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5 Festive Austin Favorites No One Should Miss

Guitars made out of Christmas lights at Mozart's in Austin

Are you looking for a truly local taste of holiday glee?

Here are five festive favorite activities that no self-respecting Austinite would miss.

Enjoy!

 

5. Do some one-stop local shopping.

Coasters by South Austin Gallery showcase scenes of Austin, TX
Coasters by South Austin Gallery let you take home a bit of iconic ATX. Photo Credit: Blue Genie Art Bazaar

 

Keep Austin weird by patronizing two holiday shopping favorites: Armadillo Christmas Bazaar and Blue Genie Art Bazaar.

You’ve got to purchase a ticket for the downtown’s Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, which includes shopping booths, multiple live music performances every day (check out the Spotify playlist), and two full bars. It’s as much an experience as expo.

Shoppers at Austin's Blue Genie Art Bazaar
Blue Genie Art Bazaar works a retro fun vibe. Photo Credit: Annie Winsett

 

Since 2001, Blue Genie Art Bazaar has provided a free, unique gathering of Austin-y gifts. You’ll find one-of-a-kind artisanal creations (preview 200 local and regional vendors on the website) conveniently located near central Austin’s Highland Mall.

4. Catch a show.

Austin loves a good performance. Many make Zachary Scott Theatre’s productions of the classic A Christmas Carol and iconic Texas send-up A Tuna Christmas seasonal must-see events.

Performers from Zachary Scott Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol 2017
ZACH puts on a modern musical twist on the Dickens classic. Photo Credit: Kirk Tuck

 

Ring in the new year with Austin’s signature clubs (downtown’s Antone’s Nightclub and the Continental Club on SoCo have New Year’s Eve shows) or take the family to Alamo Drafthouse’s special December showings (yep; this revolutionary movie theatre started here).

 

3. See all of the lights.

Lighted packages at Mozart's display in Austin, TX
So many pretty lights at Mozart’s! Photo Credit: Francine Fowler

 

Stop by Mozart’s Coffee Roasters to score a warm snack and soak up a breathtaking light display. Stroll down 37th St. east of Guadalupe to see whether it’s a good year for the block’s traditionally quirky home installations. And brave crowds and buy tickets for Austin’s longstanding tradition, the Trail of Lights. Believe it or not, this 52-year tradition was once a drive-through activity. Suitable for the whole family, Austin’s Trail of Lights includes food trucks, Santa’s Workshop, nightly entertainment, and some 1.24 miles full of 40 light displays (about 2 million lights!).

2. Find a workout.

No matter the season, Austin loves to get physical. For many, no holiday is complete without a polar bear dip into Barton Springs Pool. Thanks to its approximately 68 degrees temperature, some start the day with a morning visit to this spring-fed pool year ‘round (no entrance fee before 8 a.m.).

Members of November Project Austin working out at Texas State Capitol in December
Wednesday’s workout at Texas State Capitol. Photo Credit: Lia DeValentin

 

Swimming not your thing? Work up a sweat and get a group hug with November Project Austin. This nationally-certified, #weatherproof, free workout (M/W/F, from 6–7 a.m.; more details at website) features cardio- and body weight-based group exercise.

1. Twirl under the Zilker Holiday Tree.

Every Austinite–no matter how big or how small–will stand under these spiraling Christmas lights, look up, and twirl. The City of Austin first lit the 155-foot Zilker Holiday Tree in 1967 and it’s brought unbridled joy and general dizziness ever since. (Tip: Due to Zilker Park road closures, combine your tree twirl with a Trail of Lights trip.)

If you’d rather skip the 300,000+ crowd driving to Zilker Park, drop in at Austin’s new Central Library  (710 W. Cesar Chavez St.). The rooftop deck provides a spectacular view across Lady Bird Lake. Can you spot that shining 10-foot point-to-point double star atop the Zilker tree?

Looking up at lights of Austin's Zilker Holiday Tree
Looking up from below the Zilker Holiday Tree. Photo Credit: AnnMarie Olson

 

Happy holidays, y’all!

December 20, 2017

White Reaper Returns to ATX for ACL 2017

Cover of latest White Reaper Album

White Reaper returns to ACL Festival 2017 for a Sunday, Oct. 15, show on the BMI stage. Top Trip Rentals is stoked that the Louisville-based band booked yet another Austin stay with us.

