36 Hours Around UT

Whether you’re hosting friends or playing tourist on your own campus, there’s plenty to see—new and old—around UT. Here is a dream itinerary.

As much as we enjoyed the recent New York Times Travel feature about Texas’ capital city, “36 Hours in Austin,” we saw a black hole—it seemed to steer tourists right around the campus of The University of Texas! But as we know, there’s so much to do on and within blocks of campus that a sightseer could make a whole weekend just of the Forty Acres. So we did.


8 a.m.: Caffeine Hit

Cappucino at Caffé Medici

Caffé Medici (2222 Guadalupe; 512-474-5730) on the Drag is the most convenient place to kick-start your day. From the friendly service and array of seating areas to the delicious menu of coffee and treats, you’re sure to have a genuine café experience surrounded by students, staffers, and profs.

10 a.m.: Humanity’s Inspiration

Step into the Harry Ransom Center (300 W. 21st St.; 512-471-8944), a researcher’s paradise, and enjoy in one of the most widely acclaimed and largest archives in the world. The HRC is home to a rare Gutenberg Bible and the world’s first photograph. Exhibits change every six months, so you’re sure to be surprised by whatever incredible displays are there when you stop by.

12 p.m. Burger Break

Grab a delicious burger and milkshake at Dirty Martin’s Kum-Bak Place (2808 Guadalupe; 512-477-3173), a go-to spot for students since 1926. Dirty’s is still in the original building, located near UT’s campus. However, its menu has expanded to include items like the grilled chicken sandwich, veggie burger, various salad options, and an assortment of appetizers.

2 p.m. Country’s Largest College Art Museum

Enjoy classic and contemporary art and beautiful architecture at the largest university art museum in the country, the Blanton Museum of Art (200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd; 512-471-7324). Past exhibitions represent a broad range of styles, mediums, and representations of art from all over the world. The galleries you’ll always find at the Blanton include European paintings, American and Contemporary art, Latin American art, recent acquisitions, and other incredible artistic displays.

3:30 Jog the 40 Acres

Taking in Art at the Blanton Museum

Work off that burger as you jog (or walk) around the 40 Acres. Weave through campus streets, taking in campus changes and dramatic construction projects. Swing by your old dormitory and run beneath the mighty walls of the Darrell K. Royal football stadium, swinging by the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center. Finish by taking a respite on the steps of the Tower and look down from the Six-Pack to the Capitol.

5 p.m. Beer-Thirty

Head on down 24th street to kick back and enjoy a beer (or if you’re feeling adventurous, a Texas Tea) at the West Campus location of Cain & Abel’s (2313 Rio Grande; 512-476-3201). This hangout has been around for two decades, and continues to be a great place for to unwind. The outdoor patio is perfect spot for a late afternoon libation with fellow Longhorns.

7:30 p.m. Old Faithful: Trudy’s Mexican Martinis

Enjoy a “world famous” Mexican Martini at Trudy’s Restaurant and Bar (409 W. 30th St.; 512-477-2935). This truly is the place to go to get your Tex-Mex fix near campus. Try the stuffed avocado or fajita platters, and don’t leave without tasting the queso, guacamole and pico de gallo.

9 p.m. The Student Union: Still a Blast After All These Years

After 80 years, the Texas Union (2247 Guadalupe; 512-475-6636) is still a fun and convenient place to meet up with friends on campus. Enjoy music at the Cactus Café (now managed by public radio station KUT after a close call last year) or strike up a bowling or billiards game in the Union underground. Open to the public, the Student Union is a popular recreational space on campus.

12 a.m. Sandwiches Like You’ve Never Seen

Relaxing Over a Beer at Cain & Abel's

Big Bite, which has quickly become a late-night campus classic , (415 W. 24th St.; 512-457-4992) is home to the “Phat Sandwich” selection. What’s a “Phat Sandwich?” Well, the “Phat Goomba,” for example, includes chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, french fries, and marinara sauce between two pieces of bread, and the “Phat Mom” sandwiches cheesesteak, bacon, egg, French fries, mayo, and ketchup. Even sorority girls partake. (Sure, the menu also includes salads, Greek food, and vegetarian options, but we say go all the way!)


8 a.m. Best Breakfast

Kerbey Lane Café (2606 Guadalupe; 512-477-5717) has plenty of options to fuel you up for the day ahead, from pumpkin pancakes to veggie wraps to big ol’ breakfast tacos. No limits—customers can order breakfast, lunch, or dinner food from the 24-hour menu at any time of the day.

11 a.m. Feeling Presidential

The country’s most visited presidential library, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum (2313 Red River Street; 512-721-0200) is another incredible asset to UT’s campus. Peek into replica rooms of the White House’s Oval Office and East Room exactly as it looked during LBJ’s presidency or listen to Lady Bird Johnson’s oral histories.

12 p.m. Lunch Break

A longtime Hyde Park hot spot, Fricano’s Deli (2405 Nueces St.; 512-482-3322) recently opened a location just off campus. The West Campus Fricano’s has an equally friendly staff and the same mouth-watering menu as the original. Try the grilled Cajun Turkey sandwich on sourdough, the Reuben, or any of the other tasty menu items.

3 p.m. Pool Time

Racquetball at Gregory Gym

Short-term guest passes are available for $10 at Gregory Gymnasium (2101 Speedway; 512-471-4373) to access any of the campus RecSports facilities. Enjoy Gregory’s weight rooms, rock-climbing wall, steam rooms and saunas, racquetball courts, and oh yes—an outdoor leisure pool, lap pool, and hot tub landscaped with date palms that will make you swear you’re lounging at a resort.

5 p.m. Shopping on the Drag

Stop by the University Co-op (2246 Guadalupe; 512-476-7211) for an inconceivably huge selection of burnt orange everything. Head down Guadalupe to Tyler’s, (2338 Guadalupe; 512-478-5500) the popular local sporting goods store where you can pick up your own “Keep Austin Weird” shirt. For trendier spots, check out C. Jane (2346 Guadalupe; 512-236-1435), Urban Outfitters (2406 Guadalupe; 512-472-1621), and Cream Vintage (2532 Guadalupe; 512-474-8787).

6:30 p.m. Sushi Night

Sushi Niichi (705 W. 24th St.; 512-469-0499) is a cozy little sushi spot, great for dining solo or with friends. Niichi is only a few blocks from campus. Try the popular Blue Moonlight or Red Devil roll. Niichi’s Japanese cuisine attracts Longhorns and Austinites far and wide.

8 p.m. Austin’s Own Spider House

The Austin-y Vibe at Spiderhouse

The colorful and welcoming Austin coffee spot, Spider House Patio Bar and Café (2908 Fruth St, is still the perfect place near campus to sit outside beneath colorful strings of lights, sipping a cappuccino and nibbling on a piece of fresh bourbon pecan pie. You’re likely to happen upon a live music performance or even a poetry reading. Soak up the Austiny vibes at this local gem.

If You Go

The AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center (1900 University Avenue; 512-404-1900) is a perfect place to stay, both for its amazing accommodations and the unbeatable location. The rooms offer inspiring views of the UT Tower, the Texas Capitol, or the central courtyard. Josh Watkins, former chef of the Driskill Grill, is the executive chef for the hotels’ dining spaces, the Carillon, Gabriel’s Café, and One Twenty 5 Café.



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