The holidays are here, which can only mean one thing — it’s gift guide season! Seriously, everyone is putting these things out. We decided we’d try and make one that didn’t suck. Austin, here are the good gifts:
C’mon, you know we had to start with this one. Our new coloring book includes a ton of our favorite buildings and scenes from downtown Austin, ready for you — or, you know, a deserving child — to color however you like. I’m not really a “coloring guy,” and I still enjoy the heck out of this thing.
I didn’t realize until recently that the folks at IVitamin were quietly giving people IV bags full of vitamins to kill hangovers — and, uh, you know, “rehydrate your body for wellness” or whatever — in a storefront at 515 South Congress Avenue. It’s kind of weird, but would make a magnificent gift for whichever one of your friends and/or family parties the hardest.
If you want to pretend you’re a billionaire for an afternoon, it might be fun to take a helicopter tour of downtown Austin and pretend all the little people in traffic below you are ants. Very self-affirming thing to do.
Weirdly, this one isn’t even super expensive — tours by HELO Austin start at $93.50 per person, which isn’t bad considering it means you get to fly in a helicopter. If you have a friend who is afraid of flying, taking them on one of these would be a very thoughtful way to mess with them.
Did you know you can send people tiny pies from Austin’s very own Tiny Pies shop? Were you even aware of the existence of Tiny Pies? Do you just enjoy saying “tiny pies?” There’s so much to love about this city.
Okay, okay, it’s in technically in Cedar Creek, just outside of Austin, but we’re including it since zip lines are really great. And Zip Lost Pines has got a bunch of them sitting out there in the woods, with views of the Colorado River and such. It’s also very non-crazy price-wise, with tours starting at $69 per person. Greatest corporate team building event of all time, man — the fear is great for productivity!
The 1887 birds-eye view of Austin drawn by cartographer Augustus Koch is the definitive historic map of our city. The accuracy is stunning — if you look closely, you’ll see many buildings on this map that are still standing in 2018. The Austin History Center sells a large reproduction of the original, and if you’ve got even a passing interest in local history, I’d call it a must-buy.
Austin artist Micael Priest, who died earlier this year, drew hundreds of posters for gigs at the legendary Armadillo World Headquarters venue in the 1970s. Even if you don’t know his name, you’ll recognize the work if you’ve been hanging around town long — it’s practically sacred to a certain Old Austin set. As you might imagine, his posters are locally coveted, but you’ll still find some available for sale online. It’s the kind of thing you’ll want to frame.
Hatch Workshop, located at 641 Tillery Street in East Austin, makes some extremely cool furniture and other fine woodworking projects. You’ll find their pieces all over the city, and while I’m not saying the holiday season is necessarily the most critical time to drop $1,800 on a table, you’ve got to admit it’s a pretty nice table.
A friend of mine owns two of these chairs, so I know exactly how much fun it is (very fun) to put beers in those built-in cupholders and watch a quality film or three. Plus, if you talk during the movie at home they won’t kick you out. I mean, you can kick yourself out, but that’s on you, bud.
Did you know that downtown Austin’s Warehouse District, now best known for closed nightclubs and oil company office towers, used to be the city’s red-light district? If not, this book by local author Richard Zelade will dunk your brain in our city’s history of debauchery like a filthy, filthy tea bag. Highly recommended, especially for only $20.
A Piece of the HOPE Outdoor Gallery
The impending demise and relocation of the HOPE Outdoor Gallery is Austin’s answer to the fall of the Berlin Wall, in the sense that chunks of the guerrilla graffiti gallery will be stolen and sold on the secondary market by enterprising local historians for years to come. I’m not joking, this is absolutely going to be a thing after they tear it down — some ultra-hip drinking establishment with the word “libations” on its menu is going to use a giant piece of one of the art walls for the back of its bar by the mid-2020s.
It’s almost definitely extremely illegal, so I’m disclaiming this item as a fairly-to-very bad idea, but you could probably hypothetically get your hands on a piece of one of the gallery’s art walls after the demolition kicks off. We’re not sure when that’s happening, but it’ll be sometime after the gallery closes in January of 2019. You’ll just have to try and remember it for next year.
In exchange for its continued stewardship of Austin’s beloved Hike-and-Bike Trail, the Trail Foundation would love to take your money for a commemorative brick with an engraved name of your choice, to be installed at Lakeshore Park.
The smallest brick starts at $250, but if you’re really ballin’ out of control, maybe spring for a bench adoption instead. For the low, low price of $12,500, you’ll cover the dedication and maintenance of a bench along the trail’s boardwalk section. (And hey, whaddaya know — the folks at Hatch Workshop we mentioned earlier in this guide are fabricating the benches.)
The short-lived 1990s MTV sitcom Austin Stories is one of the more interesting Austin-related cultural artifacts, and as we’ve covered before, the show gives us a glimpse of the city circa 1997 that’s often nigh-unrecognizable more than two decades later. The show’s creator, comedian Howard Kremer, is the only legitimate source for DVD copies, and when you buy one he’ll autograph it for you. For locals, it’s must-see TV.
If you love Austin’s recent dockless scooter invasion, why not roll your own? This humble electric conveyance, already prominent around downtown in dockless form, seems uniquely skilled at driving everyone in the city completely insane, but it’s honestly a very convenient way to get around. Just please try and follow the traffic laws, or people on Reddit might get mad at you.