SXSW

Katie Haugland
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Business travel has its pleasures. Successful strategy meetings can invigorate professional careers. Catching up with friends at a new “hot” restaurant makes evenings away from family fly by. But there is a downside. Long days locked in conference rooms stifle your spirit. Life on the road can disrupt a carefully designed day-by-day training program for an important bucket list race.

RootsRated presents a collection of recreation activities recommended by local experts who live and breathe in Austin’s outdoor parks and trails every day. Here’s everything you need to know to get out for a marathon training run, rent a bike for a quick 20-mile loop or escape the hectic pace of business for a trail run under a canopy of trees. Get out and enjoy Austin!

Hike and Bike Trail
Skirting around the edges of Lady Bird Lake, the Hike and Bike Trail is urban Austin’s crown jewel for fitness enthusiasts, families, and training athletes. The trail is primarily crushed granite with a few short concrete sections that’s perfect for running, walking, or biking. Terrain is flat with some small hills, and there are markers for every quarter mile. Amenities include bathrooms, water fountains, and showerheads at various intervals along the trail. The best trail access points are Zilker Park, Auditorium Shores and almost anywhere around Lady Bird Lake. See link to map for trail loops and distances – loops range from 1-10 miles.

Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake was created in the '70s as the centerpiece of Austin's downtown recreation destination. The 400-acre reservoir is ideal for kayaking, SUPing, canoeing, rowing and swimming. You can paddle for hours on the 6-mile stretch of river, or choose one of the popular 3- to 5-mile loops. There are several access points, as well as a number of rental outfitters if you're just stopping by for a day. When the time is right catch some live music at one of the many riverside performance venues.

Zilker Park
Zilker Park is the “Central Park” of Austin and offers a little bit of everything: disc golf, swimming, theater, hiking, biking, soccer, live music and much more. Recruit for business team and clients for a round of 9-hole disc golf course in the northwest corner of the park.


Don’t forget the food. Austin has a fantastic variety of cafes, restaurants and even food trucks. Find something familiar or try something new. From a big burrito to gluten-free health food, Austin has something for every palette.

The Vegan Yacht: "Cruelty Free Cuisine"
The Vegan Yacht: "Cruelty Free Cuisine"

Food Trucks
Several cities have a bourgeoning food-truck scene, but few can boast the quantity, quality, and variety of Austin’s. Whether you want vegan mid-eastern, chicken and waffles, desserts, tacos, or damn good BBQ and beer, you can easily find it at one of Austin’s stellar food trucks. Some are grouped together in “parks” and some are tucked in quiet little corners.

Juan Pelota Cafe
A unique feature of Lance Armstrong’s Mellow Johnny’s bike shop, Juan Pelota Cafe is a favorite coffee stop for any adventurer, athlete, tourist, or local who finds him or herself downtown. Juan Pelota makes great efforts to source and cooperate with many local favorites – don’t miss local energy bars by Bearded Brothers and Thunderbird Energetica.

Casa de Luz
Its name in English couldn’t be more appropriate, “House of Light.” The food at Casa de Luz really does make you feel brighter. This non-profit eatery is definitely one of those places you just have to visit when in Austin, if you’re into super-clean, healthy plant-based food. All its water is fluoride-filtered. All its meals are gluten-free, and allergen-aware. They don’t use oils for things like salad dressing – they grind their own nuts and make everything themselves. But it’s not just about the food. If you’re looking for one of the healthiest eateries in Austin, Casa de Luz is it.

We hope you enjoy your stay in Austin and get a few hours to get outside and play.

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