Adventure

Field Notes: Keeping It Weird in Austin

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“You can call me the Decent Magician.” Adam Kingman’s favorite title is same one that’s on his business card — which should tell you a lot about the Austin-based creative. Every morning he sits down with a cappuccino, peels back a blank page in his notebook, and scribbles down whatever is on his mind. What he creates? Magic. “It’s my favorite part of the day because there’s no expectations and anything can happen on those pages,” he says.

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Kingman is the Creative Director and Industrial designer for hammock brand Kammok, but work wasn’t the only thing that prompted his recent move to Texas. “Sunshine, fly fishing, tacos at every coffee shop, and you never have to wait for an avocado to ripen,” Kingman ticks off the things he loves most about his new hometown. “Everyone is making something. Gumbo trucks, ice cream shops, mezcal distilleries — the people here are building their dreams and invite you into them.”

And, as the saying goes, everyone is also committed to keeping Austin weird — and Kingman’s nothing if not a team player. “I’ve chipped this one tooth a few times and I keep the bits in my car’s cup holder. I hear that’s weird.”

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Words and photos by Adam Kingman.

Dear Reader,

Austin, Texas, is a serendipitous city exploding with ideas and smells and sounds and people beckoning from every corner. Now, I only moved here a few months ago, so navigating through it all can be daunting.

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My manifesto: no repeats — never return to the same places because there’s so many new ones to check out. However, there’s a list of spots I can’t help but keep coming back to. In Austin, you really can’t go wrong whichever direction you go. Just make sure to wear your sandals. Tevas are like tacos — they suit every occasion.

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For Margaritas: El Alma

Pro tip: Free tortillas. Get the ahi tuna ceviche, it’s amazing. There’s a lovely rooftop patio to catch the best sunsets on, and a daily happy hour from 3pm-6pm.

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For BYOB: Peter Pan Mini Golf

Eighteen holes of colorful, quirky, goofy gold where you can practice your one-handed swing (you’ll need your other for holding your beer).

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For Music in the Park: Blues on the Green

Don’t bother inviting your friends — they’ll already be there. Bring a blanket, a backpack filled with beer, and your dancing shoes.

For Croissants and Coffee: Texas French Bread

My buddy and I read the Wall Street Journal here every Saturday with a cup of drip and a steamy croissant.

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For the Best Cuppacino in Town: Fleet Coffee

Seattle set the coffee bar high, but Fleet makes me feel like I’m right back home. Fantastic pours and a dialed, hospitable stop — I’d start every day here if I could and, most days, I do.

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Shop the Original Universal Premier collection.

For Something Sweet: Gemelli Gelateria

The owner is always throwing down new flavors. Stop by for an afternoon affogato.

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For Brews: Lazarus Brewing

Excellent patio. Great music. Killer tacos. You can’t go wrong.

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For A Good Place Cool Off: Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs might be the most magical gathering place in all of Austin. It’s timeless and feels like a time machine. Go at night — it’s free from 9-10pm. There’s great people watching, but don’t forget a book and some shades.

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“It might be the most magical gathering place in all of Austin. It’s timeless and feels like a time machine.”

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For a River Escape: The Greenbelt

You can never go wrong exploring this long stretch of river just south of the city. Watch out for snakes and frat parties.

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For Smoky Sips: Whisler’s

Apparate yourself to this moody, dark, and eclectic place on a Friday and you might be serenaded —above the Whisler’s patio sits the mezcal bar. I’m not sure if it has a name beyond that, the only indicator of its existence is the glowing red light above its open door. Few wander up the stairs to stumble upon the magic inside.

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For a Jazz Club: Elephant Room

Grab your date and walk down the stone steps to the underground Elephant Room bar. Sip an Old Fashioned and listen to Austin’s jazz scene. Prepare for another time warp here.

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For a Poolside Drink: Kitty Cohen’s

Frozen drinks, palm-print wallpaper, lots of neon, and a wading pool to keep your feet cool.

For A New Record: End of an Ear

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For the Best Taco: Go Discover It For Yourself

As for the taco recommendation, I gave up trying to find the best tacos because, really, anywhere you go is amazing. Good luck out there. Godspeed.

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