Mini-travel guide? That’s what I’m calling this post on Austin because I didn’t intend to put this together while I was there. Usually when I am working on a travel guide I’ll take notes, intentionally take photos, and have some idea of the structure of the guide before I go. For this post, I’m just going to run through the highlights of my trip and give you a few suggestions in case you find yourself down in Texas.
WHEN TO GO AND HOW TO GET THERE
I’m fortunate that since my fiancé is from Austin and work took me to SXSW last year that I’ve been there all times of year. If you’re going to visit, I’d recommend avoiding summer (obviously) and instead think about late fall or early spring. The best weather I’ve seen has been when we’re there for Thanksgiving and when I’ve been there in March.
Flights are expensive from DC to Austin. Seriously, we can fly to Europe for cheaper. There is, however, a direct Southwest flight out of Reagan, and a direct Frontier flight out of Dulles, both of which are sometimes reasonably priced. It’s also sometimes cheaper to fly into San Antonio which is about an hour away. I’ve never gone that route, but it’s something to consider.
WHERE TO EAT, SIP, AND DRINK
Oh, where to eat…where do I start? Here are a few of the restaurants, food trucks, and coffee shops that I’ve loved over my past few trips down to Austin:
- Eberly: This restaurant and bar is worth checking out for the ambiance alone and the delicious food is an added bonus. The space has glamorous vintage vibes and is seriously gorgeous.
- Launderette: If you love mid-century vibes, you’ll love this restaurant. It has that retro vibe while still seeming modern.
- Barley Swine: Hands down the best meal I’ve had in Austin. Each small plate was better than the last. Not surprising considering the chef is a James Beard Award finalist.
- Veracruz: My first breakfast taco experience was here. I dove right in with a sauce that Adam told me might be too hot. He might have been right.
- Torchy’s Tacos: You’ll find Torchy’s locations all over Austin, but it’s a classic, so don’t miss it.
- Mighty Cone: Fried avocado. Try it. Trust me.
- Brown’s Barbecue: I wasn’t quite sure what to do when I saw brisket served with white bread, onion, and pickles, but I made my own variation on a sandwich and I haven’t looked back since.
- Radio Coffee: My first morning in Austin ever, this is where we went for coffee after breakfast tacos, so maybe I’m biased but it was everything I expected an Austin coffee shop to be.
- Stonehouse Coffee: This is such a gorgeous coffee shop for a morning of working with a glass of cold brew.
- Zilker Brewing: A cool East Austin spot that’s perfect on a nice afternoon. Go for the blackberry sour beer if you’re looking for something refreshing.
WHAT TO DO
There’s something for everyone to do in Austin! Getting active, exploring the outdoors, shopping, live music, and, of course, all the eating and drinking I already mentioned. Here are a few of the highlights from my trips:
- Get moving! Run, walk, or bike along the Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake. When we’re in Austin, Adam and I try to start each day with a walk around the lake. You know, to burn off all the barbecue and tacos…
- Spend some time outdoors. Unfortunately when we were in Austin a couple weeks ago Barton Springs Pool was closed for the week for cleaning, so we walked a bit upstream to the area that wasn’t closed and enjoyed an afternoon in the sun. Next time I’m there, I want to check out Hamilton Pool.
- I haven’t yet had the chance to truly dive into Austin’s live music scene, but we did spend an evening at C-Boy’s listening to a couple soul-jam bands and I absolutely loved the funky, divey vibe.
- Go shopping! Of course there’s South Congress where you’ll find my absolute favorite, Gypsy Wagon, but also head over to East Austin to check out shops like Charm School Vintage, Olive, and Mana Culture.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES?
Do you have any Austin, TX favorites? I’d love to hear some of your suggestions for my next trip! As Adam often reminds me, he hasn’t lived there in years, so he’s not totally up on the hip new spots. His parents are great at staying on top of the food scene, but I’m always looking for even more ideas of places to check out!