Category Archives: Campus Places

interesting places, buildings and museums on campus

Wrap Up

For our last post on Burnt Orange Living I decided to highlight several cool places to spend time around campus that the average student might not have visited yet or might have forgotten about. I asked a couple students where their favorite place is on campus and then added a few of my own favorites.

Lobby of the CMA

“I love this lobby because it’s such a collaborative place. It’s a little loud so it’s not exactly perfect for studying, but it’s a fun place to browse the internet or work on group projects.”- Jordyn

Littlefield House

“This place is cool because it’s a unique building and it’s one of the oldest buildings on campus.”- Maxwell Lincoln

Stairs by Dorothy Gebauer Building

“This is a really awesome place to do parkour, and one night I took my girlfriend up to sit on the top of the stairs and we had a nice time just sitting up there and talking.”- Drew Bean

Courtyard at Welch

“This is a really cool place to read a book or just listen to music and it’s pretty centrally located, which is nice.”- Jordyn

Union; 3rd Floor

“Everyone knows this is the best place for napping on campus”- Jessica Lauer

Battle Hall

“I really like the architecture library in Battle Hall because it looks legit and it’s quiet”- Lucio Gamboa

Courtyard at Mezes

“I’ve had several classes in Mezes and I love getting to this courtyard before  tests and sitting outside to get in a good mental state going into my tests”- Jordyn

Fine Arts Library

“My favorite place is the Fine Arts Library. The view is beautiful from the huge windows and it’s so much prettier than the PCL. Plus the chairs are super comfy and there’s a giant piano hanging from the ceiling.”- Stephani Clayton

PCL; 2nd Floor

“My favorite place to study is the PCL, 2nd floor main room. I like that the room is structured to be really open and bright. I also like that the PCL is open until 2 in the morning, which is great for people who enjoy studying late at night, like me. You’re free to bring food and drink so it’s fantastic for long periods of studying. However, you can also talk to other people too, which is great if you need a study break. Also, since there are so many people around, your stuff is less likely to get stolen if you get up and leave for a few seconds.”- Pauline Nguyen

Courtyard at San Jacinto

“When I used to live at San Jac last summer I loved sitting in that courtyard at night on a bench and listening to music and writing.”- Jordyn


It’s Springtime In Austin, Time To Visit The Turtle Pond

To finish up my blogging for this semester, I decided to spend a little time at one of the most unique places on the UT campus, the Tower Garden Memorial, more commonly known as “the turtle pond.”

I have been waiting all week for a nice sunny day to just sit back, observe, and do a little bit of people watching and today seemed like just the perfect day.

Photo by Epyon MX via Flickr Creative Commons

Whether they come here to read, picnic, nap in the sun, or “ooh!” and “ahh!” at the turtles, this pond and adjacent lawn are a favorite spot to visit for UT students and visitors–both adults and children alike.

This place is surprisingly quiet and provides a great location to just sit back and relax, especially during this time of the year. It’s a nice peaceful getaway located right in the heart of campus.

For a little bit of background on the pond, watch this short video.

And this one will help you get a better idea of the setting. Listen for the Tower bells!

Overall, it’s just a truly unique place to experience. If you haven’t already, stop by for a visit sometime and say hello to the turtles!

Drink Coffee…Outside!

If you live or frequent west campus you’ve probably seen Good Bike Cafe, located at the Corner of 24th and San Gabriel, in the parking lot of Freewheeling Bicycles.

Photo by Drew Bean

It’s basically a trailer with a very friendly person inside, a canopy and some patio chairs. So, you can either get your coffee to go on your way to class or you can bring a book or companion and hang out a little while.

They offer a diverse menu including lattes, tea, hot chocolate, breakfast tacos from Cuatros, bagels, sandwiches and more.

Their most popular drink, however, is their cuban coffee, a shot of espresso with sweetened milk. It’s handy to carry and drink on the go since it comes in a smaller cup than normal espresso drinks, plus it’s absolutely delicious, although I must warn, a tad bit addicting as well.

