The weird city of Austin is home to countless treasures. Since many Austinites seek off-the-beaten-path entertainment and adventure, few of the city’s wonders remain undiscovered for long.
Still, there are a number of experiences to be had that you have to dig around a bit in order to find.
Marvel at the Cathedral of Junk
Kicking off this list of treasures as literally as we can, Austin’s Cathedral of Junk is once place where you might be able to uncover an actual hidden treasure. Twenty-six years in the making, the hidden-from-plain-view cathedral is essentially a pile of, you guessed it, junk. The brainchild of Vince Hannemann, the cathedral has changed form many times throughout its existence and is still evolving. It’s made up of old bicycle frames, damaged surfboards, defunct signage, old home ventilation system parts, and more.
“Antique Roadshow: Trash to Treasure” showed us just how relevant the old adage “one man’s trash may be another man’s treasure” can be today. And a visit to the Cathedral of Junk may help you experience the meaning of this aphorism for yourself. If you see something you like, unfortunately you can’t take it with you. You can, however, add to the cathedral by giving Vince junk of your own. You can also rent the cathedral for parties, weddings, and other junk. Located near the intersection of Highway 290 and Interstate 35, the Cathedral of Junk is just a couple miles south of AMLI’s downtown Austin apartment communities.
Tour Casa Neverlandia
In 1979, mixed media artist James Talbot purchased an old one-story bungalow in South Austin’s Bouldin Creek neighborhood for 3,000. Over the last 35 years, Talbot has transformed the bungalow into a three-story chalet and studio that has attracted attention from numerous connoisseurs of strange and fascinating real estate. Casa Neverlandia’s design was inspired by architecture from India, Mexico, Morocco, and Venezuela.
One of the greenest homes in a highly eco-conscious city, Casa Neverlandia was renovated with reclaimed construction materials, features solar panels, and consumes about 30 percent of the energy of the average home of its size. Even if it’s a household name in some Austin households, it’s a bit of a hidden treasure because tours must be arranged privately or with a tour group that often visits, such as Texas Bike Tours or Austin Weird Home Tours.
Celebrate Eeyore’s Birthday
You might have heard about it. Perhaps you’ve even seen it advertised. But if you haven’t been or don’t know anyone who has, you might doubt its existence. Eeyore’s Birthday Party is actually a thing, and Winnie the Pooh’s donkey friend is actually at the center of it.
A day-long festival that takes place in late August and features food, fun, and, wait for it, live music, Eeyore’s Birthday Party is a family-friendly affair that takes place at Pease Park in the Eastside. Although Eeyore himself first appeared in 1926, this year’s birthday party will be the 52nd annual celebration. It takes place on April 25, 2015 and will benefit dozens of local charities and non-profit organizations.
Admire Austin’s Awe-Striking Beauty from the Pennybacker (360) Bridge Overlook
Not exactly a secret but less well-known than Bonnell Mountain, the “360 cliffs” are an Austin treasure you should experience while you still have the chance. Overlooking Lake Austin and the Pennybacker Bridge, the cliffs boast some of the most stunning scenic views in town. Visit for some exercise, to appreciate Austin’s beauty, and for some great photo ops. Any time is a good time to take the hike up to the cliffs, but sunset is a special time to be there.
While there isn’t a date on when you’ll no longer be able to watch the sunset from the 360 Bridge Overlook, there is talk of development of the land that could make it inaccessible in the near future. Get there now!
Didn’t think it was possible to find buried treasure in a city as popular and well-explored as Austin? Think again. Or better yet, do! Even if you’re not the first person to visit Casa Neverlandia or make the trek up to Austin’s 360 Cliffs for the sunset, your own unique experience can unearth something no one else has ever experienced…at least not quite like you have.
Let us know what Austin treasures are your favorite in the comments!
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