Born and raised in Austin, Texas, I moved to San Marcos to attend Texas State University fall 2016. Since then, I’ve met so many individuals from all over the State and to this day, I continue to be asked..
“Charlize, what is there to do in Austin?”
I could never quite respond to this question as thoroughly as I’d like to, considering how extensive the conversation would be to actually denote everything there is to do and try. There is no way I could possibly cover everything, nonetheless, there are places that have certainly stood out in shaping my experience within this City.
Thus, I have used this question as momentum in providing somewhat of a guide for someone who knows little to nothing of this great City.
These suggestions are primarily focused for the Fall and Winter. Whether it is a couple hours or a day trip, perhaps visit one of the locations I mention for a memorable, delicious and lively experience.
Every listing and recommendation within this blog is governed 100% by personal opinion. This gives my post authenticity in that each location is of genuine interest and provides quality service.
These places make up the Austin I respect, love and appreciate.
2nd Street, Downtown Austin.・゜
Strolling through 2nd street might have to be one of my favorite pastimes!
It’s an accommodating block for just about any plan of yours: varying restaurants and cafes, shopping, sightseeing (seasonal well-lit trees), photo-ops, live music and plenty of outdoor seating.
For those of you that have a couple of hours to spare or even those of you that are spontaneously and casually planning the day as it comes, I’d recommend starting there!
Jo’s (West 2nd Street, Austin, TX), in particular, presents various events for its customers to enjoy: Trivia Night, Drag Queen Bingo and Rupaul’s Drag Race Rewind. Additionally, every Tuesday from 5-8pm, they price burgers 2-for-1!
Here’s their menu.
On this street alone, you’ll come across upscale restaurants, food trailers, bars and a great night-life atmosphere accompanied by frequent live music.
Via 313 Pizza (one of many establishments on Rainy) is one my favorite pizza joints in town! With endless pizza options to choose from, each pizza is served flavorfully with a thick cheese crust. They also serve fresh salads, beer, wine and cocktails.
Celia Jacobs Cheesecake Experience is another food trailer, although it specializes in mini cheesecakes! My favorite flavor is their mint chocolate.
Grab some friends, dress nice and expect a good time and a full belly!
Austin Tour Company.・゜
[21+ | Highly recommended through friends]
Interested in a brunch on the lake? This one’s for you.
The Austin Tour Company presents an all-inclusive experience perfect for group outings and celebratory events. You and a group can cruise down Lady Bird Lake and sightsee this beautiful City while dining on local foods and drinks.
Do not be discouraged if you miss these events; the Austin Tour Company regularly presents new concepts and trips for you to partake on. Each ride lasts approximately 2 hours and prices vary dependent on theme. They also offer different services seasonally!
The Great Outdoors
There are many scenic excursions for you to enjoy:
- Catching the sunrise/sunset at the 360 Overlook
- Running, walking or biking on the Town Lake Running Trail
- Exploring McKinney Falls State Park
- Sightseeing or scootering around Butler District Park
- Zilker Botanical Garden
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- Overlooking Mount Bonnell
- Exploring the Barton Creek Greenbelt
- Zilker Park – This is Austin’s hot spot! It hosts festivals and events like ACL, Blues on the Green, Zilker Kite Festival and locally-coordinated sport tournaments. You can also bring your dogs and picnic as you overlook the downtown skyline! (the “Dogs of Zilker Park” Instagram account is sure to make you smile.・゜)
- Congress Avenue Bridge: Bat watching
- Austin Segway Tour
- Austin Blanton Museum of Art
- Austin Ghost Tours
- Playground Escape Room
- Mexic-Arte Museum
- Bullock Texas State History Museum / IMAX
- Circuit of the Americas: racing and concerts
- AdZENtures Yoga: yoga classes are held on rooftops, in gardens or patios in various venues around ATX!
