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travel diary: austin, texas

January 22, 2015

 

Austin, Texas. Where the food trucks are aplenty and the residents are obsessed with living there. My girlfriend and I arrived in the city Sunday afternoon and immediately got ourselves into the Texas getaway mood with chips + guacamole, margaritas, and the most indulgent Tex Mex brunch we could find. In our 3 nights / 4 days we ate well, snapped lots of pics, sipped fresh craft cocktails and tasty smoothies, and met countless friendly folks. We packed so much into our few days there that I kept a little travel diary to remember it all. While there were loads of highly recommended spots we didn’t get to hit – here’s what we did do, along with what we’d suggest for others visiting the Texas town!

Sunday:
2 pm – Checked into the Austin Motel. It’s right in the fun South Congress neighborhood. Almost everything we wanted to see / do was within a few blocks. Kitchy themed rooms (we ended up with the Great Wall of China room!) and while the whole place was pretty dated, it was in a super fun area and had tons of character – we didn’t want a big chain hotel downtown that you’d find in any other big city!

 

2:30 – Late brunch at Guero’s Taco Bar. We ordered guac and both got the chilaquiles (the tastiest cheesy mess of tortilla strips topped with beans, fried eggs, salsa, avocado, and ranchero) + margaritas and a mayahuel (fresh squeezed grapefruit juice + tequila). We loved sitting outside right on South Congress Street to enjoy this big meal and take in some great people watching. They don’t have the tagline ‘Keep Austin weird’ for nothing!

 

3:30 – Wandered through the shops along South Congress. Uncommon Objects was an odd / cool / worth-seeing shop, Service was a neat mens store with great lines, and Co-Star had some of my favorite womens lines + a vintage designer section in the back. Also a handful of sweet vintage shops along this street.

 

7 pm – Took about a 15 minute walk downtown to 6th St. We checked out the Rattle Inn where I had a really yummy prickly pear cocktail, then to Dogwood (random fact – it is owned by former Bachelor contestant Brad Womack), and J Blacks for a craft cocktail and a late night margarita pizza. Sipped on a nightcap while taking in some live music at the Continental – it was a light crowd that night but was a fun spot with a few couples waltzing around the dance floor.

Monday:
9 am – Walked across the street from where we were staying to the Austin Juice truck. Oh man oh man. It was just too good. My friend and I both got the ‘Chocolate Freak’ – it was just so delicious and kept us full for hours. We wandered around more of the South Congress area and stopped for a late morning cafe au lait at Jo’s. The iconic Austin ‘I love you so much’ is on the side of it, and it’s literally next door to our hotel. It’s fun to watch all types of people stand in line to get their pic in front of this sign – couples, parents with babies, goofy kids and their cute dogs.

 

11 am – Headed back to the downtown area around 2nd Street to poke around some boutiques.

 

1 pm – Stopped at La Condesa for a light bite. We ordered a guacamole tasting plate and I had a fresh house-made horchata to drink.

 

2:30 pm – Enjoyed the sunshine and mid-seventies temps relaxing at our pool.

 

5:30 pm – Met up with a new Austin resident / girlfriend from home at La Perla for a happy hour glass of wine + roasted brussels sprouts and a wedge salad loaded with fresh crab. They have a big yet quaint patio with darling lights hanging overhead.

 

7 pm – Hopped in the permanent existing line outside of Amy’s for their famous ice cream. I had coconut but my 2 friends both got the Mexican Vanilla – which was by far the best choice.

Tuesday:
9 am – Back to the Austin Juice truck for another morning smoothie. I tried the ‘Coco burning love’ in a bowl, so it was topped with granola + fresh fruit. We spent the morning driving around some fun areas and checking out apartments for my girlfriend who is planning to move to Austin.

 

11:30 am – Stopped at Radio Coffee and Beer for a caffeine break. They had a tasty looking taco truck parked outside and kombucha on tap but I stuck with my almond milk cafe au lait, enjoying it from their enormous outdoor patio.

 

12:30 pm – Spent the afternoon on Lady Bird Lake, on ridiculously fun and goofy looking water bikes. It was a cool way to see the city from a different angle, and it’s situated right between South Congress and downtown.

 

4 pm – Happy hour at Lucky Robot. We sat outside on the patio and had the crunchy atomic salmon roll and the hama hama roll (SO GOOD!), along with a thai basil lemon drop + peach blossom breeze cocktails.

 

7 pm – Grabbed a cranberry mule on Rainey Street – a darling area full of bars housed inside old bungalows. Played several rounds of BINGO with a group of fun locals.

Wednesday:
8 am – Hung out sipping coffee on the outdoor patio at Jo’s while my friend met with a potential employer. They serve my favorite – Stumptown Coffee – and it was another great people / dog watching spot.

 

10 am – Mexican breakfast at Curra’s Grill. Apparently they’re known for their ‘avocado margaritas’ but after our past few gluttonous days, we just couldn’t do it! Next time!

 

11 am – Checked out a few more shops – Stag, By George, Sunroom, and Kickpleat. They were all lovely boutiques full of beautiful things – it was probably a good thing I only came with a carry on bag and didn’t have much room to spare!

 

12:30 pm – Strolled around Hope Outdoor Gallery – a graffiti park that’s an explosion of color + messages – some hidden and some quite loud. You could stare around at all of it for hours and would continue to notice new things. You wouldn’t even have to appreciate art to enjoy seeing this – it’s truly amazing in person.

 

1:30 pm – Snapped a pic in front of the iconic ‘Greetings from Austin‘ mural and grabbed a coconut chai from the Macaroon spot next door.

 

2:30 pm – Checked out the area around University of Texas campus and drove by the capital – which I knew would be big but it was just massive – really a gorgeous, impressive building.

 

4 pm – Made our way back to the airport to head home. Ready for a little post-Austin detox but already looking forward to my next visit to the happy / weird / friendly / fun city!

 

 

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