Mills Pond: Relax by a Countryside Pond

Mills Pond is a tranquil oasis tucked into the middle of Austin’s Lakes at Wells Branch subdivision, and locals say it's a great spot to gather with friends and family. The pond offers a pier for anglers who want to try their hand at catching the local fish, as well as a floating boat dock for use by any non-motorized boats.

Winding trails around the pond's perimeter offer scenic views and the chance to glimpse local ducks, geese, and cranes, as well as the opportunity for a bit of exercise (joggers and bikers are both welcome). Sunny, grassy fields nearby are ideal for spreading out a blanket and sharing a picnic, reading a book, or just enjoying the fresh air.

Whether you decide to enjoy the view from a park bench on the bank, or climb into a canoe to explore the pond itself, you can expect a quiet, peaceful visit to Mills Pond.

Mills Pond
15108 Wells Port Drive
Austin, TX 78728
(512) 251-9814

Discover Your New Favorite Gelato Flavor at Dolce Neve in Austin

For area foodies with an undeniable sweet tooth, there are few dessert spots better than Dolce Neve in Austin. This quaint and charming dessert shop is furnished with white farm tables and industrial light fixtures that create a comfortable space for relaxing with dessert after dinner in the area, and it also has a wooden front porch perfect for chatting with friends on a lazy afternoon.

The gelato menu at Dolce Neve contains all of your favorite classic flavors, as well as brand-new combinations like Thai basil and buttermilk, butternut squash and sage, and mascarpone and fig. Enjoy one or two scoops in a small dish or a homemade waffle cone, and you'll likely find that the gelato is so decadent that you’ll only need a bit to really experience the taste!

Dolce Neve
1713 S. First St.
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 804-5568

Sanctuary: A World of Inspiring Gifts

If you’re looking for a unique gift for a relative, friend, or even for yourself, Sanctuary could be just the place to find it. Austin-area newspapers, magazine columnists, and style bloggers all heap praise on this Westlake boutique, which owner Hanna Curran opened in July 2008 to feature the best of locally-made jewelry, current fashion, sustainable home furnishings, and inviting garden and botanical accessories. You'll also find a growing selection of products for children and babies ranging from adorable bodysuits to traditional wooden toys.

While Westlake has a reputation for being ritzy, reviewers on Yelp praise Sanctuary for being tasteful without being snooty and affordable without skimping on quality or style. The inventory circulates often, so you can stop by regularly to see what’s new, or follow this shop on social media to get a sneak peek at what is currently in store.

3363 Bee Cave Road
Austin, TX 78746
(512) 329-0507

Finley’s Barber Shop: Get a Classic Cut at This Old School Shop

In a world where consumers are always looking for the fastest, most convenient options, the intricacy of a straight razor shave and a shoeshine goes a long way. Finley’s Barber Shop is an old-fashioned barber shop that's centered around this type of detail-oriented service, and the men who walk out of its wooden doors reflect the impressive difference a classic haircut makes.

The shop itself is located in the Warehouse District of downtown Austin, and inside of its large, glass-paneled storefront lies a exceptionally stylish barber shop with all of the classic trimmings. Vintage photo frames line the walls, antique pedestal sinks sit at the center of each station, and the industrial style of the exposed pipes adds even more character. Each customer is offered a cold beverage at the beginning of a visit, and then you can simply relax as one of the skilled barbers shaves, snips, and shines away.

Finley's Barber Shop is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are recommended.

Finley’s Barber Shop
237 W. Third Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 298-2920

Laugh Out Loud at ColdTowne Theater

No matter what type of entertainment you typically enjoy, anyone who likes to laugh can appreciate the productions at ColdTowne Theater. Before 2006, Austin didn't have much of a comedy scene—certainly nothing like the countless improv clubs of Chicago. But that was the year that New Orleans transplants brought their brand of comedy to Austin in the form of ColdTowne Theater, which hosts everything from stand-up shows to improv.

