*Photo by Rebecca
One event in Austin that we can always count on being there for us is First Thursday, a South Congress celebration and gathering of people, food, music, and late-night shopping on the first Thursday of every month (the next one is Aug. 6th!). But, you might not have it on your schedule this week if you’ve been there, done that and it seems to be the same every time you go (I fell into this category until recently, though I remain loyal to the tradition). Guero’s is always packed, but rightfully so; the music is fun, their green salsa awakens the senses, and the margaritas..enough said. The Hotel San Jose‘s modest patio will have every table filled, though one of my favorite spots for a relaxing drink. And, yes, there are always the trailers, which are bustling with hungry First Thursdayers, but you can visit them almost any other day of the week.
Since I just moved to the infamous and rustic neighborhood known as “SoCo”, I am determined to live up my experience and participate in this South Austin ritual for as many First Thursdays in the next 12 months as I can. And, for something that is so dedicated to this city it returns every month, we owe it at least a little love in return. If you’re looking for a way to spice up your First Thursday, here are some Rebeccammendations:
- Visit Big Top Candy Shop at 1706 S. Congress. This classic confectionary heaven includes an old-fashioned soda fountain among almost any type of candy you could ever crave and every type of sugary creation you didn’t even know existed. It’s the Willy Wonka or maybe the kid in us that has us leaving Big Top with a smile (and probably a sugar rush) every time.
- Have a drink or delicious eats at Cissi’s Wine Bar and Market at 1400 South Congress. You can rest your feet and enjoy a nice cup of java, glass of wine, or order off the menu before heading back to upbeat First Thursday foot traffic. This Thursday, enjoy free wine tastings from 6-8 PM.
- Once you walk up and down SoCo, head back up to the Congress Avenue Bridge and try to catch the bats trailing out from under it between 7:45 and 8:30 PM. It happens quickly, so arrive early to catch their natural show at dusk. This is the largest urban bat colony in the U.S., so witness it in person. Viewing season is mid-March-early November.
- Take an on-purpose detour to West 5th and West Sixth for West End Gallery Night, which happens concurrently with First Thursdays. These art galleries represent some of Austin’s finest culture and remain open late from 6-8, often serving hors d’oeuvre and wine to welcome you. Stop into the new Borboleta, at 1221 W. 6th, serving Gourmet Living Cuisine (raw foods) until 8 PM if you hit the galleries early to support a new local business and experience raw food nearby.
- Meet up for dinner with some friends at your favorite spot, then head to SoCo together, or end up at your favorite bar downtown after strolling down the path that leads to the Capitol. After all, the people make the experience what it is…SoCo just provides the entertainment!
I hope these ideas help refresh your First Thursday experience and have a happy weekend eve!