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How to Plan the Ultimate Girls’ Weekend in Austin, Texas
The Ultimate Girls’ Weekend in Austin, Texas
There’s nothing quite like a fun vacation with your best buds. And for my money, I can’t think of a better place to party than Austin, Texas. Easy to get to from most major airports, with tons of great food/drinks/shopping/adventures to be had within walking distance of many amazing hotels, what’s not to love? Here’s how to have a fantastic girls’ weekend in longhorn country.
Where to Go
Known as the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is the perfect weekend getaway. Live shows, tons of shopping and amazing food, you will never run out of things to do in this magical city. Here’s how I’d plan the perfect girls’ weekend in Austin.
As an aside, I’d be remiss to not mention a few of the city’s big events: SXSW, Austin City Limits, and any Longhorn home football game. If you plan on traveling here during these times, just know hotels will be astronomically expensive, and everywhere will be packed! Plan your trip around this stuff and you’re golden.
What to Do
Austin is all about four things: Music. Food. Good Drinks. Fresh Air.
For Music Lovers
There’s literally dozens of places to see a show. You can’t mention Austin without talking about Stubb’s Bar-B-Q. The food is okay, but the live shows are awesome. These guys often big acts, so check the calendar and get your tickets ahead of time. Other great venues include The Continental Club on South Congress, Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon, and the Elephant Room, but really, all you need to do is walk around and go wherever your ears lead you.
For Food Nerds
Oh boy, where to even begin. This town is expanding exponentially (population-wise), and there’s a huge amount of chefs opening new spots. I like to check out the Eater 38 or Eater’s Heat Map to see what’s really worth checking out. But nearly every list will tell you these places are not-to-be missed:
Regarded as some of the best ‘cue in the nation, folks line up at 8 or 9 in the morning (maybe earlier!) to taste Aaron Franklin’s smoked meats. If you’re up for it, mix up some bloody marys and get ready to make some friends in line. It’s a long wait, but you’ll be handsomely rewarded.
Austinites are serious about their tacos. Thankfully, there’s lots of places to get them. For something low-key, try Taco Deli or Torchy’s (many locations in town!). La Condessa is a little swankier, but not too crazy– almost everywhere in Austin is fairly casual.
Now, I know what you’re thinking and you are so, so wrong! In Austin, a trailer park is a series of food trucks or trailers who park in the same area. With many offering communal tables, it makes for a perfect opportunity to try lots of different things at one meal. Try the South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery on South 1st street for some of the best eats in town.
It’s not uncommon to bar hop your way through the day (and night!) in this party town. From mimosas and bloodies at breakfast to mid-day margaritas and late night craft cocktails, you certainly won’t go thirsty. Again, Eater is a great resource for up-to-date info on the best places to drink, but for a fun night on the town, I say hit up Rainey Street– just east of downtown. This neighborhood is stuffed with old bungalows that have been converted to cool bars, complete with inviting outdoor patios and really good drinks. . Though this neighborhood can get a little heavy on the drunk college students, it doesn’t feel that way at Geraldine’s. The perfect amount of party, but with a little more grown-up vibe. Want a super-classy cocktail experience? Two words: Driskill Hotel.
For Fresh Air
Town Lake serves as the city’s focal point, with miles and miles of trails running up and down it’s banks. This is really the heart of the city, and I swear everyone in town takes advantage exercising outdoors (they all seem to have the abs to prove it). You’ll get the full Austin experience simply by bringing your walking shoes and pounding the pavement– or more accurately, the orange gravel. For a little more adventure, rent a bike at Mellow Johnny’s and really explore the 10-mile trail. If you’re more of a get in the water type, there are paddle board, canoe and kayak rentals available at the lake.
Where to Stay
Austin offers tons of excellent accommodations via AirBnB, but if you’re looking for a hotel experience, here’s two favorites.
The W Hotel
Like all W Hotels, this Austin accommodation is super-stylish, complete with a great lounge (perfect for cocktails!), on-site spa and lovely pool. Best part? It’s convenient to everything: walking distance to the lake, close to tons of excellent dining options, bars, shopping, live music and more.
Hotel San Jose
For something a little more bohemian, check out this iconic spot on South Congress. Liz Lambert (the hotelier behind Bunkhouse Group, which operates the coolest hotels in Texas), originally bought a rundown motor lodge and turned it into the most fun place to stay in the city, complete with a lush courtyard perfect for hanging with old friends (or meeting new ones). You can always count on an interesting and full-stocked mini bar, plus great on-site breakfasts. Jo’s is right on the corner and does an excellent brunch. Best part? The location puts you smack-dab in the middle of South Congress’ funky boutiques, food trailer parks, lively bars and music venues. Trust me, you’re going to love it.
What are some of your favorite Austin haunts? Share in the comments!
photos courtesy of Visit Austin.
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No horseback riding, cattle drives or Ranch activities?
No, Austin is a big city (11th largest in the nation, believe it or not!). You can find ranches in the surrounding countryside (the hill country west of Austin is particularly beautiful), but Austin is a hip, urban city with very little ‘cowboy’ to it nowadays. Nonetheless, there’s plenty to do outdoors. There are numerous parks, including Zilker Park on the banks of Town Lake, where the Austin City Limits music festival is held. Tons of hike and bike trails, and a sunny climate for outdoor activities. There’s a new boardwalk built out in Town Lake on the south shore. Hiking it will give you great views of the city skyline and glimpses of herons, turtles…even the bat colony.
No, no, and no. If you want that go to Ft. Worth.
What a great picture of the bats! I’ve been trying to see that since when I moved to Austin a couple of years ago… No luck yet… They seem to hide when I go to that bridge! hahaha
All the best,
Try going on one of the boat tours to see the bats. That is usually the best way to see them. August seems to be the best month, too.
Should you have more than a couple days in Austin – venturing a little west into the wine country will shock you! Wineries and vineyards surround Austin and the best area is about an hour and half west near Fredericksburg.
For the best happy hour in town, try Parkside on 6th street. Believe it or not this is an upscale restaurant on “Dirty Sixth” that has half price on creative cocktails, beer, and small plates. $32 oyster platter becomes $16, and you can get a steak and frites for $10!
I grew up in Austin. Never heard barbecue referred to a “cue.”
For something very special, try the vegan milkshakes at Milky Way Shakes, 2908 Fruth Street, next to the Spider House Patio Bar & Cafe.
I lived in Austin for 35+ years & return often to see family & friends. Nearly always go to Chuy’s or Matt’s El Rancho, Hop Doddy’s, Taco Deli, Thundercloud Subs, Trudy’s & for special times Truluck’s. Sounds like I eat my way through town but I can’t find food like this where I live now. I also really like to walk the shops on So. Congress, watch the bats fly out from under the bridge over Lady Bird Johnson Lake & rent a canoe or walk the paths along the water there. If you have a chance to see Austin City Limits or attend SXSW you will have the experience of a lifetime. I got to see Paul McCartney (with fireworks) in Zilker Park! There’s so much more too. Nowhere else but Austin!