A lot of my first three months in Austin have been spent on campus, at McCombs. Whether I am going to class, working on group projects, going to networking events or just hanging out with classmates, I seem to find myself here all the time Monday through Thursday. Luckily, the weekends provide me with plenty of time to go out and explore a city that I am brand new to. Austin’s downtown nightlife never disappoints, but the festivals and events held during the day, seemingly every weekend, keep me the most entertained. MBA students often talk about how flooded they are at school, but I never knew that I would be facing such difficult decisions on what concerts and festivals to attend on a weekly basis too.
Below is just a taste of the incredible events that Austin hosted, and I attended with classmates, over the past six weeks:
- Austin City Limits– The flagship of Austin’s music festivals. Six stages spread across the beautiful Zilker Park with music for people of all tastes (headliners ranged from Outkast and Eminem to Pearl Jam and Calvin Harris). Hardcore music fans will buy a 3-day pass (guilty), but everyone should go for at least one day just to enjoy a beautiful day of music in Austin’s gorgeous October weather.
- Oddball Festival – Hannibal Burress, Sarah Silverman, Louis CK and many others all packed into one afternoon/night of comedy. Many of the bigger comedians that were not part of this lineup, will be stopping by Austin in the near future.
- Fun Fun Fun Festival Despite the dumb (dumb dumb) name, this festival comes off as a wacky (and equally entertaining) stepsibling to the aforementioned Austin City Limits. Any event that allows me to see Run the Jewels, Ginuwine and Yelle in succession (and at the same stage) will always get two big thumbs up in my book. Other acts included Alt-J, Nas, Two Chainz and stand-up from Fred Armisen among others.
- 24th Annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival – I thought I had a penchant for tasty and spicy hot sauces. I attended this festival and was quickly put in my place. While some of the participant’s entries certainly packed all spice and no flavor, I was able to find a couple bottles that compliment the breakfast tacos I make quite nicely.
- Austin Beer Week - While I was not able to attend all of the Austin Beer Week, I made it out to the Real Ale tasting at Craft Pride. 16 different beers were tapped that night. My classmates and I did not get to try them all, but we happily enjoyed a few while listening to an odd heavy metal mix on Craft Pride’s patio. The festival runs over 9 days (starting on a Friday) and there are about 100 events running at 20-30 different participating establishments. Exploring this week a bit more is definitely on my to-do list next year.
- Truck By Truckwest – The only downside with food trucks in Austin is deciding which food truck you want to enjoy for any given meal. There are so many out there, it is hard to get to them all. Truck by Truckwest helps alleviate this problem. You can buy anything from a 1-day to a 6-day pass, which grants you free samples at any of the 60 different trucks. The best part is that the food trucks seem excited to be part of the week and definitely do not slouch with any of the samples or the service. I am already looking forward to next year.
- Red River Rivalry (at the Texas State Fair) – Alright, this may be cheating a little bit since the Texas State Fair is in Dallas. However, I can say that the McCombs trip to the Texas State Fair and the Texas/OU Red River Shootout takes the cake for my favorite moment of 1st year (and there are plenty of candidates). This trip is a perfect combination of bonding with the entire McCombs full-time program, enjoying all sorts of fried foods at the State Fair (get a Fletcher’s corn dog) and blowing off all sorts of steam after our first group of finals.
- F1 – Austin Fan Fest - Again, I am cheating here a little bit because I did not make it out to the F1 races but only walked downtown through the tents and F1 car displays. From what I heard from many of my classmates, I definitely missed out.
At the end of the day, one of the biggest reasons I chose McCombs over other schools was the city of Austin. I thought it was an exciting city that mixed several unique and fun professional and entertainment opportunities for me to explore. I did my best to encapsulate how Austin has lived up to the billing of offering so many incredible and diverse gatherings over the past six weeks. I easily could have included 10-15 more things that I try to fit into every week and weekend, but I unfortunately need to go run off for some more live music downtown!
Until next time, Hook ‘Em!