If you’re searching for a weekend full of nature, endless nightlife opportunities and wanting to fill your stomach with tacos and craft beer — a weekend in Austin is just what you need. Here we’ll break down where to stay, where to eat and all the fun things to do in Austin – as written by a local insider!
More than 160 people move to Austin every single day and after spending a weekend in Austin, you’ll soon realize why. I 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 my recommendations of where to stay, where to eat and where to play during your trip to Austin.
Weekend in Austin: Where To Stay in Austin
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 — a street full of shopping, restaurants and an old-school themed candy shop. South Congress is a great location to access everything in the city as well as a picture-perfect backdrop for the Instagram photo of your dreams.
View this post on Instagram
Living my best life by the pool in Texas. It's good to be surprised about a place I basically had prejudice about (Bush, oil, pollution, Mexican border, conservatism, cowboys, meat). It turns out that so far, Austin is indeed pretty cool (and hot, and humid). . . . . . #chillingvibes #goodvibes #Austin #Texas #TX #workingonmyprejudice #bestlife #bythepool #HotelSanJose #HotelSanJoseAustin #keepAustinweird #Austincityguide
Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
Located in the Rainey Street District, 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.
This isn’t your backpacking-across-Europe kind of hostel. Native is an elevated and industrially designed hostel in the heart of downtown Austin. 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.
Weekend in Austin: Where To Eat
Tacos, BBQ and craft beer, oh my! 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 — no one will judge you! Check out these beloved Austin spots while you eat your way through the city.
Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden
Located in Austin’s famous Rainey Street District — Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden serves up boozy brunches on the weekends with a serving of live music on the side. Their famous “Manmosa” consists of one full bottle of champagne and a splash of orange juice — what brunch dreams are made of! Saturday morning brunch at Banger’s is the best way to kick off your weekend in Austin.
A little off the beaten path, Curra’s serves a unique take on your standard margarita. Lime and strawberry margaritas are out — 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 3 more.
Salt Lick BBQ
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 beauty that is the Texas Hill Country. Arrive to the bustling restaurant and 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 good BBQ, this is the spot. Leave your cards behind; this BBQ joint is cash only!
In a town full of pizza joints, Homeslice Pizza reigns supreme. Served by the pie at the restaurant or by the slice next door at its “to-go” location. With a daily rotation of slices, you can come for every meal and try something different! Located in the eclectic South Congress district, take your slice to go and stroll up and down the street taking in all the sights. P.S — the famous “I Love You So Much” mural is just up the road at Jo’s Coffee!
The best breakfast tacos in Austin! Even with two locations, this place is always packed. Worth the wait, Taco Joint tacos are stuffed full of your favorite breakfast items. Eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, and cheese — the options are endless. Head over to their salsa bar and grab a big heaping of their creamy chipotle sauce. Game changer.
Biscuits and Groovy
Another iconic breakfast and brunch spot. Wake up early and head over to one of the two Biscuit and Groovy food trucks. Standard southern biscuits and gravy served Austin-style. Buttery biscuits and sinful gravy stacked high with an array of breakfast toppings. Perfect for any 6th Street induced hangover.
An unassuming half-grocery store, half-Indian restaurant located right off the highway. Whip In serves tasty Indian dishes alongside a huge beer selection. Most evenings they have live music, which pairs nicely with your Austin craft brew and 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. I’m not sure what they put in these sandwiches but you’ll be making multiple visits during your weekend in Austin. The spinach and artichoke grilled cheese is a must try!
View this post on Instagram
Chips on your sandwich? We have 4! Or make your own…. #madsandwichscientist #atx #gsdynamitedeli #512deli #delisforlife #wedontfuckaround #austintexasrules #78704life #austinsandwiches #texassammy #texasdeli #chipsonsandwich #sandwichgamestrong #do512 #southfirst #itscoldcomegetsoup
The Peached Tortilla
This Austin’ award-winning Southern-Asian fusion food truck and brick and mortar storefront is an Austin restaurant that I will always visit when in the city. Their food truck serves up sliders and tacos while the restaurant serves noodle dishes and the must-order kimchi balls served with a wasabi and sriracha aioli. A fusion of food flavors you never knew you needed.
Fun Things To Do in Austin
There’s always something happening in this lively city. Macaroni and cheese festivals, hippie-themed gatherings, music festivals and tech conferences. Austin has several options for nightlife ranging from low-key hidden speakeasies to multi-story dance clubs. Whatever you’re feeling, Austin will provide and there and 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 on Lady Bird Lake
With over 200 sunny days a year, Austinites love their outdoor activities! Spend the afternoon kayaking or stand up paddle boarding (SUP boarding) on Lady Bird Like that runs through downtown Austin. Rent a board for an hour and cool down with a cold beer when you’re done!
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. 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 6th Street.
Day drink on Rainey Street
Rainey Street in Downtown Austin is a small street, with cottage houses turned laidback bars on either side. With each bar having 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 the circus-themed Unbarlievable. In the evening a “secret” Mezcal bar opens behind Clive Bar — small and full of your favorite Mezcal cocktails.
Have a night out at 6th Street
An absolute Austin weekend must — having a night out at the famous Austin 6th Street. Commonly called “Dirty 6th” by the locals, there’s definitely some truth to the nickname. 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. 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 7PM 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 (especially after a rain) — right in the middle of the city!
Join in on a game of chicken shit 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 shit bingo. What is chicken shit 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 BYOB 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 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 and all serve up impressive cocktails. Some of my favorites are Redheaded Stepchild, located next to Hangar Bar, Midnight Cowboy in the middle of 6th street and Firehouse Lounge located inside the Firehouse Hostel behind the bookcase in the lobby.
Listen to live music at one of the hundred music venues
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.
Take a dip at Barton Springs or Deep Eddy Pool
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 of town are pools 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). Brrr.
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.
Be flexible at 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 Instagram photo.
Take photos in front iconic Austin murals
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” on the side of Jo’s on South Congress, pose in front of the weird “Hi, how are you?” frog alien next to Thai, How Are You and 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.