Austin Outdoors

An all-inclusive list of everything and anything that involves being outside!

The Typical Austin Spots:
Barton Springs
Hamilton Pool
Lady Bird Lake
360 Bridge
Mount Bonnell
Botanical Garden

The Patios:
Workhorse bar
Cherrywood Coffee House
Easy Tiger
Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden
Radio Coffee and Beer
Moontower Saloon
Shady Grove

The Hiking Spots:

The Outdoor Day:
Fly a kite
Walk down Congress Ave and spend the day window shopping, listening to live music, and eating Pizza!
Yoga outdoors! Either find a free class (Whole foods does a ton on their roof) or do it on your own.
Volunteer at a community garden
Find someplace with good views and read
Go for a walk around Lady Bird Lake
Chalk anyone?
UT telescopes
Austin Science Center

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5 Things to Do with Your Aspen Heights Roommates


You’re about to embark on your own for the next four years of college and you’ve scored off-campus housing at Aspen Heights. This is one of the trendiest student apartments in the country, so you’re incredibly lucky. You probably want to make as many new friends as you can to get the full college experience, especially with your roommates.

How do you break the ice? Check out our list of five can’t-miss things to do with your new Aspen Heights roommates.

Aspen Heights Roommates

Cue up a Netflix Binge of House of Cards

Netflix binges are a way of life, but just which shows do your roomies like? There’s only one way to find out. Turn on House of Cards, Stranger Things, Orange Is the New Black, or even a classic like Breaking Bad to see which is the favorite in your new student apartment!

Dinner parties at Aspen Heights!

Okay, now that the most important stuff is out of the way, it’s time to discuss dining preferences. After all, everyone wants to avoid the Freshman 15, which means limiting cafeteria dining. Your Aspen Heights home has an amazing kitchen that you’ll want to take advantage of.

So what’s on the menu tonight? Maybe it’s something classy like avocado toast, an exotic dish like empanadas, or even the healthfulness and simplicity of homemade veggie chips.

Bust out Cards Against Humanity.

Everyone knows about Cards Against Humanity, the hilarious card game where you fill in the blanks to try to come up with the most side-splitting answers. This game tends to reveal a person’s dark side fast, which is a great way to get comfortable with your new Aspen Heights roommates.

Even better? If you’re a little shy around new people, the game has an aspect of anonymity, in that you don’t always have to reveal which answer you played. That makes Cards Against Humanity a must-have game for your early college days.

Compare Dating Apps

Yeah, okay, everyone knows about Tinder by now. It’s old news. When you’re not busy swiping left or right on the hot student body, which other dating apps do you use? You might want to ask your new roommates.

There are plenty of other choices out there, from bigger (but still free) platforms like OkCupid to smaller but growing apps like Coffee Meets Bagel and Bumble. Not single? Many of these apps let you look for friends, too, so you don’t have to miss out on the fun.

Invent new party games

You hear stories and secrets flying around left and right about how awesome that party was the other night. Why not make your place the “it” place with some awesome party games?

No matter how you plan on enjoying your night, there’s an app that will make it even better.  You can use your smartphone to find hot spots in the area, but of course, keep your friends in mind. Your phone can also teach you basic beverage recipes and introduce you to new games besides heads up and Mario cart.

At Aspen Heights, comfort is one of our top priorities. This off-campus housing has worked to “revolutionize student housing” through its high customer service standard. Here, students are accepted as budding adults, not bumbling children.


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Top 7 Health Benefits to Being in Nature

Did you know that nearly 60% of all full-time students also have a job while attending school? 40% of those students work 10 or more hours a week! Can you believe that? With so many responsibilities, it is easy to see how weight gain, stress, and anxiety can creep into the lives of students. There is a solution, however: NATURE. Yep! It really is that simple! If you don’t believe us, keep reading to see how we at Aspen Heights Partners keep it cool.

