First time in Austin!
If Seattle and Nashville got married and birthed an LGBT+ child, it would be Austin, Texas.
For as long as I could remember, I had wanted to visit Austin! Having been to nearby San Antonio when I was about 19, I got a tease of it. Going to Austin City Limits my first year back in the United States was the perfect opportunity! I got so many recommendations for things to do and eat so I’ll lay them all out here:
Where to Stay
First things first, but I’ll keep it quick: in my opinion, I would stay either Downtown, near South Congress or in the East Cesar Chavez area. If you’ve never been, Downtown is really your best bet!
What to Do
Austin City Limits Music Festival
- This was the main reason I was in town. Check out the complete article of my experience at this stellar music festival here!
we spent hours walking around the “eclectic” shops here & it’s a total must do!
Some of my favorites:
One of the most iconic and largest western stores in Austin with over 4,000 pairs of cowboy boots, which is the largest selection under one roof in the world
This was one of the prettiest store I’ve ever been in! They shape and customize stetson hats in store and sell other goods such as crystals, gem rollers and more.
Lady Bird Lake
- Running on the trail, kayaking in the water, anything else to meet you outdoors needs
- So… we did not do this and to be honest, I’m glad, BUT it was recommended to us to “check out the bats.” Apparently, the 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats that live under the bridge along the water is the largest bat colony in the world. Casual.
- It was too cold for me to participate in this awesome activity. I heard from multiple sources that Deep Eddy is the best one, but Barton Springs is also wildly popular as well!
- City Wide Garage Sale is a Vintage Market that’s been offered in Austin since 1977. Keep in mind, this event doesn’t happen year round so unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend while I was in town.
The HOPE Outdoor Gallery AKA Graffiti Park started as a temporary project at SXSW in 2011, but it became so popular that it recently was permanently closed. No need to fear though: they’re opening a new version near the airport that will add parking, bathrooms, a cafe and art classes.
SXSW is South by Southwest, an annual modge podge of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences. The ten day conference “an opportunity for global professionals at every level to participate, network, and advance their careers,” but it’s also a chance to have fun and discover new musicians as well! As an outsider, this event really seems to describe the culture of Austin in a way! SXSW takes place in Mid-March.
The live music scene in Austin is one of the largest in the country. Some suggestions to listen:
- Moody Theater/ACL Live for a year round festival
- Stubbs BBQ food, beer, and tunes. What more could you want?
- Elephant Room for intimidate jazz. In my opinion, would be a great place to go if first dinner date was going well and you wanted to continue to chat.
- Continental Club Seems to be a local favorite! The “granddaddy” of local live music, as it’s been coined.
- Scoot Inn
- Broken Spoke is an “authentic Texas dancehall”
- The Container Bar– In quirky Austin fashion, this bar made from shipping containers has a live music & DJ stage
& obviously, eat & drink!
What to Eat
So, people are passionate about the food in Austin, which I loved! I got sooooo many recommendations for food and a lot of them overlapped. I only had time for a few brunch spots but everything I tried, I loved!
Where I went:
Order the Migas Kolache!! Potatoes+queso+bread… I’m still dreaming about it.
Where I’m saving for next time:
- El Dorado Café
- Magnolia Café
- Taco Deli for breakfast tacos
- Culinary Drop Out
- South Congress Café
- Tamale House
- Torchy’s Tacos- number one recommendation
- Flower Child
- South Austin Trailer Park – permanent food trucks
- Licha’s Cantina
- Elizabeth Street Café
- Juan in a Million- hole in the wall Mexican
- Pint House Pizza
- Via 313 -got so many recs for this!
- East Side Pies
- Salt Lick- highly appraised!
- Franklin’s- always a line so go early
- Gus- fried chicken
- Fixe Austin
- Terry Blacks
- Suerte- East Austin boutique Mexican + cocktails
- Ramen Tatsuya
- Revelry Kitchen + Bar
- Easy Tiger- German beer garden
- Clark’s Oyster Bar
- Chuy’s – a chain but it all began in Austin!
- Veracruz All Natural
Where to Drink
- East, West (Dirty), 6th Street
- Rainey Street area
- Unbarlievable- this is the famous bar with a slide!
- Bangers Sausage House
- Domain area
- Upstairs at Caroline
- rooftop that overlooks Congress
- The White Horse
- Cute aesthetic and delicious cocktails!
- Kitty Cohens
- Hotel San Jose
- Order the Frose in the summer
- Austin Beerworks
- Zilker Taproom
- Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company
- St. Elmo
Thanks for reading and I hope you find this helpful! Enjoy your trip & happy traveling!
*Special thanks on this post to IG @terra_eats_the_world for a few local recommendations as well! *