I spent the better part of my four years at Southwestern pretending that I live just north of Austin. That just north is a good forty-minute drive, though, when you’re looking for somewhere interesting to go. So, now that I’m a Senior and have accumulated enough debt to stop world hunger, I figure I should take advantage of anything nearby that can entertain and feed me for mere Pirate Bucs a day….
The square that’s taken shape over the past couple of years has made large strides toward catering their business toward SU students. With this in mind, I set out to find what is actually worth the few dollars I make in my (hopefully temporary) minimum wage job. Now, far be it from me to rob you from any experience you could have (try everything once), but here are a few of my favorites and least favorites for you college kids…
I can always use a break from Starbucks, plus I love to feel like I support independent businesses. Though, of course, don’t expect to have the convenience of Starbucks… Their caffeine is for early hours in the day not for the typical times we night owls crave it.
Favorite coffee: a hot Sugar Daddy
I realize this makes me sound old. I don’t care. I’ll say it loud, I’ll say it proud. I love Monument! I love their biscuits. I love their breakfast. I love their sandwiches and salads. Their meals are affordable and are always made with fresh, organic ingredients.
Favorite meal: Cobb Salad, with a biscuit on the side, of course.
Dia Thai Cuisine:
A great place to go if you’re looking for something other than a sandwich or TexMex. Great food, though the service can be rather slow.
Favorite dish: Chicken Pad Thai
Down the Alley Bistro
Amazing Panini! Not the place to go if you’re in a hurry, but the owner always remembers your name and constantly offers to play host to SU’s student organizations. (And if you take him up on it, he’ll open up at your convenience.)
Best Sandwich: The Tuscan Panini. Ciabatta bread, spinach, turkey, and pesto mayo—it makes any time you wait worth it!
Dog Eared Books
A small-scale mix of Austin’s Book People and Half-Price Books. Any books you bring into the store will get you a credit toward 25% of any purchase. (Especially good for the out of date textbook the SU bookstore won’t buy back!)
Favorite Find: A ‘Life Magazine’ Photography book, signed by one of the photographers covered in the collection.
Great stylists, pricier than what you pay at a walk-in salon, but most of our parents are still paying for our haircuts. So have your parents load up your Pirate card, cause they take ‘em!
Favorite Stylist: Ashley Freeman
In its new location on the square, Galaxy has extended its hours, and in an attempt to accommodate our crowd, they’ve added free wi-fi and a terrace to hang out on. And, if you’re coming from off campus in the morning, they have delicious breakfast pastries.
Favorite treat: Key lime cupcake
Go… if Someone Else is Paying
Silver & Stone
Just short of a major disappointment, for me… It caters to the older crowd looking to splurge on a “fancy” dinner in Georgetown, but serves fairly mediocre food. (I will exclude drinks in this statement) If you want to splurge a bit, try Wildfire instead. Its more reasonably priced, (I know, who thought you’d say that about Wildfire) and the same, if not better, quality.
The Palace Theater
Not a bad place for the college student to make a few extra bucks selling tickets, but not the place for your Friday night entertainment. Their current season boasts Sun City pleasers Driving Miss Daisy, Nunsense II and Annie. Best to see a show on campus or trek to Austin. Or hell, see a movie…
Hill Country Bookstore
A true book lover and perpetual impulsive buyer, I’ve walked into this store on more than one occasion hoping to find something to splurge on and have never once reached for my credit card… They carry a lot of books by local authors, but their selection is very limited and what you might be looking for is far more expensive than you could find elsewhere.
Office Lounge (even though its not on the square)
Just in case you ever get desperate, know that this place actually smells like a 1960’s office lounge (ashtray) and that the first and last time I went there a guy named Bubba told me he was looking for a good time. (I actually froze until my fight or flight instinct kicked in… Seriously, I fled.)
So, boys and girls, the same rules that apply to sketchy areas of Houston apply to the Georgetown Square. Always travel in groups of three or more (this keeps you from getting stuck in mind numbingly dull conversations with the local townie) and always avoid it after dark (because everything’s closed).
More updates/reviews of Austin for the true night owls, next week…