Hi friends! Coming to you about 6 days late on this post. Life has been crazy busy and blogging just hasn’t happened. I was talking to Kev about this earlier and he confirmed that it’s okay, blogging is real life and real life just gets really busy sometimes.
This past year I’ve realized my life ebbs and flows in seasons of relaxation then seasons of serious running around with overcommitting and having to cram every spare second with something in order to somewhat keep up with things. I prefer to be right in the middle but it’s difficult to do that, so for now I’ll just have to muddle my way through!
Two weeks ago we jetted down to Austin, TX to visit my brother and family and to find as many taco shacks and bbq joints as possible. It was an amazing long weekend and we had a blast!!
One of my secret hidden passions is trip planning so before we go anywhere I tend to spend hours of research finding all the must do’s and then structuring our days to squeeze as much in as possible. I tend to gravitate towards blogs for a lot of my ideas because often they’ll point out the spots that may not be included in classic travel guidebooks. I’ve been to Austin quite a few times before, but this time we took the more relaxed, go with the flow style, and it was one of my favorite trips yet! I’d love to share my top 10 favorite things to do and places to eat with you for the next time you find yourself heading to the great city of Austin!
#1. Hiking the Barton Creek Greenbelt
One of the best things about this city is the huge outdoor culture! Whether you’re swimming, running the trails, rollerblading, walking your dog, or doing any other outdoor activity, you’re bound to be having a blast (and most likely doing a lot of sweating). We headed out on the Barton Creek Greenbelt south of downtown austin and hiked about 4 miles. When you’re down among the trees, streams, and little waterfalls, it’s hard to remember you’re only mere minutes from a growing metropolis. Everything was so beautiful, quiet, and gave us so many fun picture opportunities! In my opinion, the mark of an awesome city is one that supports both urban and outdoor interests.
#2. Guero’s Taco Bar
This place is awesome. Hands down, the perfect place to be hanging on a Sunday afternoon. They only serve one type of taco and all you can eat chips and salsa that you eat while listening to live music and hanging out with some pretty great people. Guero’s also has a full restaurant right next to this outdoor spot and next time we’ll definitely be checking that out!
#3. MOUNT BONNELL
We didn’t go to the Mount Bonnell overlook this time in Austin, but I’ve been there a couple times before. My brother and his wife even got married there and it’s such a beautiful spot! It’s only about a 10 minute drive from downtown and you won’t regret taking the hike up the long staircase to look down on the colorado river and the huge mansions along the banks.
#4. Downtown Farmer’s market
We visited the downtown farmer’s market right when our plane got in Saturday morning and it was a perfect launching point for the rest of our trip! There’s so much yummy produce and fun things like homemade doggie treats, breakfast tacos galore, and fresh honey. One of my favorite food blogs, Love and Lemons, visits this market often and always posts the most beautiful pictures of what she finds on her Instagram.
#5. Taco Deli
Ohhhh Taco Deli. Definitely my favorite eats of this trip by far. We also found ourselves here for lunch right after we finished our hike, so it maybe it just tasted extra delicious! Either way, yum!! We started with a giant portion of chips and guacamole and some good old sweet tea while waiting for our tacos. The wait was a bit long but more than worth it! Plus, they have lots of picnic tables and other outdoor seating, so it’s normal just to bask in the sun and chat while you wait. I had a shrimp taco and a vegetarian roasted portobello taco and Kev got the puerco en mole taco and a mojo fish taco. This is a must do for anyone who’s on a taco spree!
#6. Mozart’s Coffee Roasters
Mozart’s is the cutest little coffee shop right along the river. It’s so peaceful and I got the best variation of a cinnamon roll! As with most Austin restaurants, they have outdoor seating so Kev and I hung out there early one morning and watched the city wake up. We’re both big people watchers (maybe that’s a little creepy…sorry) and it’s so fun to see people come for their morning coffee and speculate where they’re off to and what the rest of their day holds.
#7. Zilker Park
Sorry for the blurriness of this picture, but I love both of these guys too much to care! The one in the middle is my husband of course, and the one on the end is my nephew Jacob. I was only 7 years old when he was born, so he’s more like a brother to me and it’s so fun whenever we get to spend some time together! Zilker Park is a huge grassy area right in front of the Austin skyline where you’ll find people doing anything they feel like. Really and truly, anything. In the 2 hours we spent there we saw people playing a real live Quidditch game, at least 45 dogs running around, lots of kite fliers, sand volleyball games, ultimate frisbee, and yogis. It’s an awesome space to run around and be yourself with your friends and family and if you get lucky you might even be there for ACL (Austin City Limits) music festival or Blues on the Green!
My last three suggestions are gonna be short because I don’t have any pictures to accompany them, but they’re just as important and equally awesome! Evidently we were just having too much fun to remember to take pictures…
#8. South Congress St
The slogan “Keep Austin Weird” had to have originated on this street. It’s a street full of quirky shops and restaurants that’ll keep you on your toes and Erica over at Overyonderlust has an awesome article on what to do when on South Congress! If you’re looking for a neighborhood to stay in while you’re visiting, there are over 150 awesome choices on AirBNB. And, if you book with this link you’ll get $25 off your first booking!!
#9. Magnolia Cafe
My nephew took us to breakfast at the iconic Magnolia Cafe, a step back into time. Their website says, “Welcome to Magnolia Cafe! Fresh food cooked with passion in a comfortable setting, kind of like your favorite aunt’s giant kitchen, if she had one.” I absolutely love that. It was exactly as you’d imagine it to be too. Welcoming, no frills, comfortable, and some darn good cookin’!
#10. Salt Lick BBQ
If you have a car and you’re itching for a mini road trip, I highly recommend taking a drive to The Salt Lick. It’s about 30 minutes southwest of Austin and you will. not. regret. it. There’s lots of opinions as to what the best Austin area BBQ is, but my favorite so far is The Salt Lick. When you walk up you’ll see lots of wooden picnic tables, most likely tons of people clamoring to get in, and someone making fresh squeezed lemonade for you as you wait. After walking through the door you’ll be greeted by a giant area of meats of all kind. The rest is history. You’ll get a plate loaded up with meats and sides to last you for days and the craziest part is that it’s all you can eat. ALL YOU CAN EAT!! Unfortunately I was only able to down one plate, but for someone with a bit more ambition, you can definitely get your money’s worth. Sooo good. Take me back!
There you have it friends! I can’t wait to hear about your travels and your favorite Austin experiences.