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The Texas Capitol, Austin (Photo: Ravi Pothukuchy/My Shot)

Laurie’s Austin

Native Austinite Laurie Felker Jones has traveled through or lived in a multitude of countries on five continents. Now she and her husband are chalking up travel miles on their boat, Mother Jones, as they sail around the Caribbean. In the wake of this year’s SXSW Festival, check out Laurie’s guide to the “live music capital of the world.” To find out more about Laurie and her adventures on the sea, visit

Austin is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park.

When I crave spring rolls I always go to Lulu B’s food trailer on South Lamar.

To escape the heat I head to Alamo Drafthouse for the best movie experience of all time (food and drinks at your service!).

If I want to listen to great music I go to The Continental Club, Lovejoys or Club de Ville.

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The beer menu at Lovejoys. (Photo: Leah Allis Moss)

For complete quiet, I can hide away at McKinney Falls State Park.

If you come to my city, I would have said get your picture taken with Leslie Cochran, Austin’s resident “Keep It Weird” welcome wagon, but he recently passed away.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from Magnolia Cafe it has to be the Mag Mud (queso with all kinds of fixins in it).

Toy Joy is my one-stop shop for great gifts for kids and kids-at-heart.

Locals know to skip 6th Street bars and check out South Congress instead.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to the Barton Creek Greenbelt and swim, bike, or just hang out.

For a huge splurge I go to Uchi for sushi.

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Uchi is always a safe bet for a special night out. (Photo: Dave Anderson)

Photo ops in my city include the Capitol Building. The best vantage points are from the Extension rotunda looking south (a great shot of the top from underground) or looking north from South Congress Avenue.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be Willie Nelson.

The most random thing about my city is everything! Our motto is “Keep it Weird.”

My city has the most diverse men: professionals, capital lobbyists, university professors, students, hippies, hipsters, musicians, cowboys and everything in between.

My city has the most brazen women. Texas women tell it like it is and we’re proud of that!

In my city, an active day outdoors involves cycling the Greenbelt, swimming in Barton Springs, paddling on Lady Bird Lake or taking a long bike ride or jog around the trail that encircles it.

My city’s best museum is The Blanton.

My favorite jogging/walking route is Lady Bird Lake Trail – or through the hilly and beautiful neighborhoods along Bouldin Creek, Zilker or Barton Hills.

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Run, stroll, or bike with friends (and Stevie Ray Vaughn) along Lady Bird Trail. (Photo: Dave Anderson)

For a night of (honkytonk) dancing, go to the Broken Spoke. Or, for live music, check out The Austin Chronicle to find out where more than 100 bands of all genres will be playing all over town.

Star Seeds is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read The Austin Chronicle.

You can tell a lot about my city from walking downtown.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they’re friendly, laid-back, and not shy to voice their opinion.

In the spring you should check out the SXSW Interactive, Film or Music festivals – or all three!

In the summer you should stay cool at any number of natural springs around the city.

In the fall you should check out Austin City Limits festival at Zilker Park.

In the winter you should cram all your “winter” activities into the one week when we have a cold front.

A hidden gem in my city is Thai Noodles Etc. House behind the 7/11 on Guadalupe.

For a great breakfast joint try Cisco’s for Tex-Mex or biscuits and gravy.

Just outside my city, you can visit any number of quaint, small towns like Gruene, Wimberley, Fredericksburg or Smithville.

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Toy Joy: fun for kids and kids-at-heart (Photo: Leah Allis Moss)

The best way to see my city is with a local.

If my city were a pet it would be a yellow lab.

If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live on my sailboat traveling the Caribbean (where I am now)!

The best book about my city is any of Molly Ivins’ – her musings on being a “blueberry in tomato soup” (i.e. a blue city in a red state) are spot on.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is anything by the Cheap Tequila Blues Band.

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SXSW badge holders mix with lobbyists, tourists, and buskers along Congress Avenue. (Photo: Dave Anderson)

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss Toy Joy or the Congress Avenue Bats.

Eeyore’s Birthday Party could only happen in my city.

My city should be featured on your cover or website because it’s one-of-a-kind: economically vibrant, culturally diverse, innovative, and green.

Cover photo: Ravi Pothukuchy/My Shot