closed Mondays and offers free admission on Thursdays.
Central Library: If you haven’t made it to the new downtown library yet, now’s the time. Featuring six magical floors of books, computers, meeting rooms, and even a technology petting zoo, this library is a wonderland where Austinites of all ages can come together. Don’t miss the rooftop deck, the second-floor art gallery, or the yummy Cookbook café on the first floor. Parking can be a bit of a pickle, but street spots should be easier to find during Spring Break.
Cathedral of Junk: Vince Hanneman started building his Cathedral of Junk in 1988 out of lawnmower parts, bike wheels, ladders, and all kinds of found treasures. Today, it’s grown into a three-story structure with rooms and nooks to discover, and it’s been featured on Roadside America and Atlas Obscura. Because the cathedral is located in a private backyard in South Austin, please call ahead to make an appointment (512-299-7413).
MOUNT BONNELL PHOTO CREDIT: TYLER PERRY