A Longhorn’s Guide to Austin


It’s Friday afternoon and you’re wondering where the weekend will take you. You look down at your phone, and a friend says “let’s get lunch and see a concert this tonight!” All of your friends are in, but when you check your bank account, you know you can’t afford to go. Never fear—here’s a list of fun things to do in Austin when your pockets are empty. Just because you have a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time!

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The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a hiking trail that winds 7 miles through the green hills of Austin. The greenbelt is the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon with friends. When planning our day we used this guide to help us choose between the various access points. My favorite is the Spyglass access point, which is conveniently located across the street from Taco Deli and a corner store full of snacks. Pack waters, a speaker for music, hats, towels, and spend the day hiking and swimming! There are countless places to swim in the green belt- you can even start at the trail head and float the whole thing- but it’s best to swim a few days after it rains so it’s deep enough to swim everywhere. At the Spyglass entrance, walk down and take a left at the creek and you will find a beautiful rock to jump off of; walk down and take a right at the creek and you will see a rope swing! Needless to say there are many opportunities to spend no money and have a great day at the Greenbelt.

Dance Across Texas’ Dance and Poker Nights

Invite your friends to a free poker and two step dance night courtesy of Dance Across Texas. The poker tournament begins at 7:15 and is free to play. There is a $100 cash prize so you might be able to buy your friends some drinks if you are lucky! Free line dance lessons begin at 8:30 so don’t forget your cowboy boots. Check their website and Facebook page for details about upcoming events. Dance Across Texas also hosts College Night on Thursdays. Bring your student ID and enjoy free entry, discounted drinks, and lots of two-stepping with your friends.

Mount Bonnell

The best sunset view in town is from the highest point in Austin, Mount Bonnell. Drive north down Guadalupe St. and take a left on 35th to avoid traffic, and you’ll arrive at 3800 Mount Bonnell Road, where you can hike and enjoy beautiful panoramic views of Lake Austin. I recommend getting there at least an hour before sunset so you can find a good spot to sit and beat the crowd that will arrive just as the sun is starting to go down. I recommend bringing a blanket, a speaker for music, snacks and drinks so you can spend a few hours enjoying the view. Mount Bonnell is a great place to read and tan during the day, just make sure to lock your car and bring your valuables up the stone stairs (which are a great work out!). Mount Bonnell is dog friendly and a great free photo-op.

 Follow @whenwherewhataustin on Instagram

whenwherewhataustin announces free or discounted events at restaurants, bars, music venues, and much more around Austin. Recently my friends and I spent a great night watching a free screening of Dazed and Confused because I saw it posted on the app. Last week the Instagram account announced a free wine tasting at Italic downtown. The account also posts about events with big DJs that often offer free liquor and drinks. Follow @whenwherewhataustin to be updated on the latest free events around Austin, and check the account frequently so you won’t miss a free activity for you and your friends.

The Blanton Museum of Art

The Blanton is a wonderful museum on campus with a beautiful permanent collection of art that has recently doubled in size. The new renovations highlight the Blanton’s vast collection, including art of the Ancient and Spanish Americans and Native American art. The Blanton also features rotations of collections from around the world. Just bring your UT student ID and get in for free! Last fall, I saw a very cool Andy Warhol exhibit (for free) that I had been waiting months to see. Check the Blanton’s website to see what exhibitions are on display and for how long.

 Lake Austin

Campus is ten minutes from beautiful Lake Austin, where you can spend a nice day relaxing on the boat. It’s important to have a local friend to show you around, and lots of kids from Austin have access to boats. You don’t need to spend any money to have a great day- just enjoy the sun and refreshing lake water. If you don’t have a friend from Austin and you constantly find yourself without money, get a job on the lake! Executive Water Sports runs a wake boarding summer camp, and counselors are in charge of driving the boats. This will boost your bank account, and you’ll be able to take your friends on the lake!

Zilker Park

Friends wanting to brunch but you don’t have money? Suggest a picnic at Zilker Park—not only will you get to enjoy the the vast green space and sunshine, there are dogs everywhere! Pack a blanket, snacks, and some water, and you’ll be sure to make a few canine friends while you’re there. Parking is available on Stratford Drive, but on busy weekends, check out the map for more options.

