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Austin : Seussical The Musical

Thursday Jul 31, 2008
The Great Music Spirit

Austin City Limits Musical Fest - Courtesy photobucket.com

A lovely Saturday afternoon in July just outside Austin. Loop 360 to the hills of west Austin has outstanding Texan scenery. Standing under Pennybacker Bridge near the south shore boat ramp taking in the glorious summer day, I watch a few boats idle in the distant placid waters. The highway hanging on to the rust colored bridge appeared to be as steadfast as the spirit of survival, that truly is the liet motif of the capital city of the Lone Star State.

Austin is a tourist’s delight. History, geography, culture, entertainment, attractions all rolled into one great big bundle of surprises. One after another. I was glad that I had the sense to have come prepared for the summer here that can be as varied as the city itself. You can have alternating days of rain and sunshine in June, July, and August. An umbrella and a water bottle are de riguer if you are to enjoy the downtown among the highrise buildings that may be a bit warmer. Not to be missed are the captivating Dillos, or tram-cars that are a great way to get to the downtown for things to do and see – in air conditioned comfort. They are free!

Situated on the Colorado river, the city has three artificially created lakes within the city limits. Characterized by hot summers and mild winters Austin is partially sunny throughout the year making it an ideal vacation spot. Acclaimed as much for its cultural life as its high-tech innovations, its teasingly referred to as “the Silicon Hills”. Perhaps this explains the Austinite’s penchant for reading and contributing on blogs more than anywhere else!

The sobriquet Live Music Capital of the World is no mean claim since the city has a vibrant live-music scene with endless music venues. The serenading is non-stop beginning in the many nightclubs to year-round festivals, best of which is the South by Southwest. These music fests attract artists and fans from all over the world. The pulsating nightlife is next only to the music soirees that are part of the city lifestyle. The Austin City Limits Music Festival draws countless tourists from all over. Sixth Street is the musical hub that holds annual festivals like the Pecan Street Festival among others.

One thing that may dismay die-hard sports fans is that Austin does not have a franchise in major professional sports leagues. So the one sports program that is whole heatedly supported is the University of Texas Longhorns. But the outdoor types need not worry. Austin offers runners, rock-climbers, swimmers, divers, snorkelers, mountain bikers and cyclists a whole lot of athletic pleasures rarely to be found all in one place elsewhere – a delight for sports lovers.

Well known for its eccentricities, the city actually celebrates differences in lifestyle and culture. In fact the local motto Keep Austin Weird is reinforced on bumper stickers and t-shirts. A very strange and eccentric, unique Austin haven for weird arts like fire-dancing and circus-like-acts is the Enchanted Forest that hosts outdoor art and performance events.

Naturalists will just love it here. The world’s largest urban population of Mexican free-tailed bats reside under the Congress Avenue Bridge. You get to see the best bat flights. Up to 1.5 million bats emerge after sunset, an event that is popular with locals and tourists attracting 100,000 viewers per year. The bats are going to be here until late summer. Thats how batty it can get in Austin.

Which was what I was talking about earlier. The city’s will to survive against all odds. It may be a techno-savvy city set amidst the cultural blend of diverse communities – yet it worries about the birds and the bees. Austin is one city trying to strike a balance for environmental sustainability. An evening stroll down 6th Street will bear this out. The beautiful architecture, historic facades and the eccentric appearance of 6th Street regulars is sure to drive home the point. This July the Austin City Hall got official recognition as a “certified wildlife habitat” by the National Wildlife Federation. The first in Texas!

The summer calendar events have great happenings lined up. My pick is going to be between the Seussical The Musical at the Zacchary Scott Theater, Farmer’s Market at Downtown Recreation Center and maybe one night at the Austin Scottish Rite Theater to watch Twelfth Night. You can zero on to austin360.com to get a feel of the events that have been organized. While your hand is still on the mouse why don’t you check on the Downtown Austin hotel site to reserve a room with a view!


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Destination Dallas : Tex-Mex with a Circus Extravaganza

Wednesday Jul 30, 2008

Dazzling Dallas

Dazzling Dallas -Courtesy farm1.static.flickr.com

Subliminally, Dallas retains the impressionistic power-play and intrigues of the Ewing Family saga that lasted an amazing 14 seasons. The whole wide world has heard of Dallas! However, nothing prepares you for the initial sight of the city skyline as you roll along the maze of freeways to confront the rising Metroplex as it looms up before you. Appearing from afar like a modern day Kryptonian settlement, the almost jewel like setting of the city architecture leaves you spellbound as you move closer. It literally appears out-of-this-world.

The essence and vitality of the city hits out as you gaze on the visually appealing modern towers that blend effortlessly with the multi-cultural populace. The Tejas Texan connection is hard to miss spilling over to fajitas, fiestas and the rodeos. Dallas offers unique touches of Southwestern warmth, cosmopolitan flair, Old West charm and modern sophistication. It remains the numero uno destination for leisure travel and business. As a major center of commerce in the US, Dallas events include conventions and expositions that take place in the heart of the city at the conference center.

The thriving culinary scene, arts district, professional sports, trendy entertainment areas and endless shopping opportunities are marked out by the fact that Everything is Bigger in Texas. Dallas remains a richly diverse Texan city that over the years has become a melting pot of cultures and lifestyles.The essential convergence of unique differences get peppered into the sights and sounds of the city. Dallas’ authentic arts, music, food, architecture, historic landmarks and urban lifestyle all contribute to the city’s makeup. Sommtheeng Deeferent! Decidedly.

The coming summer attractions are varied indeed. Its vacation time after all. The famed Barnum & Bailey high-energy circus extravaganza is going to be real treat for family holiday makers with kids going overboard at the ten day event in early August. The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau would be hosting the KRLD Restaurant Week for most of August that will familiarize diners with some of the regions hottest menus. Whats more they are going to be budget cuisines! Soaring temperatures that are part of the city this time every year do not really affect the tempo of the exhibits, events and attractions.

Dallas offers numerous opportunities to experience and appreciate the Tex-Mex culture and lifestyle of the city. If you are traveling to Dallas for any event such as the State Fair or a major industrial conference, or simply to experience something South of the Border, then getting a room at the city center hotels could be tricky. However checking out well in advance on the Downtown Dallas hotel site would be a good idea to synchronize your stay with the events calendar lined up for the coming period.

All said and done, lets not forget Dallas acts as a modern-day frontier for business, fashion, arts and entertainment. However the quintessential home turf will have sports lovers in a mighty fix as they decide between the juggernauting machinations of the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys or Dallas Mavericks. Go to them all I say! Chile Today, Hot Tamale!


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