2022 Geospatial Water Technology Conference Field Trips

IMPORTANT: In order to receive important communication from the AWRA Team about your conference participation, you must add [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] to your safe sender list.


AWRA will continue to hold this conference in-person as planned with strict safety and health protocols in place to continue our commitment to keep conference participates and AWRA safe. We cannot confirm there will be a hybrid component to this conference at this time. When submitting a Call for Topical Sessions and Workshops, please submit these knowing you are making a commitment to be in-person. If circumstances change in the local area (i.e. similar to the overwhelming spread of COVID-19 in Orlando and the health crisis that followed), the AWRA Board of Directors will assess the situation as it unfolds and may choose to make different choices at this time.

In the world we live in today, there is an inherent and permanent risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in your daily life. Trips to the grocery store, getting gas, picking up your children from school, and seeing family and friends are among the risks we take daily to live a normal and productive life. AWRA seeks to normalize how the AWRA community can gather in-person to fulfill our mission of community, conversation, and connection in the water resources community. Our safe and healthy protocols in place are the best practices of in-person gatherings today. The restrictions that are in place are the current standards, and protocols may change closer to the conference date. UPDATED: January 10, 2022

Self-organized Field Trip Options

In years past, AWRA would organize official field trips for attendees on the day before conference activities begin. This year instead of official field trips, AWRA is helping you organize your own Austin excursions via the suggestions below. Contact [email protected] if you would like to organize this field trip among your peers at the conference. Then connect with other attendees who are interested in the same activity and plan dates and times, arrange transportation, handle logistics, etc. Attendees are responsible for covering any and all associated costs. Can't find something cool in this list? Austin has everything from kayaking to comedy clubs, axe throwing to art galleries, museums to margaritas, salsa dancing to silent discos. Search for whatever you fancy, or check out additional resources near the bottom of this page.

There is no set schedule for these activity suggestions, though Sunday and then weekday evenings will likely afford more opportunities without conflicting with conference events. Be sure to check the hours of whatever venue you decide to explore to make sure they are open.

Organize a Field Trip

See the Bats

The Congress Avenue bridge downtown is home to hundreds of thousands of Brazilian Free-tailed Bats, and by mid-March, the timing should be right for good nightly viewing as they emerge at dusk to feed. The website austinbats.org has great advice on when to go, how to watch, and where to find the best views.

Image credit: "Bat Sunset" courtesy of Earl McGehee via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Jog along Lady Bird Lake

For a run with a view, head to the jogging path along Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. Check out the description at Great Runs for what they describe as "The signature run in Austin."  You'll need transportation to get there, so find a partner and share a ride and a run.

Image credit: "From a #bicycle on Austin's #boardwalk" courtesy of Jon Lebkowsky via CC BY-SA 2.0 license

Try an Escape Room

Join a small group of AWRA attendees and test your puzzle solving and communication skills by taking on one of Austin's many escape rooms. With a 5-star rating on Yelp, The Escape Game is a pretty good bet.  We suggest finding your teammates and booking your room at least one week in advanceFor entertainment and sustenance afterward, walk a block north for comedy at Esther's Follies and burgers at Casino El Camino.

Image credit: "Escape Room participants" courtesy of David Hofmann via CC BY 2.0 license

Dance Like a Texan

You can usually find Texas Two-Step lessons at the Little Longhorn Saloon on Tuesdays (free), Sagebrush on Wednesdays (donation appreciated; acclaimed indoor sunset), and Broken Spoke Thursday through Saturday (~$10).

Image credit: "Texas Dance Hall" courtesy of atmtx via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Rainey Street

For a concentrated selection of bars, food trucks, and restaurants, head to Rainey Street.  Start your evening on the north end with some of Austin's best pizza at the Via 313 food truck (deep dish Detroit style). Then walk south to discover other top notch bars and restaurants such as Bangers Sausage House and Emmer & Rye.

Image credit: "Via 313" courtesy of Stephanie via CC BY 2.0 license

South Lamar for Movies, Food, and Exotic Drinks

Some of the city's most outstanding establishments can be found on South Lamar Blvd., all within walking distance of each other.  From north to south, splurge on James Beard award-winning chef Tyson Cole's restaurant, Uchi (reservations recommended), or experience hyper local food at Odd Duck. Head east to watch a movie at Austin's homegrown and appropriately weird Alamo Drafthouse. Then head south on Lamar to try what many consider to be Austin's best noodle soup and some of the best ramen in the nation at Ramen Tatsu-ya (reservations recommended). For the truly adventurous, finish the evening behind Ramen Tatsu-ya at Tiki Tatsu-ya, a tropical escape complete with its own invented backstory, exotic drinks, and Hawaiian inspired food.  For Tiki Tatsu-ya, reservations open 30 days out, and by the 29th day out, the good slots are booked. Plan and reserve well in advance.

