South Congress Avenue
Known by locals as SoCo, South Congress is the place to find vintage clothing shops, art galleries, and food joints. The view of the Capitol, only a short distance away, is the highlight of the street. Signature restaurants and trucks include Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Hey Cupcake!, and Torchy’s Tacos. If you’re an avid lover of alcohol, check out Amy’s Ice Creams for flavors such as Kahlúa or Baileys Irish Cream.
South Congress Avenue, Austin, TX, USA +1 512 474 5171
Caffé Medici is one of Austin’s coffee shop treasures, and there are four locations; to get the hipster vibe Austin is known for head, to the original location on West Lynn. There, you can escape the hustle and bustle of Austin and sit outside at unique stone tables and benches. Parking can be a struggle, but it’s worth it. There are unique blends as well as traditional mochas for a good price.
Caffé Medici, 1101 W Lynn St, Austin, TX, USA +1 512 524 5049
HOPE Outdoor Gallery
Started in 2011 as an outlet for artists, each visit to HOPE Outdoor Gallery is a new experience. Artists create new pieces for the gallery every day. On weekends, a local man captures these works to preserve them on post cards for visitors to take home and remember. There’s a steep climb to reach each layer, but the artwork is worth the hike.
Zilker Park offers numerous attractions, such as the Trail of Lights in December and Austin City Limits in the summer. Located outside of downtown Austin, the park covers a vast area and includes the Zilker Botanical Gardens, Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, and Barton Springs Pool. Spend a day kayaking or paddle boarding on Lake Austin or see animals and unearth dinosaur bones at the Austin Nature and Science Center.
Zed’s is a contemporary American restaurant known for savory steaks and patio jam sessions in the evenings; it is also known for its Sunday brunch. Savor the sweet mimosas and Pecan Street bananas Foster toast or the traditional eggs Benedict. Eat out on the quaint patio overlooking a small creek. The waitstaff is sure to give you the best experience, and if you get there early enough there’s little or no wait.
Zed’s, 501 Canyon Ridge Dr, Austin, TX, USA +1 512 339 9337
Start your Friday night with free margaritas and popcorn at Coldtowne Theater and see Movie Riot, in which performers take a word from the audience and act out a movie filled with spoofs and laughter. Check out the other shows or even take a class to broaden your artistic senses.
Coldtowne Theater, 4803 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX, USA +1 512 814 8696
Sixth Street is the place where you’ll find out why Austin is ‘weird.’ With numerous bars, it’s hard to choose which one to try first. You can ride the mechanical bull and take a shot of Sex with an Alligator or head over to Blind Pig Pub for an overview of the street from the roof. If you get hungry, stop at Voodoo Doughnut for unique treats; opened in August 2015, the shop features voodoo-doll shaped donuts along with an array of other choices covered in marshmallows, cereal, rice krispies, etc.
Blanton Museum of Art
Part of the UT Campus, this is a great spot for intriguing exhibits. In the past it has had pieces focused on Grimm’s Fairytales and the Crusader Bible. Every third Thursday of the month admission is free. The museum encourages you to enjoy and tour the facilities and exhibits, from the Greek sculptures to the modern arts.
Mount Bonnell offers a nice escape from the city. Overlooking Lake Austin, you’ll see luxurious houses and a broad view of the hill country. Take the stairs to the top, or take your time with the side trail, which features breathtaking views. At the bottom of the stairs, you’ll learn more history about the place, from Indian battles to famous actors who have climbed the mountain.
Mount Bonnell, 3800 Mt Bonnell Rd, Austin, TX, USA +1 512 974 6797
Peter Pan Mini-Golf
Mini-golf is a classic road trip activity, but Peter Pan throws in a twist: you can bring along your own beer. Have fun maneuvering past the T-Rex or over small hills. If it gets too hot on a sunny day, stop at the small stand that sells snow cones and other sweet and cold treats. Peter Pan Mini-Golf is perfect for people of all ages.
Peter Pan Mini-Golf, 1207 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX, USA +1 512 472 1033