Even though snow is definitely not our thing, there’s no denying that, as far as cities go, Austin is a beautiful and unique snowflake. We have a culture built upon music, art, history, technology, nature—and, of course, a little weirdness. While those of us who have lived here for generations know Austin has been delightfully weird for a long time, the saying “Keep Austin Weird” has only been around since 2000. So, where did this city slogan come from?
It all started when Austin Community College librarian Red Wassenich coined the “Keep Austin Weird” phrase while making a pledge to an Austin radio station. Since Wassenich himself didn’t copyright it, the ownership of the phrase has been shrouded in controversy. Nowadays it’s used to promote small businesses by the Austin Independent Business Alliance.
So, if you’re wondering just what it is about Austin that sparked such a phrase, look no further. The following list of our favorite Austin weirdness will help clear up any doubts.
Keep Austin Weird Festival (KAW)
KAW is the annual running of the weirdos. This festival and 5K sees some outrageous costumes, live music, fantastic foods, and out-of-the-box games (wheat grass flip cup, anyone?). This festival happens each year in June so keep your calendar free and clear for the festivities.
Chicken shit bingo
This is exactly what you think it is. At the Little Longhorn Saloon you can win yourself a cash prize any Sunday at 4:00 pm if a chicken happens to do its business on the same number as your $2 ticket.
Cathedral of Junk
Most city residents deposit their trash in some landfill—but where’s the fun in that? Take one visit to Austin’s Cathedral of Junk, built by Austinite Vince Hannemann, and you’ll see why one man’s trash is another man’s treasure—or in this case, an impressive work of yard art.
Polka Dot Lawn
Speaking of strange yard art, Polka Dot Lawn is another interesting attraction that falls in the weird category. Although this isn’t an official tourist destination spot, it is definitely worth exploring the city to see if you can find the house that boasts this unique lawn.
Tacos for breakfast
Think tacos are only good for lunch and dinner? Think again. The breakfast tacos here in Austin are things that legends are made of—check out some of our favorites.
If you’re feeling lucky and have some time to kill, then Little Woodrow’s on Thursday night is the place to be. No matter which turtle you bet on, just know this will be one slow race to the finish.
Want to see the largest urban colony of bats? A visit to the Congress Avenue Bridge any night during the summer will show you why Austin is referred to as Bat City.
Impressive outdoor art
An incredible display of outdoor art awaits at the Hope Outdoor Gallery located at 11th and Baylor Streets in Austin. This is one wild and fun way to see some colorful and inspirational graffiti.
This list is only a small slice of what keeps Austin weird. No matter where you go in this city, be on the lookout—you never know when or where you’ll spot something truly unique.