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Where to Get Tamales in Austin

Christmas tamales originated as part of Las Posadas, a nine-day Christmas celebration with centuries-old roots in Mexico. Today, these warm bundles of masa (corn dough) and other tasty fillings like cheese, pork, or beans are central to many holiday gatherings across the Lone Star State. Whether you’ve been a tamale fan since childhood or are a newbie to this corn-husk-wrapped delight, we’re serving up some of the best places around Austin to get your hands on fresh hot tamales.

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Tamale House East |1707 E 6th St

The tamale plate at Tamale House East is one of life’s finer pleasures. Choose chicken or bean & cheese as your filling, and select from sauce options like chocolate mole and salsa verde to spice up your lil’ bundles of corn goodness. These tamales are always moist and fresh – even if you don’t order them as your main dish, don’t pass up adding a tamale on the side to your plate of Tamale House East’s famous migas.

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Curra’s Grill | 614 E Oltorf St

You might know Curra’s Grill for their avocado margarita, but trust us: the tamales at this Mexican spot aren’t to be slept on. Made in-house, Curra’s tamales come in several varieties (both meat and veggie), and all are delicious. Of course, you’d be remiss if you didn’t order an avocado marg to wash them down.

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La Mexicana Bakery | 1924 S 1st St

La Mexicana Bakery is a beloved Austin staple for those who know it. Many a glorious night out has ended with a stop at this 24-hour Mexican bakery, whose kitchen churns out hundreds of unbeatable eats both sweet and savory. Next time you’ve got a late-night craving, swing by La Mexicana for a hot tamale or three.

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El Chilito | Various Locations

You may already adore El Chilito for their fantastic tacos, but during the holiday season, this local Tex-Mex chain also offers tamales for pre-order. Complete any holiday hang by picking up some of these scrumptious tamales in any of three varieties: black bean & cheese, pollo verde, or puerco rojo. Order online until December 24.

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Mr. Natural | 1901 E Cesar Chavez | 2414A S Lamar Blvd

Mr. Natural is a bona fide slice of Austin originality. Everything at this vegetarian restaurant is made in-house, down to the bread in their sandwiches – and of course, the tamales. Mr. Natural’s meatless tamale choices include tofu & sunflower, veggie, and refried pinto beans. Order a catering tray, or just stop in for a meal of cafeteria-style tamale goodness.

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Tamale Addiction | Various Locations

Austinites with dietary restrictions, never fear: Tamale Addiction has got your back. The tamales from this farmer’s market favorite are gluten-free, lard-free, and made with organic masa; they come in meat, vegetarian, and vegan varieties. In fact, we’d say Tamale Addiction probably offers the widest slew of tamale options in town, from pork al pastor to nopalitos cactus. If you want these local tamale-makers to fuel your addiction, head to their website and to place an order for frozen tamales. You can pick up at several local farmer’s markets, their main kitchen on Manor Rd, or opt for delivery or catering options. During COVID-19, deliveries over 20 frozen tamales are free!

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Rosie’s Tamale House | 13436 W Highway 71

The tamales at Rosie’s Tamale House are the real deal. Owned and operated by the Arriaga family since 1973, this Mexican spot has been serving up tamales for a damn long time, and they sure know what they’re doing. If you want to experience your tamales with a side of nostalgia for Austin’s roots, enjoy a tamale plate within the wood-paneled walls of Rosie’s.

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Fresa’s Chicken | 1703 S 1st St | 915 N Lamar Blvd

Fresa’s is offering tamales this holiday season, by pre-order only! If you’ve got a big holiday gathering ahead, the tamale catering packages at this modern Mexican restaurant will do the trick to satisfy your guests’ appetites. This year, Fresa’s is offering two types of tamales: Chicken Tinga and Black Bean & Cheese. The tamale meals will be served with salsas and can be ordered a la carte or as part of a meal that includes Charro Beans, Mexican Rice, Salsas & Queso, or Guacamole. Black Beans & White Rice are also available. Place your order online or by giving Fresa’s a ring at 512-915-0362.

