We get it. You’ve been cooped up in your house for more than a year in extremely close quarters with your restless family and have likely missed out on a gazillion amusing escapades you otherwise would have partaken in, were it not for that vexing coronavirus pandemic.
Well, Austin, we’re here to say this: Take a deep breath, round up the vaccinated fam, and get ready for a wave of excitement this summer. It’s time to take revenge on the pandemic. Adventures are back!
Below is a quick roundup of thrill-worthy crusades to help you recover from the worst year ever. (A quick note: We are officially still living in a pandemic, y’all, so take precautions as needed and adhere to any mask-wearing and safety requirements from area businesses.)
Play like a kid again
If it’s been a minute — or, let’s be real, at least a year — since you’ve reveled in some good old fashioned play, local entertainment destination Austin’s has got the perfect revenge adventure for you. Formerly Austin’s Park ’N Pizza, the business has undergone a rebrand and some seriously impressive renovations, resulting in an entertainment fun hub unlike anything else the city has to offer. New attractions include an indoor roller coaster, a tower drop ride, bumper boats, a climbing wall, and tons of other amusement-park-style activities. The upgrades also included the addition of REVL Social Club (aka Mama’s best friend!), where you can nosh on tasty bar bites and sip some craft cocktails before taking in some curling, ping pong, billiards, and darts. Take our advice: Jump on the roller coaster before you hit the bar!
Show your pride, gridiron style
Get in the game this month and show your support for Austin’s LGBTQ community while checking out some hard-hitting and can’t-take-your-eyes-off-it rugby action. AG Rugby, in partnership with the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, will host its final home game of the season on Saturday, June 12. The event will include pre-match and halftime entertainment, pride-themed giveaways, live music from the always spectacular Gina Chavez, a DJ performance, Party in the Plaza attractions (Don’t miss the dunk tank!), and the most savagely delicious sports action around, thanks to the behemoths of Austin’s Major League Rugby squad. Tickets are only $5 and are available on the AG Rugby website.
Eat up some revenge dining
That darn pandemic has probably kept you from dining at your favorite Austin restaurants for far too long. Take revenge by splurging on some high-end eats this summer. Look no further than the Four Seasons Hotel Austin, where ritzy yet approachable onsite eatery Ciclo is dishing out some particularly flamboyant dishes, perfect for getting delicious revenge on the pandemic that forced you to eat soggy leftovers for a year. Manager Joe Pena says, “It’s like the Roaring ’20s right now. People aren’t thinking twice about ordering the most expensive steak or that rare vintage wine.” True revenge diners will definitely want to check out Ciclo’s massive tequila-marinated Texas Wagyu tomahawk steak, which is literally lit on fire tableside. It’ll run you a cool $150 or so a pop.
Also popular with revenge diners lately is high-end Japanese eatery Osome’s pop-up dinner series at The Cathedral, which saw hungry Austinites happily dropping $250-$350 per ticket. In fact, secret VIP table tix were going for $320 each and sold out. After all, who doesn’t want to dine on perfectly crafted sushi and sashimi, sake, and cocktails while taking in some live music? It’s what Osome chef and co-founder Michael Carranza refers to as a “new wave of experiential dining in Austin,” noting that each pop-up boasts a new location and new vibes. While the Cathedral dinner series has run its course, expect Osome to host some additional can’t-miss pop-ups this summer that are guaranteed to be perfect for indulging.
Get in shape outdoors
If your idea of getting revenge on the pandemic is less about splurging and more about getting out of the house (finally!) and shedding some of those pandemic pounds, the Downtown Austin Alliance has got your back. The free Sunset Summer Series, in partnership with YTX (formerly Wanderlust Yoga), kicks off at 7:30 pm each Tuesday through August at Republic Square and includes open-air yoga with a side of live music (or a DJ). Register beforehand to secure your spot. After you get your om for the week, check out #DoingThings in the Park. Through the DAA’s partnership with Austin athleisure biz Outdoor Voices and Motiv Fitness, the free events will take place Thursdays throughout June from 6:30-7:30 pm at Republic Square downtown, and alternate between barre and dance cardio classes. Register ahead of class time.
Rejuvenate your sense of wonder
Shrug off all those gray pandemic days by immersing yourself in Austin’s newest permanent interactive art exhibit, Wonderspaces, a 28,000-square-foot art space that opened last summer. Four new art installations have just joined the Wonderspaces lineup, and in a brilliant move, Wonderspaces is queuing up its new curated bar program, which features Austin and Texas cocktails, beer, and wine offerings. Open to all ages, Wonderspaces spotlights 13 mesmerizing art installations from world-renowned artists, resulting in an ever-changing stream of art. Tickets are available on the Wonderspaces website.