I have a tendency to fall in love with everywhere I visit, and very rarely have I been to somewhere I think I would never return.
Austin, Texas has been a long awaited place on my ever growing list and the day Norwegian Air released flights direct to Austin from London Gatwick was the day I had booked.
I’ve always had a calling to visit and to finally have a trip booked was beyond exciting (Fangirl Screaming at this point.) I’ve linked where possible all the places/activities/shops/bars etc I talk about so if you are interested click away and a new page will open, but equally if you want any further info hit up the get in contact links on my website.
We flew into Austin from Las Vegas on Southwest Airlines. Southwest is a low cost airline covering most of the US and we have flown with them on a number of various occasions to different cities. Booking in advance you can get some cheap deals and you even get to check 2 suitcases per person. If you fly from LV to Austin you also get a sweet ass view of the Grand Canyon for free while flying. The staff often are funny and you get heart shaped stirrers for your drinks, SOLD!
Austin Bergstrom is the main airport into the town and from there we grabbed a Lyft to our Air B&B which was in the Zilker area of town. Due to Texas’ propensity to be rather toasty we had chosen an Airbnb with both a pool and a hot tub (why the hell not!.) As the only flight from Las Vegas had been at ridiculous O’clock in the morning we arrived a little too early for check in but were able to deposit the bags at the house.
Walking a couple of blocks we found TLC a lovely looking restaurant/bar where we stopped for lunch called TLC. We ordered together and enjoyed a feast of Charbroiled Oysters, Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Corn, Smoked Devilled Eggs & Fried Green Tomato BLT washed down with a PBR, River Beer and Wine. If you are in the neighbourhood get yourself there. Also in the neighbourhood there is the Alamo Draft House which is an old style movie theatre showcasing new and classic films.
Checking into the Airbnb, we had made a good choice and our Texan home for the next few days we even had a front porch swing. The Zilker neighbourhood is lovely and very hip but also just a 5-10 minute Lyft/Uber into town or a 30 minute walk. This is the exact place we stayed in Austin, Sweet Digs if you fancy a lovely Texan home.
We had a friend meeting us in Austin and as our home for the week was lovely we decided to order in and get some chill time. This is the beauty of travelling with friends and having a shared space to relax in.
Our friend had brought us some of the Local Titos Handmade Vodka (randomly you can pick this up in Asda in the UK) and later on in the evening we ordered in Donn’s BBQ through Uber Eats. Donn’s was fantastic and we had a selection of smoked turkey, hotlinks, brisket and sides. They have a restaurant in town but equally ordering through UberEats was great.
Next morning I was up, dressed and practically ready to run screaming outta the house, “I’m in Texas Y’all get me some Cowboy boots Darlin.” Managing to contain my excitement we took a leisurely walk into town which brought us over the beautiful Colorado river and into the downtown area. We stopped for drinks at Halycon, a nice coffee bar/actual bar on the corner of 4th in Downtown which was great for people watching.
Heading onwards we decided to go for lunch at Bangers, a place I had seen in this sexy little YouTube guide from Expedia a few months previously.
Bangers is a mecca for Sausage Lovers and is located in Rainy Street (more about this place in a mo.) Now if you love a sausage and a beer, babes you have hit the jackpot. We tried the Texas Hot Guts (I promise it’s lovely and not remotely intestinal) and also a beer flight, where you get to taste lots of local beers (some great, some which have a touch of an eggy fart about them) It’s got a really nice atmosphere, so another definite thumbs up if you’re in the neighbourhood.
Rainy Street is a must do in Austin, it’s a road filled with Texan style houses which have all been converted in bars with amazing music every day. Here is a sweet guide to Rainey Street and the many pleasures it will have to offer you. It’s a beautiful tree lined street and sitting outside Bungalow with a drink in the sun and chatting with my friends was such an amazing way to spend an afternoon.
Back to the house for a quick siesta and costume change we were heading out tonight, out out I hear you cry.
First stop was Maggie Maes on Sixth Street. I had long read about the hedonistic shenanigans ( I like to call them CHANanignas when I get upto them myself) that happened on Sixth and while I wanted to visit, I wasn’t sure it would be for me. Thankfully we were there on a Wednesday night so while it was busy, it wasn’t rammed. The street had a good atmosphere and there were some really cool cars about (more on that later)
Crossing over the road we headed to the Jackalope for some drinks and unexpected amazing snacks. One of the things I love about the States is you can be in a dive bar and randomly they churn out some of the best bar food you can get and the Jackalope was no exception.
We ordered and enjoyed tenders, burgers and fries all whilst some banging hip hop tunes were turned.
