Austin Recommendations

Hannah & Caleb’s Austin recommendations

Experiences

Outdoor activities

  • Walk or Bike around Ladybird Lake. Because there are so many bridges, and walking paths on both sides, you can create a loop that is short or long. We like to start and end near TLV-Austin for great Israeli food that isn’t too heavy.
  • Stand up paddle board / kayak. There are many good rental places along the lake, all of which charge hourly and shouldn’t require reservations. They can also rent you kayaks if you prefer to sit while paddling.
  • Hike/Climb the Greenbelt. We like the very easy hikes to Sculpture Falls and/or Twin Falls. If it’s nice out, wear a bathing suit and you can jump in. You can also do quick rock climbing on the Greenbelt at locations like Gus Fruh or Seismic.
  • Swim in Barton Springs. This is a natural spring pool that is always 68 degrees due to the naturally cold water from the spring. The Greenbelt goes past this so you could combine a swim with a hike as well.

Two-Stepping

Head to The White Horse at 7pm on Friday or the Broken Spoke at 8pm Wed-Saturday for Texas two-step dance classes. It’s fun and a must-do for your trip to Austin. Boots and bolos optional but suggested.

Bat Watching

1.5 million bats live under the Congress St. Bridge and fly out every night exactly at sunset. You can stand on the bridge for free (get there just before sunset) or you can take a boat cruise to see them from the water (just note that you will experience bat guano from the boat option).

Brewery Hopping

The east side of Austin is full of breweries. You could spend all afternoon hopping from one to the next, and eating great food in between. Our favorites: Lazarus (great tacos), Zilker Brewing (mostly IPA’s), Friends and Allies, Austin Eastciders, Blue Owl (all sours) and Central Machine Works (the prettiest). If you know you like mead, liked Caleb’s at the ceremony, or just want to try a different version, Meridian Hive has a taproom that’s open Saturday only from 2pm and serves “draft” mead that’s lower in alcohol and drinks like beer.

South Congress Shopping and Walking

The most fun place to shop in all of Austin. You’ll find so many treasures here from cowboy boots (Allen’s) to vintage clothes. Make sure to stop in Hotel San Jose for happy hour (sake drinks take the gold) and listen to some local tunes and Continental Club. Start your day off with some brekkie at Cafe No Se or coffee at Mañana or lunch at Torchy’s. Get some ice cream at Annie’s.

Vintage Shopping

Austin has tons of vintage shops, and this is a good guide for them. We often go to the ones near the North Loop like Revival and Room Service, but the other direction has the most interesting one – Uncommon Objects.

Texas Hill Country Day

The hill country is a little bit like what New Yorkers refer to as “upstate”. A pretty vague geographic area West-ish of Austin, where city-goers can experience country life. Check out Fredericksburg to see an old German town with sausage halls and funky antique stores. Reimers Ranch park is where you can go rock climbing / mountain biking. Napa gets all the credit for wine in the US, but the West Texas Hill Country is quite beautiful and is also known for its wines. We’ve enjoyed going to places like Duchman Winery, Jester King Brewery (beers, mostly saisons and sours), Revolution Spirits (great gin), and Pieous Pizza. There are also a ton of swimming holes in Hill Country - Hamilton Pool or Jacob’s Well. Both require reservations that you’d want to get early.

Food

Tacos

  • Torchy’s - lunch or dinner, they make Caleb’s favorite non-breakfast tacos in town.
  • Nixta - go for lunch, they make their tortillas from nixtamalized blue corn masa (gf, veg friendly options)
  • Veracruz All Natural - best breakfast tacos (we prefer the one at Radio Coffee for the atmosphere but the one on Cesar Chavez is closer and the one near Mueller is probably the fastest)
  • Lazarus - coffee, beer, tacos

Casual Restaurants

  • Via 313 - Detroit Style Pizza (think thick, buttery bread like focaccia topped with pizza toppings)
  • Licha’s Cantina - Mexico City soul food with great margaritas
  • Sour Duck - easy, outdoor brunch option with shareable dishes, pastries, and both coffee and cocktail options
  • Salt & Time - This is a whole-animal butcher shop with a restaurant in it. Great if you need to eat paleo/keto-like diets or enjoy amazing food.
  • Backspace (Downtown) or Bufalina (East) - Brick oven pizza
  • Better Half - Outdoor / indoor space with great food for brunch/lunch, cocktails, and coffee.

Nice Restaurants

Most of these restaurants will require a reservation in advance - we recommend that you make one now if you’re interested!

BBQ

In Austin, get the brisket. Anything else is a side dish.

  • La Barbecue - the best BBQ without the 5-hour wait of Franklin’s. Get there early and be prepared to wait an hour, or pre-order a few weeks before.
  • Franklin’s - The best BBQ with the 5-hour wait. for those not busy on Saturday before the wedding. Bring a chair and get there at 8am to eat lunch. It’ll be a while, so bring some beer (or buy theirs when they start offering it around 10 or 11) and send someone for tacos. And it’ll be the best BBQ you’ve ever had.

Vegan/Vegetarian

Ice Cream

  • Gelateria Gemelli - the best italian-style ice cream in town. Pistachio!!
  • Prohibition Creamery - boozy ice creams (some non-alc options)
  • Lick - Multiple locations with a rotation of seasonal ice creams as well as standbys. Some of the best flavors in town.
  • Sweet Ritual - Vegan and non-dairy ice creams that are still great

Coffee

  • Lazarus - coffee, beer, tacos
  • Cuvee Coffee - no wifi, but take some beans home with you
  • Brew & Brew - popular co-working spot
  • Flitch Coffee - outdoor coffee shop from an airstream, near the venue

Alcohol

Breweries

  • Central Machine Works - we’re going here on Sunday after the wedding
  • Lazarus - coffee, beer, tacos
  • ABGB - Outdoor/indoor space with live music, pizza, and salads. Great for bigger groups and kid/dog friendly.

Cocktail bars

  • Whislers - fancy cocktails in a funky space
  • Domo Alley-Gato Tatsuya - architecture and vibe makes you feel like you’re in Tokyo
  • Ah Sing Den - Prohibition-ish bar made to feel like an opium den
  • Roosevelt Room - Our favorite cocktails in Austin, and possibly ~top 3 in the nation.
  • Half Step - Lounge with a great cocktail menu and full bar, in a cozy space downtown.
  • Garage Bar - Drink in a bar hidden in a parking garage! It’s swanky and has great drinks.

Wine Bars