We took this opportunity to ask White Reaper a few questions, and frontman Tony Esposito was kind enough to oblige. Naturally, we started out with the shameless plug:

Q:  You’re staying with Top Trip Rentals for another year. What brought you back to us, and what in particular did you enjoy about previous visits?

You guys are really friendly! There are some truly wonderful people at Top Trip. This will actually be our third stay at Littlefield Lofts, and you even allowed us to stay at a house that Top Trip has as well.

New Music from White Reaper

Cover of latest White Reaper AlbumQ:  You’ve got a new album out. What can ACL attendees look forward to from your set? What are your favorites? Any surprises in store?

We’re actually working on a new set at the moment, so I don’t really know what to tell you! We’re adding some songs we’ve never played before, and some songs we haven’t played in a long time. That’s all I can say for now.

Q: Watching your “Judy French” video, I find myself flashing to a bunch of different references, from Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” flag motif to that punk bandana (I went down the rabbit hole looking for some ancient MTV video with a car…). What were your influences in making the “Judy French” video? And it’s very different from the clean black and white of “Little Silver Cross.” Where do you get inspiration? 

Our buddy, Brandon Dermer, directed the video and he just knocked it out of the park. We try to go as big or as strange as we can when it comes to videos just because there’s so much fun to be had in that department. We love movies, so inspiration is kind of hard to pin down since it comes from every which way.

Q:  Gotta ask: How are you feeling about playing a big festival in light of the Las Vegas shooting? Has this horrible tragedy changed anything about the way you feel about festival venues and ACL, specifically?

The tragedy in Las Vegas is devastating and terrible. Gun laws need to be reformed, without a doubt. However, this doesn’t change the way we feel about playing shows like ACL or Lollapalooza in the slightest. If it happens, it happens, but we don’t have time to live in fear. 

 

White Reaper on the ATX Experience

Poster of White Reaper show at Austin's Scoot Inn by Austin Linkinhoker.
Poster, White Reaper  show at Austin’s Scoot Inn 2017. Artwork by Austin Linkinhoker (used with artist permission)

Q:  In a recent review of your second album, Pitchfork’s Ian Cohen said “the Dazed and Confused comparisons are inevitable.” Do you agree? How do you feel “The World’s Best American Band” style meshes with our iconic Austin vibe?

Dazed and Confused is one of our favorite movies, and Linklater is one of our favorite directors. We take that as a giant compliment. We definitely agree, too. We were raised on that soundtrack. 

Q:  Will you have any extra time around your ACL appearance here in Austin? If so, what are some things you’re looking forward to doing while here?

We’ve got some extra time. Our guitarist, Hunter [Thompson] is actually from Austin, so we know our way around pretty well. We’ve got a lot of friends in town that we’d love to catch up with and hang out with.

Band Travel Tips

Q: If Texas music fans were heading to Louisville, what would you tell them to see and do there?

Go to eat and drink at the Back Door. Check out Morris’ Deli [2228 Taylorsville Rd., Louisville, KY]; there’s a drive in theater right the across the river in Georgetown, Indiana. Louisville has a pretty chill old-school kind of vibe. I love it there. 

Q:  You’re traveling a lot with this tour. What’s one “must pack” item that helps you feel at home wherever you go? Any travel tips you care to offer?

Gotta have some headphones. Sometimes, in the van, putting headphones on is the only way to get a moment to yourself. Also Tide PODS (for rare, but easy laundry)

Q: Any shout-outs y’all want to give?

Shout out to Top Trip Rentals! Shout out to Do512! Shouts out C3! Shout out to Salvatore Cassato; shout out to all our Austin friends.

Have a great day!

Austin City Limits (ACL) Festival skyline 2017
Top Trip Rentals looks forward to catching White Reapers’ 2017 ACL performance, along with our other guests. Photo Credit: Top Trip Rentals Staff

Want More?

Our Littlefield Lofts guests should check out the new Lounge at Littlefield (no promises, but White Reaper mentioned bringing some merch that winds up there….)

Are you a band? Looking for someplace that likes musicians and doesn’t break the bank? Try Top Trip Rentals for your next Austin stay.

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October 11, 2017

Top Trip Rentals Supports Musicians During SXSW

Austin crowd at ACL 2016 for Cage the Elephant shown on screen

In honor of two anniversaries–30 years of South by Southwest, Austin’s premier festival  (1987–2017), and Top Trip Rentals’ 10th anniversary–we gave SXSW 2017 musicians a special promotional rate during their stay. Yes, while ATX room rates hit high notes, we lowered rates to $30 a night so musicians could conveniently rock a 6th Street launch pad during their SXSW’s performances.

