: MoPac (Loop 1) or i-35 or 71
The entryway to South Central Austin, the Zilker ‘hood sits on a limestone bluff over the 350-acre Zilker Park. This is the home of the Austin City Limits music fest and of Austin’s spring fed soul—Barton Springs pool. Follow the sunset west from the house to dip in Austin’s coolest pool, mountain bike along Barton Creek, stroll through the Botanical Gardens, romp on the Zilker’s playscape or ride the Zilker Zepher kiddie train. The gorgeous nearby Umlauf Sculpture Garden is well worth a visit.
Walk north to affordable eateries on Barton Springs Road’s restaurant row or to Lady Bird Lake, where you can rent a kayak or canoe or circumnavigate the lake on Lady Bird’s hike and bike trails. At dusk, run, paddle or pedal under the Congress Ave. bridge, home to the nation’s largest urban bat colony. Just across the lake looms the downtown skyline and the Whole Foods’ mother store, where you can have your sweetie dipped in a vat of chocolate.