Photo by Dmitry Ganin on Unsplash

Austinites just will not do things clothed, apparently. We slid in our ranking for naked gardening in 2023, but No. 2 ain't bad. Naked biking sounds a lot less appealing, but Austin is a great place to do it, coming in at No. 5 overall.

According to LawnStarter, who compiled the research out of the 200 largest cities in the U.S., Austin beat every other Texas locale, with Houston coming in at No. 13, San Antonio at No. 45, Dallas at 58, and everyone else doing pretty abysmally.

Austinites interested in trying this fringe sport can look into the World Naked Bike Ride, with the slogan, "Less Gas, More Ass." The next ride is scheduled this month, which is what inspired LawnStarter to do this important work. Austinites will have to travel to Houston to participate officially on September 9.

Not that having a black plastic bike seat between your cheeks in the blazing sun isn't a good idea in Texas — it just doesn't sound like a great one. Still, naked biking is surprisingly popular among Ausitnites, earning the city the 12th ranking in that category, tied with Madison, Wisconsin, and Boston, Massachusetts. If you're racking your brain for the last time you saw a naked biker cruising by in Austin, you're not alone. It may be more popular than it is in most other states, but it's certainly not the norm.

Austin's top category ranking was in friendliness to nudists (No. 2), which definitely fits our image as a city, and often comes back to our legally-protected toplessness, even in public places without nudist designations — a rarity in the United States. We were beat by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in that category and overall; The City of Brotherly Love also loves biking with their bits out.

Austin's worst ranking was in safety (No. 182), which was dragged down by our prevalence of sex offenders. Apparently, almost any U.S. city is better to live in if you don't want to live near a sex offender.

One would think Austin's climate would be anything but conducive to biking with nothing but sunscreen between your vulnerable human form and the punishing summer rays, but the city achieved No. 81 in the category, which is basically average.

The worst city for naked biking is one called Surprise, Arizona, which is a pretty sad surprise. Naked biking is decidedly unpopular, and the city's worst rank is in biker friendliness. If you're going to be out on the street like a modern-day Lady Godiva on gears, it does seem important that your city like bikers. The worst Texas city is Pasadena, for similar reasons.

Waterloo Greenway/Instagram

8 Pride events that actually benefit LGBTQIA+ communities in Austin

Proud for a reason

It’s Pride Month, and the rainbow flags are popping up again. Austin is known for being especially queer-friendly, so in many ways, it’s just business as usual in the capital city.

But the extra-celebratory events are now in full-swing, as is the discourse around the sides of pride that really aren't that useful: selling products with a gay image and no real community support, leaving out parts of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, and creating pressure to smile through the hard parts of embracing a marginalized identity.

The following events around Austin this June all drive revenue for queer artists, offer free wellness opportunities to community members, or gather donations for advocacy organizations. Not only are they fun — celebrating adds something tangential to LGBTQ life in Austin. Then, rest up in July and plan to get right back at it in August for Austin Pride.

Before June 24

Waterloo Greenway — "Pride in the Park"
June 5-10
Part of the fun of Pride Month is watching community spaces transform for the occasion, and Waterloo Greenway is a great example of how mainstream that can get. The park's summer programming plan, like a few others in the city, includes a block of Pride scheduling: fitness classes June 5-7, a conversation about intersectionality on June 8, a family-friendly event on June 10, and four hours of performances later that evening headlined by the House of Lepore.

Circle Brewing and Equality Texas — "Beer for All"
June 10
Equality Texas was very busy during the recent legislative session, fighting bills that target drag performers and gender-diversity. Circle Brewing, an Austin brewery known for its events, is helping to support the advocacy organization through donations — the new "Fanny Pack Kolsch" will be released on June 10, and each pack sold will send a $1 to Equality Texas. The release event will include live music, face painting, and a vendor market. Plus, guests can take home "Fanny Pack" in themed cans and Yeti can insulators for extra fundraising.

