Howdy, hey! Let me start off by saying Austin feels like a 3rd home (Palm Springs being 2nd - spent alot of my life there). I felt relaxed, welcomed, and encouraged to just stop and smell the bbq (the no-state income tax helped me be at peace, too). It's a magical city that, in my opinion, is a mix of Portland (before Antifa), LA (without skid row - ok, maybe a tiny bit of skid row), and oddly, enough, Orange County (without the beach). That influence might be from the fact that half of CA has moved to Austin in the last year or two, which apparently Texans aren't happy with. I wonder why? ;) So, with the weirdness of Portland, the style + music of LA, and the feeling of Orange County, it's safe to say it's the perfect little getaway.
I'm not going to write a novel about it, but I will share all of our favorite places to go from the coffee to food to the best margs to the sights-to-see! [full disclaimer: Yes, I drink alcohol. Nothing sloppy. I just think margaritas are the most refreshing, happy tasting bev that was ever invented, and Austin was chalk full of 'em.]
- Cafe No Se [no-say] - scrumptious breakfast sandwiches w/ fries *drooling*
- Caroline Restaurant - amazing burgers
- El Arroyo - nachos, hands down
- Terry Black's BBQ - best bbq in Austin, locals confirm!
- Stubb's - second best bbq in Austin and Dave Chapelle drops in randomly all the time to perform!
- Moonshine Grill - located in an old house, which makes for maximum coziness and a perfect romantic date location. Portions are huge but the food is so, sooo good.
- Edge Rooftop at Marriott - delicious pulled-pork sliders, gorgeous view of the Colorado River, downtown, and beyond
- Hoboken Pie - best pizza in town, even better as a midnight snack after listening to live music for hours and hours
- 1886 Cafe + Bakery - located in The Driskill hotel. Stunning, nostalgic, killer eggs-benedict, and you can sit in the hotel lobby to eat. I felt like Serena Van der Woodsen living at The Palace .
- El Arroyo - Blended Strawberry Marg | so refreshing, huge, only $6
- Stubb's - Blended Strawberry Marg | even bigger than El Arroyo, just as refreshing
- Caroline Restaurant - Blood Orange Marg | perfectly sweet + sour and completely gorgeous
- Moonshine Grill - Classic Marg | refreshing, satisfying, vacation in a glass
- Mohawk - Classic Marg | huge. That's all.
- Parlor Room - Classic Marg | another huge one. Honestly, I just love a margarita.
- Jo's Coffee - Iced Vanilla Latte, add shot | great taste, great breakfast, located in South Congress + Downtown
- Mañana Coffee - Cappuccino or Iced Vanilla Latte w/ almond milk | beautiful shop, aesthetics are on-point. Coffee is smooth and refreshing. A prime location for reading, studying, or working.
- Pretty much all of South Congress has phenomenal shopping. From vintage to high-end, it's all there.
- Esby Apparel - Beautiful neutral pieces and even better leather bags. Very high-end.
- Howler Bro's - for the man in your life if he is a fishing, surfing cowboy
- Service Menswear - also for the man in your life, if he is a surfing, skating biker (CA has really influence TX)
- No Comply - the only skate shop for miles, solid finds and there's a coffee shop attached!
- Pavement - a big consignment store | think Buffalo Exchange, but more funky.
- Waterloo Records - an overwhelming inventory of old/used and new records, CD's, cassettes, DVD's, and more! Grumpy employees, but NOT in a cool, High Fidelity kinda way.
- South Congress Books - used and vintage books! It's a little pricey, but worth it.
- Book People - 2-stories of fabulous inventory. Both times I've been there I have found books I couldn't find anywhere else besides Amazon. Highly recommend.
- Austin City Limits tour - If you are a fan of music at all, take this tour. Just take my word for it.
- Lone Star Riverboat Cruise - a little tour filled with facts about downtown Austin architecture and you get to see the famous 750,000 bats that live under the bridge!
- Yeti Headquarters - they have an outdoor bar where they serve all their drinks in Yeti cups. Pretty rad.
- Texas State Capitol - magical, awe-inspiring, and beautiful. I elaborated on this in The Morning Muse when we went in January, so I won't bore you with the details but it's a highly- recommend in my book.
- Rainy St. - a small street with live music, food trucks galore, and bars for the college kids.
- Blanton Museum of Art - located on University of Texas campus, free, and a good excuse to get out of the Texas sun
- Old Bakery + Emporium - oldest bakery in Austin, across the street from the Capitol, turned into a local artisan store with a mini museum upstairs.
- Uber: best
- Lyft: didn't see one Lyft driver but I'm sure they're there.
- Walk: our preference. More opportunity to see the rare and unexpected.
- "Wheels", Electric scooters, Electric Bikes aka death motor vehicles.
- Unfortunately, there is no form of public transportation.
6. Stay [places we would have stayed if we were millionaires]
- The W
There's a reason why so many Californians moved to this great city - the food, the music, the activities, and vibe are just the beginning. I know we will most definitely travel here again and will hopefully be able to afford one of the more "fancy" hotels. I know there is so much more for us to see!
I hope this little guide inspired you to book a plane ticket or take a road trip. It's an inspiring place, no doubt.
Talk soon :)
Sincerely + with love,