Get a Glimpse Behind the Scenes on the West Austin Studio Tour

It should come as no surprise that Austin is a hub of contemporary art, and each year, you can take a peek behind the scenes as some of the city's best artists work. Local nonprofit Big Medium hosts the West Austin Studio Tour, a self-guided tour around town, the weekends of May 13th to 14th and May 20th to the 21st, and the event is free.

The goal is to get the public connected with the art community by giving it unprecedented access to the places where artists create, including studios in their own homes. In addition to seeing local studios, the tour also takes you to professional galleries where contemporary works are on display. Pop-up art shows, held in libraries, warehouses, and other unique venues, are also part of the tour, not to mention special events like installations and art competitions. Don't miss this chance to explore your local art scene with friends or family.

Maifest Austin Saengerrunde and Scholz Garten: Drink, Eat, and Be Merry

Established more than a century ago in 1879, the Austin Saengerrunde is one of the oldest cultural groups in all of Austin. German immigrants came together to remember their homeland through song, and they called their group Saengerrunde. The tradition lives on today, and the society heads up annual events like the Maifest Austin Saengerrunde and Scholz Garten.

Come to Saengerrunde Hall at noon on Saturday, May 13th to experience the festival. That's when chefs begin preparing the cookout fare, followed by happy hour at 5 p.m. with drinks, appetizers, and dessert. Rentsch Brewing will be pouring the beer this year, and Ambiente Wine Importing supplies the vino. A traditional German dinner of bratwurst, pork chops, spaetzle, and other classic dishes is served at 6 p.m., followed by a concert and dancing to the Austin Polka Band. Tickets are $10 for Saengerrunde members and $25 for non-members.

Sunday Funday Crawfish Broil: An All-You-Can-Eat Cajun Feast

All-you-can-eat crawfish is just the tip of the iceberg at the Sunday Funday Crawfish Broil hosted by Wine Sensation. On Sunday, May 7th, the tapas eatery and bar hosts this special event with the help of Chef Steve. He crafts the crawfish as well as unlimited amounts of sausage, potatoes, and corn bread, the perfect fixings for the New Orleans-inspired main dish.

Tickets are just $15 and earn you a spot at this day-long event from 1 to 6 p.m. at Wine Sensation. Eat your fill, and don't forget to add a glass of wine for $6 or take advantage of one of the beer specials. The eatery will also offer bocce ball, horseshoes, and other fun games to keep you entertained all day long at the Sunday Funday Crawfish Broil.

Weird Homes Tour: Keeping Austin Weird, One Unique Abode at a Time

From homes constructed inside a single shipping container to abodes crafted almost entire out of concrete, the Weird Homes Tour takes you to some of Austin's oddest—and most stunning—residences. Some of the "weird homes" are strikingly modern and minimalistic, while others are boldly colored and filled with whimsical elements. But they all share one thing: they delight tour-goers.

The next tour is coming up on Saturday, April 22nd from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and tickets start at just $30, so don't miss your chance to snag one. The ticket entitles you to a day's worth of exploring these unique homes, which you do at your own pace thanks to the self-guided nature of the tour. Stop at Michael De Ovando's shipping container home—a crucial part of the tiny house trend that extends across the nation—as well as The Art Dome, a series of concrete cylinders tucked into a hillside and illuminated only by sunlight. Keep the fun going all day long when you explore the other unique homes around Austin.

Gaze Upon Colorful Aircraft at the Balloons Over Horseshoe Bay Resort Event

When you're lucky enough to spot a hot air balloon hanging in the sky, you may consider it a rare, special moment. But hot air balloons are a common sight at Balloons Over Horseshoe Bay Resort, which will host about 20 fun, colorful balloons from April 14th through the 16th.

Austin residents can enjoy this festival, which kicks off each day with early-morning hot air balloon flights and closes each evening with "Balloon Glows," during which ethereal floating objects light up the night sky. From iconic Tom and Jerry characters to striped and polka-dotted hot air balloons, there are many creative aircraft to ogle. Then there are other fun extras, such as wine tastings hosted by local vineyards and shopping courtesy of the area's artisans, so don't miss this fun event!

Enjoy Local and Global Art at the Austin International Poetry Festival

Each year, the Austin International Poetry Festival brings poets from all around the world right to your neighborhood. In fact, over the past 25 years since the festival began, it has hosted artists from more than 45 countries. So don't miss your chance to meet some of the most renowned international poets at this year's Austin International Poetry Festival from April 6th to 9th.

At cafes and other local venues scattered throughout the city, Austin Poets International brings both professional and novice poets in front of audiences. You can actually sign up for one of the open mic nights and debut your own original works during the Austin International Poetry Festival. Of course, you can also just sit back and enjoy the live poetry performances, attend a workshop, or take part in the poetry symposium at the Austin International Poetry Festival.

Mr. Natural: An Austin Haven for Healthy Eaters

Chef Jesus Mendoza, Jr. crafts breakfast, lunch, and dinner without any meat—often without any animal products at all or even wheat or gluten—at Mr. Natural. These days, he does so with ease. After all, he's been an integral part of Mr. Natural's kitchen since it first opened in 1988.

Come in on Monday for a special dish like the mole enchiladas, or stop by on Wednesday for veggie stir-fry with black beans on the side. Crispy tacos, fried eggplant, and tamales are just a few of the other Mexican-inspired eats on the menu throughout the week at Mr. Natural. Mr. Natural has branched out into baking as well, so if you're looking for a specialty cake made with fresh, healthy ingredients, consider checking in with his team about crafting something sweet for your next event.

Don’t Miss the Urban Music Festival

Austin is known as a hub for fresh and fun live music, but until 12 years ago, its local music scene had a noticeable gap. The Urban Music Festival filled this gap when it debuted in 2005. Now more than a decade later, the fest continues to bring the city's best performers—both big names and up-and-coming acts—right to your backyard.

This year, come out and enjoy shows by artists including Tony! Toni! Toné!, Letoya Luckett, and MC Lyte on Friday night. The roster on Saturday evening includes Keith Sweat, The Whispers, Althea René, Kyle Turner, and Michael Ward. The event will be held at Auditorium Shores at Town Lake on March 31st and April 1st, and tickets start around $40.

Full English: Satisfy Your Craving for English Cuisine

There are a number of comforting and delicious dishes from English cuisine that go beyond your standard tea, scones, and fish and chips, so if you’re interested in sampling some of this hearty food, come to Full English, located on Southern Oaks Drive in South Austin. The cozy atmosphere proves that you don’t need to go across the pond for an authentic English meal.

With just one visit, you'll see that Full English is worth your time. Stop by on a Friday night for fish and chips or anytime for the satisfying all-day English breakfast, which comes with pork sausage (made in-house), British-style bacon, an egg, mushrooms, tomato, and fried bread. Be sure to check out the extensive selection of teas as well for the full Full English experience!

Enjoy Delicious Seasonal Dishes at Emmer & Rye

Emmer & Rye, one of Austin’s most buzzed-about restaurants, is truly a must-visit for those who consider themselves foodies. The menu is seasonally focused and varies by the day depending on the haul from the local farm or garden. The folks behind the restaurant aim to use as many local ingredients as possible to reduce their carbon footprint, and they even have their own in-house fermentation setup where they craft pickles and vinegar.

The menu largely focuses on American fare, but a selection of dim sum plates can also be purchased. Previous plates have included cured mackerel, short rib carnitas, roasted beets, and beef tartare. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner and is also open for brunch on Sunday. Does this sound like a spot you’d like? If so, you’re in luck: it’s only three miles from Lamar Union, so be sure to check it out!

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