Austin came highly recommended to us. We were told to spend at least 2 nights. But we struggled. I think our issues were that we were there on a Monday and Tuesday, and I didn’t do my food/restaurant research prior to arrival. The BBQ runs out early, the food trucks aren’t open on Mondays and Tuesdays, and most of the other places don’t adhere to their posted hours. We still had fun, but I feel like we should probably give Austin a second chance. TIPS: Don’t go on a Monday/Tuesday. Do your restaurant/BBQ research prior so you’re not on your cell phone the entire time or hangry yelling at your husband.
STAY: We stayed in an AirBNB rental in order to save money, but if we ever return, I would stay at Hotel San Jose located on South Congress near some funky shops and restaurants. It’s a bit pricey and it books up quickly, but it’s in a fun area of town.
EAT: Ok, so here’s the deal with BBQ in Austin: it’s hard to get. If you want to get up early and stand in line at Franklin’s and drink beer, do it. If you want to get up a little later and stand in line at John Mueller’s, great. If you don’t want to stand in line or fear that the restaurant will sell out, then go to Salt Lick BBQ. We don’t like getting up early, standing in line, or worrying that the place is going to run out of food, so we went to Salt Lick. It’s outside of Austin in the town Driftwood and according to the Mister (because I do not eat BBQ) it was good.
Here’s the Mister’s Before and After shots. He made a good effort. It was a LOT of food.Still hungry? How about a fancy gourmet doughnut with an unfancy beer? We stopped into Gourdough’s Public House while thrifting for an afternoon treat. The Mister ordered Grandma’s $1 special: a can of Pearl beer. The waitress described it as “Lone Star quality, but not as good.” She was really selling it. And we shared a fancy donut, the Sin-A-Bomb. And for breakfast and coffee one morning we walked over to Easy Tiger which serves coffee and pastries in the morning and beer and pretzels in the afternoon (with ping pong tables on it’s creekside patio). Plus, it had some AH-MAZING wallpaper!!
SHOP: We love antiques and vintage books, so we checked out a few antique stores. The largest antique mall is pretty pricey, but we found a couple small treasures. We also spent quite a few hours inside Half Price Books which has vintage, used, and new books. I picked up a used copy of the Gordon Ramsay autobiography, a coffee table book on US motels, and a used copy of the latest released book by Leslie Lokko
one of my favorite chick-lit authors (a perfect summer/beach read!!).
But I think the strangest place we stopped was the bulk Goodwill Outlet. If something doesn’t sell at Goodwill, it ends up at their last chance outlet store where you purchase items by the pound. $1.39 a pound. Wow. It was both interesting and sad to see.SEE: We visited the capitol building. It was the only capitol building we visited on the entire trip despite staying in 7 capitol cities. I guess when you’ve seen one, you’ve kind’ve seen them all. It’s a pretty building, complete with a portrait of George W. Bush, and a statue to the Confederate Army outside. (Really?)
We also visited the GIANT Whole Foods flagship store for breakfast. Wow, it is huge! The store has it’s own bar and wine tasting area. Not to mention sushi station, BBQ station, and dim sum cart. Oh, and a gift shop area. It’s nuts.The city is covered in murals. Covered. You can go on your own little mural tour while you’re there. Click here to go on my little tour of the murals.
And if you’re there between March and November, then you MUST go and see the bats emerge from beneath the South Congress bridge at dusk. It is an amazing sight to see. Millions and millions of tiny bats swarm out from the bridge to go and eat tons of bugs each night. We viewed the bats from on top of the bridge (you can look over and see them swarm beneath), but a lot of people also lined the banks of the river and there were several riverboat bat tours full of people, as well as a couple of paddle boat and water bicycle tours. TIP: If you view the bats from the bridge, beware of the Bat Man. He is a deaf man who passes out pins and hugs in exchange for $5, but BEWARE if you do not donate, he will get angry, flip you off, and mouth “Fuck You!” Just because you’re deaf, doesn’t mean you’re a nice person. And he must be making a killing at $5/head.