Cooking Light Best Cities: Austin, Texas

A list of must-sees, must-dos, and must-eats.

Austin's Barton Springs Pool features natural springs that maintain a refreshing 68-degree temperature year round.

Douglas Merriam

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You can't swing a yoga mat in Austin without hitting a cool place to exercise―whether it's inside a gym or outdoors in a natural, spring-fed pool.

Austin has an abundance of vegetarian restaurants that make creative use of produce from the city's 10 farmers' markets. Five of the best places to sample the bounty: Mr. Natural (512-916-9223), Cosmic Cafe (512-482-0950), Mother's Cafe and Garden (512-451-3994), Casa De Luz (512-476-2535), and Veggie Heaven (512-457-1013).

Barton Creek Greenbelt features nearly eight miles of hiking trails. If you want to do an all-day hike, try the Zilker Park entrance, and on the way back, stop for a dip in Barton Springs Pool.

Bookstores are at the heart of the "Keep Austin Weird" movement, a grassroots effort to help the city retain its offbeat charm. BookPeople (512-472-5050) is the largest independent bookstore in Texas.

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25 Best Vegetarian

Whether you have made the full vegetarian plunge or just want to mix it up, sans the meat, once a week, these healthy, meatless main dishes will have you swooning.

Fontal Polenta with Mushroom Sauté