My personal preferred way to explore a new city is to take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour the first day. If you have a 48-hour ticket, you can ride around once to get an overview, then ride again with stop-overs at the places you found interesting.
Another idea, particularly if you want to meet some locals, is to check Eventbrite and Meetup for the city you plan to visit. I’ve found a multitude of happenings that way, mostly free.
Lifetime Learning Institute of Austin (LLIAustin.org) has been in operation for over 40 years, providing economical classes on an eclectic range of topics. The primary group served is persons 50+.
Registration for the Spring 2019 semester opens on January 16, but it’s not too early to take a look at the classes that were offered in the Fall because many will also be available in the Spring.
Many LLI classes fill up within hours, so it pays to register as soon as possible. You can take a look at the list here to see which Fall classes filled (shown in red) and which still had room.
I usually take 2 or 3, sometimes 4, LLI classes each semester. My favorites are T’ai Chi (Taiji) and Qigong, and Yoga Fit. This time I enrolled in classes about American Comedy Films, Exercise for Men and Women, and India. My other recommendations are How to Listen to Classical Music, and Geology.
LLI is run as a non-profit by volunteers, and part of what keeps Austin wonderfully weird.
Until July 15, 2018, you can visit the Vaudeville! exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center (HRC, corner of 21st & Guadalupe) on the UT campus. Parking is a problem, of course, so you will probably need to pay at one of the commercial parking garages. Admission to the HRC is free.
“For more than a century, vaudeville was the most popular form of American entertainment and one of the country’s largest cultural exports. Performances on the vaudeville stage included comic sketches, acrobatics, animal tricks, magic, blackface performance, celebrity appearances, early film, and more. Shows featuring immigrant acts, racial stereotypes, and frequent appeals to nationalism defined a complex and often problematic sense of American identity at the turn of the 19th century.
“The exhibition features the Ransom Center’s extensive holdings of Harry Houdini, Tony Pastor, and Florenz Ziegfeld, among others, to show the development of vaudeville’s highly organized form and its long-lasting impact on contemporary film, television, and comedy.”
Lifetime Learning Institute – Austin (lliaustin.org) is a non-profit group of volunteers dedicated to providing fun and useful educational opportunities to adults. Most of the students are retirees. A total of 77 subjects are offered this Spring. Tuition is only $20 per subject, with 8 class sessions per subject…”the best bargain in town.”
Some Spring 2018 subjects are still available. French, German, Italian, Spanish, bridge, genealogy, geography, line dance, oil painting and some other topics still show limited availability.
Classes start on February 12, 2018, and registration can be done online.
The UT-Austin Environmental Science Institute continues its program of free talks by experts. These are open to the public. The next one will be about Texas’ Own Coral Reefs, and how they have done since Hurricane Harvey last Fall.
The talk + Q&A begins at 7:00 PM on Friday, Feb. 16, in the San Jacinto Hall Multipurpose Room on the UT campus.
When you mention hiking in Austin, many people think of the Hike & Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake. While this trail is popular, our city is home to numerous other maintained hiking trails, both in and out of the city limits.
The best and safest way to find and experience these other trails is with a group of friends. An excellent such group is the hiking class offered by Lifetime Learning Institute of Austin. At just $20 for 8 sessions, LLI classes are truly “The Best Bargain in Town”. You can sign up at LLIAustin.org.
After graduating from the class, some members elect to join the Monday & Friday Hikers group. This very-loosely organized group consists mainly of retired persons.
Hiking, like other forms of exercise, is beneficial for the body and the mind. After I began hiking, my “bad” cholesterol number went down and my happiness level went up. Many friendships form during the shared experience of an hour or two hike in the Hill Country.