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It’s spring! Time for 10 totally chill Austin outdoor reading spots

Joe Gross
The rooftop garden at the Austin Central Library on Tuesday August 8, 2017.

Spring is here, and the time is right for reading outdoors. (Per the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man,” summer is the traditional time for rising in the streets, but, hey you do you.)

Here are 10 great spots to read outdoors before it becomes too hot.

 1. The top floor of the new Austin Public Library. 710 W. Cesar Chavez St. 

The new central branch of the APL includes an absolutely stunning roof deck with chairs, plenty of plants, tables and a stunning view of downtown. Also, plenty of books!

2. Mount Bonnell. 3800 Mt. Bonnell Rd. 

After some stairs (come on, you can do it!), relax and read overlooking the Colorado River. 

3. Capitol Lawn. 1100 Congress Ave. 

Shade can be at a premium on the Capitol Lawn, but on the right day, reading there is a singular Texas pleasure.

4. Zilker Botanical Garden. 2220 Barton Springs Rd.

While this is normally thought of as an attraction one walks through, there are benches and decent places to sit all over the place, plenty of shade and, of course, a whole mess of life-giving plants.  

5. Once Over Coffee Bar. 2009 S. First St. 

A terrific deck and good coffee make this South Austin shop an excellent place to crack a book. 

6. Mayfield Park. 3505 W. 35th St.  

Look, are you going to run into peacocks and peahens? Yeah, it’s going to happen. Is your child going to try to walk on one of the walls, fall and almost crack her skull? Wait, that’s just me. Anyway, this is a terrific spot with plenty of shade, ample benches and beautiful surroundings.

7. Barton Springs Pool. 2131 William Barton Dr. 

This Austin jewel is brilliant for both swimming and throwing down a blanket and ignoring the world in favor of words on a page (or a screen).

8. Whole Foods. 525 N. Lamar Blvd. 

A colleague noted that she is very fond of buying a book at BookPeople and then walking over to the Whole Foods flagship right across the street to have a snack and start to read it. Sounds like an excellent plan.

9. Radio Coffee & Beer. 4204 Manchaca Rd. 

This coffee and beer spot has a fanatical South Austin following, perhaps due to its lovely, well-lit outdoor tables. 

10. The Barton Creek Greenbelt. 3755 S. Loop 360 

With hiking, shade and water, the Greenbelt is a fantastic spot to sit on a rock and crack open a book.

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