Plus, in true Austin fashion, their products are almost all sourced locally and organically.

It is also important to note that their drinks run a bit cheaper than those of the ubiquitous Starbuckses around campus. My drink, a skinny vanilla latte, costs $3 at the Starbucks in the Union, and $2.50 at the Good Bike Cafe. Plus, you get a 25% discount if you arrive on a bike!

In order to learn more about the Good Bike Cafe I did a brief Q&A with owner and operator Robby Hanna.

Jordyn:Who started the Good Bike Cafe and why?

Photo by Drew Bean

Robby: Charlie Drozdyck had a vision of a coffee place with a funky kind of cool motif so he developed the idea of a coffee trailer. He made a relationship with the bike shop, Freewheeling Bicycles, had electricity installed, then got the place up and running last September. He later decided to move on to other things and sold the cafe to me.

Jordyn: What clientele does the Good Bike Cafe aim to reach?

Robby: People who love good beverages and great food

Jordyn: What makes the Good Bike Cafe special?

Robby: Well there are three things; the authentic quality of food and coffee, the quirky cool ambiance, including the music, and the genuine hospitality of the staff.

So if you haven’t yet, stop by some time and check the place out. They’re open every day except for Sunday, but Robby said the best time to stop by to relax and hang out outside is any time during the afternoon on a weekday.

P.S.- They now accept credit/debit cards!

The Secret Garden

With the temperature following a (rather finicky) rising trend, some Longhorns might want to spend a little more of their on-campus time outside.  The little-known courtyard of Goldsmith Hall is a great place if you’re interested in a serene, secluded spot in which to spend a few minutes and relax.

The entrance is just off the West Mall, between the West Mall Office Building and Goldsmith Hall.

Goldsmith Hall Courtyard from Stairs. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

After following the stairs leading down between the buildings, the entrance to the courtyard will be to your right.

"Veduggio Glimpse" by Anthony Caro. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

You’ll encounter a steel sculpture by Anthony Caro entitled “Veduggio Glimpse,” which is on long-term loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The piece is one of twenty-eight works from the Met as part of UT’s Landmarks project.

Goldsmith Courtyard Entrance. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Just past the sculpture, you’ll walk through two wrought iron gates.

Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

There’s not much going on here.  In fact, there’s always several discarded objects lying around.

Small Pool in Courtyard. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Just inside, there’s a small reflecting pool of sorts.

Pretty Plants. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Senior Mariel Davis says she likes to study, eat, and relax here.  “Most of the time there is nobody there, so it is a great place to enjoy yourself,” she said.

She “fell in love” with the spot when she accidentally found it after going to the post office to mail letters.

“It is the classic hidden, little, charming, perfect old place that you would see on a movie. It seems to be keeping a piece of history in its few branches and benches,” she said.

Opposite View of Courtyard. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

The flowers are gone now, but if you’re lucky, you might find the trees in bloom.  It’s stunning, truly.

Flowers on Tree. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Personally, I find this area is a great place to study.  I’ve enjoyed reading plenty of books here since I found out about it my Freshman year when an English professor conducted a class here.

You probably walk by the West Mall all the time, so why not check it out sometime?  You won’t regret it.

Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Before there was a Longhorn, there were…Dogs, Pigs, and Billy Goats?

A Dog Named Pig:

Texas’ 1st mascot, Pig, courtesy of Jim Nicar.

It is a little known fact that Bevo, the beloved longhorn, was not the first mascot of the University of Texas. From 1914-1923 it was actually a dog with an unusual name.

Pig Bellmont, brought to the University when he was a seven-week old puppy by UT’s first athletic director L. Theo Bellmont, was a tan and white pitbull mix. Pig was known to have free reign over the University campus from the steps of the tower to under the steps of the co-op, where he slept at night. He was an instant hit and was quickly voted the official “Varsity mascot” by the students in 1914. (The first Bevo was introduced in 1920 by the alumni, and rivals Texas A&M didn’t get their Collie mascot “Revellie” until 1931).

The dog got his namesake from the team’s center Gus “Pig” Dittmar after teammates noticed they both walked bowlegged when standing next to each other on the sidelines.

“Every morning, Pig greeted students and faculty on his daily rounds,” according to Jim Nicar, Director of the UT Heritage Society. “He frequented classrooms, and on cold days even visited the library (now Battle Hall). Pig regularly attended home and out-of-town athletic events, and it was said he would snarl at the slightest mention of Texas A&M.”

Pig's funeral procession, courtesy of Jim Nicar

On New Year’s day of 1923, Pig  was struck by a car at the  intersection of 24th and  Guadalupe streets and died a  few days later. The campus was  shaken deeply, and a few days  later, hundreds turned out to  pay their respects to his casket  in front of the Co-op. At 5 p.m.,  the funeral procession, led by  the Longhorn Band marched to the old Law Building, where the Graduate School of Business now stands. The Texas Cowboys served as Pig’s pallbearers, and upon his grave laid a sign with the epitaph: “Pig’s Dead…Dog Gone.”

The University went without a mascot until 1932, nine years after Pig’s death, when Bevo II was introduced and has been a staple ever since.
Clark’s Billy Goat Hill:

From 1927-1974, the University of Texas baseball team played in what many consider one of the most unique and charismatic baseball fields in America, Clark Field.

Not to be mistaken with the multi-sport site operated by RecSports located

Billy Goat Hill seen in center field

between 21st Street and San Jacinto Boulevard today, this was a different field entirely. Located between 23rd and Red River Streets (near the LBJ library), it was nestled into the natural hills and landscape of the area. It’s most distinctive feature was the 12- to 30-foot limestone cliff ran from left-center to center field, which made playing the outfield quite an adventure. Center field was nicknamed “Billy Goat Hill” because the cliff could only be accessed via a goat path in left-center.

Some Texas center fielders even opted to play on top the hill to keep the ball in front of them, with the cover of left and right fielders playing away from the lines. However one thing remained a constant for the nearly 50 years the Longhorns played there – opposing teams had a tough time figuring the “Billy Goat” out.

Famous American Souther writer and former Daily Texan Editor, Willie Morris, wrote about the field in his book “Always Stand in Against the Curve.”

Clark Field seen with the LBJ school of Public Affairs in the background

“Directly across the street from the football stadium had been the most lovely and harmonious baseball field in the United States, the most unusual baseball diamond I have to this day ever known. It was called Clark Field, and it had been carved out of the earth from the limestone all around it. Its roofed grandstand and bleachers had a patina of time, and its entire surroundings were touched with an unhurried grace that behooved the best and most complex of all American games. I loved this field, and it came to represent for me the most enduring spot on the whole campus of the University of Texas. Indeed, to me its became the best place in all this frenetic, pulsating state. . . . Was there a finer place in God’s creation to spend a placid afternoon in the sunshine with one’s favorite coed and one’s best pals from Breckenridge Hall, watching the Longhorns in their burnt-orange and white embarass the loathsome Texas Aggies?”

The field was eventually destroyed to make way for campus development in the area. In the 1975 season, the Longhorns opened their new home UFCU Disch-Falk Field, where they still play their home games today.

Staying in Austin for Spring Break?

Maybe you have to work or maybe you just don’t want to spend the week in your hometown, and so you’ll be spending your week off here in Austin, Tx. Perhaps you’re wondering what you’re going to do during the week while all of your friends are back at home or at the beach.

Well fortunately for you, I’ve made a list of three easy, cheap, fun things for you to do! Of course you could always spend the week going to SXSW events, but that would make you just too cliche! 😉

Alice in Wonderland in 3D at the IMAX

Another perk of being a UT student is that there is an IMAX theater, at the Bob Bullock Museum,  within walking distance of campus. They play all sorts of movies, from historical films to nature films (think Planet Earth style) to normal contemporary movies. They also frequently showcase 3D films. The current 3D and contemporary film they’re showing is Alice in Wonderland, starring Johny Depp, and directed by Tim Burton.

Now IMAX movies tend to be a little more expensive than normal movies and 3D movies are usually a bit more expensive as well, but fortunately there is a student discount so tickets for students are $10. As a point of reference, I watched this movie  last weekend at Galaxy Highland Theater and adult tickets were $13 due to an extra charge for 3D and that wasn’t even an IMAX theater!

I would definitely recommend arriving at least half an hour early because last time I visited that theater the person I was meeting arrived just before the movie and we ended up sitting in the first row and having to turn our heads to try to see the whole screen during the movie!

Making Movies Exhibit at The Harry Ransom Center

For the next several months the Harry Ransom Center will feature an exhibition that explores and chronicles the movie-making process.

The exhibition will be split into two sections. The first will explain the roles of several different players in the movie process including directors, producers, screenwriters, art directors, costume designers, and actors. The second section will feature “original scripts of iconic scenes from about 10 motion pictures…alongside production materials for that scene.”

This event is available Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m

Kayaking at Zilker Park

Now that the weather is finally warming up it’s become perfect conditions for kayaking!

Jordyn demonstrating the fun of kayaing...although, admittedly not at Zilker Park

One of the best places to kayak in Austin is Zilker Park, since it’s centrally located and they have kayaks available for rent.

At $10 an hour it’s a fairly affordable activity and it doesn’t require a lot of effort or planning since they have the kayaks, paddles, and life jackets. One important reminder though, bring cash because they do NOT accept debit or credit cards!

So Few Calories, So Many Places to Burn Them


Nestled directly in the heart of one of the fittest cities in America, the University of Texas is in no way lacking in gym choices. According to UT RecSports, there are 12 different “workout locations.” While some of these are either very small or may be in the same general area (Gregory Gym, Gregory Gym Aquatic Complex), it is still pretty impressive and a bit overwhelming. I’ll break down and profile the major options and let you decide.


Gregory Gym/Pool: The biggest and probably most well-known gym on campus, this is also the most used. It can hold a large amount of people, and does every day. Among it’s features it boasts 7 basketball courts, a climbing wall. 10 racquetball and 2 Squash courts, a large weight room, steam and sauna rooms, and a 1/7 mile indoor track. It is located in the heart of campus and is open until 2 a.m. Sunday – Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Behind the gym is the aquatic complex, which feature 2 indoor pools, 3 heated outdoor pools, and a spa.

Rec Sports Center: Located right behind the stadium, this gym is slightly less-known and less-used than Gregory. It offers slightly smaller crowds but with slightly fewer options. It still has 3 basketball courts, 8 racquetball courts, 2 Squash courts, and a sizable weight room. For my first 2 years on campus, this was my gym of choice.

Belmont: Maybe it’s because it’s INSIDE the stadium and fulfills the dream of doing some physical activity inside Daryl K Royal Memorial Stadium, or maybe it’s because you never have to wait for a machine. Regardless of the reason, this hidden gem is the reason that I stopped working out in the Rec Sports Center.

Photo: Caribb

Anna Hiss: Known mostly for it’s dodge ball tournaments and to anyone who’s taken Ballroom Dancing, this small, hidden, wonder can easily elude you for 4 years. Built in 1931, it has a small basketball area and some exercise rooms (limited weights if any) to utilize. But the thing that caught my eye when researching was the archery range. Should’ve spent more time there!

Whitaker Fields: Where Intramural legends are born, this site contains 18 soccer or football fields (or 12 softball diamonds depending on season). It is equipped with lights and open until 10 p.m. M-F. The fields are also utilized heavily for Club team practice and games. It is a few miles from campus, but has plenty of parking and it’s own shuttle bus.


Clark Field – Located just behind San Jacinto Residence Hall, this field is frequently used for pickup football games

Jamail Texas Swimming Center – Not DKR, but the swimming center houses Texas’ most feared and most successful program. Just might run into gold medalist Garrett Weber-Gale here too.

Whitaker Tennis Courts – 40 lighted tennis courts located just behind Whitaker Fields.

Penick-Allison Tennis Center – 12 tournament quality competition courts and home to the UT Tennis teams.

Where do you like to do your excercising?