According to the Austin Visitors Bureau, over 25 million people visit Austin annually. Add to that the fact that almost one million people live in the ATX metro area and let’s just say we are thankful there are so many delicious food options here because that’s a lot of mouths to feed.
Whether you live here and are looking for some new ideas, or are just hear for a weekend, here are seven savvy tips to make the most of your time…
#1 – Never Skip Breakfast
It’s the most important meal of the day and that couldn’t be more true in Austin. Whether it is breakfast tacos before a morning hike, or a decadent brunch spread with endless carafes of mimosas (LINK TO $2 MIMOSAS ARTICLE), breakfast is serious business here. Even though your nights in Austin will most likely make an early wake up a little more difficult, push your body to wake up and your belly will thank you.
#2 – Explore the Distinctly Different Areas of Town
Drop a pin in downtown Austin on Congress Avenue and take a 5-7 minute rideshare in any direction and you will be blown away by the different feel of each district. Go South for local and weird. Lamar Boulevard, South 1st Street, and South Congress Avenue are the three main streets with shops, eats, and local flavor. If you go East you will be presented with dive bars, food trucks, and a general sense of a hip culture that you just want to be a part of. Go West and be struck by a neighborhoody feel with a more upscale bar & restaurant scene that is much more laid back than downtown. And if you venture up North you can explore the University of Texas campus, great museums, and dining options that satisfy not just the collegiate crowd.
#3 – Get Outside
Our favorite ways to get outside in Austin (other than dining on patios) is to hike the Barton Creek Greenbelt. So our best advice is hike in the morning and hit up a patio for food after ( a true win-win). Beyond the Greenbelt there are a ton of other amazing hiking trails outside the city and if you don’t want to leave the downtown area, don’t forget there is a 10-mile loop around Lady Bird Lake that is perfect for any part of the day, especially sunsets!
#4 – Attempt Some Semblance of an Eating Plan in Advance
So this advice is a little weird, but hear us out. You will undoubtedly spend a good chunk of your time here focused on places to make your belly satisfied. Between BBQ, Tex-Mex, food trucks, brunch options, and so much more your head is gonna be spinning. Try to space things out to not overwhelm your tastebuds….if you are planning a BBQ feast at dinner use that as a great day to simply enjoy breakfast tacos in the AM. If you are planning a mimosa & bloody mary brunch extravaganza use that as an opportunity to go on the lighter side for dinner to give you some flexibility for late night eats out of a food truck after you leave the bars. Moral of the story, do some planning, your tastebuds will thank you.
#5 – The Four Must See’s
We tried to limit this to four things and we know we are going to upset people but here we go
- Texas State Capitol – Free Tours Offered Daily
- Congress Avenue Bats – On summer evenings, the world’s largest urban bat colony (over 1.5 million) emerges from under the Congress Avenue Bridge
- Zilker Park – Over 350 acres of downtown parkland featuring trails, gardens, volleyball courts, Barton Springs Pool, and so much more
- Mount Bonnell – The highest point in Austin. It’s an easy hike to the top and offers a panoramic beautiful look at the downtown skyline and Lake Austin
#6 – A Two-Wheel Savvy Transport Option
Austinite’s love their bikes and there are tons of great bike rental places in the Downtown and Zilker Park areas for a day-long rental. If you are looking for a way to bounce around between different parts of the city with short trips, consider the “24-Hour” or “Weekend Pass” from B-Cycle which allows you to utilize the over 50 bike share stations around town.
#7 – Save Room For Dessert
Yes, food is a constant theme of any article giving you advice on Austin and even though you days will be delicious be sure to save some room for sweets. Gourmet popsicles, donuts topped with fried chicken, cupcakes, boozy ice cream and ohhh so much more. Our best advice is to go with friends and embark on the adventure with a plan that you all agree to split a couple of items because we guarantee you won’t be able to pick just one item