Best Date Spots in Austin, TX

Hello, friends! In my two years of living in Texas, Austin has quickly become one of my favorite cities. Something about its innate quirkiness, friendly people, and Austinian pride charms me every time I visit. I often visit with my boyfriend and we have found that a trip to Austin makes for a great date night. Here are some great date spots for your next trip to Austin, Texas.

**If you want the ultimate Austin date, go to these spots in sequence–I have!

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetStroll Down South Congress Street

Find somewhere (hopefully) cheap to park and just take a nice stroll down SoCo. South Congress street is filled with weird little shops, delicious coffee shops, and live music. It’s a great place to just walk around and window shop. Believe me, you will find plenty of conversations points with all the scenery.

Be sure to check out the “I Love You So Much” mural, located outside Jo’s Coffee on South Congress. It’s an Austin icon and must-do when visiting. When I was there, there was a short line of people wanting to take pictures in front of the wall. However, there are plenty of friendly people around who are willing to take a picture for you.

Dinner at El Alma

I have been to this restaurant twice and it is one of my favorite date spots in Austin. It’s located right across Butler Metro Park, so while you are waiting on your table, you can take a walk around the park. This restaurant is trendy, has a great vibe, and delivers delicious Mexican food. I recommend their tacos and enchiladas, but I’m looking forward to trying more of their menu! Eating here will make you feel like a cool Austinian. Indoor and outside seating is a plus.

**Tip: Make sure to look up busy times at El Alma. Depending on the day and time of day, it can get a little busy.

Visit Butler Metro Park

Like I mentioned before, Butler Metro Park is located right across from El Alma. It’s a great place to visit if you are waiting for your table or if you want to digest a bit after your meal. The park is filled with families, dogs, and visitors–a very relaxing spot.

The park also features a view of the downtown skyline. Walk a little bit further into the park and you’ll find a small summit that gives an even better view of the skyline. This park is definitely one of my favorite romantic spots in Austin.

Dessert at Gourdough’s

After your walk through the park, you’ll probably feel digested enough to indulge in some dessert. I recommend going to Gourdough’s, a food truck with the most buttery, mouthwatering donuts you have ever had. They have a ton of different donuts on their menu. I have tried that maple bacon donut and the honey butter donut–both are delicious. The donuts here are rather large, so I would recommend sharing it. There are picnic tables for you to sit at and free parking on sight.

Travel Tips

When exploring Austin, make sure to be conscientious of busy times of day, as traffic can be a bit brutal at times. In addition to this, restaurants can get busy, so either make a reservation, have a plan of action, or prepare to practice some patience. I would also recommend taking a minute to just take in the city, look out the window, and enjoy all that this beautiful city has to offer.

I hope you enjoyed this travel post and found some inspiration for cool places to visit in Austin. Even though this post is labeled as “date spots”, you can certainly visit these places just to visit them! You’ll still have a great time and have a great Austin experience. Thank you for reading!

-Love Ling

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My Favorite Spots in San Antonio

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Hello, friends! I have been living in San Antonio, Texas for a year now and I have absolutely loved my experience. I think that San Antonio is a brilliant city–filled with rich culture and history. From the famous River Walk to the beloved Pearl, there are a diverse range of places that are worth visiting in San Antonio. Here are some of my favorite places and spaces:

The Riverwalk

Ohh the River Walk, one of the most popular spots in San Antonio. It’s definitely a very tourist-oriented area, but there’s something charming about its tackiness. Well, it’s not that tacky. It’s a great  place to just walk around and people watch, but there are a ton of great restaurants to enjoy along the river. I especially love visiting at night, where the string lights from the restaurants illuminate the whole area. The River Walk is one of the reasons that I decided to move to San Antonio and it holds a special place in my heart.

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La Villita

La Villita is located on the River Walk of San Antonio. It’s a tiny little town complete with craft shops and art galleries. It’s also a common spot for festivals and happenings in San Antonio. I love this little area, because it’s fun to walk around and beautiful at night–especially with the beautiful string lights. Can you tell that I like string lights?

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The Pearl

This is a San Antonio staple, especially for my fellow class mates. This is an area of San Antonio located at the end of the River Walk, complete with shops, restaurants, apartments, and hotels. It’s a hip area, where students, tourists, and families alike enjoy visiting. I especially love going to the Pearl for the farmer’s market that happens every weekend. There are a ton of vendors, dogs, and live music–the perfect place to spend a Saturday morning.

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Cowboy’s Dance Hall

One of the reasons that I love Texas so much is because of its affinity for dancing. Let me tell you, Texans know how to have a good time. Cowboy’s is a popular dance hall in San Antonio where people go to hang out, spend time with friends, and dance! They also have a live country music  band and a huge dance floor. I just recently learned how to two step and I love going out on a Friday night and dancing with my friends!

