Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hammer It Out's Guide to Hyde Park

There is really not any question as to why Hyde Park is such a popular place to live. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in town and was started as a suburb of Austin over a century ago. As Austin has grown it has become closer to downtown, and is packed full of history and entertainment. With large live oak tress providing shade and ambiance this is the type of neighborhood you will not want to leave.
The accomplished sculptor Elizabeth Ney made her home there here in 1892 building her studio Formosa, which has become a museum open to the public. The museum is located next to the park that includes a tennis court, basketball court, and playscape for the kids.

A very short walk from the park will get you to a cluster of restaurants where you can find something to please everyone. You can get a great bowl of pasta at Asti Trattoria or Vino Vino. If you are looking for vegetarian or vegan options visit Mother's Cafe. I personally love their beans and rice. If you want some good old fashioned awesome pizza, stop in at The Parlour. There is a good chance you will hear some good tunes too. The Hyde Park Bar and Grill has often kept my household sustained with down home cooking done well. Be sure to check out the fries--they often win awards.

On a lazy afternoon when I just want a sandwich on a picnic bench under a shade tree, there is no better place that than Avenue B Grocery. It is a staple for anyone who lives near it, and just as cute as all get out.

When you find yourself in need of great place for a cup of joe, you are in luck as there are some really great options. The Flight Path has a covered outdoor patio and quiet indoor space great for reading. Dolce Vita Espresso Bar also boasts a gelato bar, while Quacks Bakery has all manner of cookies, cakes, pastries, and pies. Their tiramisu is worth traveling for. I would be remiss to not mention Fresh Plus the local grocery store, and the convenience store The Pronto Mart. They both are fixtures in Hyde Park and important to the residents of the neighborhood.

At the Hyde Park Theater you will enjoy plays that you might not see on Broadway, but are no less entertaining or poignant. After all of that fun and food jog over to the Hyde Park Gym, a no nonsense locally owned business that focuses on you and your goals and helps you achieve them.

All of this can be yours, if only for a few days, because there are some really great bed and breakfasts in historic homes like The Woodburn House, The Adams House, or The Hyde Park Inn. So drop by and soak up a little bit of Austin.

-Megan Russell
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