You can take improv classes at ColdTowne Theater if you're interested in getting up on the main stage yourself, but you're also welcome to kick back and laugh from the comfort of a seat out in the audience. ColdTowne Theater holds a few signature events on a regular basis, like the improvised game show known as GameTowne (every last Thursday of the month) and an interactive storytime for kids, "What's the Story, Steve?" (every Saturday at 10 a.m.). However, the theater also boasts an ever-changing itinerary of performances that have only one thing in common: good comedy.

ColdTowne Theater
4803 Airport Boulevard
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 814-8696

Hops and Grain: East Austin Microbrews

Texas has always had a proud and iconoclastic microbrewing scene, and one of the latest additions is Hops and Grain. They brew craft beers with a focus on sustainability. That translates into making sure that they package all of their beers into easily-recyclable aluminum cans, making dog treats from spent brewery grains, and giving back a portion of their profits to local environmental groups. They also work to source as much raw materials from community farmers and growers around Austin.

None of this would matter if the beer wasn’t good, but thankfully the brewers have excellent taste and produce some very well-regarded beer! Some of their most popular include the Half Nelson IPA and the bourbon-barreled Brown del Roble. At the on-site tap room, you can get pours of just about everything they offer for a very nice price, as well as take home some beer for later.

Hops and Grain
507 Calles Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 914-2467

Uncorked Tasting Room: Pop The Cork

Austin’s wine lovers have been flocking to the Uncorked Tasting Room and Wine Bar since it opened for their spectacular service and well-curated selection of wines. The atmosphere here is incredibly classy, bringing a taste of Europe to the middle of Texas, and it’s a great place for special occasions.

Uncorked's wine cellar is extensive, boasting dozens of bottles from all over the world, and the servers can speak intelligently about their flavor profiles and make recommendations for the table. You can build your own flights or order by the bottle. They even offer a small selection of Texas-brewed beers if you'd prefer that to wine. The food here is also delightful, with bold, assertive flavors that pair perfectly with wine. Some of the best dishes include the artisanal Texas cheese plate, the Korean beef skewers served with pickled daikon and cucumber and the steamed mussels in a saffron, white wine and tomato broth.

Uncorked Tasting Room
900 E. 7th Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 524-2809

East Side Show Room: A Contemporary Speakeasy

Step into a modern speakeasy at the East Side Show Room. This restaurant and bar in East Austin has a dark, classy feel to it with floor to ceiling shelving holding just about any type of liquor you could want. You'll find a rotating selection of local artists' works throughout the restaurant. Reservations are recommended for the dining room since this place can get very busy. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable, able to create a delicious array of creative cocktails. Most nights of the week live music is featured. The small menu features dishes like gourmet mac and cheese, pork belly, a burger, and goat meatballs. Stop in for a drink and a show at East Side Show Room. Visit the website for a calendar of events.

East Side Show Room
1100 E. 6th Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 467-4280

Vintage Heart Café: Austin Espresso and More

Austinites take their coffee very seriously, and there are many espresso shops vying for their business. East Austin’s Vintage Heart Café has built up a loyal clientele who rave about every drink that comes from their baristas’ talented hands.

Using coffee beans sourced from local roaster Third Coast, they produce exceptional lattes, cappuccinos and Americanos at reasonable prices. One of the first things you’ll notice when you walk in the door is the décor – it’s classy and minimal without sacrificing comfort, and regulars hunker down for hours to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi and soft couches. They also play music at a very manageable volume. Whether you’re just stopping in for a quick drink or plan to make a day of it, the staff here is helpful and welcoming.

Vintage Heart Café
1405 E. 7th Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 524-0583

Tour the Oval Office at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

There’s plenty to learn and even more to enjoy at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. The museum features numerous exhibits and mementos of the presidential career of Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ), including his presidential limo and a replica of the Oval Office. The library and research rooms also offer personal appointments with an archivist to source materials of interest during LBJ’s presidency. A single visit to the 10 level facility just isn’t enough.

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Though regular admission is only $8 for adults, the museum admits children under 12 for free and offers several Free Admission Days, including Martin Luther King Jr. Day, August 27 (LBJ’s Birthday), President’s Day, and the Fourth of July.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
2313 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 721-0200

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