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Welcome Mat: Austin, Texas

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Maybe it’s the college student population that tops 50,000. Maybe it’s the live music industry that has made this city a haven for fans and performers alike. Or maybe it’s just geography, situated on a downtown lake and perched at the edge of another rambling Hill Country lake that offers everything from windsurfing to sunbathing.

Whatever the reason, there’s one thing for certain: Austin is a town that likes to have fun…and, in many, many cases, that fun includes the dogs of Austin.

Whether you’re arriving in Austin by air or road, it’s easy to spot the distinctive skyline of the city: the State Capitol (built to Texas-sized proportions and 15 feet taller than its national counterpart), the soaring University of Texas tower, and Lady Bird Lake, a wide swath of the Colorado River that slices through the city.

All these attractions lie downtown, the focal point of which is the State Capitol building…

Here, acres of shady grounds invite a leisurely stroll with your dog:

Keep a good grip on that leash, though; the Capitol grounds are prime squirrel habitat!

South of the Texas State Capitol lies Lady Bird Lake (formerly known as Town Lake and still called that by some locals). The greenbelt around Lady Bird Lake is always lined with residents and visitors alike who take to the waterside hike and bike trails with their dogs:

This off-leash area is especially popular during the warm weather months (which, in Austin, extends from April through October). The “Scoop the Poop” statue on the south shores of the lake reminds dog lovers to pick up after their dogs…

This area is also a favorite with many dog events scheduled throughout the year; the largest is the Mighty Texas Dog Walk, an annual effort to break the Guinness world record for the largest dog walk and, at the same time, assist the Texas Hearing and Service Dogs group, headquartered in the region:

From spring until early fall, the shores of Lady Bird Lake also provide the city’s most unique evening activity: batwatching. The lake’s Ann Richards Bridge (formerly known as the Congress Avenue Bridge) is home to the nation’s largest urban colony of bats, and the lakeshore fills with onlookers every evening from March through October. At sunset, over 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats make their nightly exodus to feed on the insects of central Texas.

Bridges link the north and south sides of the lake making it easy for you and your dog to tour…

West of this area lies the city’s largest park: Zilker Park. Although the park’s Barton Springs Pool isn’t open to dogs, four-legged friends are welcome in the garden areas of the park (including the sculpture garden filled with dinosaurs!)

Throughout Austin, numerous restaurants are dog-friendly, encouraging diners and their dogs to enjoy shaded patio dining. On Lake Austin, The County Line on the Lake serves Texas barbecue on the lakeshores…

In north Austin, The Domain is one of the city’s toniest spots for shopping and dining with most locations definitely qualifying as pet-friendly, from the playground…

…to the restaurants, wine bars, and coffee shops…

…to the shopping areas themselves…

Throughout the city and in neighboring communities such as Lakeway, Cedar Park, Round Rock, and Georgetown, excellent dog parks invite Fido to run leash free…

Whether you’re a dog or a dog lover, it’s easy to understand what Willie Nelson once said about this city. “There’s a freedom you begin to feel the closer you get to Austin … it’s a great place to live.”

Disclosure: Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. have partnered with bloggers like me as Official Apartment Guide Bloggers. As part of this program, I have received compensation. They have not told me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

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Charles Davis

Sunday 8th of July 2012

Love Austin,love Texas ,love dogs

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