I actually grew up in Austin, so creating this guide to Austin came pretty naturally. In fact, this guide should really be called “a guide to Austin, Texas… from an Austin native”. Despite the fact that I’ve moved away, my hometown continues to be one of my favorite cities in the US. Most of the restaurants I’ve included below are restaurants I grew up going to. My list of things to do are all things I grew up doing and bars I frequented when I moved back to Austin after college. I hope y’all enjoy!
– How to get there –
The Austin Bergstrom International Airport is actually a really awesome airport (I know, sounds crazy!). All of the classic Austin restaurants have a presence in the airport – I would absolutely recommend showing up early for your flight out and actually eating airport food (and enjoying it for the first time in your life!).
– Where to stay –
Austin has so many large and boutique hotels. My favorites are The Driskill Hotel, The Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel, the W Hotel, and the Hotel San Jose. Each hotel has its own unique characteristics. I must say though, The Driskill Hotel is my favorite by far – it’s an old, stately hotel that has character up the wazoo.
– Where to eat –
I grew up in Austin. And I’m a total foodie. So it’s probably safe to say that I have tried most of the restaurants that have “made it” (aka lasted more than two years). Like Dallas, there seems to be no end to Austin’s restaurant scene. From the best food trucks in the country (I love Dock n’ Roll and Bananarchy) to delicious burgers at Hopdoddy’s, the Capital of Texas has your meals on lock down. And if worse comes to worst, you can always just pop into the world headquarters of Whole Foods right in the middle of downtown! Check out my list below for more ideas – I’ve divvied it up by area for ease of reading:
What to do:
Austin is a very active city so no guide to Austin could possibly be complete without some pointers on where to be active in town. I recommend checking out one of the many walking / hiking / running / biking / rock-climbing trails in town. My favorite is the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail (or, as it’s known to locals, “Town Lake”). My hometown is also known for its nightlife – something I definitely enjoyed when I moved back after graduating college. I recommend checking out The Ranch on West 6th Street and Hangar Lounge in the Warehouse District. Other personal faves include Dogwood, The Brew Exchange, and HandleBar.
But no trip to the Live Music Capital of the World is complete without checking out Austin’s live music scene. There are music hotspots littered throughout downtown, or you can always check out a taping of Austin City Limits. Or if you’re more of a festival-goer, check out Austin City Limits Music Festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest, and SXSW.
Still have extra time to kill? Go shopping on South Congress (and check out Big Top Candy Shop!), take a tour of the Capital building, check out the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, or go to a performance at the Long Center or the Zach Scott Theater.