Quality Suites South
1701 E. St. Elmo Rd.
Austin, TX 78744
Phone: (512) 444-6630
Fax: (512) 444-4122
Tucked away in the backyard of a residential neighborhood is the Cathedral of Junk, a work in progress over 20 years in the making. Created by Vince Hanneman, the Cathedral turns old and discarded items into an ever-evolving structural work of art. Using old tires, hubcaps, all manner of metal scraps, pipes and more, Hanneman works and reworks the multi-level space into a playground of sorts for adults and children alike. As far out as it is, the Cathedral of Junk is, surprisingly, invisible from the street in front of it — only upon entering the backyard are visitors met with the mass of tangled metal and functioning electric items.
Architect Nicholas J. Clayton of Galveston designed the beautiful main building (1888) in a Gothic Revival style with Texas white limestone. A fire destroyed most of the main building in 1903 and after being rebuilt, it was again severely damaged by a tornado in 1922. The University received its charter in 1925. Since that time, the academic programs have grown to include business administration, theater arts and an innovative undergraduate program for adults. The graduate school includes a Master of Arts in Human Services, Photo communications, International Studies, Communication, Business, Theater and Spanish/Liberal Arts.
Cross the river from downtown and enter the wonderful South Congress Avenue District. Browse through its many shops and check out eateries that tantalize the taste buds and the pocketbooks. Check out Uncommon Objects, a wonderful import and knick knack shop, or The Armadillo Market, which carries everything Texas. For the famished shopper, there are more than enough options: Tex-Mex at Guerro's or the eclectic Magnolia Café are all favorites with the locals. After a cup of coffee or lunch, you should browse the retro resale shops along the avenue.
The studio and home of artist James Edward Talbot is known as Casa Neverlandia, as everything from its exterior to the art displayed inside represents something out of this world. Once you're done exploring the house, take the plank bridge to the tree house in the back yard, then take the firefighter pole back down to ground level. The museum is open by appointment only, and is definitely worth the planning ahead. The entire house is "green", as in solar panels and the like, so it is definitely a treat for the eco-friendly! Check out his website to know more about Talbot and call to book your visit!
The McKinney Falls State Park, located in southeast Austin, at a short distance from the downtown area, is the ideal spot for a fun day out with family and friends. Whether you're into fitness and recreational sports, or just want to lounge about and have a leisurely day, this park is for you. This day park offers a number of activities such as hiking, biking, picnicking, as well as fishing and swimming in the Onion Creek. The park also has a 500 year old cypress tree that is worth a visit. The park visitor center can provide you with all the required information.
Walking along the trail of Lady Bird Lake, Festival Beach is a beautiful place to spend your days doing nothing. For those wishing to make the most of their day off by playing some sports with pals or just for some quality time with family, there are a host of things to do. Basketball courts and fishing areas are available for the young and old alike. The picnic shelter allows groups to spend gleeful days. Do visit this place for a pleasant day in the city.
Over the years, Austin's Fiesta Gardens have been home to numerous festivals and cultural events. This venue has become a firm favorite with organizers because of the thick grass and luscious foliage which prevent it from becoming an annoying dust-filled space. A sheltered pavilion coupled with multiple stages and a superlative layout along the waterside, sets apart these festive gardens from other outdoor event spaces.
The ground where the One Texas Center stands was the site of the beloved Armadillo World Headquarters. One of Austin's most popular music hall, the Armadillo was a popular hangout for all kinds of people. The list of famous musicians who've played here is illustrious; from AC/DC to Frank Zappa, they've all graced the stage. The Armadillo World Headquarters shut down in 1980 on the grounds of bankruptcy. The commemorative plaque is still a testimony. Music may die, but it'll be remembered forever.
A visit to Austin isn't complete without a visit to the aristocratic Rainey Street. This quaint street is flanked by historical residences and a canopy of green trees. Most houses are under private occupation, however some have been converted into swanky bars and restaurants, so much so that this area is famous for its bar scene. These establishments retain the vintage feel of the place, whilst infusing the picturesque houses with contemporary decor. This gives rise to a unique bar culture, and most of the restaurants boast of extensive porches and backyards. Do visit this area for its ebullient nightlife and cocktail lounges that coexist with the quiet, old-world charm of this residential zone.
Lady Bird Lake is a reservoir of the undulating Colorado River, in central Austin. Originally known as the Town Lake, this reservoir was created in 1960 with the erection of the Longhorn Dam. For a decade this lake was left in a derelict state, until it was transformed into a beautiful recreation zone in the 1970s. In 2007, the lake was given the name Lady Bird Lake, honoring the memory of the former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson. A number of activities are organized in and around this lake. You can rent a boat to sail on its calm waters or fish, or even enjoy an exhilarating hike or bike along the trails of this lake.
This popular building has been home to the annual Austin Record Convention, numerous gun and knife shows, Sami shows featuring arts and crafts, and many high school graduation ceremonies. Cat and dog shows are also popular events as well as music conventions, like Carnaval Brasileiro, and sports shows. During election time you will find it becomes a central meeting point for ballot collecting and vote tallying.
The Congress Bridge over Colorado River houses approximately one and a half million bats in mid-summer. In the spring, the pregnant female makes her way north to roosting sites in the Southwestern United States. They each give birth to a baby and at five weeks of age the pups can fly. Hundreds of people line the bridge at dusk to catch a rare glimpse of the bats as they leave the bridge for their nightly feeding. It may take up to 45 minutes for all the bats to exit. They will consume between 10,000 and 30,000 pounds of insects each night.