Austin was my first solo trip since getting back from Europe, and it was awesome! What a cool city.
HOW LONG: 4 NIGHTS
I stayed at my first hostel in the States! Drifter Jack’s was located near UT Austin and about a 10 min bus ride to downtown Austin, which was perfect. The hostel, while not my favorite, was overall pretty good. It was fairly easy to meet people in kitchen, common room, or the pool table outside. There was no free breakfast, but there were lockers in the room (although mine was hard to reach because I had the one on top unfortunately). The rooms were spacious and clean. Overall would stay here again.
WHERE TO EAT:
WOWOWOW Austin has some amazing places to eat. I was here for four days and felt like four weeks wouldn’t be enough time to try all the places I wanted to try. I started with Waltons Fancy and Staple, a yummy, clearly popular, brunch spot. I tried a biscuit sandwich, which had eggs, smoked cheddar, bacon, and an aioli. It was delicious.
I couldn’t go to Texas without trying BBQ so with the group of British guys I met at my hostel, we visited Freedmen’s Bar. I ordered a barbecue benedict and was not disappointed. Meanwhile the guys ordered one pound of meat each and ate every last bite.
Voodoo Doughnuts, made famous in Portland, OR, also has a location on 6th street in Austin. In my time in Austin, I tried 3 doughnuts: Maple Bacon Bar (Raised yeast doughnut with maple frosting and bacon on top), Old Dirty Bastard (Raised yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, Oreo cookies, and peanut butter), and Blueberry Cake (Blueberry cake doughnut with a glaze). Hands down the best one is the Maple Bacon Bar. After the pub crawl we can came here and the Brits were asking which one to get and I told them to get the Maple Bacon Bar. They were skeptical going in, but after trying it they couldn’t stop talking about how unbelievably good it was. ALSO it’s a great spot for pictures!
For a quick and easy breakfast, Blenders and Bowls is perfect. I ended up eating there twice it was so good. Both times I had the O.G. acai bowl and added spinach.
I was delighted to spot a Modern Market while in Austin as I used to eat there probably 3 times a week when I lived in Boulder! They have great, healthy, fresh food with plenty of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options. I ate a yummy truffle potato pizza and side of sweet potato mash.
Last, but not least, was The Grove Bar and Kitchen. The reason I went was to try the Impossible Burger, but I ended up having the best bruschetta I’ve ever had (outside of Italy of course!). But honestly it was so good!!
I tried three: Heirloom tomato, garlic, basil, & mozzarella. Avocado, bacon, tomato, arugula, & aged balsamic. Apple, fig chutney, & brie. I can’t even pick a favorite because they were all delicious in different ways.
WHAT TO DO:
Austin has so much to do! You definitely need more than 4 days to do it all. The first day I was there I spent the day walking around the city. I probably walked for over 8 miles. Highlights include walking along the Colorado River, which runs through Austin. I would walk for a bit then stop at a bench and read my book. I also ended up walking through the capital building which was a highlight.
6th street is famous for its great bars and nightlife and it didn’t let us down. I went on the pub crawl through the hostel and was headed straight for this spot on Saturday night. Among our crew was four Americans, one Australian, and five Brits so I knew it would be a fun group. Essentially 6th street becomes a city sponsored block party every weekend starting at 11pm as they shut down access to pedestrians only. Such a cool idea and it ends up being one big party in downtown Austin. We had a great time going from bar to bar.
Rainey Street is one of the coolest spots in Austin. Each building houses a different and unique bar with cool food options (some restaurants and some food trucks). It definitely has a more laid back vibe compared to 6th street, which houses more club-like bars. I was here with the Brits and we spent our night at a bar that a grassy, backyard space with giant jenga, picnic tables, and cornhole. They had never played cornhole before so it was a blast teaching them!
Anther great activity is watching the bats at dusk. Over 1.5 million bats roost under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. This makes it the largest urban bat colony in the world. Crazy right?!
I really liked Austin! There were so many cool things to do, and I can’t wait to come back when it’s a little warmer to explore all the water activities Austin has to offer between the lake and the river! There is such a young, hip vibe to Austin and I think it’s only going to get cooler. Other than the blistering heat during the summer, Austin seems like an amazing place to visit and live. No wonder so many start-ups have started to move to this incredible city!