Wanderlust: 48 Hours in Austin

“There’s a freedom you begin to feel the closer you get to Austin, Texas” –Willie Nelson.​

Our time in Austin is almost starting to seem like a dream instead of a memory. ​Returning to mom life quickly reminds me that vacations are way to few and far between. Our trips are usually short since the kids are still young but it’s still nice to get a little break!  February in Austin was gorgeous. No humidity, cool breezes, and plenty of sunshine. Austin is a outdoors city, so come prepared to walk, eat, and explore mostly outside. We rented a car because we were staying in North Austin and then making the 3 hour trek to Houston on the same weekend. Having a car let us venture to some places we wouldn’t have been able to see without one. It’s good to know that as of May 2016, Uber and Lyft are no longer permitted to operate in Austin, so if you plan on staying a while, renting a car is a must.

Where to Stay // Austin has all of the regular hotel chains if you’re looking for a cheap place to crash at night but I’m always drawn to the boutique hotels. We stayed at the Archer Hotel in North Austin {full review here} but there are plenty hotels downtown within walking distance to restaurants, bars, nightlife, and tourist attractions. When we go back, I want to check out the Hotel van Zandt or Heywood Hotel.
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Where to Play // Maximize the day by exploring Austin’s arts, music, historic and cultural sites. Our favorite destination was Graffiti Park (also known as the HOPE Outdoor Gallery). The concrete walls change daily and there are always graffiti artists (& non-artists) adding new designs. Bring a can of spray paint and add to the art. Walk up to the highest wall or park on the top of Castle Hill and enjoy the beautiful Austin skyline. The Instagram worthy ‘Greetings from Austin’ mural is on 1720 S. First Street.  Definitely swing by Jo’s Coffee on South Congress Ave and take a picture in front of the ‘I love you so much’ mural on the outer wall. Across from Jo’s is Amy’s Ice Cream which locals say is the best in the city. Zilker Metropolitan Park is huge and so beautiful. Walk off some of the delicious food, ride bikes, or rent a canoe and paddle around the lake.
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Where to Eat // Bangers –  Known for their famous manm​osa and abundant sausages, this classic beer garden has over 100 beers on tap and mouthwatering food.  Bangers is super dog friendly and even has a dog run for furry visitors. ​Be prepared to wait a while if coming on the weekend. Luckily we were there on a Friday morning and had a zero wait time. Come with friends and order different dishes off the menu so everyone can share. The jalapeño mac and cheese is phenomenal.

Voodoo Donuts –  I first visited the Portland location a year ago and it’s nice to see that the Austin shop is exactly the same. The donuts are mouth watering and definitely not your run of the mill chain flavor. Voodoo only accepts cash. Even though there is an ATM in store, save yourself the fees and bring some before. ​

Culinary Dropout –  This is on the North side of Austin located in the Domain. Order the soft pretzels & provolone fondue and then give me your first born. This was hands down, the best appetizer I have ever had in my entire life (and I eat a lot of food).

Food Trucks –  The food truck scene is like no other in Austin. They are all over the city and serve quality, restaurant style meals. We stopped for breakfast at Paperboy on our way out of town and it was satisfying and delicious. ​Get the B.E.C. Sandwich: Bacon, Pimento Cheese, Sunny Up Egg, Brioche Bun and you’ll be set until lunch.

Salt Lick BBQ – This technically isn’t in Austin (a 45 minute drive to Driftwood, TX) but this BBQ joint has locals and foodies raving. While some will tell you that Franklin BBQ has the best BBQ in Texas, when I asked for food recommendations from readers and friends, every single person recommended Salt Lick over Franklin. The service is fast and the restaurant is huge so we had no wait time (unlike Franklin which can have a line lasting hours). Request the burnt ends from Salt Lick … you won’t be sorry.
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I loved everything that Austin had to offer. The fresh air, friendly people, and the endless activities. There is so much to do and I cannot wait to head back and explore other parts of the city. Have you been to Austin? If so, let me know what you loved the most in the comments below! Happy Travels!


  1. All the food looks amazing! I didn’t know you came to Portland last year! Next time I’ll meet you. One of my fav cities!

  2. Wow. Austin looks incredible. This photos need to be in a coffee table book!!

  3. I am just starting to plan my trip that is in a couple of months. Thanks for the awesome tips!

  4. The Mexican food in Austin is amazing, I’m always so surprised when people don’t mention it. Good street tacos aren’t hard to come by at all. Also, I lived on the north side for several years and I always went to Chuy’s on Lamar just south of Braker and Taqueria Aranda on Rundburg and Lamar (sketchy after dark but I usually went for breakfast tacos anyway). There’s a great taco joint on Airport maybe a mile south of 183 but I can’t remember the name. I always got barbacoa with onion and cilantro – don’t ask just eat it, it’s delicious! (Burger Tex is also worth mentioning for a great Texas burger experience. It’s maybe a block or two south of 183 on Airport. I used to eat there at least once a week when I worked at the county office right across the street!) Also on I believe 5th street right downtown Carlos Santana opened Maria Maria. The live music, fried jalepenos, and mojitos are fantastic! And, speaking of live music, check out who’s playing at Stubb’s BBQ! You might be surprised at the price you can see pretty big artists for and it’s a fairly intimate venue 🙂

  5. Uber & Lyft are back in Austin ? I’ve lived in Austin my entire life…here are a few of my favorites!! Moontower, Gordoughs, Maudies, Sandy’s, Torchys, Magnolia Cafe, Matt’s El Rancho, Pinthouse. Just to name a few!

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