Happy Frugal Friday ya’ll! I think it’s totally acceptable to actually use the word ya’ll since this week’s post is all about my recent trip to Austin, Texas! This post is going to be a little different, a little less about the practical side of being fashionably frugal and a bigger glimpse into my life! I’m going to share a bit of the details of my fun filled girls' weekend, hopefully inspiring you to make a trip out to Austin soon!
I’m always looking for new places to travel to and explore, and with MLK Day weekend in the near future, I knew it would be a great time to pack my bags and head out on an adventure! My friend Allie and I decided to have a girl’s weekend and through some ideas out there, like Denver and Florida, but finally decided on Austin. Neither of us had been before and had only heard great things! So we thought, why not!
A trip to the South in January is always a great idea; it means warmer temps and no outerwear. But the main reason we chose Austin was because of its unique vibes. We’d heard about the hipster, earthy culture, and of course its unique food! And let me tell you the food did not disappoint! We may have eaten a wee bit too much. So I wanted to some up some highlights from our trip! We did A LOT of research before going, so hopefully you can as a guide for your future trips to Austin!
I got in pretty late on Friday night, but we still wanted to maximize our time and hit the town! I was a bit hungry and decided to grab a quick bite at Voodoo donuts! These donuts were seriously impressive and supper creative. They left me with just the right sugar high to get through the night. We ended up going out on Rainey St., which ended up being my favorite place in the entire city! Rainey St. is an old historic part of Austin, where in recent years they have converted small old homes into several bars and restaurants. And let me tell you, they are all ADORABLE! Each one has their own unique vibe. Just on Rainey St. you can find a bar, like Blackheart, that plays live music, a bar that plays throw back 90s tunes, and a bar that is made entirely out of shipping containers!
The first night, we ended up parking it at a place called Bungalow. We sat outside at a picnic table, under some twinkle lights and it was a perfect first night in Austin. All of the bars have an open-air vibe, with retractable walls and huge outdoor areas. Some with hammocks and fire pits! We loved Rainey St. so much we went back Saturday AND Sunday night!
We didn’t waste much time and woke up bright and early. Brunch was a must to start the day. After much research, we decided to go to South Congress Café, in the neighborhood called South Congress, or SoCo. (As the locals say.) The food was delicious, and we both opted for a typical Tex-Mex breakfast dish, called Migas. Of course no brunch is complete without mimosas! South Congress Café had a pretty good deal where you could get a bottle of champagne to split with your choice of juice mixers. We definitely started the morning off right!
Afterwards we walked around South Congress Ave. and explored the unique boutiques and shops! We naturally had to make a stop at Jo’s Coffee shop for a stop in front of the “I love you so much mural”. I love the completely outdoor vibe of Jo’s. Certainly can’t find that in NYC! We then headed to South 1st St. to make a stop at the typical touristy “Welcome to Austin” mural. Definitely a great photo op! The murals all over town are really cool. We enjoyed seeking them out and finding out the stories behind some of them.
We put in A LOT of steps in walking around South Congress, but that didn’t stop us! We went back to the hotel and grabbed some bike rentals! We had heard walking, biking, paddle boarding, and kayaking on Lady Bird Lake was a must, so we decided to bike the trail around the lake. It was beautiful! Even during Austin’s “fall” the foliage and views were gorgeous! We made a pit stop at Barton Springs and went to the natural pool, which was pretty cool. It’s the same temperature all year round! They even had lifeguards on duty. On our way around Lady Bird Lake we stopped at the first ever Whole Foods, to say it’s the mother ship would be an understatement. It’s huge! We ended our bike ride by going up the “drag” or Guadalupe St. by the University. We decided to stop at the original Torchy’s Tacos for some much deserved tacos. They were delicious and the queso was amazing!
After resting a bit, we ended the evening with some classic BBQ. We had heard that Franklin’s was the best but not worth the wait. So we decided to go to Cooper’s, which was down the street from our hotel and it did not disappoint! The pork loin and blackberry cobbler are to die for!
We ended the night with another trip to Rainey St. and a late night stop to their food truck court for a midnight snack.
We once again woke up early once again. :) Our hotel was close to the Wanderlust yoga studio, so we decided to stop at their Blender & Bowls shop. I did the Wanderlust triathlon this fall and love their fun take on yoga. We got an acai bowls and they were sooooo good! Fresh berries and all!
San Antonio is less than an hour and a half away from Austin, so we decided to make a day trip out there. We quickly rented a car and hit the road. The first thing we did when we arrived was visit the Alamo. Having only seen it in pictures, it was much grander than I had imagined! It was beautiful! I loved walking around the mission; it was like a beautiful garden, complete with fountains and towering palm trees.
Afterwards, we hit up the River Walk. Pictures can’t also do this place justice! It is much longer than I had imagined. We walked down several parts of the canal to kind of scope out the scene. We were looking for a cute place with colorful umbrellas to grab lunch at along the river. It was a little too touristy for our liking, but we ended up deciding on a delicious place called Boudro's. The fresh table side guac and frozen prickly pear cactus were so perfect to enjoy under the sun next to the river. Before heading back we wanted to grab desert at the Guenther House, but it was closed. I so wish we could have gone! Still not having satisfied our sweet tooth we hit up Quack’s on 43rd St. for some cupcakes on our way home, which are supposed to be the best in the city. I got a raspberry and champagne cupcake, complete with glitter and pearls on the icing! Every girlie girls perfect cupcake!
It ended up being a rainy evening so we ended it with a necessary stop to a local resale shop in Austin, Buffalo Exchange. Whenever I go on trips I love to shop at any resale shops they have in the area.
With not much time to spend in Austin before departing, we knew we had to chose our last meal wisely. After once again doing much research, and thanks to a couple of locals recommendations, we decided on Kerby Lane Café. It’s a popular brunch spot in the city that’s open 24 hours! We decided to go to the original one that is actually inside a house! I loved the quaint, homey vibes. Everything on the menu sounded delicious, so it was hard to choose! I told my friend I was afraid of having orderer’s remorse. Anyone else ever feel that way? Haha. We both ended up getting the Eggs Francisco which was TOO good. They mix the hollandaise sauce with queso and it is HEAVENLY! Kerby Lane is known for their pancakes, so we each got one as a side. They have everything from whole-wheat apple cinnamon roll swirl pancakes to peanut butter-chocolate chip and nutella pancakes. To say we enjoyed our last meal would be an understatement. We were glad we wore our travel yoga pants that morning. Haha
To sum it up….
Weekend in Austin Must-dos
Where to eat:
South Congress Café
Kerby Lane Café
Blenders & Bowls
Quacks on 43rd
What to do:
Rent a bike and explore the town.
Take a walk around Lady Bird Lake.
Explore South Congress Ave.
Seek out all the murals in Austin and snap some photos.
Take a look around University of Texas’s campus.
Visit the original Whole Foods.
Bar hop around Rainey St.
Shop local at Buffalo Exchange.
All in all, Austin was a great time! If you couldn’t tell, the food was definitely my favorite part!
I hope this encourages you to visit or gives you some ideas for your next girls’ weekend!
And remember, sometime it’s ok to take a break. You deserve it!
Until the next adventure!