This February, my husband and I celebrated my 27th birthday exploring Austin! I never really understood the saying “Keep Austin Weird”, but now after visiting I totally get it. Austin is such a cool city with so much to do and it has it’s own unique style. I’m hooked and would definitely recommend others experience it. I could see Austin being a ton of fun with a group of girls and a great bachelorette party spot too!
While it was rainy and unusually cold during our stay in Austin, we had such a blast exploring the city. Here’s everything you need to know about where to stay, where to eat, and what to do in Austin!
We stayed for 3 nights and 2 full days, and then did a day trip to Waco to see Magnolia Market and the Silos (blog post here)!
Where to Stay
East Austin Hotel ($)
East Austin Hotel is a great budget option. We stayed here and loved it! This place screamed young millennial.
It’s located right on the part of 6th Street known as the “Dirty Sixth” which is filled with college and dive bars. It’s a very lively scene especially on the weekends. Mitch and I chose this hotel because of the location and the price!
There are some rooms available without a private bathroom (this is the cheap option). The communal bathrooms were actually small private suites that included a shower, toilet, and plenty of counter space. I felt like I had plenty of privacy and having to use these bathrooms didn’t really feel like much of an inconvenience at all. This is definitely a great option if you’re looking for a good deal on a hotel that’s still close to everything you’ll want to see in Austin.
Other perks of this hotel: A delicious restaurant called 6th & Waller, a rooftop bar, and an outdoor pool with a bar that is likely a party scene when it’s warm and sunny.
The Line Hotel ($$$)
While we didn’t stay at this hotel, we did spend some time here. This hotel is modern and gorgeous. It even has Alfred Coffee, an amazing LA-based coffee shop, right in the lobby. If you stop here definitely try their Chagaccino. It’s expensive, but so worth it!
On the sixth floor of this hotel is a bar I’ll share more about later in this post. In my opinion, this hotel is in the perfect central location – close to Downtown, West 6th, Dirty 6th, Rainey Street, and South Congress.
There are also lots of Airbnb options in Austin that would be worth checking out!
What to Do in Austin (& Where to Eat)
While Austin is very walkable, it is pretty spread out. You’ll likely want to drive to several of the locations you’ll want to visit. I don’t think renting a car is totally necessary though as there are plenty of Lyft and Uber drivers. We never had a problem getting a cheap ride.
Rainey Street is one of the coolest little streets. It’s filled with cute houses that have all been converted into bars. While it was pretty quiet when we visited due to the rain, it is typically very lively and busy, especially on the weekends!
If you’re visiting over the weekend definitely check out Banger’s Sunday Brunch.
Another fun spot to grab a drink is Lucille Patio Lounge. The outdoor patio is full of instagrammable backdrops including this flower wall (like the one above) and several hammocks.
Another local favorite bar on Rainey Street is Half Step!
South Congress should definitely be on your list of places to go as well! Here you’ll find great shopping and several restaurants. There’s a mix of local shops and national chains like Madewell, Kendra Scott, & Warby Parker.
After some shopping, stop by Amy’s Ice Cream. Their Mexican Vanilla flavor is what they are supposedly known for. I love vanilla ice cream and I have to say this one is phenomenal. They also have several vegan options!
With ice cream in hand, cross the street to Jo’s Coffee on South Congress and you’ll find the I Love You So Much mural. It’s a popular street corner, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding someone to take your picture in front of the adorable wall 🙂
Another spot I would recommend, at least grabbing a drink at, is Joann’s Fine Foods located in the Austin Motel. Mitch and I loved this spot. It has such a cool retro vibe and there are lots of plants, which makes it also feel kind of tropical.
The drinks were great- my favorite was the Lolita Sunrise (pictured on the left). I also really liked the Golden Hour, which Mitch ordered.
I would definitely recommend sitting on the patio if you can (either at the bar or tables)! They only do reservations for groups of 6 or more, so there may be a bit of a wait. If there is a wait you could put your name and phone number in and do some more exploring of South Congress Street! The bar on the patio is first come first serve though, which is what we opted to do!
P6 (in The Line Hotel)
One of our favorite spots in Austin was P6. This patio bar on the 6th floor of The Line Hotel has incredible views, an adorably cute vibe, and an awesome happy hour (half off all specialty cocktails)! I loved the charcuterie board and Sundown Cobbler cocktail. I could have spent all day here… it is so pretty and the service was amazing. They even have blankets to use when it’s chilly.
Be sure to make a reservation at P6 in advance on their website here.
Austin’s first food hall, Fareground is located downtown right near The Line Hotel. This new, modern food hall has six restaurants inside with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating to sit and stay awhile.
I chose to get food from Henbit a new American-style restaurant with lots of healthy options loaded with seasonal vegetables. The Kale Breakfast Burrito was so tasty – I highly recommend!
Mitch went to Dai Due Taqueria and had their Wild Boar and Antelope locally sourced tacos. It was a nice light lunch.
After our first day exploring Austin, we had a very nice dinner at the Italian restaurant Italic. Note: this is not the Italic location found in Fareground. It is a large, sleek restaurant but yet, it still has a warm and inviting feel. We shared the margherita pizza and gnocchi, both of which were great.
A fun restaurant with American food and a patio featuring a memorable backdrop, Irene’s is another great happy hour spot!
Voo Doo Donuts
Definitely make sure to grab a donut from Voo Doo Donuts on 6th Street! I had seen this place on social media many times and wanted to check it out. The donut shop was not only a cool experience, but the donuts themselves were amazing! Mitch and I almost made the trek again the next day to get another donut.
Get Some Texas BBQ
La Barbecue: This unique barbecue spot is actually located in a convenience store (or maybe the convenience store is located in the restaurant?). Either way it was a surprise to me! The barbecue though was excellent. Mitch loved the brisket and chipotle sausage. I was excited to get some mac and cheese, but sadly they had run out for the day. I ended up getting the coleslaw which was very tasty.
Terry Black’s BBQ: Here I finally got the mac & cheese that I had been craving! I put some barbecue sauce on it and it was incredible. The atmosphere was pretty cool too. If I would have imagined what I thought a Texas barbecue place would look like, Terry Black’s BBQ is what I would have pictured.
Salt Lick’s BBQ: We didn’t make it here, but several people recommended it to me and told me it was their favorite. It’s a bit far from downtown, but if you have a car I’ve heard it’s worth the trip!
If you’re in Austin, don’t miss checking out Covert Park at Mount Bonnell. About a 15 or 20 minute Lyft ride from downtown, Covert Park is a fun thing to do outside of the city. There is a very short hike, up 106 stairs, to sweeping views of the Colorado River and the surrounding stunning homes.
The drive up to Mount Bonnell was also pretty and well worth the trip!
Since it was cold and rainy during our trip, we weren’t able to take advantage of some of the more outdoorsy stuff to do in Austin. If you’re there when it is warm be sure to look into these activities:
- Kayaking or Paddle Boarding on Lady Bird Lake
- Barton Springs
- Lake Travis
Mitch and I absolutely loved Austin and would love to go back! If you do go to Austin and check out any of these places, be sure to let me know what you think!
And if you love Chip & Joanna Gaines maybe consider doing a day trip to Waco, TX too! After 2 days exploring Austin, we rented a car and drove an 1.5 hr to Waco for a day. I LOVED visiting Magnolia Market and the Silos. Check out my post on everything you need to know before planning a trip to Waco here.