Electric Shuffle — "Shuffle with Pride"
Sundays throughout June
The new high-tech shuffleboard venue Electric Shuffle is partnering with Qwell, a community organization for better LGBTQIA+ health and wellbeing, for a weekly fundraising drag brunch series. Electric Shuffle will donate 10 percent of each brunch's sales to Qwell. Every Sunday in June starting at 12 PM, we’ll be hosting a fabulous Drag Brunch and donating 10 percent of those brunch sales to QWELL. For guests, that means well-known performers and a "Drag Race Royalty special guest," shuffleboard games, DJ sets, and an over-the-top menu with a bottle of sparkling wine for each guest. A new Prickly Pear Margarita, available through August, also generates a $1 donation for each sale.

Paramount Theatre — "Majestic Ball Week"
June 20-24
Reading may be fundamental, but so is watching LGBTQ films. Some of those are screening at the Paramount Theatre leading up to its Majestic Ball: sapphic thriller Bound; rock and roll trans identity film Hedwig and the Angry Inch; 2017 Best Picture at the Academy Awards, Moonlight; indie trans sex-work film Tangerine; and influential drag film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The ball on June 24 invites Austinites to attend a special ballroom competition hosted by Diamond Dior Davenport and the Legendary Mother Natalie Lepore, with a performance by Fat Bottom Cabaret. Tickets ($22-34) are available at austintheatre.org.

June 24

Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, KUTX, and local 4th Street businesses — "4th Street Block Party"
The LGBT Chamber of Commerce has ties with tons of businesses in Austin that don't just espouse positivity during Pride Month; They create meaning and revenue in the community year-round. This end-of-Pride block party on June 24 serves as the 4th Annual Pride in Local Music celebration with performances by Gina Chavez, Primo the Alien, Promqueen, and more. The Little Gay Shop will be there with its curated market, and so will local businesses like Rain on 4th, Oilcan Harry’s, Neon Grotto, and more, including the brand-new Estelle’s. Tickets (suggested donation of $10) are available at austinlgbtchamber.com.

Mutual Love — "Rest Fest"
Our asexual comrades don't see tons of representation during Pride, but they belong at these events all the same. One that is not specifically ace-allied still gives a respite from the louder, more mainstream events for a softer side of Pride: yoga, relaxation, and pizza. The trans-led event welcomes all ages, and opts out of alcohol. Activities include a mobile tattoo studio, tarot readings, massages, bounce houses, and a dunk tank fundraiser for trans healthcare, among other activations. RSVP for the free event on Eventbrite.

Communities for Recovery — "Peace, Love, Joy & Recovery: A Celebration of LGBTQIA+ Wellness"
LGBTQ people have a unique — and sometimes uniquely challenging — relationship with mental health, substance use, and self-care that can be deeply impacted by a sense of community or isolation. Communities for Recovery, at the Austin State Hospital, is partnering with The Phoenix Austin and Thrive: Neurodivergence and Mental Health Activities Group for a local artist showcase. They're looking for visual art and poetry, as well as collaborations with organizations working on similar goals, so they can connect visitors with the help they need. RSVP on Eventbrite.

After June 24

Sky Candy — Local Pride: Student Showcase
June 30
Few communities, if any, know more about celebrating our differences than circus artists, and one of Austin's most popular aerial studios is holding a special student showcase in honor of pride. The showcase sets choreography on silks, lyra, sling, trapeze, and cube to music by local queer musicians, and the studio will offer free rapid HIV testing and information on PrEP the day-of and after the show (June 30 and July 1). Tickets ($15-120) are available on Eventbrite.


Chuy's, Hopdoddy, Honest Mary's, and more move into new spaces in Austin's Mueller neighborhood

new neighbors

That one street in the Mueller neighborhood that's always under construction? It's not stopping now, but it is ready to see some real action after all that work. Recognizable even though its portfolio keeps growing, this development just announced some big new additions to the shopping, health, and food destinations in the area.

A total of five new businesses were announced: restaurants Chuy’s, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Honest Mary’s; barber shop Boardroom Styling Lounge; and Modern Animal veterinary services.

The dining landscape has been changing fast in the Mueller community, with the recent opening of a local taco expansion, Veracruz Fonda & Bar, and national salad chain Sweetgreen, plus announcements about Aviator Pizza, Dish Society, and Nautical Bowls. The three new additions bring the total number of eateries in the neighborhood to 50, including some well-established citywide favorites like L'Oca d'Oro and B.D. Riley's Irish Pub.