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Gruene Hall

Technically, this dance hall is not is San Antonio (it’s in Gruene), but it’s been a great part of my Texan/San Antonio experience! It’s about 30 minutes outside of San Antonio and a Texas classic. Cowboy’s definitely has more of a club/dance hall atmosphere, but Gruene is a lot more relaxed and family oriented. I really enjoyed dancing here and definitely felt like a true Texan among the cowboy hats and boots. If dancing isn’t your thing, enjoy a beer here and walk around the town of Gruene!

McNay Art Museum

The McNay has a diverse collection of art, from Renaissance sculptures to Cubism to theatre arts! The art museum as it appears today used to be a mansion, so the overall architecture is beautiful. Be sure to check out the courtyard in the middle of the museum! I love the art pieces within the museum, but the surrounding area is really nice too. I highly recommend having a picnic on the grass, then walking around inside!

I hope you enjoyed this post and learning about the many different places in San Antonio . These are just a few of my favorite places–San Antonio definitely has a lot to offer! I feel really lucky to be able to live here and experience the Alamo city lifestyle.

-Love Ling

 

6 Things I Learned From Working In Customer Service

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Hello, friends! I just recently finished up my summer job working at the premier theater in my city as a customer service representative. Working at this theater has been such a blessing. This organization is so impactful on the community, aiming to bring theatre and art to the public. It’s consistently brought in an incredible lineup of Broadway shows, performers, and other events to my city.

I worked here as a customer service representative, which put me in the box office or on the phones to answer patrons’ questions and help them buy tickets. I really enjoyed getting to talk to a lot of different people and interact with the community, but it wasn’t always easy at times. Here are six things I’ve learned from working in customer service:

1. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” -Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

This is probably the most important thing I’ve learned from this job. I was on phones for the majority of the past couple of weeks, answering a ton of questions and speaking with a lot of different people. Whenever I was on the phone with them, I tried to think “What does this person need from me? Why did this person call today?” Trying to understand the perspective of other people was really valuable in giving them the best service possible. People called in for a reason and they may be calling from the store, from the car, or in the midst of trying to feed their kids lunch. I wasn’t always completely aware of the patron’s situation, but trying to be sensitive to what they may be going through at that moment helped me serve them the best I could.

This mentality also helped when I was dealing with unsatisfied patrons, which was often accompanied by some frustration. It’s important to understand that these people may be going through something that has nothing to do with purchasing tickets for a show. Trying to be empathetic is something that I’m still working on, but this is probably the biggest takeaway.

2. Never assume or take anything for granted

The key to my job as a customer service representative was to verify, verify, verify. I had to make sure that what I was setting up for the patron was exactly what they wanted, so it was imperative that we were always on the same page. This is where trying to understand other people’s perspectives comes in. It was important that I took a moment to make sure that the person that I was working with understood what I was saying and that I understood exactly what they wanted. You know what they say about assuming…

3. Communication is key

As a customer service representative, I do a lot of talking and explaining. For example, one of the main attractions this season was the Broadway Lights Subscription, which many people are interested in. Explaining how this 8-show series works was often a mouthful, but all the talking I’ve been doing has helped me communicate ideas for efficiently. This job has taught me to be mindful of the words that I use when talking to people, so that they can thoroughly grasp what I’m trying to say. Developing communication skills have been vital for this job and will be especially useful throughout my college career.

4. Listening is powerful

As important as communicating was, I found that listening was even more important in customer service . I had to learn to be quiet at times and really pay attention to what the patron was saying in order to help them the best I could. This may seem obvious, but giving someone your undivided attention and really trying to understand them is really valuable.  Sometimes people calling in simply wanted to be heard, whether they were looking for someone to chat with or let out their frustration at.

5. Sometimes people are rude, but it’s important to keep going

Even though I tried to see things from other people’s perspective, sometimes people were just straight up rude to me. This was pretty hard for me to deal with at first and still kind of gets to me. It’s amazing how impactful someone’s tone of voice can be, rather than the words they are saying. I’ve had to learn that even when people are rude, I just have to let it go and focus on the job that I have to do.

6. People can also be really amazing

Aside from the people that weren’t so nice, the majority of patrons I have interacted with have been absolutely wonderful. I’ve actually had some really great conversations with people about everything from family to theatre, which makes all of the other negativity  a lot more bearable. I am so grateful to the patrons who were incredibly patient and understanding with me, especially when I was new to the job. From the perky customer service representative on the phone to you kind people out there, thank you so much! Patience and kindness really goes a long way.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this post! The experiences I’ve had with a lot of different people have challenged me, but I’ve learned a lot from working in customer service.

**Disclaimer: None of my views reflect that of this organization. I have the upmost respect for this theater and its mission to bring art to the community.

-Love Ling