It’s no secret that I LOVE Austin, TX. I went to the University of Texas for college and ended up living in Austin for seven years. There is ALWAYS something to do there. I miss it so much and I would love to move back once we get our Cedar Fever under control. But here is my Austin Travel Guide if you are visiting or moving there!
Favorite Austin Restaurants:
Taquero Mucho – cute new restaurant and a great brunch spot. STRONG drinks, too!
Z’Tejas – great brunch spot on West 6th Street! I went here for my college graduation brunch with my friends and family!
Irene’s – another great brunch spot or a good happy hour spot with the girls! They have one of those cute greenery walls with a light-up sign for photos! And the cocktails are goooood!!
Abel’s on the Lake – so fun for watch parties, brunch, or a nice warm day on the lake. They serve Texas Teas if you are trying to get f*cked up. Seven different liquors and two will get you blacked out if you are trying to have a good time with friends. The view is also amazing so make sure to get a table outside.
P. Terry’s – I know this sounds weird but you have to drive through P. Terry’s and get a burger and a milkshake. Salted Caramel is my favorite. This is my all time favorite fast food place (yes even better than Whataburger to me), but they only have them in Austin. So when you are hungover from drinking Texas Teas at Abel’s, go to P. Terry’s and cure that hangover QUICK!
Thundercloud Subs – also a great hangover spot. Thundercloud sandwiches are my favorite. And it’s also an Austin-exclusive so you have to try it at least once. It’s also super hippie and “keep Austin weird” vibes so it’s a lot of fun. The sandwiches are great and the price is right.
Kerbey Lane – OMG get the queso! Kerbey Queso is famous. Such a good breakfast or brunch spot. Or a late night munchie spot if you’ve been partying. They also serve mimosas. Definitely a staple when I was in college.
Gloria’s on 6th – this is a huge pre-downtown spot. Get a few margaritas and split the nachos with someone and then walk to West 6th for an amazing night. Birthday celebrations, bachelorette/bachelor parties, graduation night, date night, or girl’s night. This was the perfect combo when my friends and I wanted to have a good night and enjoy Austin. The margs are no joke.
Mozart’s – This was my favorite spot to study when I was at UT. It’s also great if you want to sit on a patio, drink coffee, eat a pastry, and look at the lake. The whole place is pretty much a giant multi-level patio and it’s perfect for studying, working, coffee dates, and so on with a view.
Franklin’s BBQ – this is the famous BBQ spot in Austin where people wait in line for hours. If you live in Austin or visit a lot, you have to try it at least once. Bring some camp chairs and a cooler full of beer and make it a party while you wait. Just make sure you get in line early because they tend to run out of BBQ.
Wanderlust Wine Co. – this is the cutest concept! Wine on tap, snacks, and half off Wednesdays! Perfect for the girls.
Juan in a Million – excellent breakfast restaurant on the East Side! Delicious tacos and good hangover spot! And a fun name, too.
Haru Sushi – great sushi spot in Austin!
Uchiko – my favorite sushi spot in Austin, but it is pricier!
Sway Thai – best thai food in Austin (IMO)!
Polvos Downtown – delicious mexican food
Tyson’s Tacos – the name says it all! Cute little hole in the wall type place and great outdoor seating.
Summer Moon Coffee – great coffee and such a cute, aesthetically pleasing coffee spot!
Favorite Outdoor Austin Activities:
Zilker Park – take the dogs, take the friends, have a picnic, read a book on a blanket, take a nap, go for a run, go to a festival or a concert. I lovvvve Zilker!
Blues on the Green – Every other Wednesday in the summer there is a live music festival called Blues on the Green. It’s usually local/small bands but there are hundreds of people and it’s FREE! Parking is kind of crazy so make sure you Uber or wear walking shoes. You can bring booze too. I love bringing a blanket, a little cooler, maybe some snacks or a Thundercloud Sub and friends or a date and enjoy the night for free!
Hike Mt. Bonnell – not a difficult hike but the view up top is Amazing! One year my friends and I hiked Mt. Bonnel and sat to watch some special meteorshower that was happening that night. It was absolutely amazing!
Paddle boarding on Ladybird Lake/Lake Austin – it’s $20 for an hour but they don’t really time you. Perfect for hot days or snapping some cute photos for the gram. There are also a lot of paddle boarding fundraisers that happen yearly so it’s a huge group of people paddle boarding for a good cause. I know Austin Pets Alive does a fundraiser for Parvo dogs every year.
Barton Springs Pool – natural spring that stays 72 degrees year round. Always such a good time, swimming and picnicking!
Hamilton Pool – coolest photo spot! Or just the coolest swimming spot in general! Just Google Hamilton Pool Austin and you’ll see what I mean! This place is unreal…
Jacob’s Well – not exactly in Austin but another great swimming spot for hot days and a short drive away!