Chuy's is the widest-known chain joining the fray, maintaining locations across the United States, but Austin is its hometown. The eclectic, maximalist interiors are half the fun, and if the rest of the six local restaurants are any indication, the retro interior design will be a surprise when it's unveiled. This menu is basically the definition of Tex-Mex, featuring lots of enchiladas, burritos, and combo plates. It is planned to open by early 2024.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar is a growing Austin institution as well, now in eight states, and will open around the same time. Similar to the exuberant Chuy's, Hopdoddy tones down the dining room but offers some very involved burgers with lots of creative embellishments like mushrooms and pesto, or mustard grilled onions and pickled mayo. The restaurant is very involved in sustainability through its culinary choices, and local issues through fundraising opportunities.

Smaller, but still local and expanding, the fast-casual Honest Mary’s is opening its fourth location on the same timeline. The restaurant's health conscious bowls keep things simple with six signature recipes and a build-your-own option. More than just a green salad, these bowls include poke, quinoa, and more, inspired by flavors around the world.

The two non-eateries bring some daily necessities to the area, bolstering its real neighborhood reputation, while surely drawing in customers from outside the Mueller area. Boardroom Styling Lounge keeps men looking sharp with standard barber experiences plus more scalp and hand treatments like massages and wax dips. This will be the second Austin location. Modern Animal brings a similarly comprehensive list of animal wellness services including preventative care, surgery, virtual care, and a "human-centric approach."

If Mueller is sounding like a great place to live, you're not alone. Another multifamily community by AMLI Residential has just been announced bordering Aldrich Street (where these five businesses are moving in), fitting 650 for-rent residences in six stories above an additional ground floor for retail. Of those units, 98 will be reserved for renters who earn 60 percent or less of Austin's median family income.

Photo courtesy of DRIPBaR

This IV drip bar helped us cope with SXSW and Austin festival life

it's in our veins

Some people really hit the festival circuit hard. “I’m going to need an IV,” we say over our third brunch in a row. It sounds funny, but why not? The CultureMap Austin editors heard about a deal for South by Southwest (SXSW) badge holders, so we stopped by The DripBar (stylized The DRIPBaR) at The Domain to learn what it takes, and how much it helps.

There were no other patrons there at our 11 am appointment except one visitor in the personal sauna. (Relaxers stop by to choose their own temperature, plug in their tunes, dress as they see fit, and maybe even get some work done.) This was good news for us, seated in a communal treatment area in big, white arm chairs with drink or snack trays and ottomans.

Our orientation — very unlike the dramatic introduction video I watched a year ago to enter a sensory deprivation tank — was almost as easy as choosing a smoothie, and not much different nutritionally, either. We signed two short forms and took a look at the 20-IV drip menu, organized by effect and ingredients, which include lots of over-the-counter vitamins and supplements, plus a few more intensive add-ins.

The menu is divided into “lifestyle” and “health support” drips, plus a few quick shots that we didn’t try. (One of these uses semaglutide, better known as Ozempic, currently causing shortages as an off-label Hollywood weight loss hack that concerns some experts.) The lifestyle drips address needs like hangovers and jet lag, while the health support drips address issues like recent cancer treatments or a family history of dementia.

Most of the latter require lab testing. An in-house doctor (currently an emergency room doctor) mixes the necessary cocktails, often as prescribed by other doctors. Visitors may even pay with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or a Health Savings Account (HSA) depending on insurance.

Our picks were much simpler, and we both opted for more relaxing, recovery-based drips. I chose “Soother,” a recipe of vitamin C, magnesium, B12, and B-complex; Hannah got “Restoration,” which included all the same ingredients, plus glutathione, an antioxidant.

These vitamins are all water-soluble, meaning that our bodies can easily eliminate anything we overestimated a need for, so the stakes aren’t that high. It does appear possible to take too much magnesium or glutathione, but these supplements are also sold at grocery stores, safe to take without a consultation.