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Best Study Spots in Austin

Pic Credit: Cream Whiskers

Cream Whiskers:  

We are always an advocate for Cream Whiskers! Not only does it have excellent wifi, plenty of seating, and mood lighting, but it also offers delicious cream puffs and coffee – perfect for a snack break. If you like quieter atmospheres with space to spread out, you should give this place a try! It’s even walking distance from the UT campus, making it the perfect study stop. And did we mention it’s absolutely adorable? #perfectphotoop

Pic Credit: Yelp

La Tazza Fresca: 

A little further from campus, La Tazza is a laid back coffee shop that also offers some delicious treats (we’re talking homemade pizza!). It has free wifi, mood lighting, couches, an outside patio, and a handful of board games to play during study breaks. This place can get a little crowded during certain times of the day, but since it is open until midnight, you’re able to have a late night study session without a problem. We recommend getting the iced chai latte and veggie pizza!

Pic Credit: Michelle Edmonds Photography


Flightpath is located on Duval street, north of the UT campus. Although it is further away, we still recommend giving it a shot! The reason we say this is because there is a huge back patio with plenty of seating and mood lighting. Depending on the time of day, the inside will fill up pretty quickly, but just find yourself a space outside! Of course, free wifi and coffee will get you through your studies and if you feel like kicking back for a while, you can always find space on a cozy couch.

Pro tip: Just remember to wear some bug spray if you tend to attract mosquitoes. The patio is in surrounded by shrubbery– combine that and Austin humidity and you get mosquito heaven!

Pic Credit: A Latte Talk About


Ok, ok, we know this is a super typical spot to add to our list. But we can’t help it! Who doesn’t like Mozarts?? It is right on Lake Austin and there is always a seat readily available near the water. Wifi can be occasionally iffy, but come in the evening and you may be serenaded by some live music.

Pic Credit: The Austinot

Red River Café:

We love Red River Café. The food is cheap and delicious, the waiters and waitresses are super nice, and it is a calm, quiet, relaxing place. There is an outside patio if that floats your boat and always room inside too if it doesn’t. Even if you don’t go there to study, you should still check it out.

Pic Credit: Culture Map ATX

Bennu Coffee:

This 24 hour coffee shop is definitely one of the more popular places to study in Austin.  While this does tend to make it a bit crowded at some hours during the day, it still has a cool vibe worth checking out. Another cool fact about this place is that it is right across the street from the “You’re my BUTTER half” wall art. Such a cute place to take a pic with your friends/ family / significant other.

Pic Credit: UT Libraries Blogs

Business school, Welch, PCL, Life Science Library: 

What better place to study than on campus itself? Literally any library, study lounge, empty classroom you can get into is a perfect place to cram in studying between classes or during the weekend. If you decide to head to the PCL, the 3rd and 4th floors are pretty quiet with their sectioned off cubicles, but the 5th floor can get pretty noisy because that is where a lot of group study happens.


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Africa Trip – DAY 3

Hello friends! We have made our way to the completion of Day Three, and what a day it has been! As you may or may not know by now, the Aspen Heights Awake team has partnered with the “These Numbers Have Faces (TNHF)” organization to form a mutually beneficial and long-lasting relationship to provide educational and business opportunities for their students.

As part of the educational component, the Aspen Heights Awake team was given a special opportunity to team together and provide informativebusiness training necessary for the students. As they make their way to earn their degrees and attain full-time jobs, or even solidify their own businesses as entrepreneurs, the students participated in four 1-hour long presentations that covered topics including Marketing, Teamwork, Customer Service, and Interview & Resume (also known as aCV in Rwanda) Building.

Before the training day began, the team was welcomed by over 150 TNHF students at the Africa New Life College of Theology. The first two hours consisted of team building icebreakers outdoors, introductions from the Executive Director of TNHF (Tina Anderson), and an inspirational welcome concert by the choir. The team also spent some timeintroducing Aspen Heights Partners and everyones individual roles within the company, led by CEO Greg Henry.

During the training sessions, students were taught general understandings of each of the topics, how Aspen Heights incorporates them within the company, and ways they could use them as they grow into professionals upon graduation. Students were encouraged to engage with the presenters and offered incredible feedback coupled with important questions as they gained clarity to the content.