If you arrive in Austin early enough, you could make a day of this activity by including a few hours in Zilker Park (the weather might be warm enough for a dip in Barton Springs Pool), and breakfast or lunch at nearby restaurants east on Barton Springs Road.  Then head to South Lamar for the rest of the day.  It's about 1.3 miles from Zilker Park to Ramen Tatsu-ya.

Image credit: "Meyer lemon curd, honey marshmallow, lemon ice cream, chamomile at Odd Duck" courtesy of dalecruse via CC BY 2.0 license

That BBQ

Franklin Barbecue is as legendary for its brisket as it is for the three hour wait in line to get it.  But with a little planning, you and some friends can order ahead for curbside pickup and skip the line. The website may say "same day pickup" but we recommend ordering at least one week in advance to ensure that the items you want haven't sold out for that day.  The minimum order is three pounds. You can typically count on each person eating about half a pound, so this is a good opportunity to join your fellow attendees and plan a BBQ feast.  If you don't want to take your feast back to the hotel, you could walk two blocks north to Lott Pocket Park where a picnic table may be available.  Tip: To reduce your carbon footprint, ask room service for some plates and cutlery before you leave the hotel.

While you're in that neighborhood, you could wander east to Nickel City, one of the city's best bars. If you hang out for a few hours and work up an appetite, their attached Delray Cafe serves pretty good bar food, and there are a number of other great restaurants in the area.

Image credit: "Austin - East Austin: Franklin Barbecue" courtesy of Wally Gobetz via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Additional Resources

We've curated just a few excursions on this page, selected for popularity and walkability (once you're there, of course).  For more ideas, check out the Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin list, accessible activities curated by accessibleGO, a list of Austin activities from U.S. News, and Eater's Essential Austin Restaurants.

A cab or rideshare will be your fastest option if you don't have your own vehicle, but in case you'd like to try public transportation, there are bus stops on Camino La Costa, the street about one block east of the hotel.  You can find a trip planner on CapMetro's website.

Easy Food near the Hotel

Not a field trip per se, but if you're hungry and want to expend minimal effort, walk a few hundred north to Hideaway Kitchen and Bar. If you have a ride, you can find expansive outdoor seating and excellent food trucks at Meanwhile Brewing Company.

Another option is to use a food delivery app, which would let you order from some of Austin's best restaurants and have it delivered to your hotel. There are several such companies working in Austin, so you may want to try several apps or check the restaurant website if you can't find your desired restaurant on a given app. In general, Doordash and Ubereats have pretty good coverage, with Ubereats offering the longest delivery range (i.e., from restaurants that are relatively far away). For non-food items like some Longhorn merchandise or your favorite shampoo that you forgot, try Favor. If delivering directly to your room, be sure to include your room number in your delivery address and add a note that says to leave the delivery just outside your hotel room door.


BEFORE REGISTERING, click here to read the COVID-19 Liability Waiver and Affirmation of Conduct Restrictions. You will be required to sign, date, and upload this into the conference verification tool. Instructions for accessing and uploading the required documents are found on the GWTC COVID-19 Protocols page.

All conference participants (presenters, moderators, panelists, etc.) must register at the appropriate registration rate. AWRA Gateway members are not eligible for discounted rates. The registration fees are the major source of funding for the Conference, and the sharing of registrations is prohibited - every person attending the conference must register. For presenters, if two or more individuals will be presenting, each individual must register for the conference. This includes all oral/technical session presenters; all panel session presenters; and all poster session presenters. All conference participants must adhere to the AWRA Code of Conduct.

Cancelations must be made in writing. We can transfer your registration to someone else by April 11, 2022. Those cancelations received by April 11, 2022 will be subject to a processing fee of 25% of total fees. No refunds will be given after April 11, 2022 - no exceptions! Abstract submission fees are nonrefundable. Refunds will be processed after the conclusion of the conference.


If you actively engage in our community, your career and organization will benefit. We offer multiple opportunities for engagement via conferences, social media, webinars, committees and publications.

TEL • (540) 687-8390 | FAX • (540) 687-8395


The majority of images on our website were donated by Gary Whitton at ultimateplaces.com.