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Austin Summer Survival

How to survive summer in Austin: An instructional manual with 9 easy steps

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sahara desert people walking
It's going to be like this without the sand. Beatriz Posada Alonso/ Wikimedia Commons
MAM'S House of Ice Snoballs food truck Houston girls with snowcones
You need two things for summer: kids with water toys and snow cones. MAM'S House of Ice Snoballs/Facebook
New Braunfels tubing can ban
When in doubt, go tubing. Courtesy of Rockin' R River Rentals / Facebook
sahara desert people walking
MAM'S House of Ice Snoballs food truck Houston girls with snowcones
New Braunfels tubing can ban

If this is your first summer in Austin (and with more than 100 of you moving here every day, there is a good chance that it is), welcome. If it's your fifth, fifteenth or fiftieth summer in town, also welcome, we're glad you're here to commiserate (or yell at us in the comments section).

Summer in Austin is a peculiar thing. On the one hand, it's the time of year for weekly outdoor music festivals, swimming holes and backyard barbecues. On the other hand, it's the time for profuse sweating and complaining about said outdoor music festivals, swimming holes and backyard barbecues. It's a time for dewy skin and bronzed tans, but also for staying indoors with the shades drawn so no beam of sunlight can sneak through. It's a season of contradictions, and we're here to help.

Don't try new deodorant
Every summer comes and every summer we're shocked by how much our body sweats. "Surely it's my deodorant," you think. "I never sweat this much during summer. Did I develop a glandular issue?" You do, you didn't and it's not your deodorant.

If you're planning to switch your deodorant for, say, health reasons, just wait until November. The stench that you are emitting is one thing, but the sweat stains are quite another. You will suddenly find yourself wondering how a navy blue shirt managed to get yellow pit stains. Because, it's summer, that's why.

Daydream about moving somewhere else
We all do this. "Upstate New York is so lovely this time of year," you say longingly. "Portland always looks so green on Portlandia," you think. Google "Does LA get this hot?" (But you can never, ever tell anyone you did that.) Go ahead and daydream, Pinterest all those images of Cubs fans sitting comfortably in the sun at Wrigley Field without passing out from heat stroke. Look up property listings in Asheville.

But just remember, in the doldrums of winter, when it's snowing for the ninth straight day or residents haven't seen the sun in months, all of those people are Pinteresting images of happy Austinites sitting on outdoor patios and wishing they were us.

Invest in a good windshield sun shade — and use it
If you have vinyl seats, you already know the agony of burning thigh flesh on a scalding hot car seat. A few minutes with the windows rolled up, and our cars turn into veritable ovens, capable of firing pottery. Get yourself to an auto parts store and invest in a good sun shade.

On a serious public safety note, don't leave your kids or pups in the car. Things can go from unpleasant to deadly in a matter of minutes.

Abandon any body image issues pertaining to legs, upper arms or feet
In the immortal words of Kimberly "Sweet Brown" Wilkins, "Ain't nobody got time for that." This is the time of year for short shorts (for women and men) and tank tops. Let go of your insecurities and embrace the skin, friends. It'll be a far easier summer once you do. You'll be seeing topless ladies at Barton Springs and nearly naked dudes on bikes. If they don't care, neither should you.

Also abandon the phrase "sunnies"
This isn't exactly an Austin-centric summer survival note per se, just a general suggestion. Now that summer is upon us, the recent rise of the Australian phrase "sunnies" to describe sunglasses is about to reach its tipping point. Allow it to die a proper death.

Find your "summer cocktail"
Though bourbon is counted among the great loves of this author's life (along with Patsy Cline songs and caftans — what this means, who knows), the time has come to switch from Old Fashioneds to something a bit more summer-friendly. While there are no shortage of Negroni specials in June, consider our favorite cocktail, "The Austin Spritzer." Basically it's just taking a shot of tequila and then asking the bartender to throw a glass of ice water in your face immediately following. Ultimate refreshment.

FYI: This is also an acceptable time of year to order white wine spritzers.

Realize that seasonal affective disorder rages just as hard when it's sunny and 110 degrees as it does when it's grey and -10 degrees
At one point this summer, you will look out the window at clear blue skies and sunshine, throw yourself facedown on the bed and wail, "I just can't take another day." While, yes, "traditionally" seasonal affective disorder (appropriately acronymed "SAD") is used in reference to our northern neighbors who are cramped inside all winter, a 110-degree day can induce the exact same feeling of dread. Unlike, say, February in Michigan, we can't embrace the cold weather and cozy up to a fireplace with a good book and comfy sweater. Instead, we have to strip down to our skivvies, lay down on the cold tiles of the bathroom floor, put a wet towel on our face and moan. (Don't bother crying, it'll just overheat you.)

Rank your friends in pool-order
For the next few months, choose new friends with care. Instead of asking their name, the first question upon meeting new people should be, "Do you have a pool?"

For current friends, the proper ranking is this:

No. 1. Friends with pools
No. 2 Friends with kids
No. 3 Everyone else

Obviously friends with pools are in the top tier of friends. Buy them gifts, treat them to dinner, help them with their garden, do whatever you have to do to score the weekend pool invite.

You may be wondering how friends with kids rank No. 2, so let's explain. People with kids always have access to the best water toys. If you have kids, pooling all of those toys together (pun very much intended) translates into a super soaking good time for everyone.

If you don't have children, here's a tip: parents love weekend trips and, at least in summer, they're usually to watering holes, beaches or lakes. Snag yourself an invite. The parents will dig it because it's another adult, and the kids will have a makeshift auntie or uncle to play with while you escape another day pacing the molten city streets. Everyone wins.

And if all of these people are busy, just float the river.

Abandon all hope — until October
Just kidding. Sort of. Sure, you're going ruin any silk shirt you dare to wear, get covered in fire ant bites while attempting to resuscitate your garden, probably get a sunburn and, by August, look upwards towards the sky, shake your fist and say, "I just want to feel comfortable again!"

But, hey, at least you're in Austin. Grab a snow cone, head to Barton Springs and thank your lucky stars that every public place keeps its AC pumping at 72 degrees. That's what the rest of us do.

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