Have you ever been to a place and felt like it was made for you? That’s how I feel about Austin. I fell in love with it’s charming streets, ultra-chic boutiques, delicious food, friendly people, and the street art. I spent a little over a week exploring what the city has to offer and I didn’t even get close to seeing it all (yet)! But from my experiences, I’ll suggest the best things to do, see, and eat. and where to stay + shop.
- The South Congress Hotel is what we called home for the week. It’s located in SoCo Austin, which is the most photogenic neighborhood in Austin. It’s lined with unique shops and restaurants. The hotel itself is beautiful, and the rooms have a minimal, industrial vibe to them. They are fully stocked with alcohol and snacks, and they have a balcony view of South Congress Avenue. This poolside suite is the one we stayed in, and I recommend this one because it’s so roomy.
- SoCo is filled with eclectic shops, but an upscale option is By George. They offer brands such as Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Acne Studios and more. The beautiful window displays will draw you in immediately.
- For those minimalist dressers, stop by Limbo in SoCo for the prettiest, simplest jewelry designs. They also sell Austin t-shirts that don’t make you look like an obvious tourist.
- You can spend all day in SoCo looking at antiques in Uncommon Objects, or shopping for your bf or husband at Stag.
- Grab a coffee and shop at The Domain. It’s an upscale outdoor shopping center that features Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and more. There’s restaurants + a movie theater to relax in after all of the shopping.
- Austin is foodie´s dream. There are cafes, pizza joints, high-end restaurants, BBQ, and everything in between. For the best pizza in town, hit up Home Slice Pizza. This place serves New York style pizza + more in a hip setting. For an appetizer, I recommend the Garlic Knots which come with a delicious marinara dipping sauce. Even though Home Slice is famous for its pizza, you must try the sub sandwiches as well!
- For a date night, I would recommend Perla’s in SoCo. It’s a seafood restaurant with beautiful outdoor seating under the lights. Their lobster bisque is divine.
- For taco lovers, Torchy’s Tacos is the most popular, and cheap too. Their queso is delicious and spicy.
- If you’re in the mood for Italian, Taverna has great pasta dishes and pizzas. We had the pasta carbonara and veal cutlets, but my favorite part was the beef carpaccio for the appetizer.
- South Congress Hotel has a terrific restaurant called Café No Sé. Since we ordered so much room service, I got to try a lot of the dishes they have. The avocado toast is perfect for breakfast, and the steak that’s on their dinner menu is cooked to perfection. Also, while we were having dinner there, the waitress mentioned that their pastry chef has been on Top Chef. So we HAD to try the desserts. The pumpkin custard pie with cranberry cheesecake ice cream was to die for. Check out their gorgeous instagram page here.
- One of my favorite things about the city was the abundance of street art it has. It seems like every other building had a mural on it. The “postcard” greetings from Austin is a must- see.
- Another must see is the Texas State Capitol in Downtown Austin. It’s so big, you can see it walking down the Congress Bridge. It’s beautiful in person, and there was a big Christmas tree in front for the holidays.
- If you’re visiting Austin for the holidays, the Trail of Lights is a sight to see. Located in Zilker Park, the Christmas tree is 155 feet tall, and the trail is mile long festival of lights. Kids and adults will love it.
- Take a walk downtown across the Congress Bridge and explore the restaurants and shops. There’s also lots of bars to unwind in. We walked around dusk, which is the perfect time to see the lights starting to twinkle.
- Browse through CDs and records at Waterloo Records. They have every record imaginable. I picked up Solange’s “A Seat At The Table” and it’s currently playing while I write this.
- Get a mani + pedi at tenoverten in SoCo. They have non toxic nail polishes, and also offer Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana nail varnishes. I treated my daughter to a mani here and the employees are super friendly!
This is just a little taste of what Austin has to offer. We are returning soon, so I’ll be posting a part 2. Hope you enjoyed the guide, and let me know if you have visited ATX before!