Cities of ModSquad: A Locals’ Guide to Austin, Texas

A remote working model has been part of our approach from the very beginning, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t put down some roots along the way. The ATX is one of those places that we’re only too happy to call home, opening our Austin Operations Center back in 2017, and cementing our presence in the Silicon Hills. 

We had a chat with our in-house Austinites to get a sense of what it is that makes the city so special. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that our Senior HR Manager, Raymond C., would be drawn to the city for its incredible community, explaining, “People here tend to be more genuine, friendly, and open-minded than in most cities.” Project Manager Danielle D. completely agrees: “The people are great, but the bbq might be even better.” Read on for more recommendations from our Austin locals. 

Things to do: According to Account Manager Monica A., visitors should head over to South Congress Bridge in the early evening, when an estimated million and a half Brazilian free-tailed bats emerge from the underside of the structure and take to the skies in a truly one-of-a-kind aerial spectacular. She adds that outdoor enthusiasts could rent a kayak or paddleboard to enjoy the beautiful skyline from Lady Bird Lake (sometimes referred to as Town Lake), one of the reservoirs on the Colorado River, which passes right through Austin. 

Great eats: Austin is well and truly known for its foodie culture, especially when it comes to barbecue and tacos. Mod Mimi S. swears by Torchy’s Tacos, which serves its world-famous queso at convenient locations around the city. If you’re looking for satisfying and sustainable sushi, Project Manager Danielle D. recommends Lucky Robot Japanese Kitchen on South Congress Avenue, which offers a unique delight in the spring months when the interiors are whimsically adorned by cherry blossom branches. It’s a sight (and taste) not to be missed! And for breakfast, be sure to check out Juan In A Million, where you can chow down on big (and affordable) breakfast tacos in the 39-year-old family owned and operated kitchen. 

Torchy’s Taco: Photo by Mimi S.

Best place to enjoy a tipple: If you love nothing more than a sunset over the water, you may be interested to learn about The Oasis on Lake Travis, a waterfront restaurant famous for its incredible views and delicious cocktails. If you happen to be seeking a quiet bar in the city, Raymond C. recommends Small Victory, an off-the-beaten-path bar where you can claim a quiet corner in which to chat with friends or enjoy a beverage. If you’ve got that Yuletide vibe even in the sweltering summer months, pop over to Lala’s Little Nugget, a place Danielle D. loves for its year-round holiday spirit.

The Oasis on Lake Travis: Photo by Charles D.

Best quick trips outside the city: VP of Client Services Steve Henry, a 13-year resident of Austin, has a huge love for the city and also its surroundings. He advises: “Don’t restrict your stay to the downtown area. Go explore, in any direction.” Within easy reach of the city you can find yourself in a whole new world, such as Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs, a spot beloved by Raymond C., who was not alone in this recommendation. There you can enjoy the historic swimming hole, created when a dome collapsed and gave way to the natural pool below. Monica A. would also add to our day-tripping itinerary the little German town of Fredericksburg, where you can enjoy the town atmosphere and a fine glass of vino in the heart of Texas wine country. 

Best time to visit: Steve recommends a trip to Austin in the spring, when the wildflowers (including Texas’ famous bluebonnets) are proudly blooming. As longtime attendees of SXSW, we’re a bit partial to Austin in the month of March, but the truth is, any month is a great time to be in this epic city, although the summers do get hot, this being Texas and all. Still, as Monica A. puts it so well, “Austin has a little something for everyone,” and that’s true no matter the season. 

So what are you waiting for? Come on down to Austin, and when you do, be sure to look us up if you’re in the neighborhood. We’ll be the ones listening to live music, enjoying BBQ, and keeping Austin weird.

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