Personally, I adore Austin; it’s a quick three-hour drive from Dallas, where I live with my husband, our daughter and our hilariously large English mastiff. Though neither my husband nor I are from Austin, we actually got married in a sweet town called Buda just outside of the city limits. All of our wedding weekend festivities took place at wonderful restaurants, hotels, coffee shops and bars around the city, cementing Austin as a forever special place in our hearts.
Here are some of our favorite places to visit when we’re in town, as well as some spots we’ve been wanting to check out:
Hotel San José is our favorite place to rest our heads while in Austin. From the beautiful décor and the swoon-worthy patio to the gorgeous kimono robes (that make the perfect souvenir) and the delicious room service options, we love everything about this place. The hotel is nestled into the perfect spot on South Congress Avenue, making it easy to walk to nearly every place worth going. Bonus: It’s dog-friendly!
Hotel Saint Cecilia is Hotel San Jose’s sister property located just around the corner in a more secluded space. The décor, service and food are equally as lovely as at the San Jose, but with the added privacy and larger grounds, this spot is a touch pricier than its counterpart — though if you’re looking for a time and place to splurge, look no further than the Saint Cecilia.
*This list would be a mile long if it were up to me — but for the sake of you, our dear readers, I will choose just a few favorites and a few spots we’ve been wanting to try. I’d love to hear your favorite restaurants in Austin in the comments section!
La Condesa is a modern Mexican restaurant that serves my favorite margaritas in town. The menu has a fun, spicy flair and the décor is colorful and inspiring. If you’re sharing a meal with a large group, enquire in advance about dining in the historic wine cellar in the basement. This is one of our favorite spots, regardless of whether we’re popping in for appetizers and drinks or a full meal.
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#lacondesaaustin + @newwaterloo Stand with Women. To show our support of the #WomensMarch we will be donating 10% of Saturday's brunch sales to @girlsempowermentnetwork. They believe girls deserve a seat at the table and so do we. Saturday, January 21st, 11am-3pm. #womensmarch #NWstandswithwomen Photo: @austinwaymag
Elizabeth Street Café is an ideal spot for brunch or lunch. This Vietnamese-French fusion spot boasts a wildly creative menu with items including a variety of delicious bahn mi, pho and bun dishes. Don’t miss the pastry section; the macarons and croissants are heavenly.
Jo’s Coffee has several locations throughout Austin, our favorite being the outpost that shares a parking lot with the Hotel San José (we can walk over in our robes and charge our iced lattes to our room!). The coffee is stellar and you can snag some delicious Tacodeli breakfast tacos to go with your joe (until they run out, which they frequently do).
Bufalina is an authentic Italian restaurant that now has two locations in town. The intimate, minimalist décor sets the stage for a meal full of great conversation and mouth-watering pizzas. Don’t have enough time to linger over your meal at Bufalina? Grab a tasty New York-style snack at Home Slice while you’re out and about.
Franklin BBQ is not a spot for the faint of heart, but all barbecue addicts (my husband certainly included) will brave the 4+ hour wait in line for a taste of Aaron Franklin’s creations. Even the more veggie-prone folks like myself will admit that the barbecue here is some of the very best in the whole wide world (yep, it’s that good). Pack a cooler of beer or La Croix, pick up some snacks and bring a lawn chair to ensure that you stay comfortable during your wait. You’ll make new pals in line, as everyone is friendly and enthusiastic. Then hunker down with your plate of smoked goodness and enjoy.
Hillside Farmacy is a beautifully decorated spot that’s wildly popular for brunch. My husband and I popped in for cappuccinos on our last visit and vowed to return on our next trip for bruleéd grapefruit and fried egg sandwiches.
Paperboy is one of Austin’s many fantastic food trucks and it’s a great spot to grab breakfast and coffee. The seasonal menu is small but each dish hits the spot, whether you’re craving something savory or sweet.
Barton Springs is our favorite place to post up on a hot day. The natural pool maintains an average temperature of 68-70 degrees, perfect for a cooling dip on sweaty summer days. Pack a towel, a great book and your sunnies and get there early enough to grab a spot near the water.
Lady Bird Lake is at the heart of Austin’s active culture, with winding paths leading around the water full of walkers, joggers and puppies out exploring with their owners. There are lots of fun things to do on the water itself, including stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking.
South Congress Avenue is home to most of our favorite spots in Austin and there are always fun new boutiques, restaurants and shops to check out along the way.
East Austin Succulents is for all of the plant lovers out there. There are rows upon rows of gorgeous cacti, greens and planters, all of which make long-lasting souvenirs from your trip.
Nannie Inez, Spartan, JM Drygoods and The Gypsy Wagon are some of our favorite shops in town. They are all beautifully curated and designed. All are excellent spots to pick up a little something special for your home or your closet.
Are you a fan of Austin? We’d love to hear about some of your favorite spots!
Feature Image via The Dashing Rider