During the summer Blues on the Green hosts free concerts at Zilker Park. Check the website for the schedule (to be released soon), which has previously featured acts such as Gary Clark Jr., Los Lonely Boys, and Wild Child. To secure a good spot, I recommend getting there an hour before the concert starts, but if you arrive late, the views of the stage and crowd from the top of the hill are great too. Blues on the Green is a great, free way to spend a summer night with friends.

Around Christmas time, Zilker glows as the Trail of Lights winds around the park. In the middle of the trail of bright lights is a giant 155-ft tall Christmas Tree, and the tree lighting ceremony features food and live music. The Trail of Lights begins closing its gates around 10 p.m. so I would recommend going around 9 p.m to avoid the crowds. As you can see, Zilker has an abundance of free activities to entertain when pockets are empty.

Other ideas…

Graffiti Park

Gregory Gym

Yoga on Whole Foods rooftop plaza

365 Things Austin‘s calendar of daily activities

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Only the Little People Pay Taxes #TaxDay

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The people demand Donald Trump should release his taxes to the public. A lot of people’s anger arises from their belief that our economy is rigged to favor the wealthy. They feel the Establishment ignores people’s cries for a different tax system because they are they ones benefiting from our current tax system. A majority of voters thinks that millionaires and wealthy corporations pay less than their fair share in taxes. Many people are taking to Twitter on #TaxDay to voice their opinions and incite change.


Lindsay, Julia, Katie, Jennifer, Colton


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We made a meme about the feeling you get when you realize school is almost over and you have 1000 things to do. We posted it in a GroupMe because most people send memes instead of talking in this particular GroupMe. This is also something everyone can relate to so I thought my friends would want to share it.




World News with a Twist

the world resting in someone's hands

The_Huffington_Post_logo.svgis a politically liberal online newspaper that reports daily on news, politics, fashion, art, and entertainment. This born digital media platform hosts more than eighty-one million unique visitors each month and remains the most engaged publisher on social media. Huffington Post was founded by Arianna Huffington in 2005, and in 2011 AOL purchased the publication platform for over $300 million, spiking an uproar from the Post’s unpaid bloggers.

The Huffington Post functions like a newspaper, featuring a front page and fifty-six different sections, including healthy living, business, sports, good news, and science. The home page of the website serves as its front page, with today’s headlines in giant black letters reading BITING THE HANDS THAT ELECTED HIM and a single photo of Donald Trump. This is typical of the content posted on the online newspaper, which has a leftist
bias. The headline and photo are accompanied by tabs at the top of the page leading to other sections of the online newspaper so the front page story gets as much attention as it would in print. If you scroll down the home page, an abundance of new stories from each section appear, and you can easily see what new articles are on the website.2016-03-06-1457280328-8585926-listenliberalimage

The Post has localized and international editions. Local editions include Huff Post Chicago, Huff Post New York, Huff Post Denver, and Huff Post Los Angeles. In the top right corner of the website, you can click on the globe and a drop down menu of international editions appears. Huff Post has Arabic, Australian, Brasilian, Canadian, Dutch, Spanish, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Koran, Mexican, South African, and UK editions, among others.

The Post aims to grab reader’s attention with their global perspective on journalism. This wealth of international news and information led to The WorldPost, a partnership between The Huffington Post and the Berggruen Institute, which publishes international news and writers from all over the world on a single platform. It features bloggers from every continent writing on world hunger, global health, interconnecting global economies, technology of the future, and many other topics that relate citizens around the world.

The Huffington Post is the most engaged publisher on social media. According to Newship.com, in June 2016 alone Huff Post was shared, liked, and commented on over 20 million times on Facebook. It continues to be one of the most popular digital publication aug-25-2013-huffingtonpost-is-set-to-ban-anonymous-comments-i-guess-sexxxygingernotconanobrien-will-have-to-move-on-to-gplatforms with 81 million unique visitors worldwide per month. Icons linking to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and email reside at the top right corner of the website, making articles easily sharable to social media. The Post’s audience is very active on social media, evident in the 1 million+ comments made on the site each month. In the last year, the Huff Post has changed its comment policy, allowing only select comments presence on the
website. All comments are linked to each person’s Facebook profile and show up on their Facebook NewsFeed. A new feature of the website allows viewers to follow and become a fan of commenters they like, making sharing and connecting through Huff Post articles even easier.

