In a city that bills itself as “live music capital,” the Broken Spoke is the last of the true Texas dance halls. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the broken wagon wheel and the rusty bus out front. Once inside you might hear the likes of the Derailers (scheduled about once a month), who say their music is the kind that “mirrors the shuffle of happy boots on a hardwood floor.” In any case, be sure to sample what the Broken Spoke claims is “the best chicken fried steak in Texas.” If you happen to wind up in Austin on a cold day (yes, the precipitation does occasionally freeze here), warm up in the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, where they’ve dragged in a full-sized windmill and an IMAX screen. Or get some new gear at Allen’s Boots, tucked in among an assortment of shops on South Congress. On a night after Thanksgiving, snuggle under a blanket in a horse-drawn carriage for a ride along Congress Avenue. You’ll pass lights shaped like guitars and stars strung across the street, and end up at the State Capitol building, which looks white when bathed in spotlights. Visit again in daylight, and you’ll plainly see those early Texans used pink granite on it. During the winter months, carolers often fill the rotunda with the sounds of holiday cheer. Just don’t stare up at the big dome too long, or you’ll feel plenty dizzy.
Later on, if you’re not dizzy enough, join Austinites twirling around under an enormous tree of lights at Zilker Park. Hold onto your hat and look up, if you can.
This tree-covered state capital is a year-round hot spot for live music, great food, and dancing away an evening.