❗3 things to know right now
Source: JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images
- 6 min read

❗3 things to know right now

Plus, check out when the best time is to go see the bats.🦇


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☀️ Heya, Austin.

We're adding something new today: an easy, one-click poll at the bottom of our issue so you can tell us if you loved this one, thought it was meh, or thought it sucked entirely. Do us a solid, and go vote.

But first, catch up on three numbers and what they mean for Austin. Then find out when the best time is to see our city's mascot: Matthew McConaughey (jk, we're talking about the bats).

And see which Austin retail properties Sandra Bullock owns.

By the numbers: What's up in Austin?

25 — The number of spots in The New York Times' list of best restaurants in the city.

The publication does this with other major U.S. cities, so we're nothing special (except we totally are, come on now).

But on Monday, it released a roundup of what it thinks are the best places to chow down in our fair city (one of the authors is a food expert and Dallas native, so it's legit).

It includes:

  • Birdie's
  • Canje
  • Este
  • Ezov
  • And Franklin's, of course

The last one really is like that one girl in high school who was involved in literally everything, from being voted Most Likely to Start a Company to serving as president of the ceramics club.

4 — The day in May when some Austin districts will vote on leaving the city.

Wait, they can do that??? Yeah, apparently.

Austin annexes, or adds, new parts of the area to its city limits to expand the reach of city policies and to boost its tax base.

Well, a Texas bill passed last year requires cities to give those parts of town the choice to leave, if those districts were added between March 3, 2015, and Dec. 1, 2017.

And some residents really want that to happen. They say that since joining Austin around 2015, city services haven't been so reliable, even though folks have been paying taxes for them.

So voters in these districts will vote to leave or not to leave in the May 4 election. Early voting started Monday.

1.2% — The decrease in median home price in Kyle AKA one of Austin's hottest surrounding cities.

They've all seen a boom in recent years alongside Austin. Translation: People are wanting to move to these places (Kyle, Buda etc.) because it's cheaper, but it's not tooooo far from the cool things Austin offers.

And for any prospective homebuyer whose blood pressure is sky-high from looking at Austin's market, good news: The median price of homes in Kyle is 1.2% lower than it was this time last year, according to data from Four Rivers Realtors.

The association lists the median home cost in Kyle at $326,200. That's a hell of a lot lower than what Unlock MLS had as the Austin metro area’s figure for March, $450,000.

Plus, if your name is Kyle, you'd be able to go to the town's annual Gathering of the Kyles that the city's trying to break world records with.

— Katie Canales, Editor

Temperature: 78 degrees | Sun: Peeking through | What to Expect: Breezy south winds

Clouds will move in during the morning and hang around through the afternoon. Our nice, dry air mass will go away as breezy south winds lead to more humidity and higher dew points by the afternoon.

Mary’s Tip:  Take that lunch break walk. Temperatures will be cooler than normal with a nice breeze.

When's the best time to go see the Austin bats?

There's a reason why everyone and their mother take family visiting from out of town (us included) to see some of the 1 million female Mexican free-tailed bats emerge around sunset.

No matter how many times you see them, all those little bat silhouettes over the lake? Nothin' like it.

And good news: The best time to view them emerging is from now through the summer. We've had solid views of them into the fall before, though, depending on the weather.

Merlin Tuttle, a bat ecologist and founder of Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation in Austin, said that during spring migration (March and April) and when the bat pups learn to fly (July and August) are when you’ll have the best views.

Source: JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images

But from mid-May through June, it will be least likely to see the emergence because the pregnant bats tend to come out well after sunset for the wet weather.

Tuttle said when it's hot and dry for an extended period, seeing them emerge is even cooler. He says the most spectacular emergences ever seen at the bridge have been during the most severe droughts.

The reason? The hungry bats are forced to emerge an hour before sunset because of the scarcity of insects to eat. When the weather is wet, the insects are plentiful, and the bats don’t have to work so hard for their food.

One of the only upsides to a drought ...

— Mary Wasson, Meteorologist

All of Sandy Bullock's Austin properties

Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock has had a home in Austin for more than two decades, on top of her Southern California abodes.

But she's also delved into the commercial real estate scene in the Austin area, which isn't super common with other celebs who live here. The actress owns several commercial properties here. 

Let's look at some:

🥐 Walton’s Fancy and Staple, 609 W 6th Street: Bullock bought this two-story, beige-brick building, which houses this brick-walled bakery, way back in 2000. She owns the bakery, which she opened in 2009. “The acting thing is so beyond my control,” Bullock told Vogue magazine in 2013. “You are like a tiny piece in this big corporate mechanism that needs chemistry and divine intervention. This (Walton’s Fancy and Staple) is mine.”

🏢 Stratford Arms, 500 W 6th Street: Across the street from Walton's is a three-story office building in downtown Austin that was acquired in 1998 by a group of partners, one of whom is Bullock. Her lawyer has had his offices in the building, which is a former apartment building with high ceilings, brick walls and fireplaces. And, Bullock's now-closed Bess Bistro restaurant also had been housed in the Stratford Arms building. Today, the building is assessed at a value of $4.13 million.

🧘 Wild Heart Yoga, 5604 Bee Cave Road: Bullock bought this two-story West Lake Hills-area building in 2003. As its name would suggest, it currently houses a yoga studio.

🚗 Enterprise Rent a Car, 2016 W Stassney Lane: Yep, you read that right. This one-story South Austin commercial building may be the most unusual part of Bullock’s property portfolio. Records show that since 2002, she has owned the building, which currently is leased to a rental car firm.

🏢 1406 Camp Craft Road: Since 2013, Bullock has owned this two-story office building in West Lake Hills.

🏢 801 Presa Arriba Road: In 2001, Bullock bought this one-story warehouse, just east of a Civil Goat coffee store in the Austin Lake Hills area.

Bullock also famously used to own the old Longhorn Speedway racetrack, which at one time was known as Speed-O-Rama, at 6401 S. U.S. Highway 183 in Austin. She bought the 19.1-acre racetrack property in 2006 and sold it in 2020, records show.  That racetrack now has an assessed value of $2.496 million.

Bullock’s lawyer, John Chamblee, did not return a request for comment on what has drawn Bullock to want to own and lease out so many commercial properties.

Oh, and if you were curious, Bullock’s main, 5,089-square-foot home, on Lake Austin in Austin, is worth more than $13.2 million, according to Travis County’s assessor.

— Bob Goldsborough, Contributing Reporter

👑The Woman King

Today's clue is for 4 Across: One of Central Machine Works' killer frozen drinks is the Blackberry ____.

What'd you think of today's issue?

Were so glad you found us. Find our bios and contact info here, or reach out at hello@austindaily.com. Behind todays send: Katie Canales, Cat DeLaura, Mary Wasson and Bob Goldsborough.