Greetings, Y’all! You may remember from my Instagram posts a few months ago and from when I shared what I was packing for Austin here on the blog. That Ryan and I spent a few days in Austin for my birthday back in June. Needless to say, this travel guide is a bit overdue. Better late than never, right?
Austin is a really fun and electric city bursting with cool restaurants, bars, and live music. I think we pretty much ate and drank our way through the city because isn’t that what vacations are for?! It was also too hot for us to do a ton of outside activities. I would have loved to lounge at one of the pretty lakes or have done a hike but it was just too hot. When our average temperature is 70ish degrees with a bay breeze in Oakland, it’s really hard to adjust to a Texas summer.
Where We Stayed in Austin:
We debated on whether or not we wanted to stay at an Airbnb or a hotel. I love features of both options but ultimately decided for this trip that a hotel was our favorite option. I cannot recommend Hotel Van Zandt more, it’s SO NICE!
They greet you when you first arrive with either a beer or margarita, need I say more?! They also host a happy hour each night where you can have as many margaritas, beer, or wine as you’d like. I definitely recommend the margaritas though because they are so good! The rooms are all pretty luxurious and the showers are just beyond. Most of the rooms have pretty good views with half of them being lake side views. It’s also right next to Rainey Street if you’re looking for fun nightlife. I thought The Container Bar was one of the coolest bars on the street, it’s built out of shipping containers.
All in all, I could not recommend Hotel Van Zandt anymore, it was such a great experience!
Where We Ate in Austin:
While this may be a chain restaurant throughout Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado, it is the best kind of chain restaurant. The breakfast tacos and the queso are where it’s at people!!! Seriously, that queso though!
If I’m being honest, the only reason I wanted to eat here was because I thought the patio was THE CUTEST! I mean look at it! It’s cuteness almost convinced me that I’d be okay sweating through my meal just to sit on said patio. I was a little worried that the seafood wasn’t going to be that great (considering that we’re surrounded by some pretty great seafood in the Bay Area). But Perla’s proved me wrong, everything was so good and more than half the menu was gluten free friendly. I also recommend trying a few of their sides…we shared the brussels, ceviche (with homemade chips), and the grits, none of which left us disappointed.
If I’m being honest again…I only wanted to eat here because HELLO GORGEOUS!! If you think the outside is cute, you should see the inside. This cafe is just down the street from the ‘Greetings from Austin’ sign so while you’re there I recommend stopping by for a light snack and cocktail or two. I opted for the shady blonde punch that was super refreshing on such a hot day and snacked on spring rolls and dessert.
So this restaurant we didn’t eat at just because of the decor but it did not disappoint decor or food wise. It’s and old pharmacy that’s been renovated into a restaurant and still boasts super charming details like the penny tile floors. Also gluten free friendly, I opted for the fried egg sandwich without the fried green tomato. The sandwich was probably one of my favorite meals in Austin.
You can’t go to Austin and not get yourself some BBQ! HOWEVER, the lines and wait times to get said BBQ can be hours upon hours. We just weren’t into getting in line at 7am and waiting 4+ hours to get our hands on some BBQ. Most of the places you can pre-order and pick-up to avoid the lines, but the minimum order is $100+ to do so. Two people just didn’t need that much meat, LOL.
We almost gave up, but while I was searching for options, I happened to noticed that La Barbecue had an ad for DoorDash on my Google search. Sure enough, you could order La Barbecue via door DoorDash and have it delivered to your door. All I kept thinking was, ‘is this real?” For an extra $12 the dasher will wait in the line and deliver your delicious BBQ. If you’re also not down for waiting in a hot line during a Texas summer then consider this your pro BBQ tip, haha.
This place has great reviews for brunch. However, I got a little too comfortable with Austin being so gluten free friendly that I didn’t really research the menu before going. Ryan loved his food but I wasn’t super happy or impressed with the GFree options. The hostess was also kind of rude so that may have put a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth.
Yes, I’m totally including these two on here, haha! Obviously we couldn’t go to Texas and not stop at two of our favorite spots. Taco Cabana used to be our favorite place to frequent when Ryan lived in Houston during college. Their margaritas are cheap, pretty darn tasty, and they serve queso.
Where We Got Coffee in Austin:
Located in the heart of the South Congress area Jo’s was worth waiting in the long hot line for. Not only is it home to the cutest ‘I Love You So Much’ mural. It’s also home to a darn good vanilla latte. It takes a lot for me to be super impressed by a vanilla latte, but Jo’s definitely did impress.
Where We Got Cocktails in Austin:
Calling all frosé lovers!! If you ever find yourself in Austin…..then you MUST and I mean MUST go get a glass of frosé from Hotel San Jose. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
The frosé was so good that Ryan sweet talked the bartender into telling him what the recipe was. While she didn’t tell him the exact measurements of it, she did divulge the ingredients in the frosé. We actually replicated it ourselves that you can see in this frosé recipe here. Ours isn’t the same consistency but the taste is super similar.
Where We Shopped in Austin:
Katie Kime was really the only store that I
wanted HAD to go to in Austin. From fashion to home decor to office supplies, it’s all just SO GOOD! Thank goodness Ryan was there to help me ‘keep it in my pants.’ If he hadn’t been, I could have easily justified buying half the store.
One of my favorite hobbies is combing through aisles of antique stores. I’m always hunting for two specific things; gorgeous colored glassware and Great Gatsby books. Anytime I go to a new city I scope out the at least one or two antique stores. Uncommon Objects could easily take up a few hours of your time, and you should totally let it. I came out empty handed this time but still loved browsing the aisle of goodies.
Other Things To Do in The Austin Area:
Waco, Texas is on only about a 2-hour drive or less from Austin. So if you’re big Chip and Jo fans, then you
should NEED to go. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my post all about Magnolia Market.
We may have sweated through every outfit we wore and gained 5lbs from all the food we ate but all in all Austin was a great trip! We’d definitely go back, just not in the thick of a Texas summer! If you have any questions at all on any of these recommendations please feel free to, ‘call me, beep me, if ya wanna reach me’ <—Anyone remember Kim Possible?!