Austin may be well known as a destination where you will probably focus on stuffing copious amounts of barbecued meats in your mouth, but believe it or not, the capital of Texas offers plenty for romantics to enjoy, too. From upscale movie theaters to paddle boats shaped like giant swans, here are the most romantic things to do in Austin.
The historic Paramount Theater is one of the few places in Austin where people feel obligated to dress well. The gloriously ornate decor just seems to demand it. The theater hosts everything from ballet to stand-up comedy. Whatever the event, it’s an ideal site for a special date. Opt for a balcony seat to make the night extra special.
One of the highest points in Austin, Mount Bonnell offers a stunning view of the entire city. Although you may not be entirely alone, the viewing area is big enough for the two of you to find a cozy little space for two. You'll enjoy a gorgeous view of Lake Austin, the Pennybacker Bridge and downtown Austin. To add an extra spark, arrive just before sunset and enjoy the show over a romantic dinner and a bottle of wine (but don't bring glass). If you're not a great picnic maker, the Central Market on North Lamar offers picnic baskets to go. Plus, it's a great place to pick up a bottle of wine.
Capital Cruises rents swan-shaped pedal boats at Lady Bird Lake by the hour. What could say “I love you” better than agreeing to be seen inside a massive waterfowl? But seriously, laughter can be one of the most potent aphrodisiacs.
Mayfield Park in northwest Austin is home to a whole flock of peacocks strutting their stuff year-round. Stroll through the lush grounds or enjoy a picnic amid all this courtship activity, and something’s bound to happen. The park is also home to 30 different gardens ideal for casually strolling though with your loved one.
Go for a Swim and a Beer at Deep Eddy
The Violet Crown Cinema approaches movie going as a special event. The floors aren’t sticky, the seats are comfortable, and it’s never crowded. The theater features thought-provoking independent films that invite conversation and coffee afterward.
The glamorous old hotel oozes romance, from its marble staircases to its crystal chandeliers. It’s also home to an upscale restaurant and one of the best bars in Austin. At the second-floor bar, you can cozy up on one of the leather love seats and listen to the piano player. Or if you want to jump in on the fun, you can sit at one of the seats around the piano and participate in a sing-along. Other downtown fun spots are a short walk away on 6th Street.
Formerly known as Green Pastures, Mattie’s is the new restaurant in the beautifully preserved house that was once home to author John Henry Faulk. Peacocks roam the grounds amid ancient oak trees. The menu is a mix of comfort food (Mattie’s fried chicken) and fancier fare such as the Akaushi ribeye. Start the night off with a potent cocktail like a Summer Old Fashioned with rye whiskey and citrus oils. For dessert, don’t miss the cinnamon and sugar donut with blueberries and cream on top.
The Laguna Gloria Museum holds classes regularly on its lushly landscaped grounds in northwest Austin. You and your partner will be inspired by the pieces in the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. The sculptures are beautifully integrated into the landscape. In addition to the permanent sculptures, the museum has revolving outdoor and indoor sculpture and painting exhibits that are certain to spark your creativity. Classes range from Absolute Beginners and Watercolor to Portraiture and Jewelry Design.