Austin, Live Music Capital of the World

Austin crowd at ACL 2016 for Cage the Elephant shown on screen
Cage the Elephant playing ACL Fest 2016

Are we crazy?

Well, Top Trip Rentals believes Austin’s soul is its artists.

We wanted to tip an appreciative hat to artists of all stripes (musical, visual, theatrical) who’ve made success possible.

When SXSW emerged out of the Austin Chronicle’s think tanks in 1987, some 700 people attended; my, how things have grown! In 2016 alone, SXSW brought $325.3 million into Austin economy’s. The average nightly cost of an ATX hotel room that year? $350.

So, yeah, Top Trip Rentals thought our 10th anniversary was the perfect opportunity to give back to SXSW bands.

“We wanted to support the original mission of SXSW, the music portion, because that’s what basically put Austin on the map as a destination city” ~Chereen Fisher, Top Trip Rentals owner

Top Trip was honored and thrilled to host artists from all over the world at our vacation rentals. This year’s list of SXSW musicians and bands included

Lizzo,

The TonTons,

Tunde Olaniran,

White Reaper,

Sundara Karma,

Margo Price,

and more.

Supporting Musicians with Affordable Rates

Top Trip Rentals couldn’t have asked for better guests, and so we created a tradition. During big festivals and events, we’ve reserved a portion of our vacation rentals at affordable prices for performers, those souls who get on stage and give their energy, genius, and artistry every night.

 

Lizzo is a hot ticket at SXSW 2017

Stay with Top Trip Rentals During Your Gig!

Are you a performer (musical, visual, theatrical) who needs an affordable place to unwind during Austin’s legendary festivals and creative events?

Talk to our offices: email info@toptriprentals.com or talk to a human (512) 522-8747.

New Lounge at Littlefield

Loft 705 at Littlefield Lofts in Austin is now the Lounge at Littlefield

Updated Oct. 2017: Top Trip Rentals recently added a new amenity to the downtown Littlefield Lofts location, the Lounge at Littlefield. This complimentary gathering place is perfect for guests to meet and mingle. We also have featured products available, and we welcome our guest musicians to stop in, use the meeting space, visit with fans, and share merchandize through Top Trip Rentals market place in the Lounge.

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March 14, 2017

ACL 2016 Is Almost Here

ACL 2016 is coming up fast. And that means it’s time to pick your favorite bands.

When equally interesting bands are playing at the same time at opposite ends of Zilker Park (the ACL venue), it’s hard to pick who to hear. And it’s impossible to run between stages during performances  to see two acts at once (well, it can be done but not easily).

The only way to manage your band picks is through a careful review of the ACL website lineup page including bios and videos. Then, download the app and set up your schedule.

Top Trip Rentals Recommends

Who are we psyched about seeing at ACL? Here are a few of our staff recommendations.

Sandra’s Top 5:

  1. Die Antwoord
  2. Bomba Estereo
  3. Kendrick Lamar
  4. The Chainsmokers
  5. Mumford & Sons

Rebecca’s Top 5: 

  1. Radiohead
  2. Kendrick Lamar
  3. Band of Horses
  4. Willie Nelson
  5. Wild Belle

Rene’s Top 5:

  1. Willie Nelson
  2. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats
  3. Quaker City Night Hawks
  4. Luisa Maita
  5. Corrine Bailey Rae

Cara’s Top 5:

  1. Haim
  2. The Chainsmokers
  3. Kendrick Lamar
  4. Tory Lanes
  5. Conor Oberst

As you can see, our crew at Top Trip Rentals is looking forward to a real mix of bands and styles. We guarantee that, no matter your taste, you won’t find a bad band at ACL.

Not much of a planner? Not sure what you like? Wandering the park and staying at a stage that sounds interesting could yield a great new find.

ACL Tips

The kind ACL folks have put together a great guide. With the festival now in its 15th year, they know a thing or two about having a great time. The ACL guide includes FAQ for getting the most out of the festival. Read this to learn details such as how to get from downtown Austin to Zilker Park, what items can and cannot be taken, and additional programs to music during the event.

See you there!

C3 - ACL Weekend 1
C3 – ACL Weekend 1, 2015

September 16, 2016