Sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate.

Austin is an outdoors city.  There are so many hike and bike trails, kayaking, boating, swimming, fishing; pretty much any outdoors activity you can think of is represented in the Austin area.  But what do you do when it’s raining?

There was a 90 percent chance of rain in the forecast when I set out to answer that question.

First I stopped by the Bob Bullock State History Museum.  This is a fabulous museum that chronicles the full history of Texas.  It also has an IMAX theater and a beautiful terrazzo floor depicting a campfire scene in the entry way.



I’ve been to this museum many times, so I just snapped a couple pictures and walked across the street to my next stop – the Blanton Museum of Art.



It’s part of the University of Texas and houses a permanent collection, as well as temporary exhibitions.

I saw current exhibitions The Nearest Air: A Survey of Works by Waltercio Caldas and Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings, 1475-1540. 

I appreciated the subtle sense of humor in The Nearest Air, which is comprised of several mediums.  It features more than 60 years of the artist’s work and shows his range quite well.

The print exhibit was just cool.  I don’t know how else to describe something that takes you visually through the history of German print making.  The images, which span 1475-1540, give you vibrant incite in to what life was like way before photography.  There’s something about print making that I connect with more than the grand, polished oil paintings of the same era.

Photos weren’t allowed in those areas of the Blanton, but the permanent exhibit was free reign.  There’s a nice collection of modern art.




My next stop was the Texas state capitol, which is just down the street.  I’ve visited the capitol many times, so I just stopped in to take a few pictures for you.

There’s quite a bit to see – the rotunda, the House and Senate floors, the underground extension, paintings, the statues on the lawns outside.  It really is a beautiful building, and the largest capitol building in the country, including the U.S. capitol in Washington D.C.  Click here to book a tour.






I thought for a moment that the rain might let up and give me a nice sunset to look forward to.  Then a large rain cloud appeared over the capitol, looking like it might swallow the building whole.  (See photo at the top of the post.)

It was just about dinner time and I had made a reservation at one of my favorite places – The Backspace.  It’s a pizza place, but not just any pizza place.  This little restaurant is owned by chef Shawn Cirkiel, who also owns Austin restaurants Olive & June and Parkside.  The Backspace features Neapolitan-style pizza and other delights.  It’s a perfect rainy day, no hassle dinner.

A few of my favorite menu items are the cheese and meat board, the Bianca pizza (arugula, mozzarella, ricotta, pecorino romano) and pretty much anything having to do with their house-made mozzarella.


After dinner the rain was falling and it reminded me of a song – It’s Only Rain.  Fortunately, Walt Wilkins and his band (including song writer Jimmy Davis) were playing at Saxon Pub that night.  Talk about a perfect rainy day venue with a perfect rainy day band!  The mood was fitting to end the first half of my rainy day in Austin trip.



Since I live so close, I went home to sleep that night.  If I could, I would have stayed at The Driskill Hotel down town.  It’s pricey, but definitely the premier hotel in town.  It has a long history and even in broad daylight the place feels haunted with past guests and parties.

That night I was woken up by my cell phone giving me severe weather alerts.  My phone doesn’t do that unless it’s an emergency.  By 5 a.m., I was woken up four times due to flooding alerts, school delays and other alerts from the city.

At that point I contacted the Austin American-Statesman to give them an update, and they sent me out to Wimberley to cover the flooding.  Throughout the morning and afternoon, I drove around Hays County and captured images like these:


Hays4544Landis  Hays4475Landis

Not exactly what I had in mind for rainy day activities.  My 24-hour trip was on hold.

It took a week or two, but I was able to finish my trip.  I started the morning with breakfast at Austin staple, Kerbey Lane Cafe.  It’s kind of a hip diner with a large menu including fresh, locally grown ingredients and vegetarian and vegan options.  It’s open 24-hours a day and there are five locations in Austin.blog4

It’s perfect for a rainy day meal.  I ordered Carl’s Breakfast – An English muffin topped with all-natural ham, over hard egg (I had egg whites) and cheddar jack.  Served with home fries and fruit.


After breakfast I braved the weather and walked over to the Harry Ransom Center, which is on the University of Texas campus.


Right now the Ransom Center is an absolute playground for a photojournalist like me.  Not only do they have the world’s first permanent photograph from nature, they have an exhibit of Magnum Photos featuring images from world-class photographers.  They also have a small collection of photographs from Eli Reed’s Lost Boys of Sudan series.  (Entrance is free.)


Among the Magnum photos is an image I’m familiar with – a print from Robert Capa’s D-day collection.  It’s displayed so you can see the notes on the back.  In Capa’s words he describes his experience covering D-day on Omaha Beach and how he accidentally ruined a roll of film when he was trying to load it in to the camera.

He managed to shoot 106 frames on three usable rolls of film and he sped them to London for developing.  An excited lab tech dried the film too fast and melted the emulsion.  Only 11 frames survived.

If you like photography at all, you need to go see this exhibit before it closes on Jan. 5.  The caliber of these images is incredible.

After I explored a bit and soaked in as many images as I could take, I finally ended my “24-hour” rainy day in Austin trip and headed off to the next adventure.

Here are a few links to help you plan your trip:
Bob Bullock State History Museum  (check out the museum and what’s playing at the IMAX)
Blanton Museum of Art  (on the UT campus)
Texas State Capitol Tours  (info from the State Preservation Board)
The Backspace  (great pizza!  Make sure you make a reservation online)
Saxon Pub  (for the old school Austin live music fan)
Kerbey Lane Cafe  (check out the large menu and 5 locations)
Harry Ransom Center  (on the UT campus – amazing photography!)

One comment on “RAINY DAY IN AUSTIN
  1. jp thomas says:

    Thank you Ashley ,
    WOW real great photos and great info on Austin ,,
    Your the greatest Ashley ..

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