I chose “Soother” mostly because my muscles have not been loving walking miles every day while holding a computer, water bottle, snacks, and more in a backpack. Magnesium offers energy as well as improved muscle function, and I have been privy to discussions among contortionists about taking magnesium glycinate as part of heavy flexibility training. The DripBar menu addresses “tense muscles and a tense mind” in this offering’s description.

After we sat down (I grabbed a popcorn snack and some Perrier), a nurse inserted the cannula, which pinched vaguely more than, say, a flu shot and quickly became unnoticeable. I couldn’t feel the yellow liquid entering my arm, and I didn’t have to squeeze periodically, as if giving blood.

In fact, I didn’t know it had started at all until I noticed the cool feeling of the tube against my arm. I’m not proud of this, but I looked up at the bag and wondered why I couldn’t taste the lemon flavor I’d subconsciously assigned it.

Our appointment took a little longer than many would, first because we were chatting with the staff and owner, and then because one of our bags stopped flowing due to a “rolling vein” — basically, the vein evaded the needle stick the first time — which took us quite a while to notice. It was an easy fix, and we spent about an hour and a half from start to finish.

Hannah didn’t feel much from her infusion, but my results were strong and immediate. First, I felt like I do when I take more CBD than I need: not quite sleepy, but pleasantly dulled to the external world. By the time I stood up, a large amount of my muscle soreness had melted away, although I hadn’t noticed it happening. I did a quick split to test it out — the new pair of patients that joined us were not amused — but it felt good, and definitely not like I’d expect after four days of buses and walking.

I am still a little skeptical that I could feel a difference in my muscles after sitting 20-30 minutes after a completed infusion. Placebo or not, I got a break from running around and was able to start my day hydrated. Should I ever go way too hard at a festival again, I feel empowered to try this positive, low-effort experience again. So, October, probably. See you there.

DripBar is offering SXSW wristband or badge holders, or visitors who present a hotel key card, $50 off any lifestyle drip of their choice (usually $224), recommending “Powerpack” for an energy boost or “Restoration” after a night of drinking. The deal also offers a $99 hydration drip, which includes a complimentary 20-minute session in the Halo Infrared Salt Sauna. More information is available at thedripbar.com.

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Austin has the 3rd most active real estate market in the U.S. within the last decade

red-hot ATX

A new report has discovered Texas cities hold the top five most active real estate markets in the country, with Austin landing in third place. The study by storage marketplace StorageCafe reflects the city's resiliency over the last decade after a recent reported plummet in Austin's quality of life.

Austin had the third highest number of single-family home permits between 2013 and 2022, totaling 37,000 units. At the same time, the city also permitted over 98,700 new multi-family/apartment units. The massive influx of housing ultimately adds up to an impressive national surge.

On the industrial end, the Texas Capital also took the No. 3 spot in the country for the most square feet of new industrial space construction. Nearly 25 million square feet of new office space was erected in the last decade, further solidifying the city's standing as a top destination for business.

Outshining Austin in the list of real estate growth is Houston(No. 1), with 55,600 single-family homes permitted between 2013 and 2022, and nearly 90,000 multi-family units. San Antonio (No. 2) also outranked Austin with 34,000 single-family units and 8,500 new multi-family units.

The real estate markets in Fort Worth and Dallas respectively round out the top five.

The cities that complete the top 10 include:

  • No. 6 – Phoenix, Arizona
  • No. 7 – Jacksonville, Florida
  • No. 8 – Las Vegas, Nevada
  • No. 9 – Denver, Colorado
  • No. 10 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The full report can be found on storagecafe.com.

Austinites can now rent pickleball and tennis courts around the city


Pickleball and tennis lovers are getting more access to underutilized courts in Austin. Swimply, an online provider that lets homeowners rent out their private pools by the hour, has now expanded their services to include sport courts.

"After disrupting the $15B private pool industry, other backyard spaces for rent was a logical next step," Swimply said in a press release. "Pickleball is a phenomenon and there aren't enough courts to meet demand ...Tennis, likewise, has historically been an exclusive leisure activity where people pay upwards of $100 an hour at private clubs for court time."