- Black Swan Yoga: fitness through yoga and dance choreography
- The Brunch Bus
https://faregroundaustin.com | 111 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78701
Fareground is an inside-outside, eat-drink, work-relax, early entry-late closing hub with a variety of food options awaiting you. The food hall accommodates breakfast, brunch/lunch, happy hour and dinner varieties to choose from: Contigo (well-known for their natural chicken cooked on a rotisserie, homemade sauces and their delicious burgers) as well as NI-KOME (named one of the Best New Sushi Restaurants in America by Bon Appétit) to name a few.
Dai Due Taqueria has become one my personal favorites as I continue my hunt for Austin’s best breakfast tacos. Their focus is on tacos, tortas, homemade tortillas and meat roasting on a trompo, but let’s not forget about dessert…they’ve mastered their churro game!
There are an abundant amount of open space that accommodates large groups, small groups and individuals, both inside and outside.
Fareground: 7 am–10 pm weekdays & 9 am–10 pm weekends; see vendor pages for specific hours considering they vary between restaurants!
Fareground Bar: 11 am–10 pm Monday–Saturday & 10 am–10 pm Sunday
http://irenesaustin.com/ | 506 West Ave. Austin, TX 78701
Irene’s, considered a restaurant and bar, is versatile in their menu options (Restaurant/Bar, Happy Hour) and specials. Their weekend brunch menu is my personal favorite; I tend to order the Bacon Toast Platter with a side of Dirty Shells & Cheese (mac & cheese with smoked bacon, peppers and bread crumbs) and a chai latte.
Happy Hour takes place Monday-Saturday, 3:30pm to 6:30pm / Sunday, 10am to 12am! The specials include $1 off all draft beers, $2 off all snacks, $4 house spirits and free popcorn.
You may have seen Irene’s prominent sign located just before the entrance; It’s highly sought after in regards to picture-taking and it’s become one of the many signs that make up Austin’s trademark. I’d recommend making a trip out to Irene’s with some of your closest friends- the atmosphere is great as well as the surrounding downtown area!
Monday-Wednesday: 11am to 12am / Thursday & Friday: 11am to 2am / Saturday: 10am to 2am / Sunday: 10am-12am
Waltons Fancy and Staple.・゜
https://www.waltonsfancyandstaple.com/ | 609 West 6th Street Austin, Texas
Walton’s Fancy and Staple is one of my favorite brunch spots: check out their menu!
It’s located on West 6 street in downtown Austin and is open from Mon – Wed (7am – 7pm), Thur – Sat (7am – 9:30pm) and Sun (8am – 4pm). They serve breakfast, brunch/lunch and dinner- my favorite being their brunch options which include their popular Challah French Toast, Ham and Egg Tartine, Avocado Toast, Biscuit Sandwich and their Melon Salad to name a few.
I recommend trying their Biscuit Sandwich which includes a fried farm egg, smoked Grafton cheddar, aioli with your choice of smoked bacon, sausage or tomato, as well as their italian sodas.
I can’t forget to mention their lighter options: salads and soups that are flavorful and reasonably priced. Their French Onion and Tomato Basil soups come out to $4.50 a bowl!
East Side Tavern.・゜
https://www.eastsidetavernaustin.com/ | 1509 E Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78702
Claiming to have the City’s best BBQ, I’d have to admit they are pretty up there!
They serve up cocktails, craft beer and entrees (primarily breakfast and brunch) that are sure to fulfill every one of your taste buds. The space is very open and well-lit for you and some friends to take a seat and enjoy the food and one another’s company.
They have daily specials; These include a $7 East Side Burger entree on Monday’s, an all-night happy hour on Tuesday’s, $5 frozen margaritas on Thursday and an all-you-can-eat BBQ ($20/person) on Sunday’s.
Being that I’m very inclined to choosing brunch options, some incredible platters to try are the EST Ranchero ($13), S.O.S. Brisket ($12), Turkey Avocado Toast ($12), Breakfast tacos (topped with your choice of brisket, sausage or bacon – $9) and the Brisket, Egg and Cheese sandwich ($14).
