Austin Travel Guide

Austin, Texas

Austin ranks at the top of my list for places to visit. The capital of Texas has all of my favorites including Mexican food, Etsy style boutique shopping and a variety of outdoor activities. Austin is famous for it’s “dive joints” – eclectic, funky, mom and pop businesses that have a one-of-a-kind feel plus some of the best Tex-Mex and Barbecue in the state. Are you getting hungry? The city is a food lover’s paradise with no shortage of dining options. What once was a small hippie city has transformed into something much slicker thanks to big events like the SXSW music festival and celebrity sightings. My Austin travel guide includes the top must-do things to plan your visit. I also denote  V* for vegetarian and *GF for gluten-free dining options.

What are some of your favorite places to visit in Austin? Leave your responses in the comment section.  

EAT

Whole Foods Market  is the flagship location and one of the largest. I like the Taco Bar for breakfast tacos. *V *GF

Taco Deli has the best queso in Austin. I also recommend the breakfast tacos and green salsa. V* *GF

Torchy’s Tacos is where the tacos have crazy names. Try the street corn.  *V *GF

Vera Cruz All Natural is a popular food truck in downtown Austin serving quality fresh ingredients. My personal favorite is the Agua Fresca watermelon drink to cool off on a hot summer day. *GF *V

Al Pastor serves authentic Mexican food. The guacamole and salsa are especially good.  *V *GF

Joe’s Bakery is a local favorite serving Tex-Mex for over sixty years. The carne guisada and anise buns are popular menu items.

Enchiladas Y Mas is a neighborhood Tex-Mex spot. Enchiladas are popular.

Consuelo’s Kitchen serves delicious traditional Mexican food.

Freebirds serves mouth-watering burritos.

Franklin Barbecue is the top barbecue in Austin. Arrive early to avoid long lines. *GF

The Salt Lick is another popular barbecue restaurant in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

Huts Hamburgers  is an Austin institution dating back to 1939. Gluten Free buns are available.  *V *GF

Hop Doddy Burger Bar is a good spot for casual dining. *GF

24 Diner is the best late night dining option. *GF

Shady Grove offers outdoor dining under a pecan grove shaded patio. *V *GF

Home Slice serves New York style pizza.

House Pizzeria sells pizza by the slice. The locally sourced ingredients make the pizzas very tasty.

Vespaio is an Italian eatery that will not disappoint. The food is high quality and fresh. The ambience makes the meal memorable.

The Vegan Yacht is home of the slamwich. *V *GF menu

Casa De Luz is a lovely macrobiotic restaurant .

Counter Culture  is an inexpensive vegan café. The mac and cheese is a popular menu item.

Kerbey Lane is a vegan diner. The queso is tasty.

Wink is a good choice if you want to impress a date.

Blue Dahlia Bistro is a romantic café serving organic fare.  

Fricano’s Deli serves up the best sandwiches in town.

The Liberty is a live music venue serving pub fare.

Parkside is popular for oysters.

Eastside Cafe serves comfort food in an adorable bungalow.

Moonshine serves classic American comfort food.

Fino offers a popular Paella Night on Tuesdays. Great for outdoor dining.

East Side King is my favorite food truck in Austin. The East side location is located inside the Liberty Bar. Check the website for other food truck locations. The beet fries are popular. I am crazy about the fried Kimchi.

Mulberry is a wine bar with tasty tapas.

Koriente offers Asian cuisine. Try the Avocado Bubble Tea. *GF

Daruma Ramen is a tiny ramen shop in a cozy nook. The miso ramen is delicious.

Whip is your go-to spot for Indian food.

Elizabeth Street Cafe features French-Vietnamese cuisine.

Food Heads cafe is tucked away in a charming neighborhood serving healthy fare.

Thai Fresh offers thai food and cooking classes.  The coconut ice cream is delicious. *V *GF

Bufalo Bob’s is a food trailer on the UT campus featuring a large gluten-free menu. *GF

Trudy’s is a Tex-Mex restaurant popular with locals. I like the stuffed avocados. *GF

Uchi is an award-winning restaurant in a refurbished old home in South Austin.

Taco Shack is a popular taco shop frequented by locals.

P Terry’s Burgers is a burger joint featuring a delicious veggie burger.

Austin Food Trailer

DRINK

Juice Land is my pick for healthy juices and smoothies.

Rio Rita is your swanky late night coffee and espresso bar.

The Steeping Room is a café serving different teas.

Bennu is a 24-hour coffee bar offering french press style coffee and designer mochas.