CONTRIBUTED BY KELLY MCCOMAS | Do512

Winter Date Night Spots in Austin

Surviving Austin’s oppressive late summer really pays off when the winter months roll around. The cold weather won’t last long, so you better make the most of it and enjoy the added romanticism of a wintry date while you can. Dig your cute sweaters out of the back of your closet, get out there, and get cozy with a cutie. Here are our picks for Winter Date Night Spots in Austin.

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Sip hot cocoa and watch the Christmas Lights at Mozart’s

3825 Lake Austin Blvd

For the eleventh year in a row, the lights are on at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters. A year-round fave, this lakeside cafe kicks it up a notch every holiday season with a stunning light display, musical performances, and of course, delicious treats. You can reserve a spot in the prime viewing area starting at $10 or hang out on the upper and lower decks without a reservation. Either way, enjoying hot cocoa with lights glittering on the lake isn’t a bad way to spend an evening with a cutie. All tables are distanced six feet apart, and masks are required when not at your table.

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Share a giant pretzel and beers at Easy Tiger

6406 N Interstate 35 | 3508 S Lamar Blvd

Germans know how to do winter right: pair it with lots of beer and lots of carbs. Easy Tiger upholds these tenets of cold weather enjoyment at both of its locations. If you’re looking for an airy vibe and a larger menu, head north to the Linc – or opt for the coziness of the new location on South Lamar. Order a round of beers, a big-as-your-face soft pretzel with beer cheese to share with your date, and if you’re lucky and there are some left at the end of the day, a sweet baked good for dessert.

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Cuddle up for a flick at Blue Starlite

2015 E M. Franklin Ave | 300 San Antonio Street

For a hip Austinite, taking a date to a movie may sound like a lackluster idea. You’re not in middle school anymore – is a movie night really still on the table? It is if you bring your date to the Blue Starlite Drive-In, where a range of classics and new indies are shown every day. Rotating themes will satisfy even the most esoterically-minded of love interests, with everything from Christmas staples to experimental horrors.

Sample tea at Zhi Tea

1023 Springdale Rd

Pro-tip: a great date is built on good conversation. Bringing your crush to Zhi Tea on a chilly evening will give you plenty of opportunities for romantic eye contact over steaming cups. The teahouse’s variety of selections and flavors provides a slew of conversation starters – don’t be afraid to ask your knowledgeable server for recommendations to sample. Order a few, steep, sip, and discuss. During COVID-19, your best bet is to call and reserve a private tasting.

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Nosh on farm-to-table Italian at Intero

2612 E Cesar Chavez St

Italian for dinner is another one of those winter date ideas that needs an update. Intero provides an experience that far surpasses the breadsticks-and-caesar-salad routine your parents are following in the suburbs. Bright, bold, locally-sourced dishes like eggplant caponata and butter-poached redfish are served in a warm, spacious East Austin restaurant whose ambiance will truly impress any discerning date. Do not – we repeat, do not – skip Intero’s housemade ricotta. Or the handcrafted truffles, which are essentially love potions in chocolate form.

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Slurp noodles from Michi Ramen

6519 N Lamar Blvd

3005 S Lamar Blvd D-114B

Soup on a date night isn’t always a good idea, but on a brisk winter evening, it just might be. Michi Ramen is an Austin favorite for ultra-customizable (from broth to toppings) savory ramen loaded with noodles and other slurp-able ingredients. Share a to-go bowl with your sweetheart and live your own Lady and the Tramp moment, Austin-style.

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Hike the River Place Nature Trail

8820 Big View Dr

In Austin, outdoor activity isn’t off the table for a winter date. In fact, we’d argue bundling up and going for a cold-weather hike is far more romantic than the summer alternatives of sunburns and sweat stains. The River Place Nature Trail is composed of winding paths through tall trees, with a couple of impressive Hill Country and waterfall views sprinkled in the mix. Pack a trail picnic or bring along your dog to launch your hiking date to the next level.

