Veteran tour guide Steven McFarlin has been with Austin Detours since the early days. We took a moment to ask him what he loves about Austin and being a tour guide in such a weird and wonderful city.
How did you wind up in Austin, TX?
I lived in Austin until my late teens. My entertainment career took me to a brownstone in Manhattan, a beach house in LA, and a canal-flat in Amsterdam, but Austin was the only city I ever regretted moving from. I was reminded of my affection for this special city several times a year when I would visit family. 9 years ago I got a place here part-time, splitting time between here and NYC, and 3 years ago I made Austin my full-time home. I’ve not had a second of regret.
Favorite local artists/musicians?
My top three fave club musicians (in no particular order) are Bob Schneider, Carolyn Wonderland, and Guy Forsyth. My fave local large venue musician would have to be Willie Nelson (although if they were still living, Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughan would rank right up there).
What is your favorite part about tour guiding in Austin?
I’ve had a lifelong love affair with this city, and being able to turn people on to what makes it so special thrills me to no end.
What neighborhood in Austin is your hang out place?
Clarksville is where I call home. After decades living an urban lifestyle in New York City, the thought of having to get in a car to go buy a newspaper terrified me. With Clarksville everything I need is steps away: great grocery, dry cleaners, drug store, and about a half dozen wonderful restaurants. Love this place!
Craziest thing that’s ever happened on a tour?
The other guides tease me as being the “King of Bodily Function Tours.” I’ve had tours that featured many different bodily function mishaps, most notably a woman’s water breaking. Fortunately, every one of those tours had a happy ending!
While the Austin Detours schedule changes from time to time, Steven often leads the public Live Music Crawl tour on Fridays and the Real Austin tour on Sundays.