Houndstooth Coffee is my favorite coffee shop in Austin.

Skinny Limits is my favorite smoothie shop.

SWEETS

Delish Bakery is my pick for delicious gluten-free cupcakes. *GF *V

Dolce Neve Gelato is the best gelato in  Austin. The owners are from Italy. Need I say more?  The hazelnut is fantastic.

Lick is my favorite ice cream. I like the Texas sheet cake. *V *GF menu

Amy’s Ice Cream is another groovy ice cream parlor. I recommend the Mexican Vanilla. *V* GF menu

Dolce Vita is a gelato and espresso bar in Hyde Park.

Sweet Ritual is an adorable vegan ice cream shop. *V

Red Rabbit  is a vegan donut shop. Several coffee shops sell the tasty donuts.  *V

Capital City Bakery is the best vegan bakery tucked away in a cute bungalow.

Gourdough’s Donuts are awesome dessert style donuts.

Teo Coffee and Gelato is an adorable cafe serving delicious gelato.

Gourdough's Donuts

SHOP

Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings in downtown Austin. Check the schedule for dates and locations.

Book People is a cozy bookstore. Check out the book signing schedule.

Serve is a kitchen and home goods store.

Toy Joy sells cool toys and gifts.

Big Top Candy is great for party favors.

Allen’s Boots carries a large inventory of cowboy boots including my favorite brand, Frye boots.

JM Dry Goods specializes in beautiful hand-selected pieces from Mexico and other countries.

Take Heart is a home decor boutique.

Eliza Page is a local jewelry store with beautiful engagement rings.

Underwear is a cute boutique with pretty lingerie.

Wee is an adorable kid’s shop.

Tears of Joy Sauces carries a variety of hot sauces. Take some home for gifts.

By George is a designer women’s fashion boutique.

Stag is a stylish men’s boutique.

Feathers Boutique specializes in vintage clothing for women.

Spartan is an adorable gift boutique.

Aviary is a hip home decor store.

Uncommon Objects is an antique and vintage boutique.

Room Service Vintage is a funky vintage decor store.

Eco Wise  is an organic store.

Service is a popular men’s clothing store.

Moss is a designer consignment boutique.

The Paper Place is a fun stationary and card shop.

Waterloo Records is a massive music store.

Faraday’s is a well-stocked kitchen supply store.

Gorin Bros Hat Company is a great shop to pick up a fedora or cool hat.

Austin Funky SIgns

VISIT

Texas State Capital is a beautiful building, and the grounds are perfect for a picnic.

Blanton Museum of Art is home to the Guttenberg Bible.

Alamo Cinema features independent and repertory films.

Friday Night Lights Tour is a must for fans of the hit television show.

Mount Bonnell offers the best view of the city skyline.

The Oasis is the best place to watch the sunset overlooking Lake Travis. The food is mediocre, but the view is breathtaking.

Baylor Street Art Wall is one of the largest graffiti walls in town. A great spot for colorful photographs.

Congress Bridge is the home of the largest bat colony in North America.

LISTEN

Austin City Limits  is an Austin institution. Check the schedule for events.

The Elephant Room is a jazz club in an unusual place.

East Side Showroom is an eclectic venue for live events.

Mohawk is a live music venue.

Sixth Street Entertainment District is a popular entertainment district.

Rainey Street  is the locals version of sixth street.

Sixth Street Austin

 MOVE

Lady Bird Lake is great for recreational activities including stand up paddle boarding, bike and running trails.

Barton Springs Pool is a 1,000 foot natural limestone pool, fed by several underground springs

Zilker Park is a beautiful park with trails, paddle boats, and other outdoor activities.  Grab some grub from one of the food trucks and enjoy the view.

Austin Bike Rentals

STAY

The Hotel San Jose is a stylish hotel in the hip South of Congress Neighborhood.

Hotel Saint Cecilia is a sprawling Victorian mansion with cute poolside bungalows.

The Driskill reminds me of old Hollywood ambiance.

The Four Seasons Resort sits on Lady Bird Lake. The Sunday brunch is famous.

Kimber is an ultra modern boutique hotel.

Lone Star Court is a retro inspired hotel.

Hotel Ella offers boutique accommodations in a historic mansion.

Heywood is a charming seven room bungalow bed and breakfast.

Austin Funky SIgns

GET AROUND

Austin Metro Rail runs weekdays.

Austin B Cycle is the best way to see the city.

What are some of your favorite hotspots in Austin?