Heading onwards we popped to Oil Can Harrys, a place where our friends had had a memorable night a few years ago but on this occasion it was nearly empty. Crossing over the road we were told there was a great band on at Cedar Street, so a quick $10 cover charge and in where we ended up having a fanastic night. The Spazmatics were playing and we ended up jumping around and dancing for a good view hours before calling it a night and grabbing an Uber, and heading back to our sweet digs.
I have a penchant for the strange, and having spent time reading about Uncommon Objects, I had managed to cajoul our friend into taking me before we headed to a mall in Round Rock.
This place is a mecca for all things amazing and unusual and just out there. Another highly rated top tip for visiting Austin, especially if like me you have an unusual interest in Taxidermy.
We headed about 30 miles outta town to Round Rock, where there was an Outlet Mall. Usual Gap and Michael Kors stuff we spent a couple of hours there. My highlight was seeing an actual Mall Cop on a Segway riding through the Mall, one to tick off the bucket list there Chantal. Back into Austin it was time for a little chill and then we headed out to what was my absolute favourite afternoon/night of the Austin trip.
Grabbing a Lyft to South Congress we were in for a treat. First stop was Favour the Kind, an amazing shop selling everything from clothes to cute accessories. Highly rated if you like home décor and kitsch and cute bags.
Next stop was next door to The Turquoise Door, a store selling amazing home décor and jewellery. I purchased a Navajo Feather Ring which was beautiful and I could have spent hours in this place browsing.
In need of some refreshments we headed to The Continental Club, which was amazing. A true Austin music venue we spent a good hour listening to a band that were absolutely fantastic.
It was here we realised something special was happening in Austin that day. An amazing Car meet up with some of the most amazing cars I have ever seen. Now I am the furthest from a car fan but the cars on display on South Congress this day were incredible. It was the Lone Star Round Up and if you happen to be in Austin on the 12th or 13th of April 2019 either go to the show or walk South Congress.
We headed to Hopdoddy for what would be one of the best burgers of my life all finished off with a Skinny Dip Margarita.
Sitting outside on South Congress in the Sun, with my husband and amazing friends and live music playing in the background, life was sweet.
Friday was our final full day and today it was BBQ and Bats (Please don’t think I will talk in a moment about actually BBQing Bats that would be ludicrous and probably illegal)
Lunch was at Stubbs and we enjoyed some excellent BBQ were talking Brisket, Hot Links, Mac and Cheese and Collard Greens YESSSSSSSSSS. We never got to Franklins, but next year when I am in Austin it’s first on my list.
For some final afternoon shopping we headed out to Barton Creek Mall, just outside of town and it’s a huge place with tons of shops.
For our final night we wanted to see something unique to Austin – the Bats. This link will tell you everything you need to know, Austin Bats. But in summary every year from around March to I believe October about 1.5 million bats emerge every night from the underside of the Ann W Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. They usually start to emerge from the bridge around 20 minutes before sunset and it’s one of natures wonders. On the night we were there, they came out just after sunset and it’s mind boggling to watch. Hundreds of other people were also there, and while it was a good view point from the bridge, a lot of people were in the water either in kayaks or on a boat.
Heading back we bar hopped a couple of places before heading back to South Congress for the final time on this trip.
A trip to Allen’s boots was in order another must do shop in Austin, possibly the worlds biggest selection of cowboy boots. Dragged screaming from the shop, I could have easily spent hours wandering and trying on boots.
We stopped off at Vespaio on South Congress for some drinks, a nice Italian place.
We then ended up spending some time chatting to a guy writing poems from an old fashioned type-writer for donations. A couple of quirky poems later it was time for some food before the night drew to an end.
Home Slice Pizza – the single best Pizza ever. If you don’t visit this place while you’re in Austin you deserve to be locked up.
We ordered Sausage and Spinach and our friend got the white clam. It was epic, the owners of this place are actual pizza wizards. A big thank you to our lovely Lyft driver Eric from Austin who told us to go there, we owe you Buddy.
We had one final treat before our last night drew to a close and that was a true Texan Rainstorm.
I fell hard for Austin, so much so that I have to go back in 2019 as I feel I have only scratched a tiny bit of the surface with this amazing friendly wonderful city.
Everything from the friendly people to the places to eat and drink made this city my favouite in the US. Austin, Texas I have only one thing to say…..
Thank you for reading, I hope your enjoyed it. Feel free to get in touch with any questions you have.
Final 5 Austin Top Tips
– Use Uber and Lyft to get around
– Talk to the locals, they are so awesome
– Bring expandable trousers you’re going to be eating A LOT
– Pack a Monzo Card to get the sweetest exchange rates on your shopping