The Huffington Post has over fifteen thousand writers that have contributed at least once. The Post does not pay its contributors, which has been a constant point of controversy. The policy is to exchange writing for publication and millions of people viewing the content.writing-1

One contributor that caught my eye is Priscilla Frank, honestly because she has a great name. Priscilla writes for the arts section of The Huffington Post. Recently she has written about feminist illustrators, what 1970s counterculture can teach about resistance today, and new counterterrorism posters appearing in New York subways. Her articles go with the theme of the rest of the online newspapers with liberal overtones and attention-grabbing headlines.

Vogue’s Spotlight: TRAVEL

Hotel Playa de Cortez
Hotel Playa de Cortez

By Joan Didion

It had rained in Los Angeles until the cliff was crumbling into the surf and I did not feel like getting dressed in the morning, so we decided to go to Mexico, to Guaymas, where it was hot. We did not go for marlin. We did not go to skin dive. We went to get away from ourselves, and the way to do that is to drive, down through Nogales some day when the pretty green places pall and all that will move the imagination is some place difficult, some desert. Come back from the desert and you will feel like Alcestis, reborn.

To fly is to miss the point

After Nogales on Route 15 there is nothing but the Sonoran desert, nothing but mesquite and rattlesnakes and the Sierra Madre floating to the east,Sierra Madre no trace of human endeavor but an occasional Pemex fuel truck hurtling north and once in a while in the distance the dusty Pulman cars of the Ferrocarril del Pacifico. Magdalena is on Route 15, and then Hermosillo, where the American ore and cattle buyers gather in the bar at Hotel San Alberto. There is an airport in Hermosillo, and Hermosillo is only eighty-five miles above Guaymas, but to fly is to miss the point. The point is to become disoriented, shriven, by the heat and the deceptive perspectives and the oppressive sense of carrion. The road shimmers. The eyes want to close.

And then, just past that moment when the desert has become the only reality, Route 15 hits the coast and there is Guaymas, a lunar thrust of volcanic hills and islands with the warm gulf of California lapping idly all around, lapping even at the cactus, the water as glassy as a mirage, the ships in the harbor whistling unsettlingly, moaning, ghost schooners, landlocked, lost. Guaymas SquareThat is Guaymas. As far as the town goes, Graham Greene might have written it: a shadowy square with a filigree pergola for the Sunday band, a racket of birds, a cathedral in bad repair with a robin’s-egg-blue tile dome, a turkey buzzard on the cross. (Yes. On the cross.)
the wharves are plied with bales of Sonoran cotton and mounds of dark copper concentrates; out on the freighter with the Panamanian and Liberian flags the Greek and German boys stand in the hot twilight and stare sullenly at the grotesque and claustrophobic hills, at the still tow, a curious limbo at which to call.

For a week we lay in hammocks and fished

Had we really been intent upon losing ourselves we might have stayed in town, at a hotel where faded and broken turquoise-blue shutters open onto the courtyard, where old men sit in the doorways and nothing moves, but instead we stayed outside town, at the Playa de Cortes, the big old hotel built by the Southern Pacific before the railways were nationalized. That place was a mirage, too, lovely and cool with thick whitewashed walls and dark shutters and bright tiles, tables Guaymas Squaremade from ebony railroad ties, pale appliqued muslin curtains, shucks of dried corn wrapped around the heavy beams. Pepper trees grew around the swimming pool, and lemons and bananas in the courtyard. The food was unremarkable, but after dinner one could lie in a hammock on the terrace and listen to the fountains and the sea. For a week we lay in hammocks and fished desultorily and went to bed early and got very brown and lazy. My husband caught eight sharks, and I read an oceanography textbook, and we did not talk much. At the end of the week we wanted to do something, but all there was to do was visit the NASA tracking station or go see John Wayne and Claudia Cardinale in Circus World, and we knew it was time to go home.