Anyone who lives in Austin has an endless bucket list of things to do. The city is vibrant, full of energy and embraces an alternative lifestyle. There is always somewhere to go, something to do, and something to TASTE! There is a reason it recently became one of the most popular destinations for millennials to move to. Here is my ultimate Austin travel guide!
What to Expect in Austin
Language: English! Austin is pretty cosmopolitan and has recently become a melting pot of people, so you won’t find as many heavy southern accents as you might expect.
Currency: Just like anywhere in America, the form of currency you will use in Austin is the US Dollar (USD). Almost everywhere will accept cash or credit card. You can find a range of places to eat, stay and things to do here from low budget to high luxury.
Climate: Austin tends to follow the seasons, but it never gets too cold. Summers are extremely hot with temperatures in August and September reaching above the hundreds. Fall sets in around October and the air gets a little milder; think mid-seventies.
By winter, it’s still sunny but with cooler mornings and nights. It does occasionally rain, and when it rains it pours; but it won’t last more than a couple of days. Spring is very comfortable with warm temps and constant sunshine.
Type of Travel: Austin is a great city for a bachelorette party or girlfriend getaway. Since there is so much to do during the day and such a variety of nightlife, there is always an exciting adventure around the corner.
Getting Around Austin
Downtown Austin is very walkable, but there are a lot of fun places to visit on the outskirts of the city that require alternative transportation. Although there was a period when they didn’t, Uber and Lyft operate in Austin as well as other ride-share companies, such as Fasten. These are typically the fastest and most convenient ways to get around.
Public Transportation: The Capital Metro system operates all around the city. You can get to and from the airport by route 100 or 350, which runs every 30 minutes between 6 A.M.-11 P.M.
You can get a single MetroBus ticket for $1.25 or a day pass for $2.50. If you would rathe nr hop on a bike, check out Austin B-Cycle to pick up and drop off bikes all around the city.
If you don’t want to spend the money to rent a car during your whole stay, Zipcar is a great option! They have lots of available cars around the city that you can pick up and drop off in different spots.
The Driskill Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Austin, and it is known for its elegance and class. It’s on the far end of Sixth Street and right in the heart of downtown.
Accommodation: Boutique, Luxury
Price Range: $$$
When you are ready to hang your hat in Austin, there are some awesome VRBO rentals properties out there!
If you’re looking for a unique stay or a long-term stay, I’ve rounded up the Coolest Vacation Rentals in Austin!
South Congress Hotel
South Congress Hotel is a trendy, modern accommodation that is very popular among visitors. It’s located on the famous South Congress Street where there are endless shops and restaurants to wander into.
Location: South Congress
Accommodation: Urban, Modern
Price Range: $$$
Hotel San Jose
You will find Hotel San Jose tucked away behind South Congress street. This bungalow-style hotel is not only a great boutique hotel but with its lush courtyards and gardens, it’s a great gathering place for friends and groups.
Location: South Congress
Price Range: $$
Blue Dahlia Bistro (Breakfast/Brunch)
Located in the trendy East Austin neighborhood, this is a favorite for brunch. Start with a delicious cup of coffee or artisan tea, and be sure to try one of the tartines!
Soco Café (Breakfast/Brunch)
This retro joint is right in the heart of famous South Congress Street. It has a huge range of dishes from carrot cake French toast to the classic Texas migas. Don’t miss the classic cowboy playing his guitar out front!
As a local favorite with very little seating, this place fills up fast! But it is one you don’t want to miss on your trip to Austin. Munch on some amazing fresh-made pastries, fruit, and avocado toast.
Helpful Tip: Be sure to make a reservation ahead of time to guarantee a spot, ask to sit in one of the outside coves!
Café No Sé (Breakfast/Brunch)
Part of the South Congress Hotel, Café No Sé serves up one of the best brunches in Austin. Start your day right here with a mimosa and breakfast burger (a stacked burger topped with a fried egg).
Hillside Farmacy (Breakfast/Brunch)
Known for its breakfast and brunch, this café is reminiscent of a little French patisserie (with an Austin twist, of course).
Helpful Tip: Be prepared for a long wait time on the weekends!
Little Barrel and Brown (Breakfast)
This place will remind you of Sunday morning gatherings around the table with the family in your home kitchen. Grab a stack of pancakes and some Texas toast at this cozy diner.
Juiceland (Health Cafe)
You can’t leave Austin without trying a smoothie from Juiceland. It combines every possible variation of fruits, veggies, nut butters, and superfoods into the thickest, most amazing smoothie you will find!
Swifts Attic (Upscale Dinner)
Tucked away upstairs in a corner of downtown, Swifts Attic offers a delicious upscale American dinner.
For the best Asian fusion in the South, head to Sway to discover all its unique dishes.