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Build a cheese board at Antonelli’s

4220 Duval St

This Duval Street cheesemonger is cozy from the moment you walk in. The shelves teem with artisanal treats and cheese accompaniments, from infused honey and fig spread to wine. Don’t worry if you’re not a cheese aficionado – behind the counter, a friendly Antonelli’s employee is always willing to share samples, pairings, and cheese recommendations to guide you and your date to a selection of primo cheeses you’ll both love. During COVID-19, walk-ups are closed, but peruse their curbside pickup menu for offerings.

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Fill up on S’Mores at Halcyon 

218 W 4th St | 1905 Aldrich St Suite 110

Cozy like a camping trip, but lively like a great party, Halcyon is at once intimate and hip. Located in downtown Austin and in the Mueller neighborhood, Halcyon is the perfect lounge to bring your date for some gourmet drinks, great snacks, and even S’Mores. Yep, you read that correctly. S’Mores. Upon ordering the dessert, Halcyon supplies guests with a mini campfire, a pair of sticks, oodles of chocolate, stacks of graham crackers, and, of course, loads of marshmallows. There’s nothing like staring into your significant other’s eyes over a warm fire, and Halcyon allows you to do your gazing right in the heart of the city. Pack up your sleeping bags and put your tents back in the garage for the winter and head to Halcyon for some personal S’Mores.

CONTRIBUTED BY KELLY MCCOMAS | DO512

The Most Instagrammable Places in Austin

Aesthetically, Austin has it all: iconic street art, unique architecture, and an eye-catching skyline. 

So you can’t be blamed for the irresistible urge to emblazon your Instagram with all of the images that illustrate the glory of living in Austin. If you want to embrace that practice to the fullest and really go to town, here’s a round-up of the most Instagrammable places in Austin.


The Umlauf Sculpture Garden

605 Azie Morton Rd

The ultimate Austin spot to achieve zen and tranquility, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden presents plenty of photo ops to play statue or get some enviable greenery shots.

Zilker Botanical Garden

2220 Barton Springs Rd.

Get green thumb envy and enjoy plenty of Austin’s finest wildlife at the Zilker Botanical Garden. Perfect for garden themed photo ops and fairy picnics.

Update: Open with advance reservations required.

Red Bud Isle

3401 Redbud Trail

Part amazing dog park, part hidden gem, Red Bud Isle is reachable via car, paddleboard, or kayak. The perfect place to take a swim with your 4 legged friend or watch the sunset.

Barton Springs Pool

2201 Barton Springs Rd.

Austin’s favorite natural spring is a little piece of utopia. Cool water, lounging on the grass, and epic scenery make it the ideal place to get your summer grams on. 

Update: Open with limited capacity.

The Top of Mt. Bonnell

3800 Mt. Bonnell Rd.

The best views in the city are only a hop, skip, and jump away…well actually a leisurely climb along some stairs. But the climb is worth it for the most far-reaching views in the city.

Franklin’s BBQ

900 East 11th St

The lengthy lines at the ever so popular Franklin’s BBQ are well worth the wait for the juicy, tender goodness. Grab a cooler, some chairs and be prepared to get in line for meat heaven.

Update: Dining room closed, but curbside pickup service available.

Uncommon Objects

1602 Fortview Rd

Uncommon Objects Antiques and Vintage Shop is basically one giant store of Instagram opportunities. Bedecked with everything from a wall of antlers to taxidermy, antiques phones, signs and more; get ready to play cross-century dress up.

The Texas State Capitol

1100 Congress Ave

Get a healthy dose of Texas history with a tour through the stately Capitol building. Plus plenty of opportunities to pose with Bush portraits and historical statues.

Update: Temporarily closed to tourists and visitors.

You’re My Butter Half Mural

2000 E. MLK Blvd

Another great piece of street art, another chance to proclaim your love. Located on the side of the Greater United Austin Building, this bright mural is worth a stop in this neighborhood.

“I Love You So Much” at Jo’s Coffee

1300 S Congress

The “I love you so much” sign on the side of Jo’s Coffee has become the most iconic piece of street art in Austin. Perfect for engagement photos, wedding photos, or just waiting for coffee.

