Due to work responsibilities, my visit to Austin, Texas was a short trip. Fortunately, even if your time is limited here, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Texas' Capitol city. With unique street art, live music, year-round outdoor activities, and their own unique style of cuisine, Austin has become a major hotspot for millennials who are moving to the city in hoards.
Austin represents the perfect balance between city life, suburbia, and outdoor living. With a mixture of hiking trails, skyscrapers, and houses that actually have backyards, it seems that this city is able to offer a little bit of something for everybody. While I only had a day to explore this city, I was able to fully pick up on the cities quirky and young atmosphere - here's how:
Breakfast at Forthright
This simple cafe lacks the thrills of some of the other popular brunch places in Austin, but it’s the perfect place to quickly stop for amazing food when you’re on the go. Tucked away in the corner of a commercial office building, this cafe offers an assortment of beautiful craft cocktails and mouthwatering breakfast dishes. I recommend their breakfast sandwich with arugula and black pepper aioli, as well as their waffle sandwich with spicy maple syrup.
Visit the Texas State Capitol
The capital building in Austin is one of the city's most beautiful landmarks, making this the perfect place to start your day in Texas. You can either do a tour of the building, or simply walk through the grounds with your morning coffee, which showcases multiple monuments throughout it’s 22 acres.
Go Kayaking on Lady Bird Lake
Walking through Austin, it seems like people are enjoying the city’s waterways year-round. Spend your afternoon kayaking or paddle-boarding down Lady Bird Lake, enjoying the views of Texas’ Capital City. There are multiple companies that offer both rentals and tours, including Live Love Paddle and Zilker Park Boat Rentals.
Stop by Banger's for a southern biergarten experience
Home of the Manmosa (a giant mimosa in a beer stein), this outdoor beer garden is the perfect place to stop for local craft beer (they have over 200 on tap!) and BBQ. On the weekends, especially with good weather, this place can get packed, so be prepared to stand for a little before finding a table.
Stop by the “Greetings from Austin” Mural
No trip to Austin is complete without a photo in front of the “Greetings from Austin” mural. Hop on a scooter and head to the Bouldin Creek neighborhood for a photo op in front of one of Austin’s most iconic examples of street art.
Go shopping on South Congress
South Congress Avenue is known for its chic boutique style and vintage clothing stores. Spend the afternoon picking up southern apparel at places like Allen Boots, Sunroom, and Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds (a really cool costume and vintage shop that’s famous in Austin.)
Dinner at Iron Cactus
In the middle of one of Austin’s main streets, Iron Cactus is the perfect place to get your Tex-mex food fix. I recommend their chile con queso, lobster tacos, and delicious frozen margaritas.
See a live band at Antone’s Nightclub
Antone’s Nightclub is an Austin institution for live blues music, having hosted the likes of Ray Charles and James Brown. Right around the corner from Iron Cactus on 6th Street, this is a great place to end your night in Austin with a few cocktails and traditional blues music.
Note: Antone’s often hosts private events, so make sure to check their event schedule online before heading here.
Looking for a more relaxed night out? Stop by the Fairmont Hotel for a glass of wine at their posh lobby bar, Fulton, or if you’re visiting during warm weather, head to the seventh floor for a night at their poolside bar, Rules & Regs.
How to get around Austin:
In my opinion, Austin was very easy to navigate, most activities being within walking or minimal driving distance. Although we rented a car, I often found myself using Uber and Lyft to avoid parking, whose fares are relatively inexpensive in Austin compared to other major cities. Other ways to navigate the city include electric scooters, which can be found almost anywhere throughout Austin, as well as the Metro Bus.
Where to stay:
Downtown Austin Mansion (Airbnb)
This Airbnb is great if you’re traveling with a large group, sleeping up to ten people within it’s seven bedrooms. This house also comes with two outdoor porch areas and amazing views of Downtown Austin. Although it seems tucked away in a residential neighborhood, the city's main attractions were no more than a five to ten minute drive away.
Traveling alone or with a small group? Check out the Fairmont Hotel. This hotel offers amazing restaurants, a beautiful rooftop pool, paired with comfortable and modern rooms. This hotel was great for its accessibility to all the big attractions in Austin, within walking distance to Sixth Street and Rainey Street.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Austin? Let us know in the comments below!