Posted to Leigh Carver's blog on January 17th, 2014

Austin Adventures for DrupalCon 2014

DrupalCon Austin is coming up quickly – are you going to attend?

DrupalCon Austin tickets became available for purchase as of Monday, and we couldn’t be happier that our city is hosting one of the coolest conferences ever. (No joke.) While SXSW is great for our love of all things technological, when it comes to community, DrupalCon can’t be beat.

And speaking of community, Austin is a great place to be. The city is culturally vibrant. There’s lots of great food, fun things to do, and great things to see. And since we love both the Drupal community and our local one, here’s the Volacci list of must-have experiences when you come to Austin for DrupalCon 2014.

1. Watch the bats come out
You may be a little confused about the DrupalCon logo— what’s it all about? In preparation for DrupalCon Austin, the Drop has put on the bat suit. Austin is home to the world’s largest urban bat population, and watching them fly out from under the Congress bridge is something everyone should see when they come to town.

For those of you who have watched too many bad vampire flicks, the idea of getting up close and personal with between 750,000 and 1.5 million bats may make you feel a little uncomfortable. But don’t worry! Our fuzzy flying friends are Mexican free-tailed bats a cute little fruit bat that are this Drupaler’s favorite animal. So, a little bit before sundown between June 2 and 6, come to the Congress bridge and watch the bats come out. It’s a sight worth seeing.

2. Check out 6th street
Sixth street was once upon a time called Pecan street, which may be why it’s so full of nuts, (Ha ha.) Block after block after block of bars can be found on Sixth, where you can find cheap drink specials every direction you look in.

Specifically, sixth street can be broken down into three separate sections: East Sixth, Dirty Sixth, and West Sixth. East Sixth is the portion of Sixth street that is east of I-35, and is home to Austin’s hipster population. There are a lot of great bars on East Sixth, and it’s walking distance from the Convention Center. The Alamo Draft House Ritz is also on Dirty Sixth, and regularly hosts absurd sing alongs and other parties. If you get a chance, definitely check it out.

For those of you who attended SXSW, the mecca of crowded bars crammed into historic buildings is locally known as Dirty Sixth because at night it can get a little… well… dirty. Easily the busiest part of Sixth street, cheap drinks and college students can be found in abundance here. West Sixth street is further down the road, and caters to young professionals who have more money than they know what to do with. Nice bars, expensive drinks, and great music are a staple of West Sixth.

3. Shop on South Congress
Want to take home some wacky souvenirs? South Congress (same road as the bat bridge) is full of fun and funky shops. Lucy In Disguise With Diamonds is a costume shop where you can purchase any number of novelty items, while Tesoros Trading Company, Uncommon Objects, and New Bohemia each sell oddities and random items. On the first thursday of every month (during DrupalCon it’ll be the 5th), an array of booths spring up on South Congress and local artists, craftsmen, and vendors share their wares. It’s a great time and and opportunity to buy some fantastic, locally-made goods.

4. Drink local beer while listening to live music.
You can do this just about anywhere in town, but it’s the quintessential Austin experience (which is why I recommend it.) Our local breweries make a mean beer: any half-decent bar should have them on tap. I recommend trying anything from Live Oak, Real Ale, Thirsty Planet, Jester King, Independence Brewery, Adelbert’s, Austin Beerworks, 512, or Hops & Grain. (Although I consider it mass-produced, my CEO Ben insists that I include Shiner in the list.)

If you can make it out to Independence, Austin BeerWorks, Hops & Grain, 512, or Adelbert's, do so— but if you can’t, make sure you catch a cool beer in a bar while you listen to one of our many local bands jam out. It’s a refreshing experience, and a great way to beat the heat on a hot summer night.

5. Go to Barton Springs
A natural spring-fed swimming hole, Barton Springs is an Austin favorite. On a 100 degree day, the water temperature of 68-71 degrees can feel like a cold shock, but it’s a welcome one. It’s a bit of a trek from downtown, but is a great way to spend a warm afternoon if you want to beat the heat.

That’s my Austin bucket list. What’s yours? Share your must-have Austin adventures in the comments section! See you at DrupalCon!

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