When the spooky of October subsides, November awaits with a laundry list of cold (and not so cold) weather activities. From the typical — Thanksgiving — to the atypical – stargazing, public art and volunteerism — November is all about experiencing the feeling of gratitude.
Here are the top 10 picks for what to do in Central Texas this month.
Unlike Oktoberfest, New Braunfels’ annual 10-day celebration of the sausage almost always falls in November. Featuring a German-American smorgasbord of various fried concoctions (battered Oreos, anyone?) and meat on sticks, Wurstfest also boasts a nauseating array of carnival rides, ale and traditional Oompah bands. The festival runs through this Sunday.
Winter nights are longer and comparatively drier than the summer, making it an ideal time to stargaze. Although stargazing in the city can often be impeded by light pollution, there are many places just beyond downtown that offer great views of the night sky. Every Wednesday night in November (with the exception of Nov. 21), the UT astronomy department sponsors free public star parties on the roof of the Robert Lee Moore Hall. Additionally, the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve in conjunction with the Astronomical Society hosts its monthly stargazing program on Sunday, Nov. 11.
East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.)
The East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.) is one of the most popular and bike-friendly local artist events in the autumn months. The self-guided tour provides a unique opportunity to see the work and workspaces of more than 100 Austin artists. In addition to the tour, there are a bevy of related events, exhibitions and pop-up shows at various locations on the East Side through Nov. 18. Best part? It’s totally free. Check the website for details.
Thanksgiving is the highlight of November, as well as a great opportunity to congregate with friends and family to celebrate the bounty in our lives. Although the colonial premise of Thanksgiving involved the massacre of 700 Pequot Indians, the contemporary incarnation of the holiday is more about food and the senseless overeating of such.
Before (or after) overindulging in turkey, tofurkey, yams, casseroles and pumpkin pie, consider volunteering to help the less fortunate. Many choose to work with an organized undertaking, such as Operation Turkey, though simply loading up paper plates with leftovers and passing them out to the homeless works just as well.
Counteract some of those carbs on Thanksgiving morning with the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot, benefiting Caritas of Austin. The race, which offers three courses (5-mile, 1-mile, and a Kids K), has raised over $1.5 million in funds for local food service, refugee and social service programs. To skip the physical activity and simply watch, head to the Long Center and stake a spot on the lawn. To pitch in with setup, parking, cleanup, or water stops, contact Caritas of Austin.
November in Central Texas is, generally speaking, equivalent to late September in New England. This is, of course, on account of our late-season cold snaps, which typically yield the red, yellow and orange hues associated with autumn. Lost Maples State Natural Area offers some of the best views of foliage in the state, while Colorado Bend State Park provides lush trails and idyllic waterfalls. For picturesque views of the Hill Country visit Enchanted Rock State Natural Area or the much closer Mount Bonnell.
Also known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, Veteran’s Day is a state and federal holiday honoring those who served the United States through military service. Austin holds its annual Veteran’s Day parade at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11, starting at the Ann W. Richards Congress Bridge and traveling north to the Capitol.
Toilet paper roll corncobs, pine cone turkeys, and paper plate cornucopias top the list of traditional homemade Thanksgiving arts and crafts. Even if there isn’t a child in sight for miles, homemade decorations can be a fun and inventive way for adults to get into the holiday spirit and wow Thanksgiving guests. For more decoration ideas, check out the Better Homes and Gardens list of Thanksgiving crafts.
Hardly anyone can resist the energy of a live football game. Even those who couldn’t tell a punt from a first down will most likely enjoy some aspect of the game, be it tailgating, shouting at referees, or ogling cheerleaders. Football is as “autumn” as pumpkin pie and UT football is about as Austin as it gets. Check the Texas Football site for future game schedules.