Austin’s city slogan is “Keep Austin Weird” and it’s is truly a city that beats to its own drum. I lived in Austin from May to November in 2019. Living in Austin for 6 months gave me enough time to do every tourist activity but also find the best local restaurants. I hope this travel guide helps you enjoy your trip!
Areas to Explore
- Rainey Street – Rainey Street is a strip of local bars and restaurants. Each stop is unique in its own way. Container Bar is a bar built completely out of shipping containers. UnBarlievable is a bar inside an old house that is Circus themed. There are arcade games, an adult slide, circus animals and plenty of music and drinks. Bangers on Rainey street is also located inside of an old house but is known for its brunch and massive outdoor beer garden. Rainey Street is a great place to bar hop if you are traveling with friends or a significant other. The food at the restaurants on Rainey is nothing special but the food trucks are worth checking out!
- The Domain – The Domain is a large outdoor shopping plaza with plenty of shops and restaurants to keep you entertained for a full day. Our favorite place in The Domain is Culinary Drop Out, a restaurant with yard games, ping pong, and awesome appetizers over Happy Hour. The Domain also has a Punch Bowl Social which includes bowling, foosball, shuffle board, etc. TopGolf is a block off the edge of The Domain incase some of your crowd gets bored exploring the shops. The Domain has a strip of unique bars of its own on Rock Rose Avenue if you’re looking for some fun night-life. The best place to eat in The Domain is Velvet Taco (Oh I miss those glorious tacos). Velvet Taco has wild tacos such as a chicken and waffle taco (the Tikka Chicken is a crowd favorite if you like spicy food).
- 6th Street – 6th Street is a world of its own in Austin! 6th Street is the central party scene in Austin and it won’t be worth seeing until after 11 PM. There are 3 sections of 6th Street and you have to decide who you are as a person before you know what area of 6th Street is your beer-Narnia. First, there is “West 6th”, this is for the uppity people who enjoy sipping a cocktail and chatting with friends at a nice table. The bars on West 6th are slightly more elegant and you can expect to visit 2 or 3 in your evening. Next we have “Dirty 6th” this is central 6th Street south of campus and it is DIRTY. On Dirty 6th you will dance your whole night away to live music. You will drink shitty Vodka 7s and you won’t remember how many exactly in the morning. You will remember the greasy delicious food that is likely in your bed with you. Visit Dirty 6th if you are looking to re-live your glory days. Lastly, you have “East 6th” which is the hip, edgy version of 6th. This is the area where there are regulars in the bars because people have found a place that matches their “vibes” and they will spend the whole night laughing with friends together in a booth.
Sites to See
- Texas Capital – the state capital of Texas is right in the middle of downtown Austin and can be best seen from Congress Avenue which is the original main drag through downtown. When I visited the capital, it was free to enter and explore but you should check the schedule online if you’re hoping to go inside. If you continue your stroll up Congress Avenue you’ll see some historic theaters and shops.
- Zilker Park – Zilker Park is a massive Green Space in the heart of Downtown Austin. Barton Springs Pool is a watering hole that is incredibly popular in the summer and a great place to visit to cool off. Zilker has multiple hiking trails if you’re looking for an escape from the noise. You can regularly find locals soaking up some fresh air or playing a pickup game of Ultimate Frisbee in Zilker Park. Zilker hosts many events and festivals throughout the year that attract hundreds of thousands of tourists to the city of Austin.
- Lady Bird Lake – Lady Bird runs right through Zilker and Downtown, Austin and is incredibly clean for being in the heart of a city. There are always cheap Groupons for kayak and paddle board rental on Lady Bird which was my favorite thing to do in Austin! Nothing like packing some white claws, floating in a kayak with a view of the downtown skyline.
- University of Texas – You’re in the Longhorn state and this campus is home to the Texas Longhorns. The campus and it’s football stadium are downtown and have over 60,000 students enrolled each year. It is beautiful to walk through and I always enjoy exploring different schools.
Places to Eat
- VeraCruz – Breakfast tacos – Austin is known for breakfast tacos and these are the best in town
- Hop Doddy – Burgers (Casual)
- DeSano’s – Pizza (Casual)
- Velvet Taco – Tacos (Casual)
- Cabo Bobs – The Austin version of Chipotle (Casual)
- Cava – Salads and Bowls (Casual)
- Bar Peached – Unique Dishes (Should wear jeans atleast)
- Doc B’s Kitchen – Every type of food (should wear jeans atleast)
If I could build the perfect itinerary for you of how I would spend a weekend in Austin, this is how it would go:
Day 1: Visit the Capital, walk Congress Street, Dinner at Bar Peached, Drinks on Rainey Street (be sure to hop from bar to bar on Rainey, there are no covers and each bar is very unique and different) then get a good night’s rest
Day 2: Start your day with Veracruz Breakfast tacos, shop around the Domain area (Beta is a really cool store to explore), Lunch at Velvet Taco (trust me the tacos are very different, you won’t mind eating tacos twice in one day), in the afternoon hang out at Punch Bowl Social or Topgolf, then head to Culinary drop out for Happy Hour (order their Korean chicken tender appetizer) play games on their patio, while enjoying your Happy Hour put your name in online for a table at Doc Bs. Eat dinner at Doc Bs. From here if you’re a casual drinker, try some of the bars right around the corner on Rock Rose Avenue. If you’re dying to see the Austin action, head down to 6th Street, hang out till about Midnight at a bar then go watch the crazy people on Dirty 6th and join the party.
Day 3: Sleep in, wake up and grab a Summermoon coffee (you have to order a drink with “Moon Milk” in it, it’s life changing!) Next, walk through campus. Grab a salad for lunch at Cava or a burger at HopDoddy. Pick up a groupon to Kayak Lady Bird Lake for the afternoon. Take a walk through Zilker Park if you want more outdoor time. End your day with a DeSano’s Pizza.
In this 3-Day itinerary everything is strategically grouped by location so that you don’t find yourself losing your entire trip to traffic. Let me know if you decide to use it!