Sip your cocktails under a string of lights on the porch at Perlas. It is known for its oysters and homemade giant poptarts!
Visit this place for some off-the-wall sushi rolls and other unique Asian dishes.
Salt Lick (Barbeque)
About a twenty-five-minute drive outside the city, this is the famous sit-down barbecue restaurant in Austin. It has all the classics from ribs to chicken to beans to Texas toast. A must-have Texas experience!
County Line (Barbeque)
In a perfect setting on a little river, the real “country” of Austin shines at the County Line. It serves all the typical BBQ favorites.
Franklin Barbecue (Barbeque)
Going to Franklin Barbecue (known for having the number one barbecue in all of Texas—some may even argue the world) is an event. People start lining up outside the door at five a.m. and may end up waiting two to three hours for food, but it is all well worth it!
Helpful Tip: Get there early to grab your spot in line. The restaurant stops serving when it runs out of food (usually around noon)!
La Barbeque (Barbeque)
If you’re not up for the two-hour wait for Franklin, try the number two barbecue from the food truck La Barbeque. You may still wait around forty-five minutes, but at the end, you will enjoy some of the best ribs and brisket in the South.
A popular food truck that serves frozen bananas with your choice of dip and toppings.
Amy's Ice Cream (Dessert)
Amy’s has a few locations throughout Austin, and they are known for their variety of flavors and choices of crush-ins that they mix into your ice cream!
Cow Tipping Creamery
Talk about insane ice cream combinations! This food truck will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth with all its special soft-serve goodness.
You have never had doughnuts like Gourdough’s. I would consider it more of a meal than a doughnut as they are stacked with endless flavors and topping combinations. I would suggest going with friends and getting one or two to split!
Shop on South Congress Street
South Congress Street is famous for its shops, restaurants, lively crowd, and hipster style. You’ll find tons of cute boutiques and fun shops to explore. Be sure to go into Allen’s Boots to see the endless rows of cowboy boots (this is where many celebs go to get their boots)!
Visit Barton Springs
Take a day trip to swim in Barton Springs. This is more of a spring or summer activity, but the natural Barton Springs pool is a great place for a relaxing day of sun tanning and swimming.
Get Active With Water Sports
Lady Bird Lake is a great place for all sorts of water-sports. The most popular are stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. There are tons of rental shops around the perimeter of the lake where you can get all the equipment you need.
Austin is a hub for the arts, and the yearly festivals prove it. In the fall, Austin City Limits hosts hundreds of artists over two weekends on multiple stages. In the spring, the famous South By Southwest festival comes to Austin for two weeks of innovation, presentations, and collaborations in all the tech and creative fields.
Night Out on Sixth Street
You can’t leave Austin without a night out on the famous Sixth Street. There are more than eighty bars that line the street (it gets closed off to cars at night, so it’s very easy to walk around).
Each bar has a different personality so it’s the perfect place for a little pub crawl! Go for a round at Buckshot, Sip on a giant margarita at Chupacabra Cantina, and listen to some old country at San Jac Saloon.
Helpful Tip: At the end of the night, stop by Roppolos for the perfect late-night pizza slice!
Most people don’t know that Austin is actually a very green city. It has a lot of great places to hike and witness beautiful views. Check out Walnut Creek Trail or St. Edwards Park!
The 360 Bridge
For a great view of all of Austin, head to the 360 Bridge, and don’t forget your camera!
Go for Drinks on Rainey Street
Spend a Sunday bar hopping on the adorable Rainey Street. A little calmer than Sixth Street, the Rainey Street bars all look like old homes, and they each have their own personality
A local favorite is Bangers, where you can order a pitcher of drinks and sit with friends or meet some locals at the big community tables.
Visit the Graffiti Park
Austin’s multilevel Graffiti Park is a true haven for artists. It’s a great place for a photo shoot or to just take in the creativity. You can even bring your own can of spray paint and add to the creations!
See the Bats
Every evening at sunset from March to October, more than 1.5 million bats emerge from underneath the South Congress Bridge. Look up what time sunset is, and arrive there thirty to forty minutes early for a prime spot.
This is a spectacular show (compliments of mother nature) and a must-see when you visit Austin!
Relax at Zilker Park
Zilker is one of the largest parks in Austin, and it’s always full of people lounging, playing with their pups, tossing a Frisbee, or soaking up the sun. Grab some food and drinks from Whole Foods (the flagship store is located in Austin, and it is AMAZING), and head to Zilker for a picnic.
Attend a University of Texas Football Game (Fall Only)
Football is a religion in Texas, and the University of Texas football games completely live up to the hype. Throw on some burnt orange clothes and head over to DKR stadium for a tailgate and to cheer on the team with more than 100,000 fans.
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