The fun wasn’t over when the training ended! Greg Henry and the Aspen Heights team took the floor one final time to announce the two selected students for the Fall internship program in Austin, Texas Jackie Mutamba and Alphonse Musafiri. Immediately after, the students surprised the group with a traditional African dance performance and offered many thanks for our visit to them and time spent with them. We all then came together andenjoyed a lunch feast and had the opportunityto speak with the students individually about their biggest takeaways.

Within our company, we foster the growth of our employees and continue to educate our teams to do better every day as business professionals and leaders. Our Awake team holds true to these goals and enjoys the opportunity to meet with future African leaders and provide these vital training opportunities to them. Just as inspirational it is to these students to have this time with us, we have found ourselves to be equally inspired by them purely by their drive to succeed and their passion to do good in the world. All in all, it was an educational day for everyone and a fantastic day at that. Stay tuned and see what our Awake team has in store for tomorrow! Murabeho!

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Africa Trip – DAY 2

Day Two in Rwanda was an incredible day. We left early and traveled three hours to villages Kageyo A and B. Many of the people on the Aspen Heights team had sponsored children to visit and I’m so glad I was able to witness the relationships that have formed through Africa New Life sponsorships. We turned into the village and drove down a very long dirt road. All along the way we passed so many homes. Children would run out to chase our van shouting “muzungu! muzungu!” They were jumping and smiling and laughing and I knew it was going to be a day to remember forever.

When we finally arrived at the school, a giant group of kids were waiting to hug us and touch us and see why we were there. We got off the bus and I immediately hugged every child in sight. Some were shy and some couldn’t contain how happy they were to see us. I got to see our team leader Blakely Bosket embrace her sponsored child who she had not seen in three years. The look on her face was pure happiness, a smile covered her entire face for the whole day as she and her child held hands, played games and learned more about one another.

After greeting everyone at the school, we were off, as we had more sponsored kids to see! We continued on the bumpy road to meet Clare Connally’s child. When we arrived at the village we had to get out of the van and walk a few blocks to her child, Emily’s, house. As we got out of the van we were immediately swarmed by kiddos eager to meet us. My hands were grabbed quickly as they started pinching my skin to make sure it was real. As we walked to our destination a huge group of kids and even adults followed us. Some pointed and laughed as I’m sure our clothes, skin, hair, and demeanor were new to them.

When we arrived at Emily’s house his entire family was there to greet us. His mom had six children and every single one was as sweet as can be. Emily hugged Clare immediately and had a smile on his face so big it brought tears to my eyes. He was shy in front of our big group but Clare started showing him the gifts she brought and talking to him about his school work and how well he was doing. We all entered his home and every child that had followed us there proceeded to stand in the doorway as we visited with Emily’s family.

We visited with Emily’s mom and learned that about her life as a single mom. She had such strength and joy. We prayed over her family and took pictures. It was an amazing reunion, and I was so touched to have been a part of it. Emily came with us to our next destination, which was another school that had an enrollment of over 1500 children. When we arrived, I was sure I had never seen so many kids in one place besides Disney World. They were all dressed in uniforms and had huge smiles on their faces. They greeted us with loud shouts and excited jumps. We met the director of the school who explained to us more than half of the students that attended were sponsored children. To hear that was uplifting.

After visiting the school, we made our way to meet Amy Burtnet’s child who she had never met before. She was so excited to finally embrace her young girl who was dressed in a beautiful dress waiting to greet the woman who had changed her life for the better. We stood in the home as we watched Amy get to know her. They asked each other questions and Amy gave her gifts that made her eyes dance. We learned about her life and prayed for her family.

After leaving her house we returned to Kageyo where had started our day and met with all the children who attended that school. We ate lunch and played games all afternoon. Your heart immediately grows when you see these children and how excited they are to have you play with them and talk to them. They are full of nothing but happiness. If you sit still too long you start to feel sad because you feel sorry for them and the life they lead with so little, but that sadness is immediately removed when one runs up to you and grabs your hand asking you to love on them. You feel joy and you know that from then on, these children will have a place in your heart for the rest of your life.

