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] and [email protected] to your safe sender list.

NOTICE:

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. Please visit this website for updates. Updated: 9/20/2021.

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

Marvel at the Bluebonnets

The conference should land you far enough in the season to see the Texas state flower, the bluebonnet, blooming across the landscape.  For a special view, head to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center where you'll find gardens and trails to explore. The buildings and some trails are wheelchair accessible, and you can download an audio tour to enhance your experience. Check their website before you go since they may require reservations if we're still in the midst of a pandemic.

Image credit: "Bluebonnet Field" courtesy of Ron Guest via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

SXSW - March 20

The last day of the iconic SXSW festival is March 20, so if music, film, and comedy are your thing, and if you make it to Austin early enough, consider registering for the event. The price is steep, so check the schedule (or arrive earlier) to make sure it's worth it, and do your research on how to best enjoy this mega-event beforehand.

Image credit: "SXSW Music 2011 - Austin, TX" courtesy of kris krüg 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 advance.

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

Easy Tiger Bake Shop and Beer Garden

We begin the food and drink portion of this page with Easy Tiger, located just across the interstate from the conference hotel (a one-mile walk; catch a ride if you don't want to walk under the interstate).  This is your nearest location for a decent selection of local craft beer along with artisan breads, meats, and delectable pretzels.  Their outdoor patios should be lovely at this time of year.

Image credit: "Easy Tiger" courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

Honey Moon Spirit Lounge

For a truly Instagrammable environment somewhat close to the conference hotel, catch a ride to the Honey Moon Spirit Lounge where you'll find craft cocktails and a few dinner options.  Raise a toast to your amazing AWRA organizing committee as you relax in this more chill spot away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.

Image credit: Honey Moon Spirit Lounge

Tacos, Mueller, and Farmer's Market (kid-friendly)

For arguably the city's best food truck and the best migas tacos in town, stop by Veracruz All Natural, which has a location in a neighborhood called Mueller (check out their other locations around town if you're not interested in Mueller). If you're in town before they close at 2:00 PM on Sunday, pay a visit to the Mueller Farmers Market, which is next to the small food truck park hosting Veracruz All Natural and a lovely pond where you can sit and enjoy your tacos and local goodies.  To make a day out of it, take the kids (if you brought any) to the Thinkery museum or the adjacent playground, get ice cream at Lick just outside the museum, catch a movie at the quirky Alamo Drafthouse, and if you didn't partake in Alamo's food and drink menu, check out the quality restaurants located between Alamo and the Thinkery (extending to L'Oca d'Oro and Lady Quackenbush's Cakery on Simond Ave.).

Image credit: Ryan Myers and Veracruz All Natural

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, 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.

For a more spontaneous trip and something closer to the conference hotel, you can still find pretty good BBQ at Stiles Switch.

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, you can stay within a couple of blocks and still find places to eat. Next to the hotel on the north side is Tex-Mex restaurant Pappasito's, with Mexican seafood restaurant Seareinas, Chili's, and Sushi Japon  just a few more steps north. Just south of the hotel is Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.

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.

REGISTRATION NOTE & CANCELATION POLICY

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.

Register for Conference

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.

Cancelations must be made in writing. We can transfer your registration to someone else by February 10, 2022. Those cancelations received by February 10, 2022 will be subject to a processing fee of 25% of total fees. No refunds will be given after February 10, 2022 - no exceptions! Abstract submission fees are nonrefundable. Refunds will be processed after the conclusion of the conference.

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