Weekend Wanderings: Austin Guide

Weekend Wanderings: Austin Guide

From partying on 6th Street to canoeing the Colorado River, the city of Austin offers travelers plenty to do and see. Here’s our Weekend Wanderings Austin Guide.

Where To Stay

New hotels are popping up all over Austin. But here are a few of our favorite.

Aloft/Element Downtown Austin: The newly built dual-brand Aloft/Element Downtown Austin has a near perfect location right in the heart of Downtown Austin off Congress Ave. You’ll find modern loft style inspired rooms in both sides of the dual-brand property. The hotels feature Caroline, a restaurant and bar with outdoor, street-level dining along with a bakery & coffeehouse. Plus the hip gathering spot on the 2nd floor, the open-air bar Upstairs at Caroline.

The Driskill: The Driskill, part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, is located right in the heart of Austin on 6th street. The historical and Romanesque-style building opened in 1886 and is the oldest operating hotel in Austin. The luxury and historical hotel has 189 guest rooms including 14 suites, each one with a unique story. Grab breakfast or lunch at the Zagat-rated 1886 Café and Bakery. Then sip cocktails complemented by entertainment at the Driskill Bar and dine at the Driskill Grill—once frequented by Lyndon B. Johnson.

Fairmont Austin: The newest and largest hotel in Austin just opened near the Austin Convention Center. The modern yet luxurious hotel has over 1,000 guestrooms. The hotel also has 5 restaurants and bars, along with a rooftop pool and 140,000 sq ft of meeting space. The on-site spa has a salon, a gym and a hot tub.

Where To Eat

Torchy’s Tacos: You’ll hear people brag about Torchy’s Tacos. The Torchy’s motto is damn good tacos. Well Torchy’s definitely lives up to the hype. In fact we ate there twice it was so good. And the tacos were in fact some of the best damn tacos we’ve ever tasted.

Franklin Barbecue: Franklin Barbecue truly might be the best BBQ joint in the United States. The meat is so tender that it just falls off your fork. But be warned. Long lines form early for brisket, pulled pork & other smoked meats at this lunch-only spot. So be prepared to wait…..and wait….and wait. But it’s worth it!

Forthright Cafe: Sunday Brunch is one of the most important meals of the week. And Forthright does brunch right. From their oversized mimosas to the extremely delicious Chicken Benedict, Forthright won’t leave you disappointed. Do yourself a favor though and grab a reservation. Otherwise you’ll likely be waiting a while as this popular brunch spot fills up pretty quick.

Where To Get Coffee

Lucky Lab Coffee: Lucky Lab Coffee has a couple locations in Austin. And you definitely need to put this coffee joint on your list. Not only for the seasonal favorites like the rosemary sweet cream latte, but their homemade toaster pastries are out of this world good.

Caffé Medici: Caffé Medici is Austin’s original specialty coffee shop. And not much has changed as the local coffee shop now has several locations across the Austin area and serves up reliably good espresso drinks.

Bennu Coffee: Cold Brew lovers rejoice. You won’t find much better Cold Brew in Austin or for that matter anywhere than at Bennu Coffee. In fact the owner is so serious about cold brew, he has a whole company dedicated to it: Chameleon. Bennu is open 24 hours a day for laptop hobos in need of coffee and quiet.

Where To Go For Dessert

Gelateria Gemelli: This East Sixth Street Gelato shop, located in a hip, retro space, takes Italian culture seriously. And the Gelato they scoop us is incredible. You’ll find Gelateria Gemelli serving up flavors such as pistachio, brown-butter vanilla, cardamom orange and peanut butter maple.
Voodoo Donuts: The famous Portland Donut shop has taken up shop in Austin. And the 24 hour a day donut shop serves up off-the-wall flavors with irreverent names such as Old Dirty Bastard (Oreos and peanut butter on a vanilla yeast donut) and has plenty of vegan options.

What To Do

Mount Bonnell: Covert Park at Mount Bonnell is 5.1 acre historic linear park with a prominent overlook that is one of the most visited sites in Austin. Climb the 775-foot-high outcrop at Mount Bonnell along the eastern shore of Lake Austin for incredible views of the Lake Austin portion of the Colorado River.
Austin Greenbelt: There are multiple greenbelts in Austin, but the Barton Creek Greenbelt is definitely the locals favorite. Located in south-central Austin, the Barton Creek Greenbelt contains 12.68 miles of gorgeous trails, with the main trail spanning about 7 miles. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to hike, bike, canoe and even swim along the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Conclusion

We can’t wait to return to Austin to add to our Austin Guide. But needless to say, you won’t run out of things to do in Austin and you definitely won’t out of places to eat and drink. Austin has a great nightlife, an incredible food scene and plenty of opportunities to be active outdoors. And if you decide to book a trip to Austin, be sure to check out our blog post on why you should use a travel agent to book your next trip or vacation.

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