I was most excited to meet my property’s sponsored child, Godancing. I knew she was there but I could not pick her out of the crowd. We lined up all of the children sponsored by AH communities to take a photo. Each child was holding a sign that listed their name and their sponsor property. I scanned the long line of children until I saw her. She was wearing a beautiful yellow dress and the sweetest smile ever. I couldn’t help it and had to run up to her and give her a hug. From then on, she became my sidekick. She followed me everywhere, never letting go of my hand and I fell in love with her. I had a translator explain to her who I was and why I was so excited to meet her. I told her we received her letter and that we were so excited to be sponsoring her. Throughout the afternoon we played games and I showed her all the funny filters on Snapchat. She loved taking pictures with me. It was very hard to say goodbye.

Day Two was by far my favorite day and I cant wait to see what else is in store for our team. Stay tuned for more!

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Africa Trip – DAY 1

Hope, joy, forgiveness. Those are the words I would use describe what I learned about Rwanda on our first day here. Day One was full of new experiences that one could never replicate. Our team visited Gihembe refugee camp where we experienced firsthand the true meaning of HOPE.

Gihembe refugee camp is a camp of refugees who were forced to leave the Congo, left without a home. These refugees have lived at the camp for over 20 years, trying to make a life until they can return home. From my perspective, their situation is one you imagine would bring sadness and hopelessness, but on the contrary, in their eyes today I saw joy.

When we entered the camp we immediately saw excited children running to greet us. They all shouted “muzungu” and ran and waved their hands bursting with excitement to meet us. Muzungu means foreigner or white person in their native language and they were all fascinated to touch our skin. At one point, I had eight kiddos holding my hands. They pulled on my skin and stared in awe as most of them had never seen white people before. One of the local people told me they wanted to make sure my skin was real.

After greeting everyone, we were invited into two different homes at the camp. The homes were very small and made of clay. An invitation full of warmth and love filled each home, wall to wall. We had the opportunity to listen to some incredible stories of sacrifice, injustice, and unwavering hope. The parents we spoke to have such hope for their children to graduate from the university and bring prosperity to the family. From an outside perspective, it is easy to think these families must be unhappy and fearful that they may never have the lives they deserve, but their attitude waspositive and hopeful. I left the camp with sadness in my heart that people are forced to live in a such a way, but I also left there feeling uplifted, knowing that no matter what their circumstance, these refugees were thankful for what they have and would never give up on the pursuit of a better life.

After Gihembe, we visited the Rwandan genocide memorial, which commemorates the lives of those lost in the brutal massacre of 1994 an estimated 800,000 people. This is a part of Rwandan history that is very hard to face. We walked through the memorial with audio headsets that taught us the history of the events that led to the genocide including the divide between the Tutsi and the Hutu tribes. The Tutsi were considered less than, and that thinking ultimately lead to the slaughter of thousands of people.

Hearing the personal stories of survivors was very emotional; some survivors suffered such devastating loss that they are now the only remaining members of their family. There were many pictures I will not be able to remove from my mind. These killings were brutal, but the memorial shows us how important the genocide is to Rwanda’s history. Now Rwandans remain united, thinking of each other as only Rwandans. You are not to ask someone if they are Tutsi or Hutu, everyone is equal. To see how this nation has survived something so brutal and come out the other side still with love and forgiveness is incredible.

Day One was emotional for the entire team, we all had different feelings about what we experienced but I know everyone on our team learned how powerful the act of forgiveness and the positivityfor better can influence an entire country. Rwanda, you are an amazing country.

Stay tuned to learn more about what Day 2 brings for our team here in Rwanda, Africa!

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12 End of the Semester Feelings we can all Relate to


We’re so close to the end! Just a few more exams, papers, and group projects before we are set free for Thanksgiving and after that – WINTER BREAK! You got this! (more…)

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12 #NationalSandwichDay Recipes We All Need


As if we needed another excuse to eat sandwiches. Well, here goes 12 perfect reasons! Happy Sandwich Day! (more…)

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15 Delicious Halloween Treats to Devour


It’s almost Halloween! We’re here with ideas so start baking your delicious treats to eat and pass around! (more…)

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