Every year as soon as the holidays are fully behind us, D and I like to take a weekend trip to somewhere warm. In the past, we’ve gone to Las Vegas and Palm Springs, but this year, we wanted to try somewhere new! After a couple days searching the internet, we landed on Austin Texas.
We were both experiencing the city for the first time and excited to see what adventure we could get into. Everywhere we turned there were food trucks, people in the streets, and music coming from every building we passed. Austin Texas was alive and we loved it. Each day we wandered the city on the hunt for the best restaurants, hit up some great vintage boutiques, and found ourselves dancing late into the night at a local blues bar. We wanted to experience local flavors so I did a lot of research prior to the trip. I can safely say- the food in Austin is incredible.
The streets are lined with one unique, cute, and innovative restaurant after another. They come in all shapes and sizes. Fine dining, breweries, carry-out windows, and food trucks. Here are our favorites!
Odd Duck: This was D’s favorite Austin meal (a close second for me). Every dish on the menu was a classic, but with a funky twist. I suggest you stop in for brunch, but they serve dinner as well. Our top menu item: Dutch baby, pear, pork belly, almond, kale.
la Barbeque: This took my top spot in Austin. This is true, classic, Texas barbeque. No one on earth (in my humble opinion) is doing it as well as la Barbeque. The food is simple, but the flavors are out of this world. Be prepared for a bit of a wait, but anything worth having- is worth the wait! Our top menu item: The Brisket.
Emmer & Rye: This was a top recommendation from my fellow travel blogger Bre (over at 100PercentDay). This fine dining spot had a small plates menu with local Austin flavors. They also had a dim sum cart that came to the table with smaller “bites.” I loved the unique twist on the fine dining experience. Top menu item: ‘Cacio e Pepe’
With any great food scene, come the drinks. Austin is no exception. We had great beers & cocktails. Here is a list of our favorite libations.
Lazarus Brewery: D and I quickly noticed that most places in Austin have an “al-fresco” set up- which is perfect for the Texas climate. Lazarus is really killing the open concept eating/drinking flow. We sipped our amazing beers on the patio soaking in the sun. We tried a couple different beers from the Prodigal Pils to the 40 Days and 40 night IPA. All were refreshing, well balanced, and damn good. Don’t miss the tacos either!
Half Step: We popped into this cocktail joint on a recommendation from my friend Marcus. We both had cocktails that the bartender recommended and sat on the front porch and people watched. Twinkling lights and rocking chairs make this a must stop!
Whisler’s: Right across the street from Lazarus Brewery, this eccentric bar specializes in Old Fashioneds- my favorite cocktail. It was SO good- I may have had 2 (or was it 3?) This funky little spot has a great cocktail program with some innovative and unique drinks!
I’m going to admit- there were more sights on our list than we actually accomplished. We didn’t rent a car, which is probably necessary to see some of the things like Barton Springs and Hamilton Pool. Regardless, we stepped it out and did some shopping + sightseeing in the city itself.
Shop on South Congress: We walked up and down the South Congress neighborhood streets, which are filled with vintage shops. You can find anything from one of a kind cowboy boots to socks with jackalopes on them. Each store has its own personality and vibe. We stopped along the way for some tacos + beers too!
State Capital: Austin is the state capital of Texas so we wandered over to the capital building. It has a beautiful park surrounding the building with interesting historical statues. Lots of benches under huge trees, perfect for a people watching session.
Walk along the Colorado River: The river that splits Austin into 2 sections is the Colorado River. Along both banks are beautiful walking trails. Take a stroll or rent a bike and cruise along the beautiful river. You can also rent kayaks and SUP boards and get out on the river for pretty cheap! We noticed the river banks were covered with turtles! Pretty neat.
Our 72 hours in Austin Texas was a bit of a whirlwind, but our bellies were full of incredible food, we soaked in some sun and spent time with friends. Its a vibrant city with a personality all its own. The locals are warm and welcoming and ready to share their beautiful city with you. I can’t wait to get back to Austin Texas again and explore even more the city has to offer.