Even their ranch is BBQ flavored; I highly recommend trying their fried pickles for the appetizer!
Monday: 9-10pm, Tuesday: 9-10pm, Wednesday: 9-10pm, Thursday: 9-10pm, Friday: 9-11pm, Saturday: 10-11pm, Sunday: 10-10pm.
http://www.sushizushi.com/ | 1611 W. 5th Street
If you’re craving sushi and a delicious, complimenting dessert- I recommend trying Sushi Zushi! Their menu is full of entree choices: signature rolls, crunchy rolls, Japanese comfort foods, samplers and noodles & rice to name a few.
My favorite dish is their crunchy Boston Roll (crab, avocado, cream cheese, panko breaded/deep fried and drizzled with eel sauce).
Mon-Thurs: 11:00am-10:00pm / Friday: 11:00am-11:00pm / Saturday: 11:30am-11:00pm / Sunday: 11:30am-10:00pm
Barton Springs Road.・゜
Barton Springs road, just before Zilker Park, has become a hotspot for food and drink choices. Particularly when the weather is cool, I’d recommend grabbing your family/friends, taking a stroll down the road and dining in on some delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner.
One of Barton Spring’s newest additions is their Barton Springs Picnic: a hub of lunch and dinner options and let’s not forget about the dessert! Some of the popular, go-to trailer restaurants include Kebabalicious (European-Turkish street food), The Mighty Cone (chicken, shrimp, venison, or avocado slices battered in nuts and seasonings, then deep-fried and served in a tortilla cone) and Hey Cupcake.
Barton Springs is a long, lively and developed area of Austin that contains much more than what I’ll be able to mention: JuiceLand (vegetarian/vegan shakes), Baby Acapulco, Sno-Beach (snow cones), Chuy’s, Shady Grove and Sandy’s Hamburgers are some of my notable favorites.
http://cenoteaustin.com | 1010 East Cesar Chavez Austin, TX 78702
Whether you’re interested in snagging a savory burger, eating a salad or tasting a flavorful breakfast/lunch entree- this is your place! Not only is the restaurant itself well-kept and homey, the food happens to be more affordable than comparable, local options with prices ranging from $3.50-$13. Check out their menu!
I’d recommend trying their Grande Grilled Breakfast Burrito (organic 12″ flour tortilla, choice of bacon, chorizo, or avocado with potato, egg and cheese), Southwest Caesar Salad (baby kale, grilled corn, pico de gallo, parmesan, tortilla strips) and the Cenote Sweet & Spicy Burger.
I cannot forget to mention their delicious coffee and extensive menu that offers a full range of beverages: many of which are locally sourced, organic or made in-house!
Mon–Fri: 7am–9:30pm / Sat: 8–9:30pm / Sun: 8am–4pm
https://www.barleybean.com/south-lamar| 3600 S Lamar Blvd.
Barley Bean is a newer establishment, with the South Lamar location opening as of recent. It has impeccable breakfast/brunch options: Croissant Breakfast Sandwich ($6.50), House Biscuits ($4.99), Avocado Toast ($5.99) and their savory Breakfast Tacos ($3.50/each) to name a few!
For those of you looking for lighter options, they serve fresh vegetable squeezes and signature smoothies (Seaside Sunset, Fat Chimp, Strawberry Banana Soiree..etc.).
For dinner options, they serve calzones, specialty/signature pizzas, wraps and salads.
They offer a vegan menu as well!
I will be writing the summer edition to this very prompt mid-Spring, so that I can recommend some of my favorite things to do under the Texas Spring/Summer sun!
I’ll include prospective events, note-worthy entertainment establishments, cool-off nature spots and my favorite summertime bites to accompany you in your explorations.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite things to do or try in Austin, TX, so absolutely feel free to comment below.
And don’t forget to add yourself to my email list, I’m working on gifts and incentives for you all!
My very best, Char