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Austin Itinerary | Things to Do & Weekend Trip Ideas

Austin Itinerary | Things to Do & Weekend Trip Ideas

If you’re searching for a weekend full of nature, endless nightlife opportunities, and wanting to fill your stomach with tacos and craft beer, then a weekend in Austin is just what you need. Here we’ll break down where to stay, where to eat, and all the best things to do in Austin.

More than 160 people move to Austin every single day and after spending a weekend in this incredible city, you’ll soon realize why. We highly recommend spending more than a weekend in this bustling city to truly experience what gives Austin its “Keep Austin Weird” vibe. Pack some Advil and get ready to have a great time.

Here are some of our best recommendations of where to stay, eat, and where to play during your Austin trip.

Where to Stay for a Weekend in Austin, Texas

Austin Motel

Hotel San Jose

Located in the funky neighborhood of South Congress, Hotel San Jose brings Palm Springs desert vibes to the heart of Austin. This bungalow-style hotel has 40 rooms, spacious courtyards, and is a step away from the lively South Congress.

South Congress is a street filled with various shopping opportunities, restaurants, and an old-school-themed candy shop. It’s a great location to access everything in the city as well as a picture-perfect backdrop for the Instagram photo of your dreams.

Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt

Located in the Rainey Street District, Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt incorporates the “live music capital of the world” vibe into every aspect of the hotel. From the laid-back staff uniforms, lobby design, and decor in the guest rooms — HVZ encompasses a unique vibe that only a hotel in Austin could pull off.

The hotel is about a mile away from all the exciting nightlife of Austin’s vibrant 6th Street. HVZ has its own onsite restaurant and bar, Geraldine which will bring you all the good vibes that the city is known for.

You can enjoy live music and take in the stunning views of Austin’s skyline with a cocktail in hand from Geraldine, and soak in the incredible atmosphere. What makes them even more popular than other hotels in the area, is they have pet-friendly rooms available so your trusted companion along with you can enjoy your stay in Austin.

Native Hostel

Native Hostel

This isn’t your backpacking-across-Europe kind of hostel. Native Hostel is an elevated and industrially designed hostel in the heart of downtown Austin. It’s the first hostel in southwestern America to combine all the comforts of a luxury hotel with the cost efficiency of a hostel.

With dorm-room and private accommodation options, this chic hostel is perfect for those wanting to stay downtown without the sticker shock of the surrounding high-end downtown hotels. Plus, it’s located in one of the most vibrant areas in Austin, so there’s plenty to see and do.

Where To Eat in Austin, Texas

Barista in Austin  Strawberry and Nutella Toast

Tacos, BBQ and craft beer and so much more. Between the hundreds of food trucks, mom and pop storefronts, rooftop sushi bars, and casual eateries — Austin is a food lover’s paradise. Live like a local and eat tacos for all three meals. Seriously, no one will judge you. Check out these beloved foodie spots while on your weekend trip to Austin.

Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden

Located in Austin’s famous Rainey Street District, Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden serve up some delicious boozy brunches on the weekends with an extra serving of live music on the side.

Their famous “Manmosa” consists of one full bottle of champagne and a splash of orange juice — precisely what brunch dreams are made of. Saturday morning brunch at Banger’s is the best way to kick off your weekend in Austin.

Curra’s Grill

A little off the beaten path, Curra’s serves a unique take on your standard margarita. Lime and strawberry margaritas are out, while avocado margaritas are in. Savor the flavor of this creamy avocado margarita to beat the Austin heat. Hang out under the patio, enjoy some chips and salsa and start questioning why you never thought of this recipe yourself. Then continue to order three more.

Salt Lick BBQ

Salt & Lick Barbecue

Technically outside of Austin in a town called Dripping Springs, this world-famous BBQ restaurant makes for a fabulous mini-evening getaway. On the way to Salt Lick, take in all the beauty that is the Texas Hill Country.

As you arrive at the bustling restaurant you’ll be greeted with the aroma of smoked brisket and sausage being cooked over an open pit. Order up some pulled pork, ribs, brisket, and all the sides. If you came to Texas looking for a good BBQ, this is definitely the spot.

Tip: Leave your cards behind as this BBQ joint is cash only.