In addition to tennis and pickleball, basketball courts will also be listed for rent on the site, beginning at $25 an hour. There are nearly 200 total spaces listed in Austin, and over 300 courts available across their other popular markets in Houston, New York, and Los Angeles. Expansion is currently underway for their remaining markets around the nation by the end of the summer season.

Swimply founder and CEO Bunim Laskin said this new launch is a "game changer" for communities whose members want greater accessibility to recreational spaces.

"We're excited to offer this new opportunity for families and friends to have fun, exercise, and connect with each other in a safe, affordable, and convenient way," Laskin said. "Our mission has always been about democratizing access to exclusive spaces and creating positive social impact, and we believe that court rentals are a natural extension of that vision."

The service expansion also serves to improve access for those in low-income or marginalized communities, after a recent Trust for Public Land study said 100 million Americans can't access a park within a 10-minute walk from their homes.

Swimply is currently looking into expanding their recreational offerings to include backyards for events, music studios, and more.

7 things to know in Austin food right now: Pizza newcomer spreads wings for brunch, lunch, and happy hour

News You Can Eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Although Dovetail Pizza has been capturing Austinites' hearts since opening in November of 2022, it's still getting on its feet. Things are looking quite established now that the pizzeria is also offering lunch with sandwich specials, and even a weekend brunch with pizza sauce Bloody Marys and beignoli. (Presumably that's something between a beignet and a cannoli.) Both lunch and brunch will be served from 11 am to 3 pm on weekdays and weekends, respectively. A happy hour from Sunday to Thursday, 3-5 pm, will offer discounts and a new meatball sandwich.

Speaking of service extensions, both the Ramen Tatsu-ya on East 6th Street and Domo Alley-Gato are serving ramen later at night — when you really need it, if you ask us. The full menu at each will now be available until 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, serving ramen later than any other Tatsu-ya location. The hospitality group has been focused on new locations for a while, so it's nice to see smaller changes coming to neighborhoods that have supported the restaurant for years.

Despite the low-brow beauty of some beer culture, it's still nice to enjoy some in a real fancy venue — say, The Driskill. The hotel's Beer Dinner Series is back on, introducing Austinites to new local beers alongside a five-course menu of pairings by Chef Alondra Martinez and Pastry Chef Kristen Groth. The first dinner of the returning series will be held on June 20, and will pair Thirsty Planet Brewery beers with grilled oysters, andouille sausage, quail, and more. The timing makes for a great Father's Day gift, if you're looking. Reserve ($80) on Tock.

Italian sandwich by Dovetail Pizza in Austin

Photo by Kati Luedecke

Dovetail pizza now offers brunch, lunch, a happy hour, and new menu items to tie it all together.

There will be plenty of opportunities to celebrate Pride Month in Austin throughout June, but a couple of coffee shop deals will make sure you have the energy to keep dancing. Abby Jane Bakeshop is using a brew by Sightseer Coffee, "Season of the Witch," to make espresso whoopie pies. Proceeds go to Out Youth for the organization's Transgender Wellness program. Another effort by Jo's Coffee has repackaged the house blend in limited-edition Pride Boxes that each drive a $2 donation to Equality Texas.

L'Oca d'Oro, the seasonal Italian restaurant in the Meuller neighborhood known for its progressive ideals as well as its delicious food, is wrapping up its recurring fundraising event, Pasta Paisanos, for the season. The monthly collabs have brought in great chefs from around Austin to drive donations to Lilith Fund, which provides funds and emotional supports to Texans seeking abortions. At the wrap-up event, in collaboration with alumni chefs Fermín Nunez and Angelo Emiliana, the restuarnat will also be celebrating its seventh anniversary and hopes to reach its $50,000 donation goal. Book at locadoroaustin.com.

Locals can always count on the Peached Tortilla for a menu with a theme. The restaurant, which is known for its extensive whiskey menu and "Asian comfort food with a Southern twist," actually already celebrates "Fried Chicken and Whiskey Wednesdays," which falls right on National Bourbon Day this year — the whiskey gods decreed it. Celebrate with umami fried chicken, mixed grilled corn with kimchi miso butter, kimchi mac and cheese, and "proper biscuits." The restaurant has 10 bourbons to choose from, and plenty more if the chicken sounds great but you're...not an observer of National Bourbon Day.