The tour visits the rapidly changing East Austin, stopping at several breweries. Ride past some of what Keeps Austin Weird and see how the neighborhood is evolving.
The tour begins at the Cap Metro’s Red Line Downtown Station next to the Convention Center. The train provides easy access for riders and bikes traveling from residences and lodging north of downtown. Paid parking is plentiful and several Cap Metro buses serve the area as well. At about 5 to 8 miles of mostly flat terrain, this ride is appropriate for most riders and any type of bike should be fine.
Rental bikes are available nearby at Streamline Cycles and Eastside Pedal Pushers. Austin B-Cycle is also an option, although you might check your bike in and out near each stop to avoid a $4 per add’l 30 minute charge. There’s a station right at the Red Line/Convention Center and several near our stops.
As well as brewery stops, the tour rolls past near numerous restaurants, bars, and food trailers. There are offbeat neighborhoods and local points of interest including an Austin Moonlight Tower. The moon towers are in the National Register of Historic Places and were featured in the 1993 movie, “Dazed and Confused” starring naked bongo playin’ Austinite Matthew McConaughey.
You’re guaranteed to see hipsters, old houses, old cars, old men, bizarre yard art, redevelopment, resistance to redevelopment, expensive condos, and hear conjunto music. Possibly all on the same block.
And there’s even an opportunity to stop for a swim, in the summer months.
Here’s the map:
- The first two blocks east of the Convention Center utilize a portion of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway. Please use extreme care when crossing the I-35 high speed access roads on either side of the elevated freeway. Once you pass I-35, you’re officially in East Austin!
- One block east of I-35, you will pass by Austin Metal and Iron, a scrapyard located here for over 100 years, only a few blocks from some pretty pricey property. How much longer until there’s a high rise hotel at this site?
- The Historic Scoot Inn is at the corner of E. 4th and Navasota. Built in 1871, the building has been a grocery, gambling/bootlegging establishment, restaurant, and beer hall. One of the first live music venues in East Austin, the Scoot Inn now has an outdoor stage and beer garden
- Three of the breweries are located on E. 6th St. This is a very popular area and the route attempts to minimize riding distance on 6th. That said, there are a number of craft beer spots, live music venues, coffee shops, and restaurants worth checking out. Just ride carefully.
- After visiting Zilker Brewing and Lazarus Brewing, the route heads south and east, passing a Moontower and a haunted elementary school.
- Off the route a couple of blocks east and south of Metz Elementary is Metz Park, featuring a community swimming pool and splash pad. Open only during the summer, it’s a great place to cool off.
- Blue Owl Brewing is the next brewery. There’s a Juiceland location one block away at Caesar Chavez and San Saba. North of Blue Owl, the official route jogs one block east of Pedernales, just to experience more neighborhood riding. Staying on the Pedernales cycle track is a slightly shorter alternative.
- If you look closely around the SE corner of E. 6th and Pedernales, there is the Brian Bonifacio Face “hiding” on a tree.
- Hops & Grain is the fourth, and last, brewery on the primary route.
- Friends & Allies is located a bit further from the cluster of the first four stops. The tour route includes an optional three mile route to visit this brewery. The extra route starts just north of Hops & Grain and rejoins the main tour route near the “Santa Streets”.
The three narrow Santa Streets (Rita, Maria, and Rosa) date from a WPA project in 1938. There’s a combination of old houses and fancy new construction, old and new residents, BMWs, Ferraris, beat up pickups, conjunto music and old men on their front porches.Explore all three via the connecting streets, Matamoros and Julian Tera. For more information, check out the nearby Texas Historical Commission sign in front of Zavala Elementary (on Robert Martinez Jr. St.).
- From the Santa Streets, the tour route returns westward towards the end point. Once again, use care crossing the I-35 access roads.
- At the end of the ride, you might be interested in checking out the Austin Visitor Center, one block east of the start/end at Downtown Station.
- Numerous options are available for further riding (including the Texas State Capitol, the Hike and Bike Trail, Rainey St and world famous E. 6th St.) Numerous restaurants, pubs, and live music venues are located within blocks.
If you choose to access the ride information from your mobile device, please keep in mind that using mobile devices while moving in cars and bikes can earn you a traffic ticket in Austin. Be safe and drink responsibly.