Last month we gave you a bunch of tips in our review on the Round Top Antique Show in Texas. Since Round Top is located on the road between Austin and Houston, we jump at the chance to stay in Austin while we're doing the show.
Now we're going to tell you the best places to stay, eat, shop AND what to do.
Where to Stay in Austin
The best place to stay in Austin is going to be off South Congress (also known as "SoCo" district), closer to the river. If you have the budget, splurge for the Hotel San Jose or the newly built South Congress Hotel which I haven't tried yet.
Bigger group or tighter budget? Try Airbnb. There are tons of places to stay near South Congress that are unique and a bit more of a local feeling than a hotel. While some places may be a bit off the beaten track, don't be afraid, Uber and cabs are abundant and have you covered.
Also, don't forget your car2go membership - if you’ve got one - is valid here too. And if you don't, get one, as many cities are getting on board with car sharing and it can make traveling in cities a cinch.
South Congress has plentiful food, drink and shopping to keep you busy. Best shopping we've found so far: Spartan Shop, STAG Provisions for men and Uncommon Objects for vintage & antiques.
What to Do Throughout the City?
- Eat, drink, repeat
- Music, ya’ll
- What else...
First, eating. You’ve somehow been lucky enough to end up in the weirdest place south of San Francisco, what does that mean to your meal plan? BBQ.
Want to grab a drink? Well, don't waste time, you've got a lot of ground to cover. While Sixth Street is legendary for its university-going, weekend warriors type of crowd, the rest of the city is ripe with places for a more seasoned veteran.
Easy Tiger is a nice spot for live music and a beer, Midnight Cowboy is your old school no-sign-secret-password speakeasy, and anything down in the house party-meets-legal-establishment area of Rainey Street has proved to be one hell of a good time more than once. This is a fun street where a handful of houses have been turned into bars. Patrons grab a drink inside and then plunk themselves at spots on communal tables outside under the patio lights.
Second thing to do in Austin: listen to music. If you're going there for live music, anytime is the time to go.
If you're looking for something in particular, check the calendar. Accommodation rates skyrocket in Austin during the famous (but increasingly corporate) South By Southwest festival. Try the Austin City Limits festival for a little more chill vibe, or just come in the off season and check any of the local spots. There's guaranteed to be a good show every night somewhere in town.
What else to do while you're in Austin?
If your head is ringing from a night of delicious food, tasty drinks and standing too close to the speaker, bike, car2go or cab 10 minutes over to Barton Springs Pool for a refreshing dip. The pool is a city-run facility so you can expect nice water, clean grounds and lots of people watching. Boost your vitamin D by sitting on the hillside in the sun - you won't regret a day here.
If you want a longer excursion, take the trek out to Krause Springs in Spicewood, Texas. This hidden(ish) gem is a naturally-occurring spring, and groups of younger people will head out here for hours on a hot day. There's lots of space and fun to be had, especially dipping your head under the waterfall to cool off.
Mural: Kennedy Creative Events
BBQ meal: Franklin Barbecue
Lights: Paramount Theatre