Graffiti Park – I’m pretty sure the graffiti changes daily but it is always so cool to go and walk around and look at all of the cool artwork. Plus it’s another great free thing to do in Austin. Not to mention a great photo op spot for bloggers, influencers, graduates, or just aesthetically conscious people in general, haha!
Mayfield Park & Nature Preserve – they have peacocks walking around here!!
Zilker Botanical Garden – great hiking/walking area!
Hiking the Greenbelt – this is an actual hike so put down the Starbucks and bring water instead. It’s definitely a doable hike (I’ve done it several times) but it’s more than just a casual stroll with a good view to gossip with your hungover girlfriends. So bring your adventurous A game!
McKinney Falls State Park – I’ve camped, hiked, and swam here and it is gorgeous! It’s right by the airport so still close to civilization if you need a coffee but a nice little slice of nature in the city if you want to get away for the weekend without racking up mileage on your car!
Party Barge on Lake Travis – this is so good for parties and big groups of people during the warmer weather! I have been on soooo many party barges and they are always so much fun!! Birthday parties, girls’ trips, bachelorette/bachelor parties, reunions, etc.
Tour UT’s Campus – UT’s campus really is beautiful. You can visit the turtle pond with hundreds of turtles! You can take a tour of the infamous tower and learn about the history of the Tower Shooting in 1966 (there’s a documentary on Netflix about it now, too). You can also check out the Six Pack and have a picnic in the grass. Maybe check out the cool libraries and architecture in the 40 acres!
Favorite Drinking Spots in Austin:
Rainey Street – for sure the best drinking spot in my opinion. Perfect for day drinking! Rainey Street is like a little neighborhood on one street where all of the houses were turned into bars. You can also bring your dogs and there are a lot of bar crawls here also! Apparently someone bought every house on Rainey Street a while back and turned them all into bars and created the perfect little party street. Such a genius. They also have a lot of live music! This is where you will find the locals trying to have a good night.
West 6th – this is the sophisticated part of 6th Street. There is Dirty 6th (name explains it all) and then there is West 6th a short walk away. West is usually where the 21+ non-tourists go to party. This is where you will find all of the locals who are trying to get blacked out and get laid.
Dirty 6 (aka the infamous 6th St) – this is where the underaged, college kids are drinking or where the tourists are drinking. Don’t get me wrong, Dirty 6 is a hell of a good time, but it’s not for every night if you are over 21. If you’re visiting for a bachelorette party, birthday party, girl’s trip, etc. then Dirty 6 will probably make it to your itinerary at least one night. It’s like a mini Bourbon Street and it is awesome. However, it is absolutely wild. I was pepper sprayed once on accident while these two girls next to me were fighting. They also have police officers on horses walk up and down the street and if you touch the horses you will go to jail. I’ve seen several celebrities on Dirty 6 and lots of shenanigans but a lot of great memories!
The Domain – this is a North Austin verison of West 6th. Some of the same bars just in a different location if you don’t want to Uber/drive all the way downtown. This is a local spot also and equally as fun. Less crowded but still a really good time. There’s also a Gloria’s in the Domain if you want to pre-game there and then walk to the bars afterwards just like downtown. When I lived in North Austin and Round Rock this is where I spent my Friday and Saturday nights!
Other Great Things to do in Austin:
Black Swan Yoga Class – this is where it all started for me! It is a donation-based yoga studio and my first ever yoga class and I was HOOKED! If you are in the area or living in Austin, you should definitely check out a class!
Museums – the Bullock Texas State History Museum is a good one. Blanton Museum of Art, The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center, Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, South Austin Pop Culture Museum, Harry Ransom Center (my favorite!!! Literary Museum with original works, literary and cultural artifacts, think Jane Austen and an original Bible), and Austin Nature and Science Center to name a few of the good ones!
UT Football Game/Tailgate – This isn’t really outdoorsy but it does take place outside! Game days are the best days in Austin! Even if you didn’t go to UT you should still check out a UT football game and support your local university. There is a tailgate area where you can get a wristband at different booths and get free alcohol. So a day of free drinking? Sign me up! And Hook ‘Em Horns!
Shopping at the Domain – grab a Starbucks and shop the Domain! Lots of great stores at different price points. Plus a lot of good lunch and dinner spots afterwards and there is usually live music on the weekends!
If you were in a sorority, you can always check out your sorority’s house at UT! Tell them you are a (insert sorority here) alum from (insert your college here). They might give you a tour of the house (maybe after the pandemic) and they might offer philanthropic opportunities and to help out with Rush if you have time or want to get involved!
There are also a lot of websites with cool stuff to do in Austin! Do512.com for instance is a great place to find cool things happening this week/month/year plus they have a “free stuff to do” section!
Comedy clubs are always fun!
There are also a lot of Trivia Nights at certain bars, too!
I’m so jealous that you are visiting and/or moving to Austin! You are going to love it there. I just love how there is ALWAYS something to do in Austin. Whether it’s just you or a group of people, you can always find something cool and new to do today or this weekend.