I had a lovely first visit to Austin – Texas this past October! I spent a lot of time walking around this charming city and thought I would share a few tips on my favourite things to eat, see and do in Austin.
Getting There – We flew direct to Austin from LAX and scored a round-trip ticket for $200 each. Getting from the airport to downtown was maybe a $15 uber ride max. We walked pretty much everywhere, took ubers when we needed them and rented a car for a day to explore outside of the city.
Where To Stay – The brand new JW Marriott Hotel in Austin is one of the newest and fanciest hotels in town. We were not disappointed by our stay and the hotel’s central location downtown. They have an incredible Italian restaurant on-site that makes all of their pasta in-house! Make sure you spend some time sunning yourself next to their rooftop pool. You can read my full feature on the hotel here.
Eat a Breakfast Taco – Taco Shack, Tacodeli, Torchy’s Tacos are a great place to start. I ended up going to The Taco Shack as it was right around the corner from my hotel and got a coveted Breakfast Taco. I chose scrambled eggs, potatoes and chorizo in a flour tortilla with a little bit of salsa on top. One was enough to fill me up!
Have Lunch at Walton’s Fancy + Staple – Sandra Bullock and her pastry chef sister have opened this adorable cafe with a rustic, small-town feel to it. I definitely recommend stopping for lunch and trying one of their soups, sandwiches or salads. Make sure to save room for dessert! The Golden Egg is a must-order and a cross between pound cake and a madeline rolled in cinnamon sugar. There’s also a florist at the back of Walton’s Fancy & Staple.
Go Shopping on South Congress – One of the things I was most excited about was exploring all the eccentric and local shops on South Congress Avenue. A few of my favourite places include Uncommon Objects for antiques and vintage home pieces. Also not to be missed is Big Top Candy Shop, Prima Dora and Home Slice for a hot and cheesy slice of pizza.
While strolling through the stores on South Congress, make sure you stop by Jo’s Coffee for some great local coffee and to see this famous Austin mural – “I Love You So Much.”
When you’re done shopping, stop in for an Izakaya + Sushi Dinner at Lucky Robot Japanese Restaurant where they have swing benches for seating at a few of their tables. The menu is all small share plates with a fresh and inventive sushi. Finish your night off with dessert next door at Amy’s Ice cream – Austin’s favourite ice cream shop.
See The Bat Bridge – If you happen to be near the Congress Avenue Bridge around sunset during your trip, be sure to go and see the bats fly off into the night. Depending on the time of year, there are up to 1.5 million bats that will flicker by you in an organized line. Ask the concierge at your hotel about the best time to go. You won’t miss the line-up of people along the bridge.
Get Active – If you’re looking to stay fit during your trip, I highly recommend a rooftop yoga class at Wanderlust Yoga or an adult drop-in ballet class at Ballet Austin. Make sure to check out the juice bar and acai bowls inside Wanderlust as well!
Food Trucks! – There are so many outstanding food trucks in Austin that you definitely need to check them out. I spotted the Hey Cupcake! truck on South Congress.
Gourdough’s is one of Austin’s favourite donut spots, which is also housed inside a food truck. Here are the over-the-top creations we picked out – and could not finish!
Go For BBQ – One of the absolute highlights of our trip was renting a car for the day and driving out to Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, Texas for an authentic BBQ experience. It took us about 40 minutes with traffic to get there in time for lunch. There was no line-up but the dining room was already full of people, who brought their own coolers of beer to enjoy with their BBQ. Salt Lick is BYOB.
For $24.95 each we ordered the Family Style Meal which includes all you can eat beef brisket, sausage, pork ribs, potato salad, cole slaw and beans. Bread, pickles and onions on request. To be honest, we didn’t eat a lot of quantity – it was all so delicious. We went with this option because we wanted a lot of variety! It was totally worth the drive and I love the country BBQ vibe they have going on there.
If you can’t make it there, Salt Lick has a location inside the Austin airport, but it was really nice to get out to their Driftwood location and to see their incredible BBQ pit too.
Have you been to Austin, Texas? Which things do you recommend we eat, see and do?