If you’ve been to Austin, you already know what a special place it is, with a rhythm and thrum that keeps the town on its toes 24 hours a day. If you haven’t ever been there, we’re thrilled that Neo4j’s GraphConnect is the impetus behind your inaugural visit.
GraphConnect 2022 will run from Monday, June 6 through Wednesday, June 8 from the centrally located Fairmont Hotel. It’s packed with programming – we’re offering training tracks, brilliant speakers and hands-on sessions, an immersive expo zone, networking parties, and other fun stuff (ahem… there will be an Escape Room). But you can still find time to explore the bounty that Austin has to offer. Here are our top 10 favorite things to do, see, eat, or experience in Austin, Texas.
Shoal Creek GreenbeltCan you say parks galore? If you want ‘em, Austin has ‘em (330 of them, to be exact!) and this one cuts right through urban Austin and connects to Lady Bird Lake. Get some movement back in your body after sitting at the conference all day. Shoal Creek Greenbelt is special for snaking its way through west Austin with an abundance of offerings – off-leash dog parks, big leafy trees, running/biking/hiking trails, and a chance to mesh with the local flora and fauna.
Mexican Free-Tail Bat WatchingIf you want to have a proper visit to Austin, make sure your itinerary includes the novel experience of watching swaths of bats emerge at dusk under the Congress Avenue Bridge. Station up somewhere to see thousands of bats emerge and head east over Lady Bird Lake. There are ample spots from which to watch the show.
Zilker Park / Barton SpringsSitting adjacent to Lady Bird Lake, Zilker Park is home to one of Austin’s most sacred spots: Barton Springs. The 350 acres of the centrally located park is easy to access from the Fairmont and offers a slew of things to do, including disc golf, playgrounds, botanical gardens, and more. But take it from us – no trip to Austin is complete without taking a dip in the Springs, so put that on your to-do list when you need a break from the conference hoo-ha.
Art MuseumsAustin is bustling with art, from the scrappy street graffiti to world class museums. We especially love the Blanton Art Museum and Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin installation – a large stone chapel adorned with colored glass and other artistic embellishments that will take your breath away. (If you stick around a day after the conference, entry is FREE on Thursdays.) Another fave is the Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria – an adjunct locale to The Contemporary’s downtown homebase – which is teeming with nature and punctuated by astonishingly cool art.
Live MusicAustin is known for a tremendous selection of bars and music venues. Start your bar hop on Sixth Street – it’s the main promenade. Stop by the iconic Stubb’s Bar-B-Q for music and grub. Antone’s Nightclub has been showcasing live blues since 1975. Emo’s and Mohawk are staples of the scene, but the whole town is legendary for its live music offerings. Have some cash on hand for the buskers and plan for a later night out – it’ll be worth it.
Mount BonnellMount Bonnell has been a staple of Austin’s outdoor recreation since the 1850s. The limestone landmark is the spot to sneak a peak of Austin’s diverse landscapes and ecology. Situated alongside Lake Austin, visitors who make the climb will be rewarded with sweeping panoramic views of the entire city and beyond. A great choice for GraphConnect attendees looking to reset their eyeballs and take in some fresh air after a long day online.
Ziplining Over Lake TravisThe Austin locals say this thrilling experience can’t be beat. They have the longest zipline in all of Texas. Soar over the lake with your colleagues if you’re looking for an unforgettable team building experience. Or maybe you’re in need of decompression after days of graphing and yakking it up – seems like a worthy cathartic solo venture as well.
Waterloo ParkGet your dose of green at Waterloo Park, another favorite of the locals, without having to meander too far from the Fairmont. The Moody Amphitheater is a year-round concert venue that hosts some of the best of the big acts. (Olivia Rodrigo, Phoebe Bridgers, and Father John Misty are among the upcoming billings.) Upon completion (projected for 2026), Waterloo will connect all of urban Austin through a creek-side trail system.
Tubing on the San Marcos RiverTack on an extra day to your trip and take advantage of the San Marcos River. Tubing is the most fun thing ever, especially when you don’t have to finagle logistics – leave that up to the experts who run the expeditions. You deserve a day of fun in the sun after GraphConnect, and this is a perfect opportunity to step away from the screens and reflect on the power of graph technology.
Keep Austin WeirdThere is no shortage of off-the-wall sights for the intrepid Austin visitor. Head to the ‘burbs to see the Cathedral of Junk (call first to make an appointment!), and then wander around the Museum of the Weird right off Sixth Street for an authentic experience invoking carney culture. Take home a memento from one of the boutique shops dedicated to hot sauce, and you have to hit a western wear store for some cowboy/cowgirl gear. And don’t forget to pay your respects to Daniel Johnston on the corner of Guadalupe and 21st.
(Props to my cool Austin-based sister-in-law for the inside tips!)
What are you waiting for? Book your room, buy your flight, create the perfect agenda. We’ll see you there!