Take Advantage of These Free Summer Concerts

We’ve reached the point in the summer when going outside is just plain miserable. Leaving your house in the afternoon is like walking into a hair dryer on full blast. I made the mistake of going to Peter Pan Mini Golf at 3:00 p.m. last weekend– I nearly passed out next to the giant clown head.

But you can’t just avoid going outside for several months. Once the sun starts setting, the temperature gets much more reasonable. One great way to spend a warm summer evening in Austin: attending Concerts in the Park.

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Concerts in the Park

How to Survive the San Marcos Outlet Mall

The San Marcos Outlet Mall is a place of great joy (“I got this brand-new Coach purse for 17 dollars!”) and great suffering (“I can’t find my car and my feet are about to fall off!”)

For me, it’s almost always suffering. I’m not big into fashion, so I usually get dragged there by a friend who wants an extensive list of brand-name items. By 2:00 p.m. I’m exhausted, by 3:00 p.m. I’m miserable, and by 4:00 p.m. I’ve moved that friend to my “mortal enemy” list.

Although I hate the San Marcos Outlet Mall, it’s not all bad. A little bit of preparation can make your visit much more bearable. Before you drive 45 minutes south to hunt for deals, here’s what you need to know.

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Have a Cheap, Fun Night at This South Austin Classic

It’s a little freaky how rapidly Austin is changing. Our downtown skyline looks different every month. Entire blocks of shops disappear without warning, to be replaced with condos. If you stand too long in one place, someone might build a gastropub around you.

So it’s reassuring to see that some things never change. The creepy Peter Pan statue at Peter Pan Mini Golf has been monitoring the Barton Springs/Lamar intersection since 1946.

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Peter Pan Mini Golf

Avoid This Shop at All Costs, Vegetarians

Picture a store named “The Corner Shoppe Mall”. What would you expect it to sell? Based on the spelling “shoppe”, I would guess muffin tins, flowery aprons, and overpriced vanilla candles.

No. A thousand times no. Austin’s Corner Shoppe Mall is something else entirely.

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Corner Shoppe Mall Austin

6 Unique Spots for Engagement Photos in Austin

I don’t talk about my personal life much here, but it feels weird not to share the biggest thing that’s happened in my life since I discovered Pho Saigon: My boyfriend Graham and I are now engaged!!!

I thought the best way to celebrate our impending matrimony would be to list some unique spots for engagement photos in Austin.

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Austin Graffiti Park

Want to Get Involved in Austin’s Literature Scene?

Austin is home to a variety of creative types: writers, poets, painters, musicians, graffiti artists, and more. You can’t drive through Central Austin without seeing creepy troll sculptures in someone’s front yard or a “Honk if you love Proust” bumper sticker.

But being an artist can get lonely. Writers and other creative types need a forum to share ideas and talk about their work, lest they go off the deep end and start writing erotic NCIS fanfiction. That’s the purpose of One Page Salon, held at the Whip In.

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One Page Salon Austin

A New Contender for Austin’s Best Burger

We had some out-of-town guests stay with us a few weeks ago. As a sign of their gratitude, they got us the best gift in the world: an ENORMOUS brisket that barely fit in our fridge. It was the best brisket I’ve ever had in my life– even better than Stiles Switch. Life-changing brisket, y’all.

They told us they got it from a butcher shop called Salt & Time.

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Salt & Time Austin

A Fun But Hazardous Workout

People in Austin are generally in great shape. This year, we made the list of top 10 fittest cities in the US. My friends keep adopting intense workout regimes like P90X and Crossfit. I’m not into that. If it involves burpees or flipping tractor tires, count me out.

But I’ve got to do something to work off all the queso I eat. When I heard about Jumpstreet, I thought it might be a good way to trick myself into exercising.

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Jumpstreet Austin

4 Unconventional Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July

Austin has no shortage of 4th of July celebrations: barbecues, fireworks, pool parties, and the like. But if you don’t already have plans and you’re looking for something a little different this year, here are four unconventional ways to celebrate our great nation.

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4th of July Austin

Is One Meal Here Worth $100?

It’s official, folks: I’ve now worked at the same company for five years. As part of a “thanks for sticking around” gift, I received a certificate for $100 to spend on dinner at any restaurant of my choosing. (They know that food is the key to my heart.)

Since we had to spend it all in one sitting, my boyfriend and I decided to get fancy and make reservations at Wink.

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Wink Restaurant Austin

How to Achieve Sheer, Unbridled Joy for $0.75

I watched Tron with friends a few nights ago, which got me thinking two things. First, that Jeff Bridges has aged pretty well. Good for him. Second, that I hadn’t been to Pinballz Arcade in a while.

Big mistake! Pinballz is awesome.

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Pinballz Arcade

You’ve Never Seen Ping-Pong Like This Before

Ping-pong is an easy, laid-back game that’s fun for all ages. It’s best played with a cold drink in one hand. It’s one of those almost-but-not-quite-sports like croquet or darts or pool. Right?

WRONG. At the Austin Table Tennis Club, ping-pong is serious business.

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Austin Table Tennis Club