Best Things to Do in Austin
Our first visit to Austin, Texas for a family getaway and late Mother’s Day celebration was nonetheless exciting, action packed and we are all looking forward to the next time we can enjoy mimosas on Fairmont Hotel’s rooftop pool with a panoramic view of Downtown Austin. As one of the top up and coming cities in the US, Austin has a little something for everyone, but it’s widely known for its live music, BBQ and beer. The city is filled with the most trending things to do and has a very tech savvy approach to its local system. Here’s what we chose to experience during what I would call an ‘average' weekend in Austin!
Choosing your choice of leisure is the first thing we do when visiting somewhere new. After a lot of research we found the Colorado River that runs through the city was an ideal candidate for hotel location and our eyes were set on the Fairmont Austin. With views to the bridge where the bats appear at dusk each day, a nearly brand new facility with a beautiful lobby bar featuring live music on weekends and easily the sickest rooftop pool of a panoramic view of Downtown made us book this hotel.
Upon arriving to Fairmont Austin our expectations were kindly exceeded by the profound customer service and staff. As a hotel guest, excellent customer service can make a stay from good to perfect. We felt more than accommodated and heard by this staff from our waitresses, front desk, bartenders and poolside service.
To include my favorite amenities at this hotel, I would say the rooftop pool is a must. Booking a cabana with what feels like you’re inside a photo was the highlight of my weekend. Poolside service is wonderful for a variety of lunch options, cocktails and fruit platters, and it’s the perfect Saturday afternoon. The tanning chairs inside the pool kept us cool, and the corn hole kept us entertained.
Next, the hotel lobby has a bar and lounge area with live music on weekend evenings. Next to it, there is a neon lit brunch buffet hiding behind the lounge area that had easily the best breakfast in town. Our family dove in on chicken and waffles, freshly made crepes, blueberry pancakes, eggs benedict, and the list goes on. It was my favorite food coma and I could snuggle back into bed for a little post food nap!
We can’t wait to go back, we especially want to try their spa that we unfortunately didn’t have time for this round!
Walking distance from our hotel was a variety of food options. We settled on Bangers for lunch, a local sausage and beer joint that has vegetarian and vegan options. I tried their vegetarian White Tiger sausage dog and honestly went to heaven. I’m personally a pretty healthy eater and not a big sausage fan, but wow this place needs at least one shot at your taste buds! Their jalapeño mac n cheese was also delicious, but nothing compares to that veggie sausage dog!
Dinner options were many, but after being told this was top 3 tacos in Austin, we couldn’t resist (and Austin takes tacos very seriously). Austin Taco Project is a small restaurant located just below the Hilton Hotel. I came to the Mexican joint with my mouth watering for chips and salsa, but my mind was about to be blown when I tried the Pollo and Shrimp Bao tacos with their assorted sauces. From my mom who hates spicy- to me who loves all the spice- we all left raving about this taco spot.
One of the food craving spots we enjoyed for food trucks was on Rainey Street. Austin is known for some of the best food trucks (and I remember overhearing someone saying this is where food trucks started) and they won’t disappoint!
PERK! If you’re a sweet tooth like me, you NEED, you HAVE TO, you MUST visit the Baked Bear. No matter what kind of sweet tooth you are, this cookie and ice cream sandwich shop does it right.
I wanted to try a good ol’ BBQ spot, and we were recommended to Terry Blacks Barbecue. Although their food was made well, I would search for menus prior to visiting your BBQ spot! My family has a mix of meat eaters, vegetarians and pescatarians, so Terrys wasn’t ideal choice since it is pretty much ONLY meat and a couple of sides. If you’re looking for good brisket, pork or ribs with coleslaw and BBQ sauce, this is your place!
Prior to visiting Austin’s nightlife, we heard a lot about 6th street; but when we arrived, the locals all told us “The Dirty Sixth” tends to be a little dirty, rowdy and “a place where underage drinkers go.” For us in our late twenties, we wanted something fun, and Rainey St was our mood! It is a full block or more full of bars that are literally next door to each other, so bar hopping is on a new level here!
Each bar has a different vibe, music and energy, so throughout our Saturday night we ended up having one too many well-made cocktails and dancing to 90s music. It was such a fun place to see, and of course, there is a huge food truck court on the block to pay a visit to on your way back to the hotel (which to casually note is two blocks away from Fairmont. BONUS!)
I loved these bars because they felt like an adult playground with plenty of dance floors, entertainment like corn hole, hula hooping and games and lounge areas that make Rainey St truly iconic. Just keep an eye out for the drunk Bird riders!
The charm of Austin is that there is something for everyone! Most places in Downtown Austin are walking distance, but thanks to the new electronic scooters “Bird” and bikes “Wheels,” getting to and from places is faster, cheaper and easier than ever. It’s an easy way out of the traffic and makes for a fun joy ride. Uber and Lyft are also readily available, and most hotels offer services too!
Around every block there is something new or historical to see in Austin. It has so many things to do from inside to outside, relaxing or adventurous. The weather is hot and humid, so personally visiting around summer is ideal for my family! I think exploring is great to try here without planning everything out. Congress St is the main place for shopping and a good start.
I would highly recommend visiting the bats, what Austin is known for! You can simply stroll to the bridge at dusk and find a cozy place next to a stranger to watch the fantastic view of nature, or there are a variety of dinner boats, paddle boats, kayaks and more that you can experience this on a new level! They leave each night to feed, and that’s all I will share. Go without knowing too much like I did, and you will truly be in awe. The bridge is already a stunning spot to watch the sunset anyways!