Homeslice Pizza

In a town full of pizza joints, Homeslice Pizza reigns supreme. With a daily rotation of slices, you can come for every meal and try something different. Fun right? Located in the eclectic South Congress district, take your slice to go and stroll up and down the street taking in all the sights of the area

 P.S: The famous “I Love You So Much” mural is just up the road at Jo’s Coffee.

Taco Joint

Taco Joint

You’ll find the best breakfast tacos in Austin at Taco Joint hands down.  Even with two locations, this place is always packed. It’s worth the wait though, Taco Joint tacos are stuffed full of your favorite breakfast items.

Eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, and cheese — the options are endless all crammed into freshly made flour tortillas.  Head over to their salsa bar and grab a big heaping of their creamy chipotle sauce. It’s an absolute game changer.

Biscuits and Groovy

Another iconic breakfast and brunch spot that’s highly recommended is Biscuits and Groovy.  Wake up early and head over to one of the two Biscuit and Groovy food trucks. Here you’ll find standard southern biscuits and gravy served Austin-style. Get ready to dig into buttery biscuits and sinful gravy stacked high with an array of breakfast toppings. Perfect for any 6th Street-induced hangover.

Whip In

An unassuming half-grocery store, and half-Indian restaurant located right off the highway, Whip In serves tasty Indian dishes alongside a huge beer selection (they have over 70 beers on tap). Most evenings they have live music, which pairs nicely with your Austin craft brew and a mouthwatering lamb curry

G’s Dynamite Deli

If you’re looking for a tasty sandwich, look no further than G’s Dynamite Deli. This small sandwich shop is an Austin original with a huge menu full of stuffed sandwiches, Panini’s, salads, and soups.

We’re not sure what they put in these sandwiches but you’ll be making multiple visits to G’s Dynamite during your weekend in Austin. The spinach and artichoke grilled cheese are a must-try.

The Peached Tortilla

This Austin, award-winning Southern-Asian fusion food truck and brick and mortar storefront is a local restaurant that most people have to try when in the city. Their food truck serves up sliders and tacos. Their restaurant serves noodle dishes and the must-order kimchi balls served with wasabi and sriracha aioli. A fusion of food flavors you never knew you needed.

Best Things to Do in Austin, Texas

There’s always something happening in this lively city. Macaroni and cheese festivals, hippie-themed gatherings, music festivals and tech conferences are just a few things to look forward to. Austin has several options for nightlife ranging from low-key hidden speakeasies to multi-story dance clubs.

Whatever you’re feeling, Austin will provide endless fun things to do in Austin for the adventurous, thirsty or music-loving traveller.

Spend the day exploring Austin’s nature and art scene then spend your evenings at a cocktail bar. Here’s a list of things to do during your long weekend in Austin.

Try Stand-Up Paddle Boarding or Kayaking on Lady Bird Lake

Stand-Up Paddleboarding Lady Bird Lake

With over 200 sunny days a year, Austinites love their outdoor activities. Spend the afternoon stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking on Lady Bird that runs through downtown Austin. Rent a board for an hour and cool down with a cold beer when you’re done.

Kayaking on Lady Bird  Lady Bird Lake

Try Not to Laugh at Esther’s Follies

Located in the 6th Street District, Esther’s Follies is a hysterical experience. Their comedy shows include political satires, comedy sketches, and Vegas-style magic shows. As Austin’s take on Saturday Night Live, you’ll never catch the same show twice.  Enjoy a show then spend the rest of your evening on Austin’s famous 6th Street.

Have a Drink in Rainey Street

Wine Bar Austin

Rainey Street in Downtown Austin is a small street, with cottage houses turned into laidback bars on either side. Each bar has its own unique feel and crowd. Lively during both weekend days and evenings, swing by to experience a more laidback Austin.

Pop into Container Bar for dancing, enjoy cocktails in Bungalow’s backyard, or hang out at the circus-themed Unbelievable. In the evening a “secret” Mezcal bar opens behind Clive Bar serving all of your favorite Mezcal cocktails. Do a a true crime walking tour and bar crawl to add a bit of fun to your evening.

Party in 6th Street Austin

6th Street Austin P Terry's Burger Stand

An absolute weekend must while in Austin is having a night out on its famous 6th Street. Commonly called “Dirty 6th” by the locals, there’s definitely some truth to the nickname. It’s not exactly a place to wear your brand new white shoes, but definitely, a place that guarantees a good time.

