I visited Austin, Texas last month and fell in love (minus the humidity) with the city all over again. My first visit to Austin was strictly for work and my most recent trip allowed me more time for leisure. We stayed in downtown Austin and we did not have a rental car so traveling during the day by foot and Uber/Lyft was a challenge in the heat. With some good ol’ planning, I was able to make my way around the city and stop at many places in the area. Check out my favorites and my city guide map below!
When To Go
We traveled to Austin in the middle of June and the weather was ridiculously hot. The Austin locals told us it was unusual for Austin to be this hot that early in the late spring/early summer. Due to my work commitment, we did not have much control over when to visit. However, it is Texas after all so we braved the heat and made sure to explore the city in the morning or towards sunset (around 8pm).
How To Get Around
We were staying in downtown near the Austin Convention Center so we decided not to get a rental car since there is so much going on downtown. During hours when the sun is not as strong, we walked around a lot. Luckily, Uber/Lyft returned to Austin recently as it was not available on my first trip to Austin last year. Ubering from Austin airport to the downtown area was about $15. Our strategy most days was to get dropped off at our farthest location and walk back to our hotel making stops along the way. We did not have enough time to use public transportation as we needed to maximize our short time in the city.
Where To Stay
We had a lovely stay at the Westin Austin Downtown. The lobby is decorated well and the hotel offers an amazing rooftop view along with pool and bar. The hotel is perfect for younger couples/groups and want to stay in a central location. The hotel is also only located a block away from the popular 6th street. The service at the hotel is fantastic from the front desk to the bell hops outside to the housekeeping. Make sure you register for their rewards account to get free Wi-Fi and a new water bottle after housekeeping visits each day.
Be warned since the hotel is located so close to 6th street and has a popular rooftop bar open to the public on the evenings, it can get quite noisy even from your room. Each room has a TV that has a white noise channel that is suppose to help with the noise, although we never had a huge issue. You should also check out the restaurant attached to the hotel, Stella. I visited for a quick dinner and ordered a bunch of appetizers. Stella offers really friendly service and great food and you can even order the food directly to your room.
What To Do
- Watch the Bats during sunset at Congress Avenue Bridge
- Walk or rent a paddle board/kayak at Ladybird Lake-Lamar Beach Metro Park
- Cool off at Barton Springs Pool
- Visit and hike to the top of Graffiti Park at Castle Hill
- Walk around the Texas Capitol
- Take pictures at “Greetings From Austin” Mural and the “I Love You So Much” Mural at Jo’s Coffee
What To Eat
Austin is known for hip food places and is not short of anything Instagram-able. Here are some of my favorite food stops along the way. Check out the map below for even more places and how to plan to visit each one!
- Ramen Tatsu-Ya
- Terry Black’s Barbecue
- Hillside Farmacy
- Torchy’s Tacos
- Eddie V’s
- The Factory – Cafe with a Soul
- Toms Austin
- Juice Society
- Ice Cream
- Lick Honest Ice Cream
- Dolce Neve Gelato
- Gelateria Gemelli
How To Prepare
- Dress for the hot weather: pack shorts and tanks for casual wear around town. Most places we visited had air conditioning but it is even quite muggy during the night.
- Travel during non-peak hours: Early afternoon is the worst time to walk around as the sun is blistering hot so I would recommend sightseeing around the morning and early evenings before the sunset. Leave peak hours for eating inside a nice cool restaurant!
- Uber/Lyft: Uber and Lyft are back in Austin! Take advantage of this as taxis can be quite expensive. We always asked our drivers for local tips and recommendations too.
- Stay Hydrated: Bring a water bottle with you or make sure you hydrate with water at all the restaurants and cafes you visit during the day. It’s easy to get dehydrated and have a headache ruin your day.
City Guide Map