Every year (ish) my sister's and I take a sisters trip together. We alternate planning the trip so that every third year one of us gets to choose where we are going to go and what we're going to do.
This year was Misty's choice and she picked Austin, Texas.
I'm so glad she did!
Austin is a beautiful city that has the heart of a town, reminding me a lot of the reasons why I love Oakland. In addition to good food and craft coffee it has charm in cutesy/grunge boutiques on South Congress, homes turned into bars on Rainey Street and some of the most stunning people you'll ever see riding paddle boards on Lady Bird Lake.
Here's a look at what we did while in Austin. Let it inspire you on your own adventure!
Maria's Taco Xpress
2529 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Going to Austin we knew we were going to search out their infamous tacos. Although I think they are most famous for their breakfast tacos we arrived at Maria's a little after lunch time so ordered the pastor taco plate instead.
We each ordered our own but a plate was definitely large enough for two people to share especially if you order the nachos and queso on the side.
I would recommend Maria's to anyone who loves tacos. The pastor was delicious and the setting was perfect for a warm spring day. With plenty of seating inside and out, and a fast kitchen it was easy to find a seat and we didn't have to wait long for our first meal in Austin (which was good because we are definitely a family who gets hangry).
In addition to great food Maria's also has a lot of character which in my opinion makes it a great first stop in Austin; you can get your feet wet before jumping head first into the weirdness Austin prides itself on.
Food Trucks on Rainey Street
Rainey Street is so much fun. It's a full street of homes that have been converted to bars. And bars of all kinds, craft drinks, beer pong, corn hole, loud music and food trucks, there's something here for everyone and people of all ages.
We went with tacos and quesadillas but the food truck park had food for all preferences including a grilled cheese truck.
Only warning here is that seats are very limited so either get there early or be comfortable with sitting on the ground.
5400 Brodie Lane
Sunset Valley TX 78745
I stayed in Austin about 12 hours longer than my sisters. So I did what any self-respecting adult with some free time on her hands would do and loaded up on donuts.
Before heading to Austin I made a list of my must stop foodie places. I didn't make it to every stop on the list (a great reason to go back) but I did make it to Bougie's Donuts.
Typically I'm against all things strip mall but Bougie's is making me rethink my harsh opinion. Their donuts are not only delicious but beautiful to look at and with a wide variety of unique flavors you'll have plenty of reason to go back for multiple visits.
Since my time was limited I bought three (don't judge) including: lemon blueberry, strawberry homer and brown butter pistachio. If I had to choose a favorite it would be the strawberry homer. Because I bought three I allowed myself a bite of each and then to finish one completely, I chose the strawberry homer to devour.
There is so much to do in Austin and because we were limited on time we barely touched the surface of all this city has to offer. That said you won't see any graffiti art in this post however I highly recommend taking a walking to tour to fully experience the art this city has displayed on the side of buildings and alley ways. Here's what we did do:
Shop on South Congress
South Congress is a street filled with the type of stores I lose myself in and the type of stores Ryan begs not to go in. Filled with all kinds of treasures and lots of locally made goods it's the kind of place where you leave with things you didn't know you wanted or needed until you saw them and figured you couldn't live without them.
My favorite store was Maya Star (where these photos of the dinosaur succulents were taken);
1508 S. Congress Ave, Austin Texas 78704
Here are a few photos from the various stores we went into.
Kayak or Paddle Board on Lady Bird Lake
If you love being outdoors Austin is the city for you. With Lady Bird lake you can spend your weekend on a paddle board or kayak, walk the trails in one of the numerous parks or rent a swan boat with a bottle of wine.
Note: The picture below was taken on top of the Congress Bridge not during our kayaking experience. I chose this picture because it shows you the kayaks, paddle boards and swan boat all in one view.
See the Bats on Congress Bridge
You HAVE to do this! There are an estimated 1.5 MILLION bats that live in the bridge and every night around dusk they come out to go feeding for the night.
You can check the bats'website to get an estimated time of departure for the night your in town. I recommend getting there early to claim your viewing spot on top of the bridge.
It also seemed very popular to grab a bat boat tour or rent a kayak at this time.
The photos below were taken while we were waiting. The bats are very cool but also very hard to photograph.
Alright guys, besides drinking that was our 1.5 day, 2 night trip to Austin. I know there is so much more to do! Where are the places you go when in town?
P.s. I'll have a full review of bars and coffee shops we went to out soon!