The W Hotel Pool

200 Lavaca St

The W Hotel rooftop pool is one of the hottest hangs in the city, literally bc it’s that much closer to the sun. Get your tan on all year round and ogle the B-list celebrities as you look down upon the plebeians of downtown Austin.

Update: Hotel is open but pool is temporarily closed.

Lamar Pedestrian Bridge

Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail

The pedestrian bridge connects the north and south parts of Lamar along the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. Expect tons of fit Austinites jogging, scenic pup pics, and perfect sunsets.

The Long Center

701 W Riverside Dr

The Long Center Performing Arts Center is not only one of the most picturesque views of the city but also hosts some of the best artistic acts. Stop by for a selfie, stay for a ballet, musical, concert, or Do512’s own Sound & Cinema movie series all summer long. 

Zilker Park

2100 Barton Springs Rd

Home to ACL, the Kite Festival, and many a Sunday volleyball game; Zilker Park is the pride and joy of Austin. From popular ‘Gram Zilker Bark to pics of Barton Springs or the Greenbelt, Zilker is sure to be tagged in many of your photos.

University Of Texas Tower

110 Inner Campus Dr

The statuesque tower is right smack dab in the middle of University of Texas. A focal point of the university to pay homage to football wins and other feats.

Update: Open, but all visitors need to complete a COVID-19 symptom screening online before entering campus.

Hi, How Are You

408 West 21st St

Daniel Johnston’s classic image has adorned this campus-area wall since 1993, when the Sound Exchange record store commissioned Johnston to paint a mural of his 1983 album cover, which had become widely recognizable after Kurt Cobain wore the image on a t-shirt during Nirvana’s promotion of Nevermind. When in Austin be sure to get your photo ops in here. 

Auditorium Shores at Town Lake

800 W Riverside Dr

The Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial is located at the intersection of Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail (South 1st and Riverside), first installed in 1994 and often has flowers and other devotions at its base. Plus, great views of the Austin skyline from this spot.

Do512.com |CONTRIBUTED BY PAGE JENSEN-SLATTENGREN

Need Gifts?

The holidays are quickly approaching and two staple Austin events are here to help in the holiday gift purchasing department. Things may look a little different this year, so be sure to check out their respective websites for instructions on how to attend.

Blue Genie Art Bazaar

November 13, 2020 – December 24, 2020
Blue Genie Art Bazaar – 6100 Airport Blvd.
The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is a unique holiday art show held in Austin. Open again for more than 15 years, the free Bazaar features handmade artwork and gifts from more than 200 local and regional artists – with a portion of proceeds going to Make-A-Wish® Foundation.

Options:

For more information, check out: www.bluegenieartbazaar.com


A Christmas Affair

November 17, 2020 – November 22, 2020
Virtual Event
The Junior League of Austin’s A Christmas Affair hosts approximately 200-vendors in a themed shopping extravaganza which includes parties, children’s events, a private shopping brunch, and the season’s biggest celebrity, Santa!

The A Christmas Affair 2020 team is proud to announce an exciting reinvention of the annual, iconic holiday event. After analysis of current directions from local and state authorities, and keeping the safety of our volunteers, merchants and guests in mind, A Christmas Affair: Felicidad will be a fully virtual event and marketplace. 

Now in its 45th year, the five-day holiday gift market kicks off the giving season each year and hosts more than 150 regional and national retail merchants. This year, The Junior League of Austin will use a platform that will allow the JLA to support small businesses from around the country and create interaction experiences for its virtual attendees.   

Find more information at: www.jlaustin.org

Pumpkins, Pumpkins & More Pumpkins!

Orange Pumpkin on Brown Hay Near Gray Carriage

Fall time brings cooler temperatures and pumpkins on display all over town, beautifying homes, porches, and storefronts in shades of orange and gold. Before you pick out the perfect pumpkin to turn into a Halloween jack-o-lantern or delicious pie, head to one of the many different Austin pumpkin patches offered around town for a fun autumn outing and family-friendly experience! Note: Make sure to check out the individual locations COVID-19 restrictions.

