As if we needed another reason to visit New Orleans — all those who have a penchant for art, literature, music and culinary bliss can flock to the historic French Quarter for the 29th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, March 25-29, 2015. Known for A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie, Hard Candy and more, Williams lived in the city of New Orleans, revolutionizing the way people saw plays, literature and the world.
The event takes place at 16 French Quarter venues in New Orleans over the span of five days, allowing for visitors to truly immerse themselves in the splendor of the Big Easy, just as Tennessee would have wanted it.
“Tennessee Williams is universally loved,” said festival representative Ellen Johnson. “We celebrate Tennessee because when he was living here, he was only Tom. He became Tennessee here.”
Looking for some cool places to check out during your next visit to Austin? Check out our favorite places to play and shop in Austin, TX.
WHERE TO HEAR THE TUNES
If you’re looking to grab a drink or a meal, locals will most likely direct you to one of the restaurants and bars lining Sixth Street. You’ll have your pick of bars and every imaginable type of cuisine is available, but make sure to drop by this heavily trafficked street for some great live music. Deemed the live music capital of the world, Austin has dozens of bars bursting at the seams with country, jazz, blues, hip hop, and other forms of musical sounds just about every night of the week. We visited Sixth Street on Monday night and still had our fair share of live music options.
WHERE TO SHOP
A trip to Austin wouldn’t be complete without a couple “Keep Austin Weird” t-shirts or some quirky tchotchkes from a local artisan. We fell in love with South Congress Street and managed to find some cool shops offering the standard tourist t-shirt intermingled with jewelry, art, apparel and accessories crafted by locals. Drop by Blackmail for some great leather goods or some apothecary-themed gift ideas, Friends of Sound Records for the album you’ve been searching for, The Impeccable Pig or Maya Star for a trendy outfit for the evening, Laced with Romance for some rad vintage clothes or a taxidermied friend, or any one of the boutiques offering one-of-a-kind treasures.
WHERE TO DRESS UP YOUR WALLS
Just about every shop on South Congress has some form of art to adorn your walls. Whether you’re seeking a vintage poster, or three-dimensional installation, you’ll certainly have your pick. If you’re looking for old concert posters, pop art graphics, or quirky prints, you definitely need to check out Parts & Labour for its huge selection of affordable printed art. Drive a bit off of the path and you’ll find Mondo, one of our photographer’s favorite art galleries. Shows change every month or so allowing patrons to visit often and follow the works from their favorite artists. The gallery has quite the following so if you find something you love and it’s still for sale, buy it immediately.
WHERE TO REST YOUR HEAD
There are a number of hotels and boutique B&B’s throughout Austin so you’ll never run out of lodging options. The Holiday Inn Austin Town Lake was generous enough to offer accommodations during our stay and we were extremely pleased with its amenities. Traffic in Downtown Austin can get a bit hairy everyday and our hotel was situated a few blocks away from the main drag and also was butted up against the beautiful Town Lake. I’d highly recommend this hotel because not only are you just minutes away from restaurants, shops, and bars, but you can also wake up with views of paddle boarders kayakers in the lake below. Also, take advantage of the hotel’s shuttle service if you’re exploring downtown.
WHERE TO GET AN OVERALL VIEW OF AUSTIN
If you plan a visit to Austin with either short notice or not much of an itinerary, you might be at a loss when trying to map out your stay. There is a TON of places and things to see so I suggest you find an Austin tour guide to show you some of the main attractions, historical landmarks, and more. We went on a tour with Austin Overtures on our second day, which made for a perfect way to get a tour of the surroundings, ask for restaurant recommendations, and get an insight into the town’s people and history. On our tour, we got a glimpse into where the celebrities stay when they’re in town, learned about current legislation at the Capital, drove by Moody Theater and learned about the history of Austin City Limits, and discovered a couple neighborhoods and districts we would have never known about.
Whether you’re spending the afternoon or an entire week in Austin, there’s no shortage of things to do and places to see. Go on a tour, ask locals for recommendations, explore by foot, and take advantage of your hotel’s concierge to find the gems within Austin. For more information, visit www.austintexas.org.