Saturday--Shop and Take It Easy
For a taste of old Austin, order the trademark migas (eggs scrambled with tortilla pieces) for breakfast at Cisco's Restaurant in East Austin. Ask for seats in the back room, where Darrell Royal, Ben Crenshaw, and several other famous folks sometimes drop in for coffee and conversation on Saturday mornings. You never know who you might see.
Then set out to explore the city and find the perfect gift for your sweetheart. Congress Avenue is lined with an array of one-of-a-kind shops and galleries. The local musical scene is celebrated in everything from oil paintings to signed guitars at Wild About Music, next door to the Paramount Theatre. Buy some trout flies to fill your tackle box or decorate your walls at Austin Angler. Early Texas maps, photographs, and flags are featured at Gallery of the Republic, two blocks off Congress at the Four Seasons Hotel. Southern folk art ranges from a few dollars to the thousands at Yard Dog Folk Art, located across Town Lake on South Congress among a cluster of other shops. One of Dallas artist Isaac Smith's fanciful wooden bulldogs will cost you $1,200.
When lunchtime rolls around, head up to north Austin for chicken-fried steak at Threadgill's, the converted service station and music parlor where Janis Joplin first became a pearl of a singer. The Arboretum in northwest Austin offers plenty of shopping for trendy fashions, collectibles, and art. The grounds, which border a small pond, are a romantic place to go for a stroll in nice weather. Artisans Gallery sells heart-shaped etched glass, perfume bottles, and other Valentine gifts starting at $25. Owner Ellen Sloane-Solley often plays Cupid, helping customers select something special that says "I love you."
Go downtown for a romantic dinner at the Shoreline Grill, near the Four Seasons Hotel, overlooking Town Lake. Spend the rest of the evening soaking up the sounds of Austin. Feel the blues down to your shoes at Antone's, or catch an Austin star at La Zona Rosa. Pick up a copy of the Austin Chronicle to see who's on stage on Sixth Street and elsewhere around town, or look online at www.austin360.com for a comprehensive roundup of entertainment and information on what kind of music each club features.