Austin Rocks
Global Traveler|November 2020
Impress clients and colleagues in the star-studded capital city.
By Becca Hensley

In the Lone Star State’s buzzy capital city, you can stand on a downtown bridge and watch the world’s largest urban bat colony emerge at dusk like ribbons of undulating black velvet as the mammals fly out from below for their evening dinner reservation with the local bug population. Their exodus occurs in the apropos burnt orange (University of Texas-hued) skies, while human spectators applaud in ritualistic glee. Below, at the same time, intrepid bat lovers gaze up from canoes or kayaks, poised on the dammed-up Colorado River (known as Lake Lady Bird) that bisects the city. From that perspective, the bats appear as a nightly, star-studded ballet. Either way one experiences the adventure, it won’t be forgotten. Some 50,000 visitors flock to Austin annually just to partake of this phenomenon.

For an alternative connection with nature, swim with an indigenous, endangered species in Austin’s best-loved pool. While most people don’t visit Barton Springs Pool, a historic, eighth-of-a-mile-long, natural swimming hole near downtown, to gape at an endangered species (and this one isn’t the loveliest — he’s an albino lungless salamander), the popular gathering space maintains a year-round temperature of 68 degrees. Ideal for cooling off during the region’s unbearable summer days, Barton Springs, sometimes referred to as Austin’s living room attracts a coterie of serious swimmers, sunbathers, nature lovers and gadabouts in all seasons.

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