Austin

You’ve heard the slogan, right? “Keep Austin weird.” I thought Austin was really fun, but I wouldn’t necessary call it weird. Except for those stuffed animal snakes wrapped around the electric poles on 1st Avenue. And that time a white peacock crossed the street in front of us. But otherwise, it’s a totally normal town!

Austin, TX

Zilker Park, Austin TX

Bullock Texas State History Museum

We were lucky to get expert insider tips from our friends Gina and Ian who live in Austin and our friendly Airbnb hosts. Wildflowers? Check. Live music? Check. Educational day trips? Check. BBQ, donuts, and breakfast tacos? Check, check, and check!

Texas wildflowers

We hit most of the popular spots in Austin: the murals, bat watching at the Congress Street bridge, Blanton art museum, Zilker Park, Sixth Street, the university, and the state history museum.

Skyspace

University of Texas at Austin

We went on the free tours at the O. Henry house (very small, but very knowledgeable staff!) and the Texas State Capitol (very large, and also very informative). Fun fact: O. Henry worked at the General Land Office building, which is now the visitor center for the Capitol.

O. Henry's house, Austin TX

Texas State Capitol

Not too far outside the city is the LBJ Ranch, now a national park. There’s a long winding drive through the ranch with several interpretive signs that describe the history of the land, LBJ’s life, and his beloved cows. We took a guided tour of the Texas White House, which includes the family’s original furnishings from the 60s.

LBJ Ranch

LBJ Ranch

Another fun day trip took us to Waco, Texas, home of Magnolia Market! Fixer Upper is a popular show, but we were really surprised at just how crowded this place was!

Magnolia Market, Waco TX

Magnolia Market, Waco TX

And, yes, those cupcakes are worth the wait!

Save

Advertisements

Palm Springs Architecture

The Architectural Icons Walking Tour began with a stop at this large stone mural to hear about the history of Palm Springs.

We then visited a few iconic buildings in downtown, and the tour ended at the Architecture and Design Center. Our small tour group was friendly, our guide was knowledgeable, and we learned quite a bit about local design history.

Palm Springs architecture

Palm Springs architecture

We’ve also been walking around the neighborhoods quite a bit looking at the cool houses. (Ok, Kenan is walking for exercise, I am the one looking for the Desert Modern houses!)

Palm Springs

Palm Springs Desert Modern houses

Palm Springs Desert Modern houses

Palm Springs Desert Modern houses

Palm Springs Desert Modern houses

Palm Springs Desert Modern houses

Did you notice that none of these homes has a front lawn full of grass? Most front “lawns” around here are actually full of gravel, with lots of palm trees and cactus plants adding the greenery.

Temple Square

I knew there would be a large temple in Temple Square, but I was surprised to discover the square is part of a larger campus for the Mormon Church. The free visitor’s center provided a nice overview of the temple’s architecture and construction, and a brief introduction to the religion. While the other buildings nearby are pretty, the towering Salt Lake Temple really commands your attention. Stopping in front of the reflecting pool, surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of flowers, it’s easy to forget that office buildings and city traffic are just a block away. (Seriously, so many flowers.)

Temple Square, Salt Lake City

Temple Square, Salt Lake City

Temple Square, Salt Lake City

Temple Square, Salt Lake City

 

 

 

Save

Save

Red, White, and Boom

Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis

A visit to the “most explosive museum in the world” seemed like a good precursor to July 4 fireworks. The Mill City Museum in downtown Minneapolis taught us about the history of flour mills in the city, and the terrible explosion in 1878 that sent debris flying across the Mississippi River. The best exhibit was the Flour Tower, a converted freight elevator that opened onto reenactments of factory life as we moved up and down eight floors.

Mill City Museum, Minneapolis

Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis

Mill City Museum

Before going to the Red, White, and Boom festival, we went on a self-guided architecture tour of the Guthrie Theater, the new Vikings football stadium, a cool bridge over the Mississippi, and a building by Frank Gehry.

Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis

Endless Bridge at the Guthrie Theater

New Vikings football stadium

Lowry Avenue Bridge, Minneapolis

Weisman Art Museum by Frank Gehry

A walk across the Stone Arch Bridge gave us a great view of Saint Anthony Falls, and later on, of the fireworks. We sat next to a nice family and chatted with the dad, who gave us some good tips for our trip out west.

Saint Anthony Falls, Minneapolis

Great view of July 4 fireworks

 

Save