Bars after bars, offering drink specials, bottles of champagne, and giant margaritas all await. Leave out an Advil and water by your bed before you head out, you’re going to need it.

Take Two Stepping Lessons at The White Horse

A weekend in Austin isn’t complete without dancing the night away at a good ol’ fashioned honkytonk. Pay a visit to the east side for a night of two-stepping at The White Horse. Come by at 7 PM on Fridays and Saturdays for free two-stepping lessons. Yeehaw!

Go for a Hike at the Greenbelt

Take in some nature and sweat off all the tacos you’re consuming with a refreshing afternoon hike. The Greenbelt is a stretch of hiking trails, sandstone cliffs, and creeks perfect for swimming right in the middle of the city.

Join In on a Game of Chicken Sh*t Bingo at C-Boys

Before you pack your bags and (reluctantly) leave Austin, pay a visit to C-Boys on South Congress on Sunday afternoon for a game of chicken sh*t bingo. What is chicken sh*t bingo? Well…what it sounds like. Pick a number, gather around the chicken, and whichever the chicken “goes number two” on, wins.  An Austin classic.

Play a Round of Mini Golf at Peter Pan’s

For over 40 years Peter Pan’s mini golf on Barton Springs Road has been the go-to spot for date nights and groups looking to take a break from Austin’s bar scene. It’s a cheap day or evening activity — plus it’s a BYOB. Pack a few brews and play a round or two amongst the giant off-the-wall course characters at this famous Austin landmark.

Lay Low at One of the Many Speakeasies

If you’re up for a low-key evening in the city, stroll into one of the speakeasies around town. Some require a reservation, others a secret passcode, but one thing they all do is serve up impressive cocktails.

A few must try’s include the Redheaded Stepchild, Austin, located next to Hangar Bar and Midnight Cowboy in the middle of 6th street, and Firehouse Lounge located inside the Firehouse Hostel behind the bookcase in the lobby.

Enjoy Some Live Music

Musician in Austin

On any given night in Austin there are over one hundred musicians performing across popular concert venues, private events, and underground music halls. Go on your own live music crawl through the city.

Check the events calendar and see who’s performing at the Continental Club, C-Boys, The White Horse, or Cedar Street Courtyard. You can even go on a live music crawl and explore Austin’s diverse music scene. 

Take a Dip at Austin’s Recreational Swimming Pools

Within the city limits, Austin has two natural recreational swimming pools. Both Barton Springs, located in the Zilker Park neighborhood, and Deep Eddy, located in the western part are pooled with water fed from underground springs. A great place to cool off from the Austin summer but be warned — it doesn’t get warmer than 68 F (20 C).

Watch the Sunset at Mount Bonnell

Take a small hike up to Mount Bonnell to catch a stunning sunset overlooking a gorgeous view of Lake Austin and the Texas Hill Country. Just 15 minutes outside of the downtown area, Mount Bonnell is one of the highest points in Austin at 775 feet (236 meters). Bring a bottle of wine to enjoy at the top after the 100 or so steps to get there. You deserve it.

Join a Goat Yoga Class

Austin is on top of all the latest trends — one being yoga classes full of playful and adorable baby goats. Why? Who knows, but it’s a sure fire way to have a fun yoga class and get a great photo for Instagram.

Take Photos in Front of Austin’s Iconic Murals

Austin Mural  Street Art in Austin  Unique Street Art in Austin

Austin is famous for two things, street food and street art. Austin holds countless opportunities for a great photo-shoot at every turn and these famous street art murals can’t be missed.

Snap a photo in front of the “I Love You So Much” mural on the side of Jo’s on South Congress,or  pose in front of the weird “Hi, how are you?” frog alien next to Thai, How Are You. Round out your street art tour at the adorable “You’re My Butter Half” located on the side of the United Way building in East Austin.

Final Thoughts on Weekend Visit to Austin, Texas

Austin is a vibrant and exciting city with something for everyone to look forward to. Party up a storm in 6th Street, enjoying live music or munching away on taco’s and barbeque, you’ll have no trouble keeping yourself busy on your Austin weekend.

Enjoyed this Austin Itinerary? Why not read about the perfect weekend in Portland next?