By the time summer in Texas is in full swing, those triple-digit temperatures can leave you desperate for the refuge of any place that is air-conditioned — but who wants to spend all summer inside? Take a break from the typical (and scorching) afternoon sun and sweaty crowds at Barton Springs and instead, save your outdoor adventures for the evening with these nighttime activities.
Drive-in movie: The Blue Starlite, Austin’s own “Mini Urban Drive-In,” is located on East Sixth Street just past San Marcos Street. In true retro drive-in style, Blue Starlite features the best of the old classics, cult favorites and artsy indie flicks. It’s a great change of scenery from Alamo Drafthouse, and if you’ve never been to a drive-in movie theater, then it’s definitely an experience you don’t want to miss! Don’t have a car? No worries, they have room for walk-ins and bikers as well. For more information on what’s now playing and to buy tickets, visit bluestarlitedrivein.com.
Stargazing: While laden with responsibility during the school year, staring up at far-off celestial bodies is probably not at the top of your to-do list. But now that it’s the summer and you have all the time in the world. Take a hiatus from the usual Sixth Street festivities, escape the city lights and noise, and go stargazing. Take this opportunity to unwind, whether you choose to meditate and reflect, spend some quality time with a loved one or just relax and enjoy the view. Some of the best stargazing spots in Austin are Zilker Park and Mount Bonnell, but keep in mind that the farther from downtown you go, the more stars you’ll be able to see.
First Thursday: On the first Thursday of each month, many South Congress stores and businesses extend their regular hours of business and stay open until 10 p.m. or later. The entire sidewalk becomes a block party of sorts — stores will often have sales and bars or restaurants will feature drink specials to celebrate this monthly SoCo tradition. The quirky vendors, good eats and eccentric boutiques overlooking downtown Austin make for a beautiful Thursday evening.
Mini Golf: It’s nearly impossible to miss the giant Peter Pan and T-Rex fixtures at the intersection of Barton Springs Road and South Lamar Boulevard. This laid-back, family-owned miniature golf course has become an Austin icon in the 66 years it has been operating. A favorite among Austinites, Peter Pan Mini Golf has earned a reputation for its friendly atmosphere — and, of course, for its inexpensive prices and much-loved BYOB policy. Peter Pan Mini Golf is the perfect summer night spot for an affordable and entertaining group outing with all of your friends.