Austin landmarks in Austin High, the movie, aren’t difficult to find. The city’s tried, true, and loved spots make special appearances in scenes throughout the recently released, for lack of a better genre, stoner comedy. It’s a comedy (and it really is funny, I think) depicting a community in support of the legalization of marijuana; a popular cause in Austin. I caught the film during the Austin Film Festival back in the fall. One of the things I liked most about the movie was that, for me, it really felt like Austin. The landmarks representing Austin in the film are good ones. So good, in fact, that I decided to dedicate this post to giving you the run-down of some of my favorite landmarks in the film. And so, here it goes, my favorite 10 Austin landmarks featured in Austin High.1. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
The Alamo Drafthouse, commonly referred to as one or the other (‘Alamo’ or ‘Drafthouse’), is a staple in the Austin community for both locals and tourists alike. Founded in 1997, this movie theater is unlike any other. With several locations within the city of Austin and an expanding fleet beyond Austin, it’s no wonder this cinema has become so popular: it’s also a restaurant/bar. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for tickets–the movie tickets themselves are actually cheaper than most mainstream movie theater tickets. The food and drink menu changes from location to location. Filled with satisfying comfort food (including vegetarian options, seasonal specials, and dessert) and a wide selection of beer, wine, and cocktails, the Alamo is, as far as I am concerned, the only place worth seeing new releases. Even better? The Alamo also features movies aside from new releases. Local films, like Austin High, oftentimes make their debut at Alamo. The cinema also shows older films frequently–I recently saw Over The Top at the Alamo (seriously). They even do themed shows like cartoons on Saturday mornings complete with milk and cereal.
2. Rio Rita
For what I deem the best Bloody Mary in Austin, go to Rio Rita. This joint on East 6th street is a popular spot for a reason. The drinks are both caffeinated and alcoholic (take your pick!). The decor is lacks pretension and, for that, it is welcoming. You can order things like a soy chorizo with Brie wrap. The Wi-Fi is free and all in all, this place does a good job at being a place to eat, drink, hang out, and still get work done.
3. The Highball
The Highball is one of those places that’s a good place to go if you can’t decide on what exactly you want to do with your night. Live music, drinks, bowling, food, private karaoke rooms, and a ballroom make this venue what it is: popular.
4. Hippie Hollow Park
Hippie Hollow Park is the only clothing-optional public park in Texas. Swim, sun-bathe, or hike at your leisure here, dressed or undressed. I could go on, but, really, this sums it up. The rest you have to see for yourself.
5. Waterloo Park
Once the home of the now-expanded Fun Fun Fun Festival, Waterloo Park is a nice park located in the eastern part of Austin’s downtown. Only 10 acres of grassy land make this park small, but quaint. Oftentimes the home base for events in Austin, it’s a great spot for a quiet picnic just west of I-35.
6. Torchy’s Tacos
Everyone in Austin will tell you: you need to try Torchy’s Tacos at least once. And if you really like them, you’ll have no problem returning for more–there are 8 locations in the city of Austin. My favorite? Fried avocado.
7. Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake seems to be at the center of attention in the city of Austin. It’s the dammed up river that runs straight through the center of town, commonly referred to as a ‘lake’ (it’s not a lake). It is, however, beautiful. This is where you’ll go to see the famous Austin bats. You’ll be right next to these shores when you’re at Auditorium Shores, Zilker Park, Barton Springs, or a number of other Austin staples. Great for hiking, running, leisurely walking, kayaking, biking, and plenty more, Lady Bird Lake is truly a treasure in the middle of Austin.
8. The Victory Grill
The Victory Grill is a historic music venue in East Austin. Originally opened in 1945 as a restaurant and bar for African American soldiers returning home from war, the grill soon became known for live music as well as food and drink. In the 1950’s, most of the popular blues and jazz acts at the time played at the Victory Grill. Etta James, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Billie Holiday, Ike & Tina Turner, and Janis Joplin all graced the Victory stage.
9. Spider House
The Spider House patio bar & cafe is popular in Austin. Food, drinks, and live music make the Spider House a full house on any given day.
Loud music, cheap beer, pool, liquor, arcade games, live music, and karaoke make this destination the attraction that is. A plus? It’s open 7 days a week, waiting for you.