Austin Part 1: Hangin’ Around Town
Last weekend, I spent 4 days in Austin, Texas (yeeeehaw!). It was my first time there, and I had a blast! So much to do, see, eat, drink, and explore. When first booking my trip, I thought to myself, 3 nights should be plenty. But throughout the planning process, I found out that there was way more to do than my itinerary allowed. But I still managed to squeeze in a bunch of stuff, and here’s part 1 of my observations and recommendations should you plan a trip to Austin one day!
The weather wasn’t as hot nor humid as I thought it’d be for spring!
While I was there in the beginning/mid-May, the temperature hit lows of 70 degrees and highs of 90. I always thought that Texas (Austin included) was super humid, but I was wrong! Don’t be fooled, I still felt hot. But the heat was actually quite dry in Austin with the exception of the very first night because it had just rained prior to us arriving. The spring dresses, tank and short combos, and comfortable sandals/flats were all I needed for the weekend getaway.
Because there are so many sights and areas to explore within Austin, I recommend renting a car for ultimate flexibility.
From your typical tourist attractions to more local-infused hotspots, Austin has a variety of places to visit. Highlights from my trip include visiting…
The State Capitol: The building and grounds were beautiful, and you can check out everything for free!
Barton Springs Pool: This is a fun destination for lounging and swimming within Zilker Park (basically Austin’s equivalent of SF’s Golden Gate Park or NYC’s Central Park). But beware! Because this pool is filled with natural spring water, you’ll be swimming in cool, 70-degree water and have gooey algae floating around you!
Mount Bonnell: Highest point in Austin with beautiful views of the city and the surrounding greenery. Also a great place for a short hike and picnic lunch (especially if you can snag one of the few tables)!
Southern Congress (SoCo) District: Cute area with lots of restaurants and boutiques! To save you time locating the most happenin’ part of SoCo (unlike my friends and I that drove around aimlessly trying to find it), the main strip of restaurants and shops lies directly on South Congress Avenue between Nellie and Annie Street.
Congress Avenue Bridge Bats: Everyday hundreds of bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge Batman-style, so it’s definitely a spectacle to check out! When I went, the viewing experience wasn’t the best because the bats didn’t come out till after dark (so it was harder to see them), but I don’t have any regrets. I hear the viewing is best in the peak summer months (July through September).
Finally, Austin is an awesome city for bar hopping and getting your drank on! The bar scene is made up of distinctly different neighborhoods with lots of fun rooftop bars.
6th Street: Along 6th Street, there are various stretches of bars. The 2 areas I visited were “Dirty” 6th (cheap alcohol, lots of drunk college kids wandering around, pretty wild and divey) and West 6th (where many young professionals hang out, lots of great happy hours, etc.). Between the two, I really liked West 6th because of the more sophisticated vibe. But who am I kidding, I’m probably just too old to hang on Dirty :)
Rainey Street: Holy crap, I am in love with Rainey Street! It’s a whole block of houses converted into unique bars and clubs. Feels like you’re going to awesome house parties! My favorite bar of the trip was called Container Bar, where the entire design of the bar was created with cargo shipping containers. The crowd on Rainey Street is a good mix of young professionals and hipsters, so that definitely made me feel at home being from San Francisco!
Outside of the above attractions, there were so many other things I didn’t get to do like visiting the University of Texas, the local museums, hiking popular trails, and partaking in water sports on Lake Austin. Guess all that’ll give me a reason to visit again!
Part 2 with all the deets on FOOD to come soon!