Barton Hill Farms Pumpkin Patch – 1115 FM 969, Bastrop

Barton Hills Farms is the perfect place to enjoy an autumn day! Get your fall family photos under the cottonwood trees or take a stroll through rows of beautiful pumpkins ready to be picked. Check out their 3.5 acre Scooby-Doo corn maze then take a break and relax on a swing beneath a shady tree by the Colorado River.

Buda United Methodist Church Pumpkin Patch – 767 Main St., Buda

Admission to this pumpkin patch is free, welcoming all to come by and visit, including furry, four legged friends. The decorated patch serves as a great backdrop for family photos.

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm Pumpkin Patch – 120 Natures Way, Elgin

Don’t be confused by this farm’s name; it does have a pumpkin patch! During the month of October, they host man “Fall Fun” days as well as a Pumpkin Festival that is full of hayrides, pumpkin decorating, animals, and photo ops. Aside from activities, delicious food can also be enjoyed, including Texas BBQ and baked goods.

Evergreen Farms Christmas Tree Pumpkin Patch – 242 Monkey Rd., Elgin

Evergreen Farms is a family-friendly event where children of all ages can enjoy fall activities! Take a wagon ride into the Christmas tree fields where you will hung for mini pumpkins that are hidden in the trees. After the Hunt, enjoy pumpkin decorating on the pavilion along with great concessions and other activities and games!

Leander United Methodist Church Pumpkin Patch – 107 SW Dr., Leander

Full of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes, Leander United Methodist Church’s pumpkin patch has the opportunity for plenty of photo ops as well as scavenger hunts, stickers, and activities for the whole family! Hear stories told by a professional storyteller while sitting around a campfire while you make your own s’more! The stories will be fun for children, teenagers, and adults alike. Be sure to get there before dusk!

Manchaca United Methodist Church Pumpkin Patch – 1011 FM 1626, Manchaca

Fall is an exciting time of year at Machaca United Methodist Church in South Austin. Their annual Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat is back and better than ever! Come stroll through their pumpkin patch, decorate cookies, and take advantage of their many photo opportunities. Enjoy a Movie in the Patch with the family on October 18th, showing It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

South Texas Maize Pumpkin Patch – 911 US-90, Hondo

A family adventure with food and fun for all, in Hondo, Texas! Spend a scenic, fall day at the farm at South Texas Maize Pumpkin Patch. There are so many activities to participate in including finding your way through a 7-acre maze, going on a hayride, sliding down a MatterCorn slide mountain, riding a twin cow train, unlimited jumping on a two Corn Pop-Poppers, and so much more!

Sweet Berry Farms Pumpkin Patch – 1801 FM 1980, Marble Falls

One of the Hill Country’s favorite farms is back with their annual Harvest of Fall Fun! Come out with family and friends and enjoy hayrides, mazes for all ages, pumpkin painting, scarecrow stuffing, face painting, horse rides, flower picking, sand art, a barrel train, and berry bounce! There is no entry or parking fee! All you need to do is pay for your pumpkins and any activities that you want to do.

Texas Pumpkin Fest – 10930 E. Crystal Falls Pkwy, Leander

Pumpkins, gourds, pony rides, and more! This Leander, Texas festival attracts visitors near and far every fall. Dress up the kiddos for a photo op on the hay pyramid. Get creative and join in on pumpkin painting while you enjoy one of their many food vendors.

The Jersey Barnyard – 3117 TX-159, LaGrange

The Jersey Barnyard is back again for its annual pumpkin patch. Make new family memories full of fun farm experiences. Enjoy a farm tour on the tractor and give your pumpkin a smile at the pumpkin painting station. The Jersey Barnyard also has a variety of fall décor to take home including Jack o’ lanterns, specialty pumpkins, squash, gourds, decorative corn, corn stalks, ceramic pumpkins, mums, and fall bedding plants.

The Robinson Family Patch – 3780 White Owl Ln, Temple

Come and spend the day at the Robinson Family Farm with your family and friends! There is never a dull moment at the Robinson Farm. With over 20+ attractions, you will find yourself enjoying the fall farm life for hours. Search through their corn maze, take a hayride, and pick out that perfect fall pumpkin for your and your family.

Austin Local, October 2, 2020

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