Known as "The Live Music Capital of the World”, Austin is one hip place to see. In recent years, the city has been nicknamed the “Silicon Hills” due to all the tech companies moving to the capital of Texas— but it’s more than just music and tech. It’s a city of delicious food, cool boutique hotels, a beautiful lake, and tasty tacos. It’s “weird”, in a good way.
WHERE TO STAY
South Congress Hotel- Fittingly located on South Congress street, this chic hotel delivers the ultimate Texas vibes. With a collection of restaurants, coffee shop (see ‘Mañana’ below), and nail salon (see ‘TenOverTen’ below)— you’ll never want to leave.
Hotel San José- Local hotelier Liz Lambert revamped this former motor lodge into one of the coolest boutique hotels in the city. Added perk: the lounge serves up the best Micheladas right outside your room.
Jo’s- An Austin institution, Jo’s has been serving up cups of joe for 20 years. My must is an Iced Belgian Bomber, the slightly less sweet version of the signature Iced Turbo.
Mañana- Yes the coffee here is delicious, but, the iced almond milk Matcha is my go-to order. Pastries and ambiance are a welcome bonus.
Swedish Hill- Located in the charming Clarksville neighborhood, the newly revamped bakery dishes out some of the best coffee and croissants.
Greater Goods- Recently named the best coffee in Texas (by Food & Wine), it lives up to the hype. Order the Tiger Latte— delish!
WHERE TO EAT
There is no shortage of restaurants and delicious eats in Austin. It seems like every week there are a handful of new openings. And as much as I love trying out new spots, I just can’t pass up some of my tried-and-true favorites.
Elizabeth Street Café— I’m sure I sound like a broken record with how much I rave about this place but, trust me. Things to try— Da Nang Margarita, Ginger Chili Oil Dumplings, Singapore Noodles, Grilled Marinated Pork Bánh Mì, Macarons, Iced Vietnamese Coffee— I could go on, but I’ll stop there.
Fonda San Miguel- Open since 1975, this interior Mexican restaurant boasts vibrant decor and a menu to match. Order the Queso Asado with Chorizo, Carne Asada a la Tampiqueña, and Pollo en Mole Poblano.
Launderette- Dessert first— yes, I’m serious. Whatever you do, don’t miss the birthday cake ice cream sandwich.
Clark’s- Small and charming with some of the best seafood in ATX. Martinis, PEI oysters, and fries are always a must.
Güeros- What was once a feed store, now hosts my go-to place for delicious Mexican fare. Margaritas and queso— enough said.
Uchiko- Who would’ve ever thought some of the best sushi was deep in the heart of Texas?!
La Condesa- Start with a Paloma (I like to substitute the Tequila with Mezcal) to drink, Queso Fundido and Tostadas de Atún as your botanas, Carne Asada to share, and Churros to end. Thank me later.
WHAT TO DO
Blanton Museum- This museum showcases modern and contemporary American and Latin American art. It’s also home to the late artist Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin” , my absolute favorite.
By George- Everything from Cèline to Mansur Gavriel can be found here in this boutique, as well as a curated collection of lifestyle goods like one of my favorite candle lines, Boy Smells.
Laguna Gloria- Located on the shores of Lake Austin, Laguna Gloria combines nature and art in the finest form.
Outdoor Voices- Don’t miss the flagship store of the hip athletic wear brand.
Maufrias- Hats and home goods— a shop to pop into!
Allen’s Boots- Row after row of boots! If you’re looking for the perfect pair, you’ll find it here.
Texas State Capitol- The capitol grounds are gorgeous, and make sure to take the tour inside for some true Texas history.
TenOverTen- Be sure to book an appointment for the best mani/pedi!
Lady Bird Lake- Smack right in the middle of the city lies beautiful Lady Bird Lake. Walk or bike this trail of nature goodness.
CAN WE TACO ‘BOUT IT?
No visit to Austin is complete without tacos! Here are my favorite spots as well as what to order.
Fresa’s- La Fresa taco, or El Rey taco are my favorites. Also, the Kale Caesar salad is out of this world!
Tyson’s- Open 24/7, perfect spot for some late-night tacos. Order the Burnt Ends or the Yoda.
Veracruz All Natural- Can’t go wrong with a classic Migas or a Fajita Steak.
Taco Deli- Breakfast tacos at their finest! Morning favorites include— Portobello Frontera Fundido or the Jess Special.
Mellizoz– The Fried Avocado and The ‘04 tacos are ones to write home about!
P.S.—Make sure to order “queso” every chance you get!