Austin Adventures: Austin Travel Guide

Hey y’all!  I went to Austin a month ago, and I fell in love with it!  Austin is a small city, but there are so many charming things to do, see, buy, and of course, eat.  If you want to read my recommendations for an Austin itinerary, keep on reading!

Stay:

East Austin/South Congress

My mom and I decided to stay in East Austin.  East Austin is known to be the newly hip area of the city, with great restaurants and bars.  We stayed at a lovely Airbnb in a quiet neighborhood.  Here is a link to the house: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1741042

Another area in Austin that I would recommend staying in is South Congress.  South Congress has all of the best shops, but it also has the swankiest hotels.  Hotel San Jose and the South Congress Hotel are probably the most popular hotels in all of Austin because they have modern and beautiful design, and they both have trendy gift shops and restaurants.

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Front of the South Congress Hotel
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Bar at the South Congress Hotel

Do:

Graffiti Park at Castle Hill

Although it is a pretty touristy place, Graffiti Park is really worth visiting.  As you could probably figure out, Graffiti Park is a place that anyone can bring spray paint and leave their artistic marks.  Also, the view from the top of the park is awesome.

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South Congress Ave.

For eating, shopping, and just exploring, I’d recommend walking down South Congress Avenue.  As I had mentioned above, the coolest hotels are on this street!  In addition, there are so many cool vintage, high-end, and unique gift stores to pop in to get fun gifts for your friends and family.

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Feather’s Boutique

Feather’s is a really well curated vintage shop with a wide selection of Levi’s jeans and other cool fashion items.  I got a pair of super cute $20 sunglasses there!

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By George

By George is a high-end boutique with brands like Ulla Johnson, Redone jeans, and other overpriced designers (lol).  It’s worth a peek-in because the store does have a pretty good sale section, and you can always just try things on!

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Photo by Adam Ottke

Uncommon Objects

I’m pretty sure this shop moved location, but Uncommon Objects is a quirky shop with (from what you can probably presume) uncommon objects, such as unique home decor, jewelry, and other trinkets.

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East Austin

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take heart

take heart is a very aesthetically pleasing store with beautiful homeware and lifestyle products.  Go there if you want to get some nice gifts or cheeky little things for yourself 😉

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Photo found on Pinterest

Holly

Friends & Neighbors

Friends & Neighbors is a vintage store/coffee shop with cool fashion pieces and a delicious chai latte.  Come here if you want to do a little shopping and wind down with a coffee or tea.

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Photo credit to Shop ARO
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Photo credit to Shop ARO

Eat:

As always, my favorite thing about traveling is the eating!  Although Austin is famous for its tacos and BBQ, the city also has so many other delicious food options.

Torchy’s Tacos

Torchy’s is a quintessential Austin food spot because their tacos are truly phenomenal.  Tex-Mex tacos are super different from LA tacos in that Tex-Mex tacos have more ingredients, whereas LA tacos pretty much only have meat.

I would recommend the “Independent” taco, which is a portobello mushroom taco.  Also, my mom and I didn’t order the fried avocado, but I really wish I did because I heard it’s super good.

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Yup, they are.

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The “Independent” taco

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Elizabeth Street Cafe

If you’re craving some Vietnamese-influenced fare, Elizabeth Street Cafe should do the trick.  My mom and I ordered some drinks, the Pineapple Coconut kombucha and Vietnamese coffee, and the green mango and cucumber salad and cha ca (turmeric fish) dishes to-go.

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Cafe No Sé

Cafe No Sé is a restaurant in the South Congress Hotel that serves healthier and lighter food.  The interior design is gorgeous, and the food is just as good as it looks!  My mom and I shared the hummus and pita bread plate, she ordered the gravlax bagel, and I got the quinoa bowl.

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The hummus and pita bread, which is served warm!
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Gravlax bagel: what a beauty!
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Quinoa bowl with poached egg, chickpeas, avocado, greens, and pumpkin seed pesto—healthy yet delicious!

Launderette

This laundromat-converted-diner serves modern American fare, and it is so so good.  For lunch, my mom and I shared the best deviled eggs of my life (seriously, so good!), she ordered the burrata, and I ordered a fresh-squeezed orange juice and the yummiest roasted chicken salad.

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Deviled eggs with smoked salmon, trout roe, and red onion: to-die-for!
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Burrata with grilled foccacia
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Chicken butter lettuce salad with radish, apple, potatoes, and bacon fat vinaigrette—all salads should taste like this

Scotty’s BBQ

We had to get BBQ while in Austin, and unfortunately, all of the places we wanted to try were closed or sold out when we got there!

We went to Scotty’s BBQ in Holly, and to be honest, I didn’t think it was that great.  From my research, I found that the most famous and reputable BBQ places are Franklin’s BBQ (which Barack Obama fully endorses), La Barbecue, and Veracruz All Natural Food truck.

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I hope that this blog post inspires you to start planning for your next trip to Austin.  It’s such a lovely city, and I plan to go back (and be sure to try Franklin’s BBQ!).  And if you’re not actually planning to go to Austin, I hope you found this post interesting!  If you have any questions about Austin, shoot me a DM on Instagram, @aimeepham.

Adventure awaits,

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