I went to Austin for a long weekend back in October to go to Austin City Limits – my first music festival! It was also my first time in Texas so I was very excited. Since I knew literally next to nothing about Texas I did a lot of research leading up to my trip, so I had a solid game plan of what I wanted to see and where we needed to go.
South Congress Hotel – This adorably trendy boutique hotel is a unique mix of industrial and rustic – which perfectly represents Austin as city. While I didn’t stay here, if you want the ultimate Instagrammable hotel, this is your pick! The rooftop pool is the spot for a photo-op with your girls. Some people say the lighting is not great and the interior decor is dark so it can make getting ready a little difficult. These are the things we girls need to think about, right?
Kimpton Van Zandt – Another boutique hotel that really embraces the musical side of Austin. The hotel restaurant has live music every night and all of their rooms even come with yoga mats?! Head to the rooftop bar for picture perfect views of downtown Austin and Lady Bird Lake while sipping on delicious craft cocktails.
Austin Motel – If you’re really into the retro vibe, I’d recommend checking out the Austin Motel. It’s like stepping straight into retro America. With many of Austin’s hottest shops and restaurants within walking distance, this motel is extremely popular among trendsetters and artsy types. I loved the overall vibe of this place, but the rooms were not my style. People love this motel though! When we went by it the classic kidney-shaped pool was packed with groups of people hanging out, lounging and drinking cocktails.
Austin City Limits – An annual music festival held in Zilker Park that brings in some pretty big names. Last year they had Paul McCartney headlining which was so cool! The festival is super laid back and chill, but also really fun – definitely recommend it especially for inexperienced music festival goers like myself.
Barton Springs Pool – We didn’t get to do this because of time constraints, but in all of my research the Barton Springs Pool was the one thing I was so bummed out about missing. This pool is fed by underground springs, which keeps it at a perfect temperature so that you can swim in it all year round. It looks so fun and next time I’m in Austin I’m for sure going!
The South Congress Bridge Bats – Every night during March to November, the bats that live under the bridge fly out in hoards for their nightly feeding. Approximately 1.5 million bats fly into the sky in amazing aerial formations that you can watch with hundreds of awestruck spectators.
Float the Guadalupe River – Tubing down the Guadalupe River seems to be a favorite among Austin locals and I can totally see why! You and your friends can casually float down the river and have a blast!!
Take pictures in front of the famous Austin Murals – Austin has perfect, Instagrammable murals all over the city. Check out the link to see the best ones!
Visit the Bars on Dirty Sixth – Dirty Sixth is what the locals call a part of 6th street that’s lined with dive bars, restaurants, and food trucks. Best part is there’s live music playing everywhere, so you’ll be hard pressed to find a spot you won’t be able to hear a live band.
Shop along South Congress – South Congress is known as the epicenter of the “Keep Austin Weird” movement, and once you take a look into some of the shops that line this street, you’ll understand why.
South Congress Cafe – We stopped here for dinner our first night after seeing their back patio. It was really cute and had string lights all around. I think we sat there for over 2 hours drinking margaritas and eating chips. The vibe there was so nice and the food was delicious. Just a heads up – the back patio gets flooded with mosquitos after sundown. We didn’t even realize we were getting bit until we got back to the hotel and saw our legs were full of mosquito bites.
Magnolia Cafe – We heard that this was a really good brunch spot and we had our hearts set on having brunch our last day. We had to wait just a little over an hour to be seated as it’s super popular, so make sure to plan accordingly!
Josephine House – Offers lunch, afternoon snacks, evening drinks, and special events in one of Austin’s most historic neighborhoods. This is a perfect spot for brunch with your girls.
June’s All Day – Looks like the cutest little spot to eat with your friends. Has a super cute outdoor patio that’s perfect for warm, sunny days.
Upstairs at Caroline – One of the coolest bars I’ve ever been to, seriously! The vibe was so dang fun and the drinks are A+.
P6 Rooftop – The hottest rooftop bar in Austin! It has great views of the lake and the most perfectly chic vibe. We absolutely LOVED it here. You’ll want to make a reservation to make sure you can get in since it’s so popular.
Juiceland – So Juiceland is my most favorite thing that I discovered while in Austin. I hadn’t even read about it at all through my research! It was really hot when we were at Austin City Limits and we desperately needed something refreshing. These girls walked past us with juice that looked so good I had to stop them and ask them where they got it. We’ve been hooked ever since. I even grabbed one at the airport for my flight back home.
Grizzelda’s – Palm wallpaper and pink margaritas…need I say more? Issa vibe.
Iron Cactus – Stumbled upon this delicious restaurant and it was one of the best meals we had over the weekend! Their margaritas are so, so good, as well as their queso. We sat on the rooftop patio and it was a perfect way to end our trip.
Franklin BBQ – Extremely long lines form early for brisket, pulled pork & other smoked meats at this lunch-only spot. Claims to serve the best barbecue in the known universe!
Stubb’s Bar-B-Q – If you’re not interested in waiting in line at Franklin’s (like us), you can head over to Stubb’s instead. The food is delicious and the music is fun! Someone online said it best – this no frills venue doesn’t try too hard because it knows it can deliver.
Amy’s Ice Cream – A lot of people recommended a stop here as it’s an Austin classic.
Voodoo Doughnuts – I’ve been wanting to go to Voodoo Doughnuts for a long, long time. They have delicious artisanal doughnuts that’s definitely worth a stop as you make your way down 6th Street.
While a weekend wasn’t nearly enough time to see all Austin had to offer, we experienced enough to know that Austin is a city unlike any other. I can’t wait to go back and explore even more!
Check out my Nashville Travel Guide