As Austin continues to rapidly grow more and more people are not only moving here, but are choosing Austin as a vacation destination. As Austinites this means that your couch will most likely be the new bed and breakfast of choice among friends and family members. Because they are relying solely on your expertise to make the most out of their vacation, the question is where and what should you take them to do so that you can prove that you really did move to the coolest city ever? Well hopefully this post will help you plan their dream Austin itinerary!
This is the friend or family member that isn’t afraid to get down and dirty and really see what keeps Austin weird! This is also a good opportunity for you to go out and try things that are off the beaten path.
1. Breakfast – Gourdoughs takes donuts to a whole new level. There are donut sandwiches, donut burgers, donut entrées and of course there are dessert donuts. It might sound a bit bizzare, but when you take that first bite you won’t care that you had to loosen your belt buckle a few notches.
2. Outdoors – The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a personal favorite of mine. If the weather permits it, it is the perfect place to go hiking or swimming. Though you are only a few miles from downtown, you are completely immersed in Austin’s wilderness. It is also a fun place to go geochaching if you want to have a little treasure hunt action.
3. Lunch – food trucks are a huge part of Austin food culture. Though they may be lacking the brick and mortar, they definitely aren’t lacking in flavor. With various locations and cuisine, it is definitely an experience any visitor would not want to miss.
4. Cocktails – Firehouse Lounge & Hostel is a definite must see for your more adventurous companions. It is located in the oldest standing Firehouse in Austin with a secret entrance that is none other then a sliding bookshelf. Once you enter inside you are treated to incredible craft cocktails and live jazz or blues music.
5. Dinner – Contigo is quintessential Austin. The giant outdoor space is modeled after Contigo Ranch in south Texas and with dishes such as Rabbit & Dumplings and Pork Liver Pâté, you can guarantee that you will be getting a unique food experience.
6. Dancing – The Broken Spoke is one of Austin’s most iconic dance halls. This real honkey tonk will remind anyone that they are in Texas. They offer two-stepping lessons every week on Wednesdays-Saturdays from 8:30-9:30 PM and they also offer up some of Texas’ greatest live country music. My personal favorite band to see is Asleep at the Wheel. So dust off your boots and experience some real Texas culture.
7. Austin Weird – chicken shit bingo! Yep, you read that correctly. Every sunday evening The Little Longhorn Saloon hosts chicken shit bingo. They have live music, good beer, and a well fed chicken ready to shit on some bingo numbers. It is truly an experience you can never forget…no matter how hard you try!
The Party Animal
This is that friend or family member that probably won’t remember half of trip, but you have to try and make it as memorable as possible anyway. This is a great opportunity for you to let your freak flag fly!
1. Breakfast – Kerbey Lane Cafe is a 24 hour diner that serves up an incredible breakfast at any time of day or night. Always ask what their pancake of the day is, because it will be sure to impress your drunken guest.
2. Outdoors – Barton Springs Pool is the perfect place to lounge around after a night of partying. This gorgeous natural spring is one of Austin’s crown jewels and the cold water is sure to sober you up right away.
3. Lunch – Torchy’s Tacos is what happens when a food truck turns into an Austin staple. This is the perfect way to introduce your guest to Austin’s complete obsession with tacos. Show your friend an “exclusive” look at the secret menu and check to see which location has a full service bar so that you can get your day drinking on.
4. Cocktails – Rainey Street is the perfect place to pregame before the crazy late night activities really begin. The street is lined with quaint little bungalows turned into bars for your drinking pleasure.
5. Dinner – Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden is actually located on Rainey Street. Known as having the largest tap wall in Austin, not only is their food incredible, so is their selection of draft beers.
6. Nightlife – it’s so surprise that I am recommending 6th Street for your party hard visitor. As much as you may dread spending another night among drunken frat guys and clueless out of towners, 6th Street is an iconic bar crawl that everyone has to experience at least once. I recommend starting out on Dirty 6th and working your way towards West 6th. Take one for the team on this one.
The Conservative One
This is that friend or family member that would like to see Austin through a PG rated lens. This may be one of the harder ones to please considering Austin’s party culture, but don’t fret! They will also fall in love with this beautiful city.
1. Brunch – South Congress Cafe offers an exceptional brunch menu and is also located along one of Austin’s most iconic districts. While your there be sure to explore the quirky shops and snap a picture at the “I love you so much” art wall behind Jo’s Coffee.
2. Outdoors – take a stroll around the beautiful Butler Trail at Lady Bird Lake . You will get some of the best views of the Austin skyline along this trail, also try your hand at stand up paddle boarding or canoeing if you are feeling adventurous!
3. Lunch – Elizabeth Street Cafe is a quaint little bistro offering a fantastic Vietnamese and French fusion cuisine. The laid back atmosphere and the delicious food are truly a treat.
4. Afternoon Coffee – Halcyon is a unique coffee house and lounge located downtown. Not only do they serve your typical coffee drinks, but they have a wide selection of coffee cocktails as well! You can also order s’mores with your own personal mini fire to heat up the marshmallows at your table. Impressive much?
5. Dinner – La Condesa is gourmet Mexican food like you’ve never experienced before. This is the best place to show off how Austin restaurants take something that was already fantastic and make it even better. I recommend getting the guacamole tasting, it’s what I look forward to every time I visit.
6. Entertainment – The Elephant Room is my favourite lounge in Austin. It is a little underground jazz bar with a cozy atmosphere and they offer excellent live jazz music every night of the week. It is the perfect night cap to an excellent day exploring Austin.
Of course there are many more things to do in this great city, but I hope that this could help you plan that dream Austin vacation for your friends and family members that deem you the Austin expert in their life!