If you visit Austin, don’t come in the summer. It’s hot. I’m not talking about the hot that makes you want to throw a frisbee or run out for ice cream. I’m talking sit in the shade, do nothing, and hope someone comes along soon to bring your some ice cream. There are no Gulf breezes to cool the brow. If the Prairie winds blow our way, they bring grit, smoke, and dust to chase us indoors (where we probably are anyway since it’s air conditioned).
If you must visit Austin in the summer, you’ll want to swim, and if you want to swim in Austin with Austinites, head to Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park.
Describing Barton Springs Pool is like describing a native Austinite. Yes, it’s pool, but it’s not really a pool. No one dug a big hole and filled it with concrete and rebar and then add water and chemicals to it. Barton Springs Pool is a natural extension of the Barton Creek Channel paved with natural stone. After the turn of the century (the twentieth), the city of Austin damned the springs around this channel and the Barton Springs Pool was open.
It’s huge, for a pool that’s not a pool. Everyone is welcome to jump in and cool off, except on Thursdays when the city makes sure the native and rare Barton Springs Salamanders are safe and well. We like to take care of our environment in Austin.
Native Austinites are not “country” folk. You’ll see plenty of stetson hats and cowboy boots, but we take our comforts and our technology seriously. About as close to country living as most Austinites get is the Barton Springs pool. That’s a pool that’s not a pool.