What we love about Austin: Top picks

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Today, the Austin360 cover story was a (long) list of things we love about Austin. We know there are millions to include, but we were limited by space so we stuck to 175. Did we miss yours? Let us know in the comments here or on the full story. Want a visual aid? We built a gallery of the 170 picks that could be depicted through photos. Here were the top picks from each staff member that participated:

Arianna Auber: beer, wine and spirits writer: Sipping on any one of the 24 thoughtfully curated craft beers on tap at Hi Hat Public House. This little eastside bar, with always friendly service and a menu of gourmet comfort food, helped develop my love of beer and discover the welcoming community surrounding it here. Try Hi Hat on a Tuesday, when you can get two tacos and a pint for $10. (hihatpublichouse.com)

Michael Barnes: people, places, culture and history writer: Walking anywhere in Austin. Doesn’t matter where. Mostly, however, in the central city, where, thanks to the Great Streets program, pedestrians are safe, shaded, comfortable and happy. (austintexas.gov/page/great-streets)

Peter Blackstock: music writer: Weekly residencies at the Continental Cluband Continental Gallery. We tend to take them for granted, but faraway fans of established artists such as James McMurtry, Alejandro Escovedo, Dale Watson and Jon Dee Graham are rightly amazed to learn that Austinites can hear them play most every week at the anchor of SoCo. (continentalclub.com)

Addie Broyles: food writer: With more than a dozen farmers markets taking place on just about every day of the week, it’s easy to find yourself sampling some of the most interesting locally produced food products Austin has to offer, from kimchi and kombucha to kolaches from a food truck and some of the best tamales in Central Texas.

Sharon Chapman: entertainment editor: Yappy hours, off-leash parks, day cares, parades and more rescue groups than you can name: Dog cultureis alive and thriving in our pet-friendly city (this year even saw the first ever Austin Pittie Limits). My two wishes for my fellow Austin dog lovers: Everyone obey leash laws, and everyone pick up after their beloved four-legged pals.

Nancy Flores: culture reporter: Standing on the top step of the St. Edward’s University Main Building, which is perched on a hill with panoramic views of the Austin downtown skyline. When I first moved to Austin from the small town of Eagle Pass to attend St. Edward’s, looking out at the impressive view meant a world of possibilities ahead. (stedwards.edu)

Omar L. Gallaga: technology culture writer: The incredible collection of cabinets and pinball machines atPinballz Arcade make this North Austin institution a great place for a nerd party. With a castle-themed Pinballz Kingdom opening in Buda, South Central Texas is getting arcade love as well. (pinballzarcade.com)

Joe Gross: culture writer: The fact that if you are a geek of any conceivable stripe, boy howdy, is this the town for you. Let’s start with comics. Our very best comics shop, Austin Books and Comics, opens at 9 a.m. on new comics Wednesdays. Pick up your titles, talk shop, then head to work or class. (austinbooks.com)

Pamela LeBlanc: fitness and travel writer: Water skiing beneath the Pennybacker Bridge on Lake Austin as the sun comes up. (During the week, before work, when the water is glass.)

Melissa Martinez: online content producer and entertainment blogger: Hanging out in the grass of the Capitol lawn enjoying a picnic, playing games and rolling down the hills. (tspb.state.tx.us)

Matthew Odam: restaurant and travel writer: He may not have been born here or started his career here, but Willie Nelson put Austin on the map musically. He is the Godfather of Austin, embodying the city’s spirit. His natural ease and Zen nature beautifully represent that to which many Austinites aspire. Some of my earliest memories are of hearing his music and going to his fun run. (willienelson.com)

Dale Roe: lifestyle writer: Watching a slow-moving Round Rock Express baseball game at the Dell Diamond while a cool breeze wafts through the third base side seats offers a welcome respite from the pressures of daily life. A cold beverage, delicious ballpark food, the crack of a bat and the roar of the crowd can make the rest of the world disappear for a few precious hours.

Courtney Sebesta: online news and entertainment editor: Sailing a 30-foot sailboat on Lake Travis and spending long summer days swimming, grilling and watching the sun set with friends.

Deborah Sengupta Stith: music writer: The city’s ethos is built on a spirit of individuality. I’ve walked around town with a shaved head and a giant nose ring and no one batted an eye. After growing up in a small town, I love being in a place where I feel free to follow my oddball muse wherever it might take me.

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin: arts critic: Wandering in and around the 1916 Italianate mansion and lakeside gardens known as Laguna Gloria. (thecontemporaryaustin.org)

Nicole Villalpando: family editor: The Thinkery, which opened last December, is finally the children’s museum Austin deserves. Get your tickets online in advance to guarantee entry and don’t forget to step across the street for one of the coolest playgrounds in Austin. (thinkeryaustin.com)

Eric Webb: online content producer and culture blogger: Going where everybody knows your name at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Calling the über-chill LGBT haven a “scene” would sound contrived. But the truth is that there’s no better place to be young and breathing in Austin on any given night. Been sipping their kombucha cocktails since the bar was on East Sixth? Hankering East Side King trailer grub and live outdoor music (or a drag show)? Ready to get repulsively sweaty to a DJ set of exclusively Beyoncé songs? The pink and blue neon sign beckons. (cheerupcharlies.com)


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