A Quick Getaway Guide to Austin, Texas
Austin is abundant in nature and has an expansive food scene. With the surrounding hill country as the background and the Colorado river flowing through the heart of the city, you’ll immediately feel invigorated in the nature-based city. After a day of exploring, or eating at the famous Franklin Barbeque, go to one of the downtown hotels off the river, sit back, have a drink, eat some more, and watch the bats fly off from the Congress Street Bridge.
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Where to stay
Hotel Saint Cecilia
Hotel Cecilia is a secluded property with lush offering a unique sense of privacy but situated steps away from the heart of South Austin.
Four Seasons Austin
Waterfront staple on Lady Bird Lake, stay here for the sharp style, on-demand margarita bar and lush three-acre grounds.
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A wallet-friendly South Congress go-to for kitsch and colorful rooms, a sweet boutique and fun pool scene.
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Things to do
This one’s for the athlete traveler who is always ready to be on the move… Zilker Park is amazing and right in the heart of downtown. They have a dog park with river access, a mini-golf spot, as well as miles of trails for running and bike riding. You can also rent kayaks and get great views of downtown from the river.
Mount Bonnell is another great spot, in fact, it is one of the highest points in Austin. It is just west of downtown and nestled in a quiet neighborhood, with free access and free parking. The 102-stair climb leads to breathtaking views of Austin and the Colorado River.
South Congress, or as Austinites call it, SoCo, is a street with about three blocks of shopping featuring primarily small boutiques and/or chic vintage shops. One of my personal favorite spots is the Blue Genie Art Bazaar, a spot which is kind of like a flea market filled with local, hand-crafted goods that you can also personalize as well. Also, if you see something too big to take home in your luggage, they also have a website with all their items ready for shipping.
Places to eat & drink
Jo's Coffee: A staple coffee shop located downtown that has the popular "I love You So Much" mural.
Via 313: Tasty Detroit-style pizza. Not in the mood for square pizza? They also have regular pizzas, as well as salads. If you get ranch with your pizza, they donate the proceeds from ranch purchases to local nonprofits.
Buzzmill Coffee: You can get coffee, alcohol and just about everything else at the attached food trucks. The "bone-in" chicken wings from PlowBurger are a must. And they also have PlowBao which has a rotating menu of vegan bao, dim sum, and more, as well brunch on the weekends. There is also a BBQ food truck, as well as a Philly Cheesesteak food truck with vegan items.
Perla's Seafood and Oyster Bar: A restaurant with high-quality food items and a laid-back ambiance, making it the perfect setting after a day of exploring Congress Street. I recommend sitting in one of the booths in the back for a more romantic dinner. They also have outdoor seating as well.
H-E-B is the best grocery store in the world – and while now I know it seems weird to say you should go to the grocery store for a dining experience, the Mueller H-E-B has a food court near the entrance with tables that’s worth a visit.
Need to Know
Austin is known for its sunny weather, and because it is centrally located the weather tends to be warm most of the year. However, January and February can get cold, and it’s worth noting that it rains in April and May, so pack accordingly. In my opinion, the best time to visit Austin is June and July because the colleges are out and students are back home, so traffic is lessened, restaurants aren't waitlisted as frequently, and museums are less packed. August is a sweltering hot month in Austin.
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