This week marks my fourth time this summer traveling to Austin, the city that keeps on giving. It seems as though each time I go I find something new. I’ve been going to Austin since I was a small girl. But my oh my, has it changed since then. Yes, it’s still a hippie town, but now it’s more “new age” hippie with its healthy eating, eco-friendly buildings, and all kinds of outdoor activities.
I wanted to share with you some special tips should you ever plan on visiting Austin. I can make your trip stress free…including your budget. Think of me as your Texas travel agent.
Where To Stay:
I have two recommendations – one for staying downtown, and one that’s a little more outside of the city for families (away from the city commotion). I found the best deals on TripAdvisor too, so I’ll link them below for you.
Downtown: Westin Downtown.
On the 20th floor there is a vibrant pool that over looks the city. Every time I’ve been, there’s been a fun group of people. Note: this isn’t a kid friendly pool; this is the spot for day drinking and meeting people.
As far as food goes, even if you don’t stay at the Westin I recommend heading to Stella for brunch. I look forward to it each time we go. Try the avocado toast. You won’t be disappointed.
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, then my favorite place is Omni at Barton Creek. As all of America knows, I don’t have kids, but I still love staying here. It’s clean, the staff is great, and the view is stunning. When you book make sure you get the room with a view. It’s worth the extra $20.
Do me a favor and try the buffet. Okay listen up! I do not like eating buffets. Honestly, they gross me out and most of the food has been sitting out for a while, constantly getting reheated. However, this buffet food is amazing. It’s fresh and gourmet. There is plenty to choose from and you’re guaranteed to run into staff switching out the food with fresh items. And of course, there’s an omelette station.
What To do:
When I think of Austin I think of paddle boarding under the bridge downtown. Luckily there are a ton of places to go. You aren’t stuck with one location. I tend to go with whatever TripAdvisor says vs other sites for activities. It seems like they stay up to date and add new places all the time. I also like that it opens me up to new activities. For example, I had no idea there was night kayaking, but it’s totally a thing to do in Austin. Who knew.
Definitely visit the State Capital. It’s not the White House but nonetheless educational. This is a great activity if you’re looking for something free. Also, if you have small children with short attention spans then this is ideal. You can get in and out in an hour. With that said, you could easily take 3 hours to walk through all the rooms. I recommend leaving the stroller in the car and take the stairs. The elevator line made me lose my mind.
Day drinking on 6th street is a small version of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Lots of places to go and tons of live music.
Go shopping in The Domain. This is Austin’s up-and-coming hot spot. If you haven’t made a visit to Austin in the past 3 years then you’d hardly recognized this area. I stayed in this area once and loved it. It’s great if you don’t want to rent a car, because it’s made for foot traffic. There are tons of restaurants, shopping, and outdoor sidewalks. Save the car rental money and spend it on something for yourself.
What To Eat:
OOOO WEEE! I couldn’t wait to share this part with you all. I love a swanky, fancy restaurant but I’m not always a fan of spending $200 three times in one weekend (I don’t know who is).
It’s routine for me at this point but I always make a pit stop to Counter Culture on my way to town. All of you non-vegans hear me out. I stand behind the simple fact that you will not leave disappointed and your tummies will be full. If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, I would choose the brunch burrito. Warning: you may want to split this. Dessert is worth the extra calories and you don’t want to be so full that you actually have to say no to dessert. I don’t usually order dessert because I have more of a savory palette. Yet, I order dessert at Counter Culture. You’ve seen me eat Nada Moo ice-cream on my snapchat before. This is the same ice-cream they serve here. As far as drinks go, I never go without ordering a lavender mimosa. Honestly, everything on the menu is fabulous but these are now my must-haves.
Eddie-V’s is also a fantastic little eatery. If you love oysters, you’ll have to go during happy hour. Oysters are only $1. You can’t beat the wine list at Eddie V’s either. My tip would be to make a reservation as soon as you’re in the area, as it tends to book up fast. Usually I book through the OpenTable app, which is super convenient. You will want to plan ahead because Eddie V’s will only seat you if there is a cancellation, no walk-ins allowed. Found this out the hard way and had to sit at the bar. Which still turned out to be awesome. Ask for George, he’s great!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you know food trucks are all the rage. It feels as though Austin is the capital of food trucks. My favorite by a long shot is Arlo’s. While it is a vegan food truck I almost feel guilty because it’s insanely good. I’m still new when it comes to cooking vegan and still cannot believe vegan food can taste as good as Arlo’s. Better yet, they’re open till 2am, which is perfect for a snack after a few drinks. Check them out and let me know what you think. You’re welcome in advance; you won’t regret it.
Check out Second Bar & Kitchen for brunch or lunch. It’s a great spot to sit outside and have a rosé with cheeseboard. I obviously don’t eat cheese anymore, but when I did I certainly would order this. All the apps are wonderful and perfect for sharing. If you are on a girls’ trip, this chic place will make for a super fun girls’ night. If it’s too hot outside then I recommend sitting by the giant windows and watching the people walk by. You can also book through OpenTable here.
There are so many more incredible spots but these are my top four, plus Stella’s at the Westin Hotel.
When it comes to coffee, I can be picky, which is why I will only go to Caffe Medici when I’m in Austin. I’m told of other great coffee spots such as Jo’s and Figure 8, but I’m a creature of habit. If you get there early enough they have breakfast tacos…the goods ones too.
Again, creature of habit and my go-to for my “daily juice” (pun intended) is Daily Juice Cafe. I was once that person afraid to try anything beyond bananas and strawberries until I was persuaded to try the Cosmic Trigger. It’s a mix of spice plus berries. I haven’t looked back yet. I love it so much that I started making them at home now. You’ve seen me make them on my snapchat. It has a little bit of everything. What’s great about Daily Juice is everything is truly fresh. This isn’t your Smoothie King down the street. We are talking about fresh and local here folks. What better way to show your love for this incredible, diverse city.
Whether you live in Texas and need a weekend getaway, or you’re from out of state and think Texas doesn’t have much to offer, consider Austin for your next journey. I promise you won’t be let down.