City Guides

My Favorite Places to Go in Austin, Texas

I think by now you’ve probably figured out that my husband and I are pretty frugal. We keep our spending on the slimmer side and try to stay smart about our savings. So, when we take any type of trip, it really feels like a treat. And traveling to Austin, Texas for my birthday certainly did not disappoint.

We left on a Saturday morning for Texas before the crack of dawn. Despite finding out the subway near us was not running and having to Lyft part of the way, it was still a pretty smooth journey. We landed in a chilly 40-degree Austin in the afternoon feeling ready to dig into some lunch.

Our Airbnb check in was late afternoon, so we quickly researched a lunch place near our place. I came across a taqueria close by, so we plugged that address into a Lyft and off we went. When we got there, we learned our first *very* important lesson about Austin: This city was built for the warmth. The taqueria we found only had patio seating and the picnic tables were completely wet from the rain. Austin was experiencing some kind of cold front while we were there, so the last thing we wanted to do was eat outside. In a desperate haste (on my end) for hot tea and food, we ran across the street to another eatery. And boy, I’m glad we did, because I’m almost positive it was my favorite place during the entire trip.

Sour Duck Market

1814 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Austin, TX 78702

While this shop does have outdoor seating, which seems to be a theme amongst every bar or restaurant in Austin, we were able to snag one of the spots inside. Sour Duck has a pretty interesting menu, but the food was absolutely phenomenal. I had an Earl Grey tea and the Burger, which was probably one of the juiciest burgers I have ever had.

Sour Duck is also a phenomenal market. They were selling some fresh breads for cheap—baguettes for $3, other loafs for $5 or $6. I even noticed Sour Duck’s breads and pastries coming up on different menus around the city. I was certainly happy to have stumbled on this place after a long trip down south.

Stubb’s Bar-B-Q

801 Red River 
Austin, TX 78701

Before going on our trip, I was told the most popular place to go for barbeque in Austin was Franklin’s. I was also told how long the line was going to be…one of my coworkers admitted to waiting on that line for four hours. Seeing that I didn’t want to spend my time waiting in a line like that, we decided on something else.

Stubb’s is one of our favorite BBQ sauces to buy at the store, so we were stoked to go to the actual restaurant in Austin. If you go, I highly recommend the Angus Beef Brisket and the Serrano Cheese Spinach.

Mozart’s Café

3825 Lake Austin Blvd
Austin, TX 78703

I really wish it wasn’t as cold as it was when we went to Mozart’s, because man, it is the coolest spot. So much gorgeous outdoor seating that looks right over Lake Austin. Mozart’s is a coffee roastery in Austin, and they also sell some pretty delicious pastries. This is also supposed to be a great spot to hear live music.

After our morning coffee, we walked around the area and discovered a few other great spots to grab food or a drink right on the lake. Definitely a spot I want to explore more if we ever go back.

The Baked Bear

211 Walter Seaholm Dr #150
Austin, TX 78701

Can you really ever go wrong with a hot cookie and ice cream? Not in my opinion! I was craving dessert after my birthday dinner, so we searched for dessert and stumbled upon Baked Bear. I got a hot fudge sundae with salted caramel ice cream and a salted chocolate chip peanut butter cookie. Can you tell I like my salty chocolate desserts? Topped with some whipped cream and hot fudge, it was the perfect indulgence to end a fun birthday.

Blue Dahlia Bistro

1115 E. 11th Street
Austin, Texas 

I’m a sucker for a good bistro, so when it comes to trying new ones, I can get pretty picky. Happy to say that Blue Dahlia did not disappoint. I kept it light for breakfast with some soft-boiled eggs, greens, and fruit. They serve their tea and coffee in cups so large, for a moment I thought they brought me a soup I didn’t order. But the large mug of hot tea was comforting to me as I sat back and relaxed in this gorgeous bistro.

Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors

1111 Chicon St
Austin, TX 78702

Coffee lovers mark this one down. If you’re into really good roasts and pour overs, this is the place to try. We enjoyed some robust pour overs at this shop. It’s not a noisy coffee shop, most people seemed to be doing some kind of remote work or homework, but we enjoy hanging out in quieter places.

Like most coffee shops, Taco Deli (one of the popular taco spots in Austin) supplies breakfast tacos for the shop. We didn’t grab any, but I found it funny that even small coffee shops in Austin make sure to supply breakfast tacos. Breakfast tacos are apparently an Austin staple! Even more curious, the eggs are scrambled up with small bits of potato. Never seen that in my life until my trip to Austin. I feel like there’s an even bigger back story here…

Torchy’s & South Congress

1822 S. Congress Ave
Austin, TX, 78704

Again, tacos. But this time we hit up one of the other popular taco spots in Austin: Torchy’s! We decided to ride scooters down South Congress to the Torchy’s location down there. Yes, scooters. You can actually rent scooters through ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft for a small fee every minute you use it. It was a really fun way to travel, and South Congress is a fun street to explore.

We didn’t grab breakfast tacos at Torchy’s, just lunch tacos, but they were still incredible. My favorite was the Alabama Shake, but honestly, I’m sad I didn’t get to try all of them. I feel like my opinion would probably change after trying the Green Chile Pork or the Trailer Park.

Torchy’s is also close to the famous Austin sign (pictured above). Beware: Instagram influencers lurk around there, so you’ll have to wait patiently to get a photo.

Amy’s Ice Cream

1301 S. Congress
Austin, TX 78704

I obviously couldn’t have ice cream just once on my birthday weekend, especially when Amy’s Ice Cream is so famously known in Austin. I tried one of their seasonal ice creams, which I don’t exactly remember the name, but it was mimicking their Chocolate-Covered Strawberries which they were selling for Valentine’s Day at the time.

Amy’s has numerous locations, even in the airport! But since it was on South Congress, it was an easy stop for us during our adventuring.

Salty Sow

1917 Manor Rd
Austin, TX 78722

If you’re looking for a nice place for happy hour or dinner, this is your spot. It was walking distance from our Airbnb, and we loved it. The happy hour deals are pretty great, if you’re looking for a cheaper drink and a snack before doing something else.

I was a huge fan of their Truffled Deviled Eggs and the Crispy Brussels Sprouts Leaves. I honestly never thought about shaving up Brussels Sprouts and roasting them that way, but now I feel like I need to give it a try. The sweetness from the golden raisins, along with the pecorino, make for a perfect combo. Especially with a glass of sparkling rosé!

The Wheel

1902 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd B
Austin, TX 78702

We obviously weren’t done drinking after the Salty Sow, so we walked down the road to The Wheel. It’s a great spot to grab a drink late at night. The crowd is pretty chill, most people kept to themselves. The bar actually put up a tent around the outdoor seating area to keep everyone warm, which I was pretty thankful for on a cold night.

Cherrywood Coffeehouse

1400 E 38th 1/2 St
Austin, TX 78722

I’m not sure why I was so drawn to this place, but our entire trip I had the urge to check it out. Cherrywood Coffeehouse was only two blocks from our Airbnb, so I was stoked when we finally had the chance to see it. They sold breakfast tacos (of course) where you can even “build your own.” So, I ordered a taco with cheese, bacon, and mushrooms with some coffee. Just a little warning, these tacos are a bit bigger, so if you’re a small person like me I recommend just ordering one.

The original appeal of this coffee shop was how it’s kind of an all-day thing. Cherrywood isn’t just open during normal coffee shop hours, but also at night. It has a full-on bar and hosts live music events. There’s an indoor seating area to do your work and a huge patio where you can just lounge. They also serve all meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It was a great place to hang on our last day…and a great place to return to when we found out about our three-hour flight delay that afternoon.

Austin Central Library

710 W Cesar Chavez St
Austin, TX 78701

Not going to lie, the inside of this place looks like Hogwarts. Mostly because the stairs are placed in such an artistic way, it reminds me of the moving stairs in the Harry Potter books. Usually public libraries aren’t a spectacle to admire while traveling, but this one is worth your energy. The library was renovated inside an old power plant and is just over a year old. The grand opening took place in 2017.

I think my favorite part of the library is all the different reading nooks. It isn’t just a place to work, but a place to read. Most of the nooks are outside (of course) overlooking the city. We saw some of the best city views right at the top of the library.

Butler District Park

Before getting back on a plane, we ended our trip with a long walk in Butler District Park. If you’re a dog person, you’ll like this park. So many dogs roaming free, runners along the dirt paths, and people picnicking right on the green. It was a relaxing way to end our journey.

What are your favorite spots in Austin? Share below!

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