Austin Kitsch: Offbeat Attraction of the Weird City in Texas

Austin and offbeat are synonymous. The Texas capital hosts an annual Spamarama Festival (back after a 12-year hiatus), holds a birthday party for Eeyore that doubles as a fundraiser, and is the only remaining city to continue using moonlight towers, a night lighting system that saw its heyday in the 1880s and the 1890s. So it’s hardly a shocker that Austin is well-stocked with kitsch.

Mother Hen

Austin artist and sculptor, Faith Schexnayder, creates anything from custom golf carts to mosaic sculptures. However, we drove by her yard to investigate the mondo mother hen roosting there. The sculpture was a little smaller than expected but the hen had a sage look in her eye and, with her slightly cocked head, she seemed to be asking: is this really how you spend your vacation? Um, yes, it is.

Mother Hen, Austin

Mother Hen lives at 709 W. Gibson Street. She’s on private property but is easy to spot from the road (it’s not as if the neighborhood is overrun by herds of giant chickens).

Museum of the Weird

This collection of the strange, bizarre, weird, and crazy items is located in Austin, Texas, and is something that anyone in the area needs to visit.

Museum of the Weird in Austin, Texas

Costumed Zebra (Carmen Zebra-Jones)

If you combined a zebra with Carmen Miranda (and I’m not going to ask how), you’d end up with this lovely lady. She is balanced on top of the equally quirky costume store, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds. Inside this 8000 square foot, dress up wonderland, you can rent or buy Elmer Fudd, watermelon, or Voodoo doll costumes (selection can change daily).

Carmen Zebra Jones, Austin

The store can be found at 1506 S. Congress Avenue, south of downtown.

Willie Nelson Statue

Willie Nelson is originally from the tiny town of Abbott, (population around 350) situated between Austin and Dallas. He has lived in the state capital since 1971 and, on April 20th, 2012, his statue was installed downtown. The date, 4/20, was merely a coincidence but Willie embraced the reference to Weed Day and sang Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die during the unveiling. Nelson is depicted holding a guitar, rather than a joint, in sculptor Clete Shield’s piece.

Willie Nelson, Austin

Appropriately, the statue is located at the intersection of Willie Nelson Boulevard and Lavaca Street.

Taco Maria Statue

The official name of this restaurant is Taco Xpress but, judging by the sign, they’re missing two ‘X’s. Or perhaps the statue’s prominent boobs can fill the void! Maria’s ‘big ones’ are used to promote this restaurant’s tacos and, while I didn’t test out the food, I was drawn to the kitsch-tastic, faux Old West décor lining the building. The ornate façade includes a hotel and opera house. This is a must-see for offbeat enthusiasts.

Taco Maria, Austin

The Taco Maria statue is at 2529 South Lamar Boulevard – please report back if you decide to dine on site.

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