Austin— one of the coolest and weirdest cities I have ever lived in, in my life. From music, to art, to incredible food, to the gorgeous scenery; Austin has a lot to offer. Whether you are enjoying the great outdoors at Barton Springs or Lady Bird Lake, or getting wild on Dirty 6th Street, there is always something to do in Austin for all personality types. There are so many things that make Austin an amazing city to me, but the one thing I love the most are the people. I have met the most incredible people living in Austin with some unreal stories. Although out of towners are beginning to take over the city, Austinites never cease to amaze me with their kindness to the newcomers. After living in Austin for the past year I have rallied some of my favorite things to do in this incredible city.
Victoria’s Guide to Austin
Looking for some cool Austin vibes while hitting all of the must-see tourist spots in the city?! Head over to South Congress Ave. Start your day off at Joe’s Coffee, and don’t forget to take a photo at the infamous “I love you so much” wall. Browse through the flagship Kendra Scott store, and other boutiques like Maya* and Impeccable Pig. Looking for a store for the whole family to enjoy? Take a gander through Uncommon Objects, you could spend hours in there looking through all of the hidden treasures. Hit up Home Slice for some pizza and Hey Cupcake for some dessert. Most importantly take in all of the rad Austin vibes while strolling down the street with a view of the Austin skyline.
2.) HOPE Outdoor Gallery
HOPE Outdoor Gallery is probably one of the coolest places I have ever been. If you are in Austin, it is a definite must see/do! This park is a three-story educational art project, and one of the largest out-door galleries in the USA. The gallery was created to provide graffiti artists, muralists, and community groups a spot to display large scale art pieces that are driven by inspirational, positive, and educational messaging. Artists from all over the community come together to create another beautiful spot in Austin. Plus, when you reach the top of Castle Hill the view isn’t half bad. Bring your own spray paint, and leave your mark in Austin! Oh…and wear clothes you don’t mind getting paint on, there is wet paint everywhere!
3.) Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake)
Many Austinites lead a healthy lifestyle. When you drive around town it is not uncommon to see mutiple people on runs or riding their bikes. There are some beautiful trails to run and bike on around the Austin area. My absolute favorite spot to run is Lady Bird Lake! If you’re looking for some fun in the sun rent a paddle board or kayak, and enjoy a beautiful view of the Austin skyline. (Side note: paddle boarding is not as hard as it may look!)
4.) Rainey St. Brunch
Brunching seems to be a super trendy thing to do right now, and Austin is definitely a great place to get your mimosa on! My personal favorite spot to brunch at the moment in Austin is L’estelle kitchen house & yard. Besides the fact the food is fresh and incredible, it is also an adorable spot to sit and chat with your gal pals! Their menu varies since they are a homestyle kitchen, and they whip up dishes and sweets as the inspiration strikes. I happened to get the rosemary biscuits and house gravy, and let me just tell you they were bomb dot com. They also offer a late night menu, so if you are out getting your drank on Rainey St. swing by and grab you some delish foodies. You can see their hours here.
Whether you are into kicking back and having a good drink, dancing the night away, listening to live music, or raging till the sun comes up Austin has a little something for everyone. For an epic college/tourist experience head to Dirty 6th Street, hit up Blind Pig and Barbarella, and don’t forget Trophy to ride the mechanical bull! Honestly, if you hit up Dirty 6th street you are in for a wild night, there is some great people watching on dirty sixth. Head to Rainey St. if you are looking for a laid-back vibe with good drinks. Rainey defiantly has cool vibes, and I would consider the crowd in their mid twenties and thirties. Hit up Bungalow to take a photo against the “i hate you so much” wall, which is conveniently located in between the men’s and women’s restrooms.
6.) Food Trucks
Growing up in the suburbs of Illinois, I would never think food trucks would be cool, or safe to eat at. If I saw a food truck in my little town, I would shun it out of the ‘options for food’ list in my head. However, I have complete opposite feelings on food trucks since moving to Austin. From the Food Truck Trailer Park on E. 6th St with the most incredible fried PB&J you will ever have in your entire life, to the trucks on S. First St, or trucks on Rainey. Basically, any part of Austin you can find an insanely delicious food truck near by. You can find 17 essential Food Trucks in Austin by clicking here.
I do-nut care what you think, but Austin has THE best variety of donuts! You have Round Rock Donut- home of the Texas Sized donut (pictured above). There is Gourdough’s, which has a donut burger (don’t mock it before you try it), as well as gourmet style donuts like The Chocolate Blackout. Yes, it is possible to literally black out from the chocolatey goodness of a donut…trust me I have experienced it first hand. Of course there is always Shipley’s donuts for some delicious, old fashioned, glazed donuts. But you must not forget the new comer to the Texas donut scene, Voodoo Doughnuts! It’s all about that pink box, baby! Voodoo Doughnuts has some of the craziest donuts I have ever seen, that are dangerously mouth watering. My favorite is the cotton candy/blue raspberry, I’m not quite sure of the name but it has blue sprinkles. Another Voodoo Doughnut plus, is their hours and location. After a long night out drinking you can head to 6th street and snatch up an entire box to devour then or for breakfast! Jeez, all of this donut talk has me drooling over my laptop, and making me crave a donut.
Austin has so many great boutiques! If you have been keeping up with my posts, I am sure you are aware of my obsession with kiki nass at the Lamar Union by now. I also love Maya* on S. Congress, and Impeccable Pig. There is also Beehive right off Bee Cave Rd. However, of all the cute boutiques I cannot help but love shopping at The Domain. They literally have everything. From Zara, to Neiman’s, to Luxe Apqothetique, there is something for every budget. You also have a ton of restaurants and bars to stop and hangout at when you need a break from all of the shopping. I also recommend The Domain for first dates, just because there is so much to choose from in one location, or you can just walk around and it is still super cute. Starbucks has a great outdoor sitting area as well.
Get away from the city, and disconnect at Austin’s Greenbelt. The Greenbelt is a beautiful part of Austin, full of trails for mountain biking, hiking, and water holes. The Greenbelt is beyond beautiful, and extremely easy access for everyone in the Austin area. It is nice to escape your busy life and enjoy nature. Click here to see a complete guide to the Austin Greenbelt.
10.) Torchy’s Tacos
A trip to Austin would not be complete without a trip to Torchy’s Tacos. I mean, yes, there are a million incredible taco joints around Austin, but Torchy’s is most certainly iconic. Why Torchy’s you may ask, well to put it simply… they’re DAMN GOOD! Plus, their gauc is off the chain! Even President Obama had to make a pit stop at Torchy’s when he was in town for SXSW.
Wow! After scrolling through my favorite things to do in Austin I realized how much I like to eat! No wonder I gained 10 pounds since moving. Anyways, these are only a few of many experiences that I adored in Austin, that I thought I would share with you. Of course I missed so many incredible things to do in this wonderful city, but no matter what you are doing in Austin I am sure it will be one heck of a time!