As much as we Austinites hate to admit it, there are restaurants, bars, attractions, and locales in our beautiful city that we aren’t as familiar with as we should be. While our finger is generally on the pulse of nightlife and sunny-day endeavors, occasionally we need a helping hand. It takes an expert real estate agent, someone deeply dialed in to all things Austin, such as Tarek Morshed, to caringly point us toward local entertainment and attractions. Here are a few of the often overlooked hidden Austin attractions to get you started…
Cuddled in the shadow of the behemoth that is Shangri La lives Rhino Room, a dimly lit, smartly decorated lounge located on Austin’s east 6th street. Rhino Room is the type of place where your order consisting of hand-crafted cocktails coupled with simple pints of local Austin beer will not be met with judgement.
With a rotating calendar of live music, many local talented musicians utilize the intimate setting offered by Rhino Room to reach their audience on a warmer, more devoted scale. With the blink of an eye, the stage is converted from an extended seating area to a pedestal for belting out rhythmic beats.
The patio area is accessed via a nearly secret pathway, taking you through several doorways and up a flight of stairs. Once at the top, you’re afforded a charming nook, complete with wind chimes, calming light, and vegetation straight out of a love story. The potent patio can be consumed as a quiet serenity to tuck into a book, or a cozy escape to chat with friends.
Like an undiscovered gem, development on east 6th is on the rise with new and interesting shops, bars, and food trucks lining the street. All within walking distance of Rhino Room.
While you’re on the east side, and in the mood for mixed-drinks, make your next stop Kitty Cohen’s. Entering Kitty Cohen’s is like stepping onto the pink perfumed pages of a love letter written to the 70’s. This hidden Austin attraction has the plants, paintings, furniture, and decor impart a scene straight from a neo-noir film set.
Ordering is made easy as the menu is carefully crafted to reflect liquid refreshments curated for the vibe. Kitty Cohen’s is also one of the few lounges on Austin’s east side that jams records using their in-house player, displaying the album cover art.
The expansive outdoor seating area includes a pool for soaking your feet, parasols to flee the sun, and wooden panelling to make you feel as though you’re in the comfort of your own backyard.
So you’re familiar with the tacos, burger joints, and pizza places that litter Austin, but what about the Thai food coffee house grocery store fusions that offer homemade vegan ice cream and cooking classes? Don’t feel too bad as there’s only one place in hidden Austin attraction that fits this template and that’s Thai Fresh.
Besides being a dynamite Thai restaurant, Thai Fresh is also a coffee shop, slinging mixed brews, wine, and beer. The coffee shop side is also where you’ll find the homemade vegan ice cream, ripe for the taste-testing until you find “the one”.
We’ve covered the food, the coffee, and the vegan ice cream, but what else could Thai Fresh possibly offer? Authentic Thai cooking classes, of course! The cooking class experience is a tremendous beauty that likely won’t be satiated with words. You’ll learn 2 – 3 dishes including a dessert. The comfortable escapade is made only more relaxed as the class is taught by the owner of Thai Fresh.
The most significant change that Thai Fresh exhibits is their policy on tipping, they’ve done away with it. By not requiring tipping, and raising prices slightly, they’re afforded the opportunity to pay their staff a wage above industry standard as well as benefits including paid vacation and health insurance.
Now that you’re only four minutes away, why not try to catch a movie and a view?
There’s a specific and immediately apparent reason why anyone living in or around the Austin area would go to the Alamo Drafthouse, however, only one location is home to some of the most awe-inspiring and astonishing views our city has to offer.
You may feel somewhat foolish passing empty parking space after empty parking space, slowly making your trek up the many levels comprising the garage of the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse, still, the view and seclusion waiting for you at the top is nothing short of liberating as the wind allows your hair to twist and twirl along with the scenic symphony playing in your head.
Taking two or three minutes to breathe, de-stress, and melt away the day succumbing to the cityscape presented before you, prior to stepping into the darkened theater, enhances the movie going experience, allowing you to fully immerse yourself into the story.
While the view is nothing short of grand year-round, I recommend relishing in the pleasure during Autumn, when the trees have lightly shed their coats and the majority of the city may be seen.
So, there you have it, a glance at the many undiscovered diamonds that make up the timeless necklace we call Austin. While writing this blog I struggled with divulging our best kept hidden Austin attractions out of fear they’ll soon be overrun. Nevertheless, to keep these places secret would be doing my fellow Austinites a